Sweet, savory, crunchy and crispy; air fried coconut shrimp has it all. Dipped in sweet and sour sauce, this lightened-up version of the greasy restaurant staple is a great alternative for those who want all the flavor and experience of coconut shrimp without all the added calories. Air fried coconut shrimp is perfect as a tasty appetizer, or as a main course when paired with some sides.
What you’ll need to make Air Fried Coconut Shrimp
Here’s all you’ll need to make this dish:
- egg whites
- panko breadcrumbs
- sweetened shredded coconut
- cooking spray
- kosher salt
- scallions (optional) for garnish
How is this recipe lightened-up?
Well, for one, it’s air fried. If you don’t have an air fryer, I definitely suggest getting one! This is the one I use. The other change I made to this recipe is that I cut down on some of the coconut, and added panko breadcrumbs. Just as a comparison, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut can cost you 280 calories, while 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs is only 100 calories. So, by combining the two, you are able to enjoy the coconut flavor, but for less calories.
How to prep and cook the shrimp
Don’t be intimidated by cooking with shrimp if you’ve never done it before. It’s so easy, I promise. The hardest part is cleaning and prepping it, so I’ll explain that below.</p
You can buy either fresh shrimp or frozen. If I can get to the fish counter at the store, I prefer to do that, but I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer for when I am in a pinch. For this recipe, I like to use jumbo shrimp; you’ll see them sold as 16/20, which means that you’ll get anywhere from 16-20 shrimp per pound. This is how the shrimp size is measured.
Regardless of whether you buy fresh or frozen shrimp, they will need to be prepared before cooking. Even if shrimp is sold as “cleaned and deveined,” typically one of the two veins in the shrimp will be left in-tact. It is personal preference whether you want to remove this second vein or not; for me, I prefer to remove it.
For this recipe, I happened to use the Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s. They are found in the frozen section and are absolutely delicious! They are sold peeled, deveined, and without tails, so they couldn’t be easier to work with! And they’re also naturally sweet in flavor.
If you’ve never cleaned shrimp before, here is a quick article on how to do so: How to Devein Shrimp
How to make air fried coconut shrimp
This recipe is so easy to make. First, grab three bowls to make your dredging station.
To bread the shrimp, I work in two batches. I do this for two reasons:
- The air fryer basket will only fit one batch comfortably enough for them to get crispy without overcrowding.
- If you combine all of the panko and coconut at the same time, by the time you get halfway through breading the shrimp, it starts to clump up from the egg.
To make the dredging station, add the flour to one bowl, the egg whites to another bowl, and finally, half of the panko, half of the coconut, and half of the salt to the third bowl. Here’s how to effectively bread the shrimp:
- Pat the shrimp dry and toss them in the flour.
- Then, toss the shrimp in the egg whites.
- Lastly, toss the shrimp in the panko and coconut mixture.
Spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray, and then add the shrimp to the basket. Spray the tops of the shrimp with more cooking spray, and then air fry at 400 for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway and spraying them again. The shrimp should be golden brown and crispy (note: air fryer cooking times will vary based on brand, so make sure to check on the cooking frequently). Top the shrimp with a sprinkle of extra coconut and some scallions. I serve the shrimp with this dipping sauce:
Air Fried Coconut Shrimp
- air fyrer
- 1 lb shrimp, jumbo, peeled, deveined and cleaned
- 2.5 tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup egg whites
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- cooking spray
- scallions extra coconut for garnish
- sweet and sour sauce for dipping
- Make sure the shrimp is cleaned and deveined. Pat the shrimp dry.
- Put the flour in a small bowl.
- Add the liquid egg whites to another bowl.
- Combine the half of the panko, half of the shredded coconut, and half of the kosher salt in a third bowl.
- Dredge half of the shrimp in the flour so they are fully coated.
- Dip each floured shrimp into the egg whites, followed by the panko and coconut mixture.
- Spray the bottom of the air fryer with unflavored cooking spray.
- Add half of the shrimp to the air fryer basket and spray the tops with more spray.
- Air fry at 400 for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway and spraying the tops again.
- Repeat the entire process, steps 4-9, with the second batch. The shrimp should be firm and golden brown.
- Serve with sweet and sour sauce for dipping.
- Oven directions: Bake at 425F for approximately 10 minutes on a sprayed baking sheet; flip the shrimp halfway. To get them super crispy, try baking on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack.
- 5 WW points (green plan)
- 4 WW points (blue and purple plans)
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