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Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp

These homemade Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp are perfectly crispy, absolutely delicious, and easy to make. Enjoy them as a quick dinner, appetizer or snack!

In only about 20 minutes, you can have tender, sweet and juicy shrimp with a flavorful, crunchy breadcrumb coating ready to be dipped into your favorite sauce…and all with hardly any oil and no messy deep-frying!

Recipes like this air-fried shrimp are why I am still absolutely smitten with my air fryer. I can have so many of my favorite fried foods with just a few spritzes of oil and zero guilt, and they are every bit as good!

Breaded shrimp has always been one of my favorites. But I until I got my air fryer, it had been a really long time since I had it.

When I was a little girl, I spent every Sunday at my grandma’s house. We’d have a big dinner around noon, and by the time 6:00 rolled around, we were all hungry again.

Well, Gram was done cooking for the day, so my aunt and I would go pick up some kind of take-out. A lot of times, it was pizza. Other times it was McDonald’s.

And sometimes, for an extra-special treat, we’d go to the very popular seafood restaurant that was just a few blocks away. My order was always the same: shrimp in a basket…deep-fried shrimp with French fries and cocktail sauce.

We’d bring back the food, set up TV trays in the living room, and eat while watching some of our favorite Sunday night shows. Such good memories for me (centered around food, as usual)!

Fast-forward to grown-up life. Since I’m not a fan of deep-frying, I never bothered to try and make fried shrimp at home, so it was one of the first things I made when I got my air fryer. It was amazing, and now I make it all the time!

air fryer breaded shrimp on a white plate with a small bowl of cocktail sauce and another plate of shrimp in the background

Ingredients you need:

Note: Exact amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Raw shrimp (I use 16/20 count or a similar size)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Egg
  • Seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • Italian seasoned regular breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Here’s a look at how to make Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one of raw shrimp on a plate being patted dry with a paper towel with text that says pat the shrimp dry on both sides with paper towels; the other of three bowls of ingredients with text that says place flour, salt and pepper in one bowl beaten egg in second bowl, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper in third bowl
2 images; one of a shrimp being dredged in flour with text that says lightly dredge each shrimp in flour mixture, tap off excess; the other of a shrimp being dipped in egg with text that says dip in beaten egg, allow excess egg to drip off
2 images; one of a shrimp being coated with breadcrumbs with text that says coat in breadcrumb mixture pressing gently to adhere; the other of the breaded shrimp on a plate with text that says place the breaded shrimp on a plate as you finish each one
2 images; one of an air fryer with text that says preheat air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; the other of the breaded shrimp in the air fryer basket with text that says place shrimp in air fryer in a single layer, spray with oil
2 images; one of an air fryer with text that says air fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown on top; the other of the shrimp in the air fryer basket being turned over with tongs with text that says carefully turn the shrimp over
2 images; one of an air fryer with text that says air fry 3 to 4 more minutes or til shrimp is cooked through...; the other of the cooked shrimp in the air fryer basket with text that says ... and golden brown, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • I use 16/20-count shrimp (or a similar size) and think they are the perfect size for this recipe, but you can use any size you’d like. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly (smaller shrimp will need less time, larger shrimp more time).
  • Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before breading to help ensure the coating adheres to the shrimp.
  • You can leave the tails on the shrimp or take them off – up to you. I prefer to take them off.
  • Don’t overcrowd the shrimp in the air fryer. They should be in a single layer with a little space in between so the air can flow around them.
    • I use a 6-quart air fryer with a square basket and, without the tails, I can fit the whole pound (it’s okay if they touch just a little here and there).
    • If you can’t fit them all in at once, air fry them in 2 batches. Keep the first batch warm in a 200°F oven while the second batch cooks; put them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to keep them crispy all around.
  • I use a combination of panko and regular breadcrumbs because the regular gives good coverage while the panko gives that great crunch. You could use all of one or the other (just note that regular breadcrumbs won’t be as crispy).
  • Breading tip: Use one hand for dipping the shrimp in the flour and egg. Use the other hand for coating with the breadcrumbs. This prevents your fingertips from getting big clumps on them.
  • I recommend using an oil spray without propellants (I have read that, over time, they may damage the air fryer’s non-stick coating). You can buy sprays without them – I’ve used both olive oil and avocado with excellent results – or you can buy an oil sprayer bottle and use your own oil (be sure to use oil suitable for high heat).
  • These are best when fresh from the air fryer. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer to bring back some of the crispness.
air fryer breaded shrimp, French fries, and a small bowl of cocktail sauce in a black wire basket lined with parchment paper

My favorite way to serve these air-fried shrimp is in a basket, just like I remember, with a pile of Air Fryer Homemade French Fries, a bowl of Homemade Cocktail Sauce, and some Classic Creamy Coleslaw on the side to make it a meal.

If you want to serve it as an appetizer, you could also offer up some other sauces in addition to cocktail sauce, such as tartar sauce, Buffalo sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce, bang-bang sauce, a homemade aioli, garlic butter…whatever your favorites are.

They would also be great in tacos!

I hope you try this Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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cooked breaded shrimp in an air fryer basket

Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp

These homemade Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp are perfectly crispy, absolutely delicious, and easy to make. Enjoy them as a quick dinner, appetizer or snack!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 227

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw shrimp, 16/20 count (or similar size), peeled and deveined, tails on or off (I take them off), thawed if frozen
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided, or to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned regular breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • oil spray, use an oil good for high heat, see Notes below

Special Equipment

  • air fryer (I use a 6-quart Instant Vortex basket-style air fryer)

Instructions

  • Pat the shrimp dry on both sides with paper towels (this will help ensure that the breading adheres to the shrimp).
  • Set up your breading station using 3 shallow bowls: In the first bowl, combine the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Lightly beat the egg in the second bowl. In the third bowl, combine the panko, regular breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Lightly dredge each shrimp in the flour, tapping gently to remove any excess flour.
  • Dip each shrimp in the egg, allowing any excess egg to drip off.
  • Coat each shrimp with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to help the breadcrumbs adhere. Place the breaded shrimp on a large plate as you finish each one.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
    Note: If your air fryer doesn't have a preheat cycle, just run it for 5 minutes at 400°F to preheat.
  • Once the air fryer is preheated, place the breaded shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving a little space in between them for proper air flow and so they are not overcrowded (it's okay if they touch a little here and there).
    Note: Depending on the size of your air fryer and shrimp, you may need to cook the shrimp in 2 batches (without tails, I can fit the whole pound in one layer in my 6-quart square air fryer basket). If you need to do more than one batch, keep the first batch of shrimp warm on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in a 200°F oven while the second batch cooks.
  • Spray the tops of the shrimp with oil (don't drench them, but be a little generous, as the oil helps you get that crispy crunch and golden color).
  • Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
  • Carefully flip the shrimp, spray the other side with oil, and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through and the coating is golden brown.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s), if desired (mine is cocktail sauce).
  • Make it a meal with sides (I do French fries and coleslaw). 
  • I use 16/20-count shrimp (or a similar size) and think they are the perfect size for this recipe, but you can use any size you’d like. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly (smaller shrimp will need less time, larger shrimp more time).
  • I use a combination of panko and regular breadcrumbs because the regular gives good coverage while the panko gives that great crunch. You could use all of one or the other (just note that regular breadcrumbs won’t be as crispy).
  • I recommend using an oil spray without propellants (I have read that, over time, they may damage the air fryer’s non-stick coating). You can buy sprays without them – I’ve used both olive oil and avocado with excellent results – or you can buy an oil sprayer bottle and use your own oil.
  • These are best when fresh from the air fryer. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer to bring back some of the crispness.
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