Tender and totally crispy fried shrimp has never been easier or lighter, and it’s all thanks to the magic of the air fryer. With an Old Bay seasoned breading, crunchy panko breadcrumbs, and a cool, creamy sriracha mayo, these homemade popcorn shrimp are a deliciously light, airy alternative to traditional fried shrimp.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Air fryer fried shrimp is a ridiculously easy way to enjoy crispy, tender shrimp right from your own kitchen. This recipe’s full of flavor, too. The breading is lightly seasoned with Old Bay seasoning, and we pair the shrimp with a simple sriracha mayo for a creamy little kick that compliments the crunch.
- This is a lighter option for fried shrimp, both from a breading standpoint and a cooking standpoint. The breading consists of light layers of seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. Then, rather than deep-frying the shrimp in heavy oil, the air fryer works its magic, giving you perfectly crispy shrimp with nothing more than hot air and a little spray oil.
- Breading anything, not just shrimp, can be kind of a pain. The flour, egg, and breadcrumbs build up on your fingers and probably on your counter, too. To save yourself some frustration, make one hand your “dry hand”, and use it only for coating the shrimp in the flour mixture and the breadcrumbs. Use your other hand only for coating the shrimp in the beaten eggs. Keeping things separate will make the process a little neater.
- To make sure the breading layers stick to the shrimp, you want to dry the shrimp really well with paper towels before coating them in flour. Don’t worry, they’ll still be perfectly tender and juicy inside when you cook them!
- For the crispiest air fryer fried shrimp, the air has to be able to circulate around the shrimp. If you overcrowd the basket or overlap the shrimp, the air won’t circulate. Instead of frying, you’ll just end up with steamed shrimp. Delicious, yes, but not crispy or fried. Work in batches as needed!
Even More Ways to Use Your Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries with Garlic Aioli
- Crispy, Crunchy, Flaky Air Fryer Hot Pockets (Frozen and Homemade)
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- Homemade Pizza in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Hashbrowns with Chipotle Ketchup
- Frozen Soft Pretzels in the Air Fryer
For the Sriracha Mayo
For the Fried Shrimp
- ½ cup all-purpose flour see Notes
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs see Notes
- 1 pound large, uncooked shrimp peeled, deveined
- Small bowl with lid, or plastic wrap to cover
- 2 whisks
- 3 shallow bowls
- Air fryer
- Paper towels
- Cooking spray safe for air fryers
- Add all ingredients for sriracha mayo to small bowl. Whisk well until thoroughly combined, then cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In shallow bowl, mix together all-purpose flour and Old Bay seasoning until ingredients are well-distributed. Set aside.
- Crack both eggs into second shallow bowl. Whisk vigorously until eggs are fully combined, not streaky. Set aside.
- Add panko breadcrumbs to third shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit. Pat shrimp completely dry with paper towels.
- One by one, lightly coat shrimp in seasoned flour mixture. Shake any excess flour mixture back into bowl, then dip floured shrimp into beaten eggs. Coat both sides of shrimp and allow any excess egg to drip back into bowl, then transfer shrimp to breadcrumbs. Coat both sides of shrimp well, gently pressing breadcrumbs into shrimp to be sure breadcrumbs stick. Transfer shrimp to plate and set aside. Repeat until all shrimp have been breaded.
- Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place breaded shrimp in basket, being careful not to overlap shrimp or overcrowd basket. Lightly spray tops of shrimp with cooking spray.
- Place basket in air fryer and cook 6 minutes. Check shrimp after 6 minutes. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes if needed until shrimp are golden and cooked through.
- Remove shrimp from air fryer. Repeat process with any remaining shrimp until all shrimp have been fried, then serve immediately with sriracha mayo.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Make it Keto: Use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and crushed pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.