Make this coconut shrimp recipe in your air fryer. It is made with whole ingredients, so it's Paleo and nutritious.
My air-fried paleo coconut shrimp recipe is not only crispy but so tasty with the briny shrimp flavor. No more squishing through oil before getting the real shrimp flavor! It's so much better than deep-frying! So try these air fryer coconut shrimp today!
Healthier Than Restaurant Coconut Shrimp
Whenever I see "Coconut Shrimp" on the menu at restaurants, I'm always tempted but I never order it. I know they would be delicious with crunchy coconut flakes on the outside and juicy tender meat on the inside. Who wouldn't enjoy that, right? And if I choose the right restaurant, a delicious sweet dipping sauce would accompany it. Sometimes I think the sauce is better than the shrimp! But I digress.
Unfortunately, fried anything at a restaurant usually means, they would be deep-fried in oil that was also used to fry flour-battered food, making them not gluten-free anymore. This goes for French Fries and extra-crispy bacon.
Did you know that? Yeah. Not cool.
But besides that little important fact, the wet and oily coconut flakes always turn me off as the restaurants rarely use healthy oils. Blech.
And trust me. I tried frying them at home with healthier oil. But while they might be healthier than restaurants', I hate cleaning the oil splatter mess for two days afterward. I mean, Coconut Shrimp taste great but I am definitely not fond of the aftermath.
But you know what's better than frying in deep oil? Using an air fryer!
Air Fryer Shrimp
I discovered air frying, thanks to my daughter. She told me about the air fryer three years ago but I didn't buy it. I know I know. I should listen to her more often. When I finally bought it, I got hooked.
We made fun making crispy foods for a change since the Paleo diet does not use grains and making crispy food can be challenging. But I experimented with many recipes and loved how the air fryer was making Paleo food fun again.
Then, a publisher asked me to write a Paleo cookbook for air frying. And the rest is history.
There are two parts to this recipe - the actual shrimp and the tropical dipping sauce. Here's what I used to make all of them (and don't worry, all the exact ingredient amounts are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post).
Gluten-Free Coconut Shrimp
- Wil-Caught XL Shrimp
- Cassava Flour
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tropical Dipping Sauce
- Coconut Aminos
- Pineapple Juice
- Raw Honey
- Ground Ginger Powder
- Tapioca Starch
- Lime Wedge
How To Make Coconut Shrimp In The Air Fryer
This paleo coconut shrimp recipe took months and months of testing and re-working before I was able to get it perfect for the cookbook.
This is one of my favorite recipes in the book, not because shrimp is one of my favorite foods but because it is a simple, easy, and fail-proof recipe. And everyone in my family - even my daughter who doesn't like the coconut flavored foods - absolutely loves them.
Writing the Paleo Cooking with your Air Fryer cookbook took me to the creative side of me that I didn't know I had. And I came up with a few tricks to help you succeed when making these Paleo recipes. One trick I learned ... never mind. You'll just have to buy the book to learn all my tricks.
Now let's get to how to make them.
Prepare The Shrimp
When you make this recipe, you'll have to prep the shrimp. This means washing them, removing the shells, and deveining them. I also recommend you make a small slit in the belly of the shrimp so they don't curl as they cook.
Coat The Shrimp
Next, put each of the coating ingredients in their own bowl or dish. So you will separate the cassava flour, eggs, and shredded coconut.
Then, dredge the shrimp in the flour first, then dip them in the eggs, and top with the shredded coconut.
Let The Shrimp Chill
This is very important. After you coat all of the shrimp, place them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
This helps all the ingredients bind to the shrimp and helps them really crisp up in the air fryer.
Air Fry The Shrimp
Now you are ready to air fry the shrimp! Set the temperature to 360 degrees F. Brush the basket with EVOO and place the shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Let them fry for about 7 minutes.
Make The Dipping Sauce
While they are cooking, you can prepare the tropical dipping sauce. To do this, bring the pineapple juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Then, simmer it at a low heat until it is reduced by half.
After it is reduced, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir it to make sure it is really well combined.
That's it! When all of the shrimp is cooked, dip it in the sauce and enjoy!
You will have much more success if you refrigerate the food for a few minutes before air frying so the coating doesn't fly everywhere with the circulating hot air inside the air fryer.
So when you make these bad boys, dredge them first and refrigerate them while the air fryer is preheating. And then place them in the air fryer and 7 minutes later, they're done!
No oil to blot from the shrimp or no oily mess to clean up. Air frying changed my frying method! And my family can enjoy them without an upset stomach and I can enjoy them without worrying about the cleanup!
The air fryer I used is the Philips Avance XL and I highly recommend it. The wire basket where the food touches is made of stainless steel so you don't have to worry about Teflon touching my food. Other areas are coated with non-stick material but not the basket's wire bottom where the food is cooked on. Also, this brand is really reliable, unlike other cheaper models on the market, that break easily. You can imagine how many recipes I made with mine and it's still going strong!
Yes, you can cook frozen shrimp in the air fryer. You will just have to adjust the cooking time. I suggest cooking frozen shrimp at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check the shrimp so it doesn't burn.
For my recipe, you will have to either use fresh shrimp or let it thaw. Trying to bread frozen shrimp and get the coating to stick to it is very difficult.
Yes, there are lots of health benefits of shrimps. It's very high in lots of minerals and vitamins and an excellent source of lean protein. Eating shrimp has been linked to heart and brain health since it has so much omega-3 fatty acids.
Do not eat shrimp that hasn't been deveined. The black "vein" that runs through the shrimp is its intestine and could contain bacteria. Even though you are cooking this shrimp, it's a part of food safety to always remove the vein before cooking it.
You might like these air fryer recipes
- Air Fryer Paleo Buffalo Cauli Bites
- Air Fried Garlic and Butter Shrimp
- Air Fried Paleo Korean Chicken Wings
Air Fried Coconut Shrimp
- 12 Wild Caught XL Shrimp
- ⅓ c Cassava Flour
- 2 Large Eggs beaten
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tropical Dipping Sauce
- 4 teaspoon coconut aminos
- 1 C pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon tapioca
- 1 lime wedge
- Wash the shrimps, take the shells off and devein them. Make small slits in the belly of the shrimps, so they don’t curl when cooked.
- Place cassava flour on a plate, eggs in a shallow bowl, and shredded coconut on another plate. Dredge shrimps in the flour, dip in the egg and roll and coat with the shredded coconut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the air fryer 360°F.
- Brush the basket with EVOO. Place 6 shrimps in the basket, in a single layer, and set the timer for 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring pineapple juice to boil and then simmer in low heat, until it’s reduced to half. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
- When the timer goes off, take the shrimp out to a plate and cover. Put the rest of the shrimps in the basket and cook for 7 minutes. When the timer goes off, squeeze some lime juice on the shrimp, serve immediately with the Tropical Dipping Sauce.
Coconut Shrimp Image from Paleo Cooking with your Air Fryer by Donna Crous of Eighty20Nutrition