You’ll never think about shrimp the same way thanks to my air fryer shrimp recipe. It’s packed full of flavor and covered in the best shrimp seasoning you’ll ever taste – no breading required.
Shrimp are tricky creatures when it comes to the kitchen. Somehow, they’re easy to both undercook and overcook – and there’s nothing worse than shellfish not cooked properly. When it comes to ovens, or even frying pans, shrimp can come out worse than when they went in. And this is where the air fryer comes in.
Cooking shrimp in the air fryer not only saves on oil and effort, but it produces a delicious flavor and great texture – just by pressing a few buttons. You only have to take a glance at my recipe repertoire to know I love my air fryer. And this fool-proof recipe is the best way to get great taste and texture from these fiendish crustaceans.
I’ve included my favorite spices and seasoning for air frying shrimp, but this is a versatile ingredient – so you can include any you like. It’s also an easy way to prepare air fryer shrimp for other dishes, like tacos, salad, rice or paella, pasta or just to enjoy on their own with your favorite sauces.
Plus, thanks to the air fryer, you’ll be reducing the amount of fat used in cooking – without losing any of the flavor. Win-win!
Or, if you are looking for a more indulging recipe, try my garlic butter shrimp.
What Spices Go Well with Air Fryer Shrimp
There’s no one right way how to season shrimp. Some people just use a squeeze of lemon juice and oil, others like to go all out. Alongside the shrimp and olive oil, I love using these seasonings:
- Sweet or smoked paprika,
- Italian seasoning (or just oregano),
- Garlic powder,
- Onion powder,
- Salt and black pepper.
Other great seasonings to compliment shrimp in the air fryer include cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, allspice, cloves, lemon pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom. The spice blend will depend on what kind of overall flavor you want, so experiment with your favorites and see what you come up with.
How to Cook Shrimp in Air Fryer
Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF/200ºC. I like to let mine heat for just a few minutes to make sure the shrimp start cooking quickly.
Clean the shrimp, removing the shells and veins. Pat dry with paper towels before cooking – it’s the best way how to air fry shrimp that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Cleaning it well will help the oil and seasonings stick to the shrimp during cooking.
In a separate bowl, make the shrimp seasoning blend. Mix the spices, then add the oil and mix well.
Rub the shrimp with the seasoning (or brush it on) on both sides. I like to place the cleaned shrimp in a bowl and pour the blend over it, then mix or toss to completely coat it.
Arrange the shrimp in the air fryer basket. Be careful not to crowd it and keep the shrimp in a single layer. If you have a lot of shrimp, work in batches.
Air fry shrimp for 6 minutes – there’s no need to turn them while cooking.
How to Know When Shrimp Is Done
Before cooking, your shrimp will be a rather dull grey and white color. Don’t panic – it’s supposed to look like that! When fully cooked, the shrimp will have turned a pink/orange color and formed a C shape. If the shrimp has closed in on itself and looks like a circle, it’s overcooked.
When pierced with a fork, the cooked shrimp will give a little bit of resistance, but still be tender.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Yes! But, rather than just throwing the shrimp into the air fryer, let the frozen shrimp thaw and completely pat them dry before cooking them. After they’ve thawed, you can follow the same recipe for seasoning and cooking them.
Air fryer shrimps are a versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of ways:
- Swap out the classic beef or chicken at your next taco night with shrimp, best enjoyed in homemade tortillas and with plenty of salsa and guacamole.
- Serve them with a flavorful dip, like spicy honey, creamy homemade butter, a classic buffalo sauce, or a simple ranch. Try pairing your dips with your seasoning mixture of choice – you won’t regret it.
- Stir into your favorite pasta for an easy extra protein that isn’t meat. Shrimp tends to go best with cream-based pasta, like aglio e olio, carbonara, or gnocchi. Or, you can just mix and match and add it to your favorite noodles.
- Air fryer shrimp takes pride of place in any meal, so it’s worth pairing it with complementary sides to create an amazing plate. Take inspiration from the Southern USA and pair your perfectly seasoned shrimp with coleslaw, mac and cheese, or a slice of cornbread.
- Shrimp is also great with leafy greens. I love it with asparagus, green beans, spinach, or a simple green salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Allow your air fried shrimp to cool completely, then transfer them to an airtight container. Best stored in the fridge, it can last up to 4 days, though it’s best eaten as soon after cooking as possible.
If you’re reheating the shrimp, follow the same method used for cooking – but at a lower temperature to avoid overcooking (this will make them rubbery and unpleasant to eat).
Your air fryer shrimp can also be stored in the freezer after cooking. Just allow it to cool as normal, then freeze it in the container. You should let them defrost before reheating as above.
More Air Fryer Recipes
If you try this easy air fryer shrimp recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Air Fryer Shrimp (So Quick!)
- Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF/200ºC. Then clean the shrimp, removing the shells and veins. Pat dry with paper towels.
- In a separate small bowl, make the shrimp seasoning blend. Mix the spices, then add the oil and mix well.
- Coat the shrimp with the seasoning – place it in a bowl and pour the blend over it, then mix or toss to completely coat it. OR rub/brush the seasoning on both sides of each shrimp.
- Arrange the shrimp in the air fryer basket in a single layer. If you have a lot of shrimp, work in batches.
- Air fry medium-sized shrimp for 6 minutes. Larger shrimp can take 8-9 minutes to air fry (cooking time depends on their size and your air fryer). There's no need to turn them while cooking.