Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
Published Feb 22, 2023, Updated Jan 23, 2024
This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
Make coconut shrimp in the air fryer with this simple recipe that cooks up in under 10 minutes. It’s healthier than takeout and guaranteed to be a crowd favorite especially when served with the mango chili dipping sauce.
Coconut shrimp is one of my favorite restaurant appetizers so I wanted to create a healthier EBF-approved version that I could easily make at home.
Most coconut shrimp recipes that you’d typically get from a restaurant are deep-fried. Since I wanted to create a healthier version I decided to make this recipe in my air fryer, which turned out so good and came together quickly (the shrimp cooks up in about 6 minutes in the air fryer). The air fryer helps to achieve that crispy, golden outside and perfectly cooked center without a ton of oil!
And don’t even get me started on the mango chili dipping sauce. It’s definitely the star of this recipe, so whatever you do don’t skip that!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Tastes like a restaurant quality appetizer but is healthier and cheaper. Win win!
- It’s quick and easy to make. The shrimp cooks up in under 10 minutes!
- The mango chili dipping sauce is chef’s kiss!
- You only need 6 main ingredients for the shrimp (plus salt + pepper).
- shrimp – large or extra large peeled, deveined and rinsed shrimp are best. I like to buy already peeled and deveined shrimp to make things faster, but you can do this yourself if desired, just make sure to keep their tails on to make it easier to pick up. You can use frozen shrimp, just make sure it’s fully thawed before using.
- all-purpose flour – used to coat the shrimp before cooking. If needed you can use a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- panko bread crumbs – used to create that signature crispy texture on the shrimp. Panko breadcrumbs are lighter and flakier than traditional breadcrumbs, which helps create a crispy coating. I like using whole wheat panko bread crumbs, but regular panko bread crumbs will also work. Use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
- shredded coconut – make sure you’re using unsweetened shredded coconut and not sweetened. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill shredded coconut.
- eggs – helps the flour and coconut panko mixture stick to the shrimp.
- seasonings – garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- fresh cilantro – for a fresh garnish.
- dipping sauce – the real star of the show here! For the dipping sauce I went with a sweet Thai mango chili sauce made by blending together frozen mango, lime juice, Thai sweet chili sauce and ginger. It’s SO good!
How to Make
Make dippings sauce by adding thawed frozen mango, lime juice, Thai sweet chili sauce and ginger to a blender. Blend until combined and smooth. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a separate small bowl whisk together eggs. In a third shallow bowl mix together breadcrumbs and shredded coconut.
Dip shrimp one by one in the flour mixture, then dredge it in the egg, wiping off any excess, then dip it in the coconut mixture. Press the coconut panko mixture onto the shrimp to make sure it sticks fully. Place shrimp on a baking tray or plate lined with parchment paper until all the shrimp have been coated.
Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Once heated, place shrimp in the air fryer in a single layer and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes, flipping once halfway until shrimp is golden brown on the outside with crispy edges. You’ll likely have to do this in multiple batches so as to not overcrowd the air fryer.
Serve warm with fresh cilantro and dipping sauce.
Tips For Success
- Use fresh shrimp. When available, always use fresh, high-quality shrimp for the best flavor and texture. If you are using frozen shrimp, be sure to defrost the shrimp fully before using. Any extra moisture on the shrimp will impact the end result.
- Pat the shrimp dry. Before breading the shrimp, make sure to pat them dry with paper towels. This will help to ensure really crispy shrimp and prevent the coating from becoming soggy.
- Cook in batches. Cook the shrimp in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. You want one layer of shrimp that isn’t touching each other. If you overcrowd the basket it can lead to the shrimp being cooked unevenly or becoming soggy instead of crispy.
- Don’t overcook. Remember, shrimp cooks up fast! Overcooking the shrimp can make them tough and rubbery. You want your shrimp golden on the outside and opaque in the center.
How to Serve
I typically serve up this coconut shrimp as an appetizer with the mango chili dipping sauce, but the options are endless. Here are some ideas:
- As an appetizer: Serve as an appetizer with the sweet chili dipping sauce.
- As a main dish: Serve this coconut shrimp over a bed of rice or quinoa with some veggies and a sauce for a complete meal.
- As a topping: Use the coconut shrimp as a topping for a salad, pasta or grain bowl.
- In a wrap: Serve the coconut shrimp in a wrap or as tacos, with your favorite toppings and the mango chili sauce.
Can I Make Coconut Shrimp in The Oven?
I haven’t tried making this recipe in the oven, but I don’t see why not! If I were to make this coconut shrimp in the oven here’s what I would do:
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare shrimp as directed in the recipe below, placing coated shrimp on prepared baking sheet.
- Once shrimp have all been coated bake for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Serve warm with dipping sauce!
As a reminder, I haven’t tested this so I am not 100% sure about the cook time! If you end up trying this recipe in the oven let me know in the comments below!
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Yes! As mentioned above you can use frozen shrimp instead of raw if that’s what you have access to. Just make sure you fully defrost the shrimp before using it in this recipe. Also, I recommend using raw frozen shrimp. If you use cooked frozen shrimp the end result might be a little overcooked since the shrimp has already been cooked and then you’re cooking it again.
How to Store Leftovers
In the fridge: Store any leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
In the freezer: I would only freeze the shrimp if you’re starting with raw shrimp. I wouldn’t defrost frozen shrimp and then freeze it again. To freeze, place in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Reheat shrimp in the air fryer or on the stovetop in a skillet for the best results. You can also reheat the shrimp in the microwave, but it’ll lose some of its crispness. If you’re reheating from frozen, let the shrimp thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fryer Salmon Bites
- Air Fryer Shrimp
More Shrimp Recipes to Try
- Shrimp Scampi Sheet Pan Meal
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
- Shrimp Spring Rolls
- Green Curry with Shrimp
- Caribbean Jerk Shrimp Bowls
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, or 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup whole wheat or regular panko breadcrumbs, gluten-free if needed
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
Mango Chili Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup frozen mango, thawed
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 inch knob ginger
- Make dipping sauce by adding thawed frozen mango, lime juice, Thai sweet chili sauce and ginger to a blender. Blend until combined and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- In a separate small bowl whisk eggs and set aside.
- In a third bowl mix together breadcrumbs and shredded coconut.
- Dip shrimp one by one in the flour mixture, then dredge it through the egg mixture, dripping off the excess, then finally dip it in the coconut mixture. Press the coconut panko mixture onto the shrimp to make sure it sticks fully. Place shrimp on a baking tray or plate lined with parchment paper until all the shrimp has been coated.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Once heated, place shrimp in the air fryer in a single layer and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes, flipping once halfway, until shrimp is golden brown on the outside with crispy edges. You'll likely have to do this in multiple batches as to not overcrowd the air fryer.
- Serve warm with fresh cilantro and dipping sauce.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.