Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

These perfectly poppable fried shrimp make a fun party snack or even a light meal, when served with a side dish or tossed into a salad. And best of all, the shrimp are light and crunchy and not greasy at all because they are cooked in an air fryer. A quick dredge of flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs, then the shrimp are tossed in the fryer for a few minutes until they are crisp and cooked through. Tossing the breadcrumbs in oil helps the outer coating of the shrimp get brown and crispy without steaming, which makes the fried shrimp soggy. Small shrimp are easy to find in your supermarket's freezer aisle. You can substitute larger shrimp but you will need to increase the time in the air-fryer by a few minutes. Popcorn shrimp are even better when served with a dipping sauce—stir together our creamy Old Bay sauce, or use store bought cocktail sauce.

Air Fryer Shrimp
Photo: Southern Living
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 14 shrimp)


  • 1/2 cup (about 2 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs, well beaten

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 pound frozen peeled, deveined raw small shrimp, thawed and patted dry

  • Cooking spray

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)

  • 3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar


  1. Stir together flour, garlic powder, and salt in a shallow dish. Stir together eggs and water in a separate shallow dish. Toss together panko and oil in a separate shallow dish to evenly coat.

  2. Working in batches, toss shrimp in flour mixture; shake to remove excess, and dip in egg mixture. Dip in panko mixture; shake to remove excess, and place in a bowl.

  3. Preheat a 5.3-quart air fryer to 360°F for 2 to 3 minutes. Working in 4 batches, place about 14 shrimp in air fryer basket; coat with cooking spray. Cook until shrimp is crisp and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer cooked shrimp to a platter.

  4. Stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, and sugar in a small bowl. Serve with shrimp.

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