Make deliciously crispy air fryer shrimp for tacos, salads, pasta and more! The high heat locks in moisture while adding delicious crispy edges. Fast, fuss-free shrimp perfection!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s really easy – this recipe is hands-down the best way to air fry shrimp, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned air frying pro.
- It’s quick – this recipe is perfect for those short on time, as it requires minimal prep work, and the shrimp cooks to perfection in the air fryer in just a few minutes.
- It’s adaptable – the basic recipe is a fantastic way of cooking shrimp, but you can also easily customize it to your personal tastes with different seasonings and sauces.
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer shrimp recipe, or read on for all the details.
What do you need?
Full ingredients list and quantities are given in the recipe card below.
This recipe uses peeled, deveined raw shrimp. However, you can also use prawns (see note below for more details).
I used large shrimp (31/40) for this recipe, but you could also use jumbo shrimp (the cooking times will be slightly longer).
You can use frozen shrimp (or prawns), but you will have to thaw it first. Keep the shrimp chilled until you are ready to cook, as they are highly perishable.
While there is a difference between shrimp and prawns, they are nearly identical in terms of taste and texture. To further complicate things many countries (like the UK, Australia, and New Zealand) use the blanket word “prawns” to refer to both shrimp and prawns.
Luckily, the method is the same to air fry shrimp or prawns, so don’t stress about it too much.
The recipe below uses light olive oil, which is my usual cooking oil when air frying. You can substitute another liquid cooking oil if you like, but be sure to choose one with a high smoke point, like corn oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil.
When air frying, choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point to reduce the chance of your air fryer smoking.
This recipe uses a simple seasoning mix made from paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. But you can make some additions to customize the recipe to your taste.
Try using smoked paprika for a smoky wood-grilled flavor, or adding ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder to make spicy shrimp. Alternatively, you could substitute lemon pepper seasoning or another favorite spice blend.
How to cook shrimp in an air fryer
This recipe is very simple to make, there are just a few key steps to getting it just right:
- Dry the shrimp. The shrimp have to be dry before cooking to get the crisp golden edges in the short time they take to air fry. This is especially important if using thawed frozen prawns.
- Season the shrimp right before cooking. If the shrimp sit for long in the seasoning it can draw some of the moisture out of them making them less juicy, so season them just before you are ready to air fry.
- Preheat the air fryer, and air fry hot. Because the cook time is short, you will want the air fryer to be up to temperature before adding the shrimp.
- Don’t overcrowd. Place the shrimp in the air fryer basket in a single layer, and try not to overcrowd the basket. The air needs to be able to circulate around the shrimp so that they cook evenly, and can start to get crispy before becoming overcooked.
- Air fry shrimp for 8-10 minutes, but keep a close eye on them! Shrimp are easy to overcook, so it is best to check on them regularly close to the end of the cooking time to get them just right.
How long to cook shrimp in the air fryer?
When air frying shrimp, it’s important to remember that the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp and the power of your air fryer.
Generally, medium-sized shrimp will take about 6-8 minutes, large shrimp may take 8-10 minutes, and jumbo shrimp will take 10-12 minutes. However, always keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking, as shrimp cook quickly and can become rubbery if overdone.
To ensure the shrimp are cooked safely and to the proper doneness, use an instant-read thermometer to check their internal temperature. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F / 63°C for seafood.
I like to serve these shrimp as an appetizer, smothered with lemon garlic butter sauce or garlic butter.
But, air-fried shrimp are incredibly versatile, and there are countless ways to serve and enjoy them. Here are a few serving ideas to inspire you:
- Shrimp tacos: Fill warm corn or flour tortillas with the air-fried shrimp, a zesty slaw, and a dollop of creamy avocado sauce for a delicious spin on shrimp tacos.
- Surf and turf: Pair the air-fried shrimp with a perfectly cooked steak or grilled chicken breast for a delicious and satisfying surf and turf meal.
- Shrimp pasta: Stir the shrimp into your favorite pasta dish, like linguine with garlic and white wine sauce, for a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
- Salad: Toss the air-fried shrimp with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and your favorite dressing for a light and satisfying salad.
- Shrimp cocktail: Arrange the air-fried shrimp on a bed of crisp iceberg lettuce and smother them in a tangy cocktail sauce for a refreshing and classic appetizer.
Air Fryer Shrimp (or Prawns)
- 1 lb shrimp or prawns [Note 1] large, peeled, deveined
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil [Note 2]
Seasoning [Note 3]
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F / 200°C.
- Pat the shrimp dry, then place in a bowl, add the oil and seasoning, and gently toss the shrimp to coat.
- Place shrimp in air fryer basket in a single layer. Try not to overcrowd the basket.
- Air fry shrimp at 400°F / 200°C for 8-10 minutes until they are cooked through and golden brown.
- You can use shrimp or prawns for this recipe. The cooking times in the recipe are calculated for large (31/40) shrimp, and will need to be adjusted up for larger shrimp, or down for smaller shrimp.
- Or substitute another liquid cooking oil with a high smoke point.
- Or you can use pre-made seasoning mix, use around 3 teaspoons.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.