With a crispy, crunchy outer coating, coconut shrimp is a popular finger-food party appetizer that's easy to make in under 30 minutes. This Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp Recipe requires just a few ingredients, and is gluten-free. It's a delicious finger food to make for afternoon snacks, party appetizers, or as a side dish for picnics!
When planning appetizers, there are a few key guidelines I like the recipes to fall into:
- You can make them in under 30 minutes.
- They require 10 or fewer ingredients.
- All or most of the ingredients are pantry, fridge, and freezer basics that most people already have on hand.
- Super easy, stress-free cooking method.
- The food is easy to eat either as finger food or toothpicks. No forks required!
- The finished appetizer tastes DELICIOUS.
This Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp recipe ticks all the boxes of an AMAZING appetizer!
Table of contents
Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few kitchen tools:
Shallow bowls - You'll need three shallow bowls: one to hold the flour & seasoning mixture, one for the egg mixture, and one for the shredded coconut.
Air Fryer - I use my Ninja Foodi multi-cooker in Air Crisp mode to air fry my coconut shrimp. You can use a basket-style air fryer or a tray-style air fryer. Depending on the size of your shrimp and the size of your air fryer, you may need to work in batches.
Tongs - Use a solid set of kitchen tongs to grab the hot coconut shrimp from the air fryer once cooking is complete.
Key ingredients to make coconut shrimp
Coconut flour - If you want to keep this gluten-free, you can use coconut flour. This is what I use, because I love the enhanced coconut flavor. It also keeps this recipe paleo-friendly. You can also use regular all-purpose flour if you prefer.
Paprika - A little bit of regular ground paprika (not smoked paprika) goes a long way. It adds a nice rich flavor to the coconut shrimp without being overpowering.
Garlic Powder - Garlic powder enhances the flavor without requiring fresh garlic, which could be overpowering to the dish. Garlic powder also blends well throughout the flour mixture for more even flavor.
Onion Powder - Similar to garlic powder, the use of onion powder instead of onions helps add more even flavor throughout the flour mixture.
Salt and Pepper (not pictured) - A little bit of kosher salt and pepper goes a long way in seasoning this dish.
Egg - In the second shallow bowl, beat two large eggs. I always use cage free large brown eggs, but you can use whatever eggs you have on hand.
Shredded coconut - Use unsweetened shredded coconut for the final outer coating before air frying.
Avocado oil spray - Use your favorite air fryer-friendly cooking oil spray. I use this non-aerosol Avocado Oil Spray. It's best to avoid aerosol sprays, as the chemicals may strip the nonstick material on your air fryer.
Step-by-step instructions: how to make coconut shrimp in the air fryer
Exact measurements of ingredients and instructions are in the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this post. Here are some helpful tips to guide you as you make this recipe.
First, line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Prepare three shallow bowls. In the first shallow bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
- In the second shallow bowl, lightly beat two large eggs. Set aside.
- In the third shallow bowl, add the shredded coconut.
4. Working one shrimp at a time, dredge each shrimp first into the flour and seasoning mixture. Be sure to coat the shrimp entirely.
5. Then coat with the egg mixture.
6. Finally, dredge into the shredded coconut. Be sure to cover the entire shrimp with the coconut coating.
7. As you complete the coating process, place each shrimp on the prepared lined baking sheet. Continue the process until you've coated all of the shrimp.
8. Spray the air fryer basket or tray(s) with your preferred cooking spray. Then, working in batches, place the coated shrimp into the basket or tray(s). In my Ninja Foodi, I use the Air Crisp Basket for one layer, then add a rack insert to create a second layer, spray the rack, then add a layer of shrimp on the rack.
9. Air fry at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the coconut coating is golden brown and the shrimp are fully cooked.
Air Fryer Tips and Recipe FAQ
- If you are using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw the shrimp completely before preparing for the air fryer.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket or tray. I can fit two rows of 8 shrimp in my Ninja Foodi Air Crisp Basket and rack.
- You may need to work in batches, depending on the size and quantity of your shrimp, and the size of your air fryer basket or tray.
Allow coconut shrimp to cool to room temperature. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Or, store in an airtight, freezer-friendly container for up to two months.
There is just a slight difference: take one minute off of the total cooking time if you are using frozen previously-cooked shrimp. In both cases, be sure you thoroughly thaw the shrimp before preparing it for the air fryer.
While there's no definitive origin of coconut shrimp, it is thought to have Caribbean, Pacific Islander, or Polynesian roots. It's a popular food found throughout the United States, but also in restaurants and pubs around the world.
What to serve with air fryer coconut shrimp
This gluten-free air fryer coconut shrimp is absolutely delicious with our homemade sweet chili sauce.
If you're serving it as a party appetizer, it's great with these appetizer recipes:
- Meatballs with Romesco Sauce
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- Salmon Artichoke Dip
For a family meal, consider serving this as a shrimp side dish along with these main courses:
Best wine pairings for coconut shrimp
The flavors of coconut shrimp pair well with white wines such as a dry Riesling, a Pinot Grigio, or an unoaked Chardonnay. It's also fantastic served with sparkling wine!
More easy air fryer recipes
- Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies
- Crab Rangoon in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Lobster Tails
- Homemade Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
- Air Fryer Broccoli
Enter this month's
In the Kitchen Challenge!
Make a recipe from the current month's recipe theme, upload a photo of your finished dish, and you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card!
Read the FULL DETAILS in the January 2022 Cooking Challenge post.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Prepare three shallow bowls. In the first shallow bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper. In the second shallow bowl, lightly beat two large eggs. Set aside.In the third shallow bowl, add the shredded coconut.
- Working one shrimp at a time, dredge each shrimp first into the flour and seasoning mixture. Be sure to coat the shrimp entirely. Then coat with the egg mixture. Finally, dredge into the shredded coconut. Be sure to cover the entire shrimp with the coconut coating. As you complete the coating process, place each shrimp on the prepared lined baking sheet. Continue the process until you've coated all of the shrimp.
- Spray the air fryer basket or tray(s) with your preferred cooking spray. Then, working in batches, place the coated shrimp into the basket or tray(s).
- Air fry at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the coconut coating is golden brown and the shrimp are fully cooked.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.