How to Cook Shrimp in the Air Fryer

Shrimp come out plump and delicious in just a few minutes when you cook them in the air fryer.

Shrimp come out plump and delicious in just a few minutes when you cook them in the air fryer.

There are a lot of ways to prepare shrimp. Two of my favorites are a basic pan fried version (with garlic and butter, of course), and directly from frozen  yes, really – this is the easiest and tastiest way to poach shrimp ever. It’s especially perfect for shrimp cocktail). There are downsides to these methods, however. With the pan fried, you need to stand there stirring the shrimp. Or at least be nearby since you’re using the stove top. It doesn’t take long but monitoring it is critical because it’s very time-sensitive. With the poaching method I use, you turn the heat off before adding the shrimp, so you can totally just walk away. And the amount of time is pretty forgiving – a few a couple minutes extra is no big deal. However, you don’t get all that garlicky buttery goodness of pan fried.

So…how do you make delicious, buttery, garlicky shrimp but also not have to hover over them while they cook?

Cook the shrimp in the air fryer!

People often use the air fryer to cook breaded foods since it uses much less oil than deep frying. But you can also cook unbreaded foods and they turn out lovely. How’s that? Think of the air fryer as a mini oven. Or even as a new version of a toaster oven. It’s small so it heats up quickly and it’s perfect for cooking smaller amounts of food, breaded or not. This shrimp recipe is a great example of how to use the air fryer in this way.

What you do is to preheat the air fryer to 400°F. This takes 3-4 minutes. While it’s preheating, get out your shrimp (they should already be defrosted. If not, use my quick method for defrosting shrimp over here). Toss them with 1 tablespoon of melted butter or olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, some red pepper flakes (optional) and salt. Then spread them out in the air fryer basket and cook for 3 minutes, or until opaque.

Then you remove the shrimp from the basket. I use a silicone spatula since my air fryer is non-stick – no metal tools allowed – and also because….because…after I take out the shrimp, I remove the basket and use the spatula to scrape out any garlic and butter that has fallen through the holes. That stuff is gold!

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How to Cook Shrimp in the Air Fryer


  • Author: Christine Pittman

Description

Shrimp come out plump and delicious in just a few minutes when you cook them in the air fryer. I use medium shrimp (51-60 shrimp per pound) that have already been peeled and deveined, tail removed. Don’t use unpeeled shrimp for this method, but you can use shrimp that still have their tails on, no worries.


Ingredients

  • 24 medium (51-60 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400F.
  2. In a medium bowl toss together shrimp, olive oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Lay shrimp in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer.
  4. Cook until opaque, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove basket from air fryer. Use silicone spatula to transfer shrimp to a plate.
  6. Use spatula to scrape oil and garlic onto the shrimp from the basket and from the pot that the basket was in.
Shrimp come out plump and delicious in just a few minutes when you cook them in the air fryer.

23 Responses to “How to Cook Shrimp in the Air Fryer”

  1. Michael Noel — January 15, 2020 @ 12:09 pm (#)

    I’ve read your instructions. I’m confused and this is why. According to what you used, peeled and deveined, tail removed. Then you mention not to use unpeeled shrimp for this method. Can you please clarify your instructions please. Thank you kindly

    use medium shrimp (51-60 shrimp per pound) that have already been peeled and deveined, tail removed. Don’t use unpeeled shrimp for this method,

  2. Barbara Felton-Wilson — December 27, 2019 @ 5:22 pm (#)

    For 2020, I vowed that my family will be eating healthier and with a lot less preservatives. This recipe fits my agenda perfectly. This recipe will be made next week! I can’t wait!!!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 5:10 pm (#)

      That’s a wonderful goal, Barbara! Hope we can provide lots of helpful ideas for you!

  3. Andrea Hatfield — December 26, 2019 @ 9:59 pm (#)

    My family enjoys shrimp but I hadn’t thought about using the air fryer. Thanks for the tips!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 5:01 pm (#)

      You’re welcome, Andrea!

  4. Paula B. — December 26, 2019 @ 6:44 pm (#)

    Just bought an air fryer but haven’t opened the box as yet. This sounds like a good place to start,.

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 4:58 pm (#)

      Oh, you’ll love it, Paula! And we’re got plenty of recipes to keep you busy!

  5. Angelica — December 25, 2019 @ 12:06 am (#)

    I’ve never thought of cooking shrimp in my air fryer, this recipe sounds delish!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 4:41 pm (#)

      Enjoy, Angelica!

  6. Calvin — December 23, 2019 @ 5:43 pm (#)

    Don’t have an air fryer but this is awesome!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 4:31 pm (#)

      Thanks, Calvin! I highly suggest saving up for one!

  7. Debbie Yoder — December 19, 2019 @ 6:18 pm (#)

    Sounds like an easy way to cook shrimp!

    • Christine Pittman — December 23, 2019 @ 1:08 pm (#)

      So easy, Debbie!

  8. Deborah Waddell — December 16, 2019 @ 9:11 am (#)

    I don’t have an air fryer but this recipe has me thinking I ought to have one!

    • Christine Pittman — December 17, 2019 @ 10:19 am (#)

      They are pretty great, Deborah! We’ve got lots of ideas on how to use them too!

  9. Andrea Hatfield — December 12, 2019 @ 2:35 pm (#)

    My family loves shrimp! This is perfect for our Christmas dinner. Thank you!

    • Christine Pittman — December 12, 2019 @ 4:12 pm (#)

      You’re welcome, Andrea!

  10. Sarah L — December 8, 2019 @ 9:15 pm (#)

    I’d never think of cooking shrimp this way. I can see how yummy it would be. Too bad I don’t have an air fryer.

    • Christine Pittman — December 9, 2019 @ 11:26 am (#)

      The air fryer is great and has so many uses!

  11. Tina Woo — December 3, 2019 @ 10:26 pm (#)

    This is brilliant! I am loving all your airfryer recipes, I have not been using mine nearly enough.

    • Christine Pittman — December 5, 2019 @ 2:34 pm (#)

      Thanks, Tina! We’ll keep the recipes coming!

  12. Kim Y Beard — December 2, 2019 @ 2:04 am (#)

    This is really a simple recipe…that I chose to e for the Christmas in 10 days. Thank you

    • Christine Pittman — December 2, 2019 @ 1:52 pm (#)

      Enjoy, Kim!

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