Air Fryer Shrimp—shrimp (fresh or frozen) tossed in a seasoned panko coating then air “fried” to crispy glory—take me back to the very best of high school times: fried popcorn shrimp day.
I packed my own lunch most days, but when the cafeteria was serving popcorn shrimp (which always came with a giant side of macaroni and cheese) I put my hard-earned minimum wage dollars on the line.
It was worth it every single time!
My dietary choices in high school were not the most prudent (if I forgot my lunch, I’d eat French fries and a big Rice Krispy treat).
Now, I want the weeknight meals I cook at home to be reasonably healthy, but I have not lost that high school affinity for fried shrimp.
Enter CRISPY AIR FRYER SHRIMP!
Thanks to the air fryer (this is the model I have), very little oil is needed to create crispy, crunchy shrimp that take me right back to those ultra-anticipated fried shrimp lunches, but with a mega flavor and freshness upgrade.
If only I knew about Air Fryer French Fries back then too!
This shrimp recipe is also FAST, making it a great go-to for hectic evenings.
- At 390 degrees F, it takes just 4-5 minutes to cook shrimp in the air fryer.
How to Make Air Fryer Shrimp
This recipe is for air fryer breaded shrimp.
- It uses the double dip method: first the shrimp are dipped in egg wash, then into a breadcrumb mixture.
- The egg wash is mandatory. (I know because I tried this recipe without it; it was a flop.) The egg is what allows the breadcrumbs to stick and create the air fryer shrimp tempura (without it, you might as well cook the shrimp without breading).
- The breadcrumbs are seasoned with herbs and Parmesan, which taste yummy paired with just about anything. Feel free to create your own custom seasoning blend.
- Shrimp. Easy-to-use, quick-cooking, and protein-packed, shrimp is a wonderful ingredient for healthy dinners. Plus, with the crispy Parmesan breading from this recipe, they’re certain to be a hit with everyone (including kids!).
- Eggs. Helps the breadcrumb mixture stick to the shrimp.
- Lemon. Both lemon juice and zest add brightness and acidity.
- Breadcrumbs. As with my Air Fryer Fried Chicken Breast and Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, a tasty breading is very important. I used Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs, which add additional flavor without any extra effort.
- Parmesan. Parmesan adds a scrumptious salty, cheesy flavor to the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spices. A blend of garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt, and pepper adds fantastic Italian-inspired flair.
- Dry the shrimp, then toss them with oil, lemon zest and juice, and spices. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- Stir the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together in one dish. Beat the egg in another dish.
- Dip each shrimp into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Lay the shrimp in the basket of an air fryer, then coat with nonstick spray.
- Cook at 390 degrees F for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp, then cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. ENJOY!
How to Use Air Fryer Shrimp
- Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos. Toss them in the yummy sauce from either Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos or classic Bang Bang Shrimp. For a more classic take, tuck them into these Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Taco Slaw.
- Shrimp Pasta. Swap them for the shrimp in this Garlic Shrimp Pasta or Spicy Shrimp Pasta. For an air fryer shrimp scampi, add them to this Healthy Shrimp Scampi.
- Shrimp Salad. Top your favorite salad with air fryer shrimp. We love to add ours to Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- Shrimp Sandwich. Turn your air fryer shrimp into a scrumptious sandwich. A shrimp po’boy would be ultra tasty. Try it with the dipping sauce from these Salmon Croquettes.
- Air Fryer Shrimp and Grits. Shake things up by swapping these shrimp for the shrimp in my Skinny Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe.
- To Store. Refrigerate shrimp in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Recrisp shrimp on a baking sheet in the oven or in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen.
Meal Prep Tip
Since these shrimp are ideal for freezing and reheating, you can fully prepare the recipe as directed and freeze the leftovers for easy shrimp meal prep.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. The one I own and recommend, with its 5.5-quart bowl and multiple programmable cooking methods.
- Pie Plate. My favorite tool to use for the breading prep.
- Citrus Juicer. This makes juicing a lemon so much easier.
What was your cafeteria fave? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments too!❤︎
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make this recipe with frozen shrimp. If you want to use frozen shrimp, just make sure to thaw them and pat them dry before starting the recipe. To cook frozen shrimp in the air fryer, you’ll need to add several extra minutes. You will also need to air fry the shrimp without breading.
While I think this recipe works best with jumbo shrimp, you can use smaller-sized shrimp if that’s all you can find. Be aware that smaller shrimp will cook faster than the jumbo shrimp, so you’ll want to watch them very closely and adjust the cook time accordingly.
These crispy shrimp are ideal for dipping in any of your favorite sauces! I like pairing them with the basil dipping sauce from my Zucchini Fries recipe or marinara sauce.
Air Fryer Shrimp Video
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Air Fryer Shrimp
- 1 pound jumbo (21 to 25-count) shrimp peeled and deveined (tails on or off)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small lemon zest and juice, plus additional for serving
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Chopped fresh parsley or chives optional for serving
- Pat the shrimp dry and place in a large bowl. Top with the oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine evenly, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour (if you leave the shrimp for longer, the citrus juice will start to break them down).
- Stir the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together in a shallow baking dish (a pie plate works well). In a separate dish, beat the egg. Keep a baking sheet handy and line with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Remove the shrimp from marinade and shake off any excess. Dip in the beaten egg, shake off excess, then dip in the breadcrumb mixture to coat both sides. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Coat the basket with non-stick spray, then place the shrimp in the basket in a single layer, ensuring that they do not overlap (you’ll likely need to cook the shrimp in batches). Coat the top of the shrimp with nonstick spray, then slide the basket into place.
- Air fry the shrimp for 2 minutes, remove the basket, then with tongs, carefully flip the shrimp. Return to the air fryer and continue cooking until the shrimp look light golden brown and are opaque and cooked through, about 2 minutes more (shrimp cook fast!). Repeat with remaining shrimp (if you like, you can keep the first batch warm in a 200 degree F oven while you finish the rest). Enjoy hot, sprinkled with parsley, chives, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice as desired.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate shrimp in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Recrisp shrimp on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen.
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