Coated in sweet coconut flakes and Panko breadcrumbs, these Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp come out crispy and so delicious. Served with a sweet chili sauce, it’s a crazy easy restaurant quality seafood appetizer made at home! Even better, this version is healthier than the traditional fried version, so you can have more of them without the guilt.
Have you joined the air fryer bandwagon yet? I’m not one to push unnecessary appliances on anyone, but I have to say that my rice maker and air fryer both get a work out. I love them and highly recommend.
Air frying delivers the same results as deep frying, but without all that added grease. Such is the case with these Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp. They have a slightly sweet, crispy and light outside, and so delicious served with a tangy dipping sauce. We’re sort of obsessed with them!
Coconut Shrimp Recipe – Air Fryer
Oh, how I love deep fried seafood; I can unapologetically polish off an entire appetizer of calamari, popcorn shrimp, and coconut shrimp without sharing. What I don’t love? The smell of lingering oil in my house for days after deep-frying. Thanks to my air fryer, I can have “fried” seafood anytime without that nonsense (and less calories!) These crispy Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp have moved to the top of our list of favorites!
Sweet coconut flakes and crispy Panko breadcrumbs together, beaten egg, and seasoned flour create a perfect breading for shrimp. Fresh from your air fryer and dipped in this homemade sweet chili sauce, this favorite appetizer will whisk you away to someplace tropical.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp Recipe Tips
- Use fresh or thawed raw shrimp: the coating won’t stick to frozen shrimp.
- Large shrimp are best: any size shrimp will work, but large shrimp are ideal so you get more of the seafood and less breading.
- Keep the tail on: keeping the tail on makes dipping easier. Remember, this is an appetizer, not a stir fry.
- Pat the shrimp dry: the breading will stick to the shrimp better if excess moisture is removed.
- Coconut flakes should be very tiny bits: if you can’t locate finely shredded coconut flakes, chop them up or place them in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. This will ensure the coating adheres to the shrimp. (Note: sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes may be used, but sweetened will give you the best flavor for this recipe and my preference for optimal results.)
- Preheat your air fryer: just as you would your oven, you should always preheat your air fryer before placing the shrimp in the basket.
- Lay shrimp in a single layer: to make sure the shrimp cook evenly and get crispy, you don’t want to overcrowd the air fryer basket or have the shrimp touching. This usually means, you’ll need to cook in batches.
- Flip halfway: make sure to flip each shrimp halfway during the cooking time to make sure they get crispy on both sides.
How to Defrost Frozen Shrimp
This air fryer shrimp recipe requires fresh or thawed shrimp be used. Defrost frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight. If you forget and need a quicker way, you have a couple options:
- Remove frozen shrimp from the bag and place in a bowl with cold water to cover. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes and then gently separate them, replacing the cold water as needed until completely thawed, OR
- Remove frozen shrimp from the bag and transfer them to a colander in the sink, then run cold water over the shrimp for about 7-8 minutes, making sure to separate and toss the shrimp several times.
Before you begin dredging and coating, make sure there are no icey bits left on the shrimp and they are patted dry.
How To Make Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
It’s so easy to make this shrimp appetizer in just a few steps. Here’s a brief summary:
*Be sure to see the printable recipe card below for measurements & details!
- Preheat your air fryer: for this recipe, preheat your air fryer to 385 degrees F.
- Make the breading: combine the coconut flakes and Panko breadcrumbs. If coconut flakes are large, chop them up into fine bits or place them in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
- Set up a dredging station: use separate bowls – one for the flour and seasonings, one for the beaten egg, and one for the coconut flakes and Panko breadcrumb mixture.
- Coat the shrimp in this order: dip a shrimp in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the beaten egg, then dredge in the coconut-panko mixture, turning until evenly coated, pressing lightly to adhere.
- Place shrimp in basket: spray the air fryer basket, then place as many coated shrimp that can fit in a single layer, without touching.
- Air fry: lightly spray the tops of the shrimp with cooking spray, then air fry until perfectly golden and crispy! Season with a touch of salt. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Serve: enjoy with a complimentary dipping sauce (suggestions below.)
How long to air fry shrimp? These shrimp air fry at 385 degrees F for 10 minutes, gently flipping halfway through.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was made and tested using this Phillips model Air Fryer. If you own a different model air fryer, I would suggest doing a test run with just a couple shrimp and then adjust the time/temp, if necessary. Air fryers are all similar, but just like ovens, cooking times can vary.
Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce
Having a great dipping sauce to accompany these coconut shrimp is key. Here are a few suggestions:
- Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce (this pairs perfectly and my favorite choice. If you don’t want to make it from scratch, you can find a bottle of it at most markets in the International section.)
- Mix together some apricot preserves with horseradish.
- Combine honey, lime juice and a finely diced seeded serrano chile.
- Simply combine honey and mustard.
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so or heat them up in a skillet over medium-heat.
Watch them Being Made
Other Appetizer Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Air Fryer
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pound raw large shrimp (thawed if frozen), peeled and deveined, tails on, patted dry
- chopped fresh cilantro , for serving
- sweet chili sauce , for serving
- If coconut flakes are large, place coconut and Panko in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl.
- In a second shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In a third shallow bowl, beat the eggs.
- Coat the shrimp in this order: (1) dip a shrimp in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess (2) then dip in the beaten egg (3) then dredge in the coconut-panko mixture, turning until evenly coated, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to a large plate or a rimmed baking sheet and continue until all the shrimp are coated.
- Preheat your air fryer to 385 degrees F. Spray the basket with cooking spray.
- Working in batches, place some of the shrimp in the fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they aren't touching, then spray the tops lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook until the shrimp are golden brown and cooked through, flipping halfway through, about 10 minutes. Season with a touch of salt. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro (optional) and serve with sweet chili sauce on the side. Enjoy!
- NOTE: This recipe was made and tested using a small Phillips model Air Fryer. If you own a different model air fryer, I would suggest doing a test run with just a couple shrimp and then adjust the time/temp, if necessary. Air fryers are all similar, but just like ovens, cooking times can vary.