Air fryer popcorn shrimp is a delicious and easy-to-make snack or appetizer that can be quickly prepared in just a few simple steps. Light as air panko coating gets extra crispy in the air fryer while the shrimp inside cooks to sweet, juicy perfection.
Why you’ll love air fryer popcorn shrimp
- It’s crunchy and crispy! The hot air of the air fryer makes the breaded shrimp ultra crispy on the outside while keeping the shrimp tender.
- It’s simple and convenient. Simply bread the shrimp using our hassle-free method, and air fry – no messy frying or prolonged baking times.
- It’s quick. Enjoy this tasty appetizer or meal any night of the week thanks to short cook times.
Scroll down for the printable card for this popcorn shrimp air fryer recipe, or read on for all the details.
What do you need?
This recipe uses large shrimp, they need to be peeled, deveined, and thawed. UK, Aus and NZ peeps: you can also use prawns for this recipe.
To enhance the flavor of the shrimp, a blend of seasonings is essential. This recipe uses a simple homemade mix of paprika, onion powder, salt and black pepper.
Alternatively, you could substitute Cajun seasoning for a bit of heat or use another seasoning mix you like.
For the breading
The shrimp are coated with a crispy breading made from panko crumbs and mayonnaise. Simple and delicious.
How to cook popcorn shrimp in the air fryer
- Prepare the shrimp. Make sure the shrimp are thawed (if you need, you can quickly thaw them in a bowl under gently trickling tap water). Pat the shrimp dry and place in a bowl.
- Bread the shrimp. Add the mayonnaise and seasonings to the shrimp and gently toss until the shrimp is thoroughly coated. Place the panko crumbs into a large shallow bowl and press the shrimp into the breadcrumbs in small batches. Then set aside and repeat until all the shrimp are breaded.
- Prepare the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F / 200°C. Then lightly brush or spray the air fryer basket/ tray with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Alternatively, you can use an air fryer liner.
- Place popcorn shrimp in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Try to ensure they are not touching. You can cook them in batches if necessary.
- Air fry popcorn shrimp for around 8 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked through. Don’t forget to flip the shrimp halfway through, if required for your air fryer.
No popcorn shrimp meal is complete without a selection of delicious sauces to dip and enjoy. Whether you like it tangy, spicy, or creamy, there’s a sauce option for you:
- Cocktail sauce: This classic seafood sauce is a go-to choice for many. With its savory, tangy flavor, it pairs perfectly with popcorn shrimp.
- Sweet chili sauce: If you’re looking for something with a bit of sweetness and a kick, sweet chili sauce is an excellent option. It adds a delightful contrast to the shrimp’s crispiness.
- Tartar sauce: Creamy and tangy, this is another seafood favorite that works well with popcorn shrimp. Its smooth texture balances out the dish’s crunchiness.
- Chipotle mayo: For a smoky, slightly spicy twist, try dipping your popcorn shrimp in a creamy chipotle mayo sauce.
- Buffalo sauce: If you’re a fan of heat, tossing your air fryer popcorn shrimp in buffalo sauce can add a mouthwatering, spicy flavor to the dish.
Store any leftover popcorn shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge and use within three days.
To reheat your leftover popcorn shrimp in the air fryer, preheat your air fryer to 360°F/ 180°C, place the leftover popcorn shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket, then reheat for around 4-5 minutes, shaking the basket halfway to ensure even reheating.
Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp
- 1 lb / 450 g shrimp deveined, peeled, cleaned, thawed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pat shrimp dry and place in a bowl.
- Add the mayonnaise and seasonings, then gently toss to coat the shrimp evenly in the mayo and seasonings.
- Place the breadcrumbs into a large shallow bowl, then add the shrimp in small batches, pressing into the breadcrumbs to coat.
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F / 200°C. Prepare air fryer basket or tray by brushing or spritzing with oil. Alternatively, use an air fryer liner.
- Place popcorn shrimp in air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook shrimp in batches if required.
- Air fry shrimp for 8 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking if required for your air fryer.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.