Crispy Air Fryer Fried Shrimp

published Jan 16, 2021
Air Fryer Fried Shrimp

Here's how you can create crispy, crunchy shrimp at home with your air fryer — no hot oil required!


Prep15 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 18 minutes

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Fried shrimp sit on a plate with coctail sauce and lemon wedges. Plates of mixed sauce and more shrimp are cropped out.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Crispy coated fried shrimp is one of my favorite appetizers to order out. The contrast of the sweet, juicy shrimp under the salty, cracking coating is a joy to eat! My 6-year-old has recently become enamored of shrimp, too, so setting out to create restaurant-caliber fried shrimp at home got us both excited for cooking and eating.

I love frying, but for quick weeknight dinners at home — especially when I’m cooking with my kids — the air fryer is the perfect alternative. These air fryer shrimp are ultra-crispy, thanks to a panko breadcrumb coating, making them ideal for a weeknight dinner or as an easy-to-eat snack while you’re watching a football game (or just a Pokémon marathon). Here’s how you can create these crispy, crunchy shrimp at home with your air fryer — no hot oil required!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

The Crispiest Air Fryer Fried Shrimp

A lot of standard fried shrimp recipes call for a batter-like breading made with cornmeal, or a light egg-white and coconut coating. While delicious, these are harder to cook in the air fryer, as the cornmeal coating sticks or the coconut flakes fall off and burn in the air fryer’s vents. That’s why this recipe calls for a standard breading: dip the shrimp in seasoned flour, then beaten eggs, and finally crunchy panko breadcrumbs. This is perfect for the air fryer and gives the shrimp that super-crispy texture that usually comes from deep-frying in hot oil.

I like to use large shrimp for this, which are 26 to 30 shrimp per pound. Depending on your particular model of air fryer, you may need to cook the shrimp in small batches of six to eight shrimp at a time. Don’t try to cram as many shrimp into the air fryer as possible — overcrowding will cause the shrimp to steam instead of air fry, and you’ll have pale, soft shrimp instead of golden-brown and crispy ones.

With just a few sides and some dip, these little bites of heaven can easily be turned into a whole meal. I recommend serving with cocktail sauce or your favorite cool and creamy dip — I love this two-ingredient yogurt and chili crisp dip. As for sides, try air fryer broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

Air Fryer Fried Shrimp

Here's how you can create crispy, crunchy shrimp at home with your air fryer — no hot oil required!

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 18 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    uncooked large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), thawed if frozen

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • Cooking spray


  1. Peel and devein 1 pound large shrimp, if needed, and set aside.

  2. Combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon seasoning salt in a shallow dish or bowl. Lightly beat 2 large eggs in a second bowl. Place 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs in a third bowl.

  3. Heat an air fryer to 400ºF. Working in batches of enough shrimp to sit in the air fryer basket with plenty of space around each one, coat the shrimp: coat first in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg. Let the excess egg drip back into the bowl, then coat the shrimp completely in the panko. Place on a plate.

  4. Coat with cooking spray. Arrange the shrimp in the air fryer with plenty of space around each one to ensure they air fry instead of steaming. Air fry until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat coating and air-frying the remaining shrimp.

Recipe Notes

Recipe Notes: If you overcrowd the basket, the shrimp will steam rather than fry and won’t be as crispy. Cook in batches, and the second batch may cook faster.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.