Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp are a healthy 5 ingredient recipe in your Airfryer served with a sweet chili sauce for a delicious appetizer or dinner in only 20 minutes!
Coconut Shrimp in Air Fryer
Air fryer coconut shrimp uses hot air convection for a tasty and healthy version of this deep fried appetizer classic. Using the Air Fryer to make coconut shrimp takes advantage of the convection to crisp up the coconut to perfection without the need for oil. Instead of worrying about greasy coconut batter on your shrimp, you get perfectly golden results.
If you love the flavors as much as I do, this coconut shrimp skillet recipe is another healthy version of this delicious flavor combo. Coconut shrimp are great as an appetizer or main dish that are perfect for any shrimp lover.
Quick and Easy Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp Recipe
If you have never been to a Tiki bar and ordered a Pu Pu platter with coconut shrimp, then you don’t know what you are missing ou ton! Coconut shrimp are one of life’s perfect appetizers. Of course, the Pina Colada cocktail is optional, but time to get in on the coconut shrimp.
The batter for the shrimp is simple. Some flour, an egg wash, then dip into a mix of unsweetened coconut and panko crumbs. Your air fryer will do the rest of the work.
Sweetened or Unsweetened Coconut Flakes for Shrimp
Here’s the thing, a lot of us typically have some sweetened coconut flakes from the last batch of baking cakes or coconut cookies. But you definitely don’t want to use the sweetened flakes. The extra sugar will make them far too sweet.
If you like things really sweet, you can stick with sweetened flakes. I recommend against it personally though. The sweet chili sauce will finish off this sweet and savory dish to perfection if you use unsweetened coconut.
Where can I buy unsweetened coconut?
You can typically find unsweetened coconut in the baking aisle. Sometimes you find it in the bulk bins at your coop or bulk store. Just double check to make sure it is the unsweetened version of coconut flakes.
Honestly, coconut meat is pretty full of sugar already, so even in dessert recipes the sweetened stuff can be overkill. For shrimp though, you don’t want overt sweetness. You just want those natural coconut sugars to caramelize a little. It adds just a touch of sweet, but a whole other depth of flavor.
Even better, since you aren’t deep frying, the coconut stills browns up nicely while the flavor really comes through.
What Shrimp to use for Coconut Shrimp?
First things first, you need to use raw deveined shrimp. If you use pre-cooked shrimp, the breading won’t stick as well and the shrimp will come out rubbery and overcooked.
As for the size of shrimp, their counts are roughly based on how many shrimp make up a pound of shrimp. So, I like the larger 16-20 size shrimp for this recipe. These are medium to large shrimp and I think they take well to the panko and coconut well and are readily available in most grocery stores.
I wouldn’t use any smaller shrimp for this recipe or they will be hard to bread and the shrimp will overcook before the coconut breading is crisp. You can definitely use larger shrimp for this recipe. The cooking time shouldn’t change much unless your shrimp start to resemble small lobsters!
The 16-20 sized ones are nice because you can either attack them with a fork, chopsticks, or your fingers… The have some heft, but not so big a knife and fork are required. They are the perfect appetizer size. Bigger shrimp are great for an impressive entrée.
How to Make Coconut Shrimp in the Air Fryer
If using frozen shrimp, thaw the uncooked shrimp in a strainer under a stream of cold water. Peel and devein the shrimp if they haven’t already been, by slicing 1/8 of an inch down the back and pulling out the black string. Ideally, you should leave the tails on the shrimp for this recipe. It makes a nice little handle to hold onto and prevents the tail meat from drying out.
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Place the flour and beaten eggs in two separate shallow bowls. Combine the panko and coconut in a third bowl.
Dip a shrimp into the flour, followed by the beaten eggs and lastly the coconut & panko mixture. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
Arrange the shrimp in the Air Fryer (any style will work), making sure they’re not overcrowded. You may have to cook them in two batches if you have a smaller capacity Air Fryer.
Spray the shrimp lightly with olive oil spray. Bake the shrimp at 375°F for 8-9 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked and the coconut has turned golden brown. If you skip the step of spraying the shrimp with olive oil, they won’t brown as nicely.
Serve the coconut shrimp warm, with sweet chili sauce if desired. Coconut shrimp are best fresh, so making them in advance is not recommended.
What to serve with Coconut Shrimp
I like to serve these coconut shrimp with a simple jar of sweet chili sauce for a quick and easy dipping sauce. You can take a little extra time to make a homemade dipping sauce like Thai Peanut Sauce or Coconut Curry Greek Yogurt Sauce.
When it comes to serving coconut shrimp, the possibilities are endless. When you order them at the restaurant, you can get some sweet potato fries on the side. For a healthier twist, try these Air Fryer Carrot Fries!
More Healthy Shrimp Recipes
Shrimp is so versatile, it is a healthy protein that is great or changing up a boring dinner routine. Shrimp cooks quickly and is quite lean. Check out some of these healthy shrimp recipes.
- Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa – This recipe combines the tropical flavors of fresh fruit with spicy shrimp or a delicious dinner!
- Citrus Shrimp Salad – A light and healthy salad with oranges, grapefruit, avocado and more.
- Shrimp Fried Quinoa – This healthy spin on fried rice is a hearty and comforting dish.
- Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Carbonara – Another light twist on a classic, spaghetti squash makes a healthy swap for pasta in this rich shrimp recipe with bacon.
- Winter Fruit & Shrimp Salad – Goat cheese, pomegranates and oranges paired with shrimp make a light salad you can enjoy any time of the year.
- 1 pound (16-20) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- Olive oil spray
- Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce (optional-for serving)
- Pat the peeled and deveined shrimp dry with a paper towel and season them lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place the flour in a small bowl.
- Place the beaten eggs in a second bowl.
- Finally, place the panko and coconut in a third bowl and give it a quick stir.
- Dip a shrimp into the flour, followed by the egg and then coconut/panko mixture, being sure to coat them well with each step.
- Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
- Arrange the shrimp in the air fryer, making sure they’re not overcrowded. (You may have to cook them in two batches if you have a smaller Air Fryer).
- Spray the shrimp lightly with olive oil spray.
- Bake the shrimp at 375°F for 8-9 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked and the coconut has turned golden brown.
- Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce if desired.
Use a double layer rack for your Air Fryer basket to fit more shrimp without crowding them.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 332mgSodium: 1312mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 37g
Provided nutrition data is only an estimate. If you are tracking these nutrients for medical purposes, please consult an outside, trusted source.