These Air-Fryer Coconut Shrimp are bursting with flavor and lots of texture. Butterflied shrimp is dipped in a coconut batter, dredged in a panko and coconut breading and air-fried until crispy perfection. Serve with a simple pineapple coconut yogurt dip for dunking. Feeds 4 to 6 (depending) in about 35 to 40 minutes.
I have loved coconut shrimp since the first time I tasted it almost twenty-some years ago. Back in the day, when our girls were a lot younger, Pat and I would take them to Red Lobster for a special dinner. Pat would get the shrimp combo (scampi and popcorn shrimp and fries), we’d split a basket of cheddar bay biscuits (side note: I’ve been working on that recipe!) the girls would order off of the paper kiddie menu. For me, without hesitation or the need to look at a menu, I would order the coconut shrimp and that addictive pineapple coconut yogurt dipping sauce. More on that sauce later.
If you’ve been reading along over the years, you know I have a deep, underlying fear of deep frying.
I just can’t bring myself to do it. Not only because of the calories but the hot oil literally scares me to death. I admire anyone who can heat that much oil in a pot without the fear of burning down their kitchen. Pat knows about my fear and gave me an air fryer one Christmas. And it’s safe to say that I am indeed obsessed with it.
I love that I can (safely) healthily fry things with just hot air and a small amount oil! I mean, can you even believe these beauties where NOT deep fried??
To Make the Pineapple Coconut Yogurt Dip You Will Need:
- pineapple marmalade – Adds sweetness and tropical flavor.
- plain greek yogurt (full fat) – This is the creamy base to the sauce.
- sweetened coconut flakes – Lends coconut flavor, texture and a touch of sweetness.
- light coconut milk – Adds extra coconut flavor and will thin out the dipping sauce.
Do not sleep on this pineapple coconut yogurt dip! It is the perfect dip for coconut shrimp and super easy too.
In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 pineapple marmalade, 1/2 cup plain (full fat) greek yogurt, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes and 1 to 2 tablespoons of light coconut milk. Stir, cover and refrigerate while you work on the shrimp. While in the fridge, the coconut will soften and absorb some the liquids so they plump and thicken the dip.
To Make The Air-Fryer Coconut Shrimp You Will Need:
- shrimp – Thaw frozen shrimp by placing in a colander and running under lukewarm water. Pat dry once thawed.
- plain panko bread crumbs – Use homemade or store-bought. These add extra crunch to the shrimp.
- unsweetened coconut flakes – It’s not coconut shrimp without it! I use unsweetened to balance the sweetness of the dip.
- kosher salt – Will enhance the flavors and balance the sweetness.
- paprika – Adds color and subtle flavor.
- garlic powder – Gives a garlic flavor that’s sweeter yet milder than fresh garlic.
- flour – Helps thicken the batter.
- egg – Will give the batter a gentle crispness when air-fried.
- coconut milk – Thins the batter while adding subtle coconut flavor.
- non-aerosol cooking spray (preferably coconut oil) – This will aid in crisping the coconut shrimp when air-frying.
Thaw, peel and devein 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 shrimp per pound). Butterfly the shrimp by running your knife on the underneath meaty portion of the shrimp.
In a shallow bowl combine, 1/2 cup of panko and 1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes.
Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and paprika and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
In a separate shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour with 1 large egg and then 1/3 cup coconut milk.
Feel free to thin out with a few splashes of coconut if needed.
First hold the shrimp by the tail and dip it (I do one at a time) into the batter. Letting any excess drip off and into the bowl.
And then dip into the coconut breadcrumb mixture.
Place the coated shrimp onto a clean parchment line platter or sheet pan.
Preheat your air fryer to 390°.
Once preheated, lightly spray the air-fryer basket or tray with coconut spray.
Work in batches placing the shrimp butterflied side touching the basket and spray the shrimp a couple times with the coconut oil spray. Try to keep the shrimp from touching each other to avoid sticking.
In this photo, the ones that touched sort of stuck together – lesson learned. Cook the shrimp for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
Serve the air-fryer coconut shrimp warm with little bowls of the pineapple coconut dip and prepare your tastebuds for a flavor explosion.
I’m already planning on making these again because they are that good. And that dip. I could drink it from a straw.
I’m also thinking about all the other things I can air-fry. Do you have any recipes you love or that you would want me to tackle? I’m up for the challenge! Just leave a comment below or email me using the contact button at the top of my blog. Yay! I look forward to hearing from you guys!
What Is Air Frying?
- An air fryer is a counter top appliance that requires less oil (anything from a few spritz to 1 tablespoon) yet produces crispy food that rivals most deep fried foods. By using circulating hot air, it moves at a high speed so the food tends to cook in a fraction of the time.
- There are a bunch of different makes and models of air fryers. My husband did the research (as he’s known to do) and found this air fryer [affiliate] to be one of the best. But do your research and purchase one that fits your lifestyle.
How is Air Frying Healthier?
- Air frying is healthier because only a thin layer of oil coats the food and when the hot air comes in contact it will crisp. Saving you a ton of fat and calories (without sacrificing any flavor!) because food is not being submerged in a vat of hot oil.
- Keep in mind, not all air fryers are equal. Some preheat and some do not. Some are smaller than others therefore you may need to work in smaller batches to air fry.
For more Air Fryer recipes, click here for my growing collection.
Air-Fryer Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Coconut Dip
PINEAPPLE COCONUT YOGURT DIP:
- 2/3 cup pineapple marmalade, or pineapple topping
- 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
FOR THE COCONUT SHRIMP:
- 1 pound large shrimp, 16-20 shrimp per pound, shelled, deveined and butterflied
- 1/2 cup homemade plain panko breadcrumbs, or use store-bought
- 1½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup light coconut milk, plus more as needed
- coconut baking spray
MAKE THE PINEAPPLE COCONUT YOGURT DIP:
- In a medium bowl, measure and add the marmalade, yogurt, coconut flakes and milk. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready too serve.
MAKE THE COCONUT SHRIMP:
- In a wide, shallow bowl combine, panko and unsweetened coconut flakes. Season with kosher salt and paprika and garlic powder.
- In a separate shallow bowl, combine flour with the egg and coconut milk. Feel free to thin out with a few splashes of coconut milk if the batter is too thin.
- Dip shrimp in batter then dredge in the coconut breadcrumb mixture and place the coated shrimp onto a clean parchment line platter or sheet pan. .
- Preheat your air fryer to 390° or 400° (depending on make or model).
- Once preheated lightly spray the basket or tray.
- Work in batches placing the shrimp (butterflied side down) into the basket. Try to keep the shrimp from touching each other to avoid them sticking together. Lightly spray the coconut shrimp with a couple sprays of coconut oil before cooking the shrimp for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
- Serve with the chilled coconut dip and enjoy!
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