Irresistibly sweet, crunchy, and juicy Coconut Shrimp in crispy coconut coating made in the Air Fryer and served with homemade marmalade or sriracha dipping sauce. A crowd-pleasing and healthier version of your favorite party appetizer or game day food that would totally keep you coming back for more!
One of my siblings was never a fan of coconut. But when we ate out the last time we met, I tried ordering this shrimp dish on the menu, and I was surprised – my sibling loved it!
I tried making my own version at home (Recipe HERE), but this time, I am using an air fryer to cut out the grease and had her try it again. I even made some great dipping sauce to pair with these shrimp. I’m pretty sure you’ll be drooling just by looking at all of these photos!
Recipe Ingredients and Variations
In this recipe, I only used a few ingredients that I’m sure you have in your pantry (or if not, they are easy to find at any grocery stores near you).
- Coconut milk (Homemade HERE)
- Bread crumbs
- Coconut flakes
- Garlic powder
- Dried thyme (optional)
You see, I used some coconut milk in here. Too coconutty to your taste? Substitute it with water, or any plant-based milk of your choice. You can also use beer instead to make the crust light and crisp. 😉
Tips for Buying the Best Shrimp
There is nothing better than the freshest shrimp. However, you can only get the freshest ones if you’ll be able to get one.
Shrimp and other crustaceans are frozen right after being caught. If not, their flesh will turn into mush. This is caused by the enzymes in their liver that attack their flesh as soon as they die.
Fresh shrimps on the market? They are technically frozen shrimp then thawed to look “fresh”.
So, always go for the frozen ones. But avoid peeled and deveined. Having them cleaned before freezing results in loss of texture and flavor.
Look closely at the shrimp. Make sure the shells have no black spots and are still shiny. Slimy shrimp with any scent of ammonia or any “off” odor is a big no, no.
Can You Cook Frozen Shrimp in an Air Fryer?
Definitely, yes! I even tried tossing frozen shrimps which are as hard as rock in the air fryer and got surprised that they turned out plump and delightful.
However, cooking time depends on the size of the shrimp (and the air fryer you’ll use; some tend to be hotter than the other). Try cooking a small batch, and from there, adjust the cooking time.
Also, make sure you’re not over-filling the air fryer. Give them enough space to let the hot air circulate.
How to Thaw Shrimp
Thawing is very easy. Just place them in a colander over a large bowl, and let them thaw in the fridge overnight, or thaw them in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes ahead before using them.
Make sure to consume all thawed shrimp. NEVER re-freeze them.
Tips in Cooking Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
Cook shrimp in your air fryer with these failproof tips:
- It’s better to use medium-sized shrimp (about 51-60 counts per pound).
- Since this is a breaded dish, use parchment paper that will fit in your air fryer to prevent mess.
- Firmly coat the shrimp with the breading.
- You can either use oil or not. If you do, don’t use more than a tablespoon. Better if you spray it over the coconut shrimp.
- For a crispier crust, flip the coconut shrimp halfway through the cooking time.
- Avoid overcrowding. It may cook the shrimp unevenly. If you want to cook more at once, use an air fryer rack.
Reheating left-over coconut shrimp could be done in your oven or air fryer.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place a cooling rack over a baking pan.
- Place leftover shrimp on the rack in a single layer and put it in the oven.
- Reheat for 15 minutes until golden brown or until heated through.
- Place the shrimp in a single layer on your air fryer and reheat for 3 to 4 minutes.
More Shrimp Recipes You’ll Love
- Shrimp Creole
- Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
- Coconut Shrimp Stew
- Blackened Shrimp and Pasta
- Garlic Butter Shrimp
How to Make Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
Marmalade Dip/Sriracha Dipping Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the marmalade, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours to allow flavors to blend. Do the same if making the sriracha sauce.
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Align the basket tray with parchment or foil paper, coat with cooking spray. Peel and devein shrimp leaving the tails on. Then butterfly the shrimp: cutting halfway through the back, stopping at the tail, so they will be able to stand tail up.
Whisk the egg, coconut milk, or buttermilk, and flour in a medium mixing bowl until a smooth batter is formed. In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs, coconut flakes, and spices.
Hold shrimp by tail, dip each shrimp first in batter, and then roll in seasoned coconut mixture.
Place the shrimp in a single layer in the fryer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip shrimp over and cook on the other side and cook until golden for another 3 minutes more. Repeat until all the shrimp have been used up.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- 1 pound (453.59g) large shrimp, 16-20 pieces
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup (183.75g) buttermilk or coconut milk
- ½ cup (62.5g) flour
- ½ cup (54g) breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ cups coconut flakes, see notes
- ¾- 1 teaspoon (3.75g-5g) salt, adjust to preference
- 1 teaspoon (2g) paprika
- 1 teaspoon (3g) garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon (0.91g) dried thyme, optional
- 1 cup (320g) marmalade
- 2 tablespoons (30g) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (30) Dijon mustard
Sriracha Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup (232g) mayonnaise
- ⅔ teaspoon (2g) garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon (0.5g) paprika
- 1 teaspoon (2g) lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons (15g-30g) sriracha, adjust to taste
Marmalade Dip and Sriracha Dipping Sauce
- In a medium bowl, combine the marmalade, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours to allow flavors to blend. Do the same if making the sriracha sauce.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Align the basket tray with parchment or foil paper, coat with cooking spray.
- Peel and devein shrimp leaving the tails on. Then butterfly the shrimp: cutting halfway through the back, stopping at the tail, so they will be able to stand tail up.
- Whisk the egg, coconut milk, or buttermilk, and flour in a medium mixing bowl until a smooth batter is formed.
- In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs, coconut flakes, and spices.
- Hold the shrimp by the tail. Dip each shrimp first into the batter, and then roll in seasoned coconut flakes mixture.
- Place the shrimp in a single layer in the fryer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip shrimp over and cook on the other side and cook until golden for another 3 minutes more.
- Repeat until all the shrimp have been used up.
Tips & Notes:
- If you want more sweetness in this dish, substitute coconut flakes with sweetened shredded coconut.
- You may also substitute the buttermilk or coconut milk with beer.
- Estimated nutritional value calculation doesn't include the dip.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.