Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

These air fryer popcorn shrimp are a snap to make with a lightly seasoned crispy coating and tender shrimp inside.

air fryer popcorn shrimp
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Cooking popcorn shrimp usually involves a giant vat of oil, something no one wants to have to deal with. Instead of all of that fuss, why not try making them in your air fryer instead?

Don’t want to waste the shrimp shells, try making your own Shrimp Stock! Also, don’t forget to make Homemade Bread Crumbs to use in this recipe!

air fryer popcorn shrimp

Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

Popcorn shrimp is one of those things that most people only really order when they are out at a restaurant.

Whether a seafood place or a place specializing in deep frying, popcorn shrimp just isn’t something that most people even think to consider making themselves.

However, thanks to the invention of the handy air fryer, making some popcorn shrimp has never been easier. 

air fryer popcorn shrimp ingredients in small clear bowls

How To Peel And De-Vein Your Shrimp

Most shrimp these days come pre-prepared and de-veined, making it incredibly easy to get started cooking your shrimp.

However, if you happen to get some raw, unprepared shrimp, it is actually super easy to do it yourself.

You just need to break the shell by grabbing the lip of the shrimp’s shell along the shrimp’s belly.

Simply peel it back, and the whole shell should come right off, so long as you give it a little bit of force.

You then need to remove the vein that runs down the length of the shrimp, which is actually the shrimp’s intestinal tract. To remove this, you just need to run a thin knife, like a paring knife, underneath the vein, separating it from the meat and lifting it away.

Once you have moved it totally away from the flesh, it should come right out without breaking.

air fryer popcorn shrimp ready to cook on a plate

Will Different Types Of Bread Crumbs Affect The Final Texture?

This recipe calls for some simply dried breadcrumbs, which work really well to not only crisp up beautifully in the air fryer but also help provide a bit of starchy contrast to the shrimp.

Contrary to popular belief, though, there are actually a few different types of breadcrumbs out there.

While most supermarkets will tend to sell the regular kind, which is nothing more than simply dehydrated bread crumbs, you could also go the extra mile and get Panko breadcrumbs instead.

Panko breadcrumbs are basically breadcrumbs made from bread cooking using electrolysis, which not only doesn’t produce a crust, but it also makes it insanely crispy all the way through.

Panko breadcrumbs may be a little bit more expensive than other types of bread crumbs, but they are also incredibly crispy and crunchy, making for the perfect crispy bite.

air fryer popcorn shrimp piled on a plate

How To Tell When Your Shrimp Is Cooked

When you fry something, whether, in an air fryer or a deep fryer, it can be really difficult to figure out whether or not it is actually completely cooked.

This is because of the fact that you can’t really assess the internal temperature of something so small as a shrimp, but also because if you tried to break it open to check, you would basically ruin its delicate, crispy texture.

The only real way to tell whether or not your popcorn shrimp are cooked is to look at the external surface.

If it is golden brown and crispy-looking, then it is probably cooked, as the shrimps are so small that they will likely be perfectly cooked in the same time it takes for the breadcrumbs are browned, assuming you followed the recipe and heated your air fryer up to the right temperature.

air fryer popcorn shrimp on a plate with chopsticks

Best Sauces To Serve With Your Popcorn Shrimp

What’s the point of some popcorn shrimp if you don’t have something tangy and delicious to dip it in?

For the spice lovers among us, this sweet chili sauce would be perfect to dip your shrimp into, as its tart acidity and slight spiciness pair super well with the base flavor of the shrimp.

Marinara sauce is a classic for a reason – acidic, tomato-y, and with a good hint of garlic, it is one of the best ways to add a little bit of extra flavor to every bite of popcorn shrimp.

Talking of classics, nothing beats the classic cocktail sauce. Whether you get it from a jar or make it yourself, cocktail sauce might just be the ultimate pairing with any kind of seafood, especially these popcorn shrimp.

Looking for more tasty Air Fryer recipes? Try these out:

How to Make Bacon in Your Air Fryer

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes

Happy Cooking




These air fryer popcorn shrimp are a snap to make with a lightly seasoned crispy coating and tender shrimp inside.

Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

These air fryer popcorn shrimp are a snap to make with a lightly seasoned crispy coating and tender shrimp inside.
5 from 3 votes
air fryer popcorn shrimp
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • 24 uncooked medium shrimp peeled and de-veined


  • In a large bowl add the flour. Pat the shrimp dry and add them to the bowl of flour. Toss them in the flour to coat them well.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl whisk the egg and add the milk.
  • In another medium sized bowl combine the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder and whisk to combine well.
  • Take one shrimp from the flour mixture and dip it into egg mixture and then press it into the seasoned bread crumbs. Gently toss between your hands so any bread crumbs that don't stick can fall away.
  • Place the breaded shrimp onto a plate while breading the rest; do not stack the shrimp.
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Air fry the popcorn shrimp at 400F for 4 minutes making sure that they do not overlap and are not very crowded. Flip the shrimp and air fry for an other 4 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp. They should look golden and crispy!
  • Serve immediately with your favorite sweet chili sauce or marinara sauce.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 51kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Trans Fat: 0.001g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 171mg, Potassium: 52mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 39IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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