Amazing Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp with easy 3-ingredient apricot dipping sauce. Just like your favorite restaurant appetizer, these healthier fried coconut shrimp are made without the need for heavy oil or deep frying.
Coconut shrimp has long been one of my very favorite restaurant appetizers.
Coated with panko and shredded coconut and deep-fried in oil until crispy, most restaurant versions, though delicious, aren’t very healthy. Today we’re going to learn how to make coconut shrimp in the air fryer – a much better-for-you alternative that ditches the heaps of oil and deep fryer and replaces it with circulating hot air.
Just as crispy and delicious on the outside, tender and succulent on the inside, these air fryer coconut shrimp are just as good as (if not better than) original fried coconut shrimp.
The second most important part of any coconut shrimp recipe is the dipping sauce it’s served with. Coconut-coated shrimp go really well with something sweet so my recommendation is a simple apricot dipping sauce (recipe below) or sweet chili sauce.
Tips for Air Fryer Shrimp
- Use fresh or fully thawed shrimp. This recipe does not work with frozen shrimp. The breading will not stick and the shrimp will steam rather than crisp.
- How to defrost frozen shrimp. You can defrost them by placing them in the refrigerator overnight. For faster thawing, place the frozen shrimp in a colander. Run cool, luke-warm water over the shrimp until fully thawed and no more icy bits remain.
- Pat the shrimp dry before breading. This will help the flour, egg, panko, and coconut adhere to the shrimp. Plus, they’ll crisp even easier.
- Use large/jumbo shrimp. Although any size shrimp will work, the process is easiest with larger shrimp.
- Make your shrimp gluten-free. Swap the all-purpose flour for almond flour or coconut flour and use your favorite gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
- Do not overcrowd or stack the shrimp. For even cooking and the ultimate crisping, add the shrimp in a single layer.
How to Make this Air Fryer Shrimp Recipe
Prepare the shrimp first. Make sure they’re fully thawed then peel and devein as needed and pat dry with paper towels.
Should you remove the tails? I highly recommend keeping the tails on so that they are easier to dredge and pick up for dipping.
Next, set up the dredging station. Grab three shallow bowls. In one combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In another add the coconut and panko bread crumbs. And finally, in the last one, add the eggs, whisking well.
Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and spray the inside of the basket with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray.
Now, one by one, dip the shrimp into the flour mixture, followed by the whisked eggs, and finally into the coconut panko mixture. Gently press the panko mixture onto the shrimp so that it adheres. Repeat until all of the shrimp have been coated.
With all the shrimp coated, carefully transfer half of the shrimp to the air fryer (one pound of shrimp required two cooking batches). Be sure that the shrimp are not touching.
Spray the top of the shrimp with a light coat of cooking spray and cook for approximately 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
That’s it! Super simple.
When they’re done they’ll be golden and maybe a little brown around the edges.
So easy to make and so yummy to eat, these air fryer coconut shrimp will disappear so quickly you’ll wish you made extra.
Easily serve them with a side of rice and broccoli for a complete meal, top them on your favorite chopped salad or enjoy as a simple snack.
Sweetened or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut?
You can use either sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut to make perfectly delicious air fryer coconut shrimp. I chose to coat my shrimp with unsweetened coconut knowing that I would be dipping them into a sweet apricot dipping sauce and didn’t want the results to taste too sweet.
Note that the size of the shreds of the coconut may vary depending on which brand of shredded coconut you purchase. I used this brand of shredded coconut – the shreds were smaller and shorter. I was worried it may affect the taste, but it didn’t at all! They were just as delicious and coconutty.
More Easy Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- Air Fryer Bacon
- Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Breasts (No Breading!)
- Easy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts Recipe
If you’re new to using an air fryer and not sure which one to buy, I love my Cosori Air Fryer.
Looking for more delicious shrimp recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- 15 Minute Honey Sriracha Shrimp Recipe
- Creamy Parmesan Risotto Recipe with Shrimp
- Shrimp Étouffée Recipe
- Shrimp Ceviche Recipe (How to Make Shrimp Ceviche)
- Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Cajun Shrimp Foil Packets (oven and grill)
Have you tried making this Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
- Air Fryer
For the Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
For the Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Prepare shrimp so that they are fully thawed, peeled, and deveined. Keep the tails attached.
- In a small, shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the coconut and panko bread crumbs to a second bowl. And to a third bowl add the eggs, whisking well.
- Meanwhile, dip the shrimp into the flour mixture (gently shake off any excess), followed by the whisked eggs, and finally into the coconut panko mixture (gently press to help the coconut panko mixture stick to the shrimp).
- Transfer the shrimp to the air fryer in a single layer so that they are not touching each other (you may have to do 2 batches). Spray the top of the shrimp with a light coating of cooking spray.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping after approximately 5-6 minutes.
- Best served immediately with your favorite dipping sauce (like the apricot dipping sauce below).
For the Apricot Dipping Sauce
- Combine the apricot preserves, chili sauce, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Mix well to combine. Use immediately or keep stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)