With a satisfying crunchy bite, air fryer breaded shrimp will make you so happy you bought an air fryer!
Why you’ll love it: Unbelievably crispy and not deep fried!
How long it takes: 15 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: air fryer, whisk, bowls, tongs
Lots of crispy breading encasing juicy jumbo shrimp make this a real treat. Usually a thick coating of crunchy batter carries a payload of oil and fat. And that means a bunch of calories and fat grams, a no-no for most of us.
Try “frying” your shrimp in your air fryer and it’s a total game changer. Crispy breaded shrimp without any of the guilt. Bring it on! It’s pure genius.
About this breaded shrimp
This tasty shrimp is battered and breaded. Wow! No wonder it’s so good.
It’s a two step process but it’s easy to do and the pay-off is worth it. Here’s a quick summary of how to make the best breaded shrimp.
You’ll find the complete printable recipe at the bottom of this post, with measurements and instructions.
What you need
- Shrimp: Look for large or jumbo (16-20) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, with the tails on. Frozen shrimp are super convenient and can be thawed under running cold water.
- All-Purpose Flour: Flour is seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning, Garlic Powder, and a dash of Cornstarch. An Egg, lightly beaten and mixed with water, is added to the flour to make a light batter.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Panko, with its large airy crumbs, makes a better breading for the shrimp than regular bread crumbs.
What’s Old Bay Seasoning?
This classic blend of 18 different spices has been around for years and is often used in seafood recipes. Currently produced by McCormick, you can also make your own similar blend. Try this recipe by The Spruce Eats.
How to make it
Thaw your shrimp if it’s still frozen. This can be easily accomplished by putting it in a colander and running cold water over it.
Frozen shrimp can be such a life-saver when it comes to meal time. It thaws in a matter of minutes and cooks so quickly. Keep reading for lots more shrimp recipes.
Okay, next prepare the two stations you’ll need to batter and bread the shrimp. Find two fairly large shallow bowls. Mixing bowls, pasta, or salad bowls work great.
In the first bowl, mix the flour with the seasonings. Add the egg and water and whisk until combined. That’s the batter.
In the second bowl, mix the panko with a little Old Bay seasoning. That’s the breading.
Grab a shrimp by the tail and dip it into the batter, letting the excess drip off. If the batter seems a little thick, add a bit more water. If it’s too thin, whisk in a little more flour.
Still holding on to the tail, gently roll the shrimp in the bread crumbs, making sure the shrimp is well-coated, with crumbs adhering to all sides (except the tail).
Discard any leftover batter or breading when all the shrimp have been coated.
Arrange the shrimp on the rack of your air fryer (spray it with a little oil first). They can be close together but not touching. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to do them in batches.
Fry until they are golden brown, curled and firm. It only takes five minutes or so.
Serve the shrimp immediately. They taste best hot out of the air fryer.
It depends on the size of the shrimp. Large or jumbo shrimp will be ready in about five minutes. Smaller shrimp will cook faster.
Frozen shrimp can easily be cooked in an air fryer. There’s no need to thaw them first if you’re not breading them. For this recipe, they need to be thawed. Set your air fryer for 400°F. Add the shrimp.
Timing depends on whether the shrimp are precooked. Cook five minutes if the shrimp are already cooked, and 10 minutes if they are raw.
Again, size does matter. Large shrimp will take longer than small shrimp.
A couple of minutes of preheating may shave off a little cooking time but really you won’t notice much difference unless you have a really large air fryer. Most smaller models heat up so quickly that preheating is hardly necessary.
How to make these shrimp your own
- Add your own favorite seasonings! Onion powder, smoked paprika, dried green onion, and Cajun seasoning are all great options. Just add a ½ teaspoon to the flour mixture.
- Can’t find panko? Use regular bread crumbs or make your own panko.
- Prefer tempura fried shrimp? Skip the panko and fry the shrimp with just the batter coating.
Make Ahead Ideas
Prepare the shrimp except for frying. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
If you prefer, instead of refrigerating the prepared shrimp, freeze them in a single layer. Once they’re frozen, put them in a tightly sealed container with parchment between layers.
Cook as directed, adding a couple minutes for frozen shrimp.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
Cooked breaded shrimp are really best eaten right away. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge for one day.
To reheat, put them back into the air fryer for a couple of minutes. You can also reheat them in the oven or toaster oven. Microwaving is not recommended.
Pull the tails off and put these on a sandwich or a salad for a switch up to the leftovers!
More shrimp recipes
Convenient, quick-cooking, and so tasty, keep a bag of shrimp in your freezer. It’s perfect for meals like these:
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Lemon Pepper Shrimp – super easy recipe!
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
- Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Pineapple
- Pasta with Shrimp, Brussels Sprouts, & Wine Sauce
- Shrimp Salad with Mango and Avocado
- Sweet and Sour Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
- Crunchy Kale Salad Recipe with Popcorn Shrimp
- 1 lb. bag frozen large or jumbo (16-20) peeled, deveined, tail-on raw shrimp thawed
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning divided
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cups water
- Thaw shrimp under cold running water, if frozen. Pat dry with paper towels; set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
- In shallow bowl, combine panko and ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, remaining ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, and cornstarch. Add the egg and water to the bowl; whisk until smooth. You should have a thick, wet batter.
- Holding the shrimp by the tail, dip each shrimp individually into the batter. Batter should cover entire shrimp but not the tail. Let excess batter drip off into the bowl.
- Dip the shrimp into the panko, making sure it’s covered well, except for the tail.
- Lightly spray air fryer basket with avocado spray. Place shrimp in air fryer basket, arranging them in a single layer, not touching. Air fry for 5 to 7 minutes, or until breading is golden brown and shrimp is curled.
- Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Make Ahead: Prepare the shrimp except for frying. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
- If you prefer, instead of refrigerating the prepared shrimp, freeze them in a single layer. Once they’re frozen, put them in a tightly sealed container with parchment between layers. Cook as directed, adding a couple minutes for frozen shrimp.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.