Is coconut shrimp keto friendly? Most coconut shrimp recipes contain grains and sugar, but low carb coconut shrimp is possible! Learn how to make keto coconut shrimp in the air fryer with my easy recipe. This is coconut shrimp with almond flour, but you can also use coconut flour for an extra burst of coconut flavor. You’re going to love this airfryer recipe that’s grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant.
Hey there! Did you know that you can eat shrimp on the keto diet? My keto coconut crusted shrimp are savory, with a touch of natural sweetness from coconut, and slightly crunchy crisp coating.
These air fryer coconut shrimp with no breadcrumbs will work for the Banting and Atkins diet, as well as most ancestral diets. I’m also including a recipe for the best dip for coconut shrimp, a sweet pineapple dipping sauce. Of course, I’ll share some tips on making coconut shrimp dip keto too.
I’ve noticed that most recipes for keto air fryer coconut shrimp use just coconut for the “breading.” This sends the saturated fat in this seafood dish through the roof. I tried it, and using 100% coconut made the coconut flavor a bit overpowering, IMVHO.
This healthy coconut shrimp recipe is crusted in coconut and ground pecans. Substituting nuts for some of the coconut makes this coconut shrimp lower in saturated fat. I thought the swap also provided better flavor.
You may be surprised at how much less sweet this dish is compared to the coconut shrimp at Red Lobster and other seafood restaurants. It’s shocking sometimes how much sugar some places use to provide the tastes we’ve become accustomed to. Cooking healthy keto dishes at home, like low carb coconut shrimp, is a great way to have a lower sugar diet.
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Keto Coconut Shrimp Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Keto Coconut Shrimp in Air Fryer
- ️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ Leftovers
- 🍤 Keto Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce
- 🥗 What to Serve with Coconut Shrimp
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Shrimp Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 🥥 Low Carb Coconut Shrimp Dip Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Why make Keto Coconut Shrimp in an Air Fryer? Here are some reasons to try this recipe:
- Healthy fat: A big criticism of keto diets is that it can be too high in saturated fat. Yes, coconut shrimp has saturated fat-laden coconut, but we’re also getting heart healthy fat from pecans.
- Protein: Shrimp is an excellent source of high-quality protein. This dish will also get you one step closer to meeting the recommended seafood intake. (That would be two servings of seafood per week for adults.)
- Not fried: Unlike most coconut shrimp recipes, this air fryer keto coconut shrimp is not deep fried. This gives us a lower calorie keto coconut shrimp, since we’re not using all the added oil.
- Gluten free: If you have NCGS or celiac disease, you can’t have most coconut shrimp, as it does contain gluten. This recipe is a great option for you because it is gluten free coconut shrimp.
- Whole foods: Unlike classic coconut shrimp, this Paleo coconut shrimp has no added sugar and no refined grains. It’s a great replacement for coconut shrimp from the store if you want to reduce your consumption of ultra-processed foods.
- Appetizer or main dish: Snack, appetizer, or main course, there’s always a reason to serve coconut shrimp! The tropical flavors work well for a summer dinner, but it’s lovely as winter comfort food too.
- Delicious: Coconut and shrimp are pretty much a match made in heaven. If you’re looking for a tasty recipe that’s a crowd-pleaser, this one is the perfect choice.
🥘 Keto Coconut Shrimp Ingredients
What do you need to make low carb coconut shrimp in an air fryer? All you need is a few simple ingredients:
- Raw medium shrimp (I used peeled, tail-off shrimp)
- Almond flour (finely ground)
- Large eggs
- Unsweetened shredded coconut flakes (here are the keto coconut flakes I use)
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking oil spray (non-aerosol)
As always, specific quantities for each ingredient are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
I strongly prefer to use peeled shrimp because it saves time not having to peel the shrimp. (And, let’s face it, shrimp legs are kind of gross!)
Unfortunately, there’s usually only a limited selection of shrimp sizes where I shop. This time I used medium shrimp (41-60 count per pound).
If you use large shrimp or prawns, you may need only half the coconut breading I am giving you in the recipe. One pound of big shrimp has less total surface area to cover than one pound of small shrimp.
If you use tail-on shrimp, you can bread the pieces of shrimp individually. Use the tail as a handle to minimize messy hands. They’re easier to coat, if you’d prefer to bread them one by one.
You can substitute coconut flour for the almond flour. You can also use different nuts if you don’t like pecans. I’ve tried both ground pistachios and ground walnuts with great success.
Another option is to use crushed pork rinds (AKA pork panko) in place of the ground pecans. I haven’t tested this, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?
Aerosol cooking sprays may damage your air fryer basket, so use a non-aerosol one. If you’re following Whole30 or Paleo, make sure the spray oil is compliant with your eating pattern. Avocado oil and olive oil are two good options.
To make keto coconut shrimp in an air fryer, you need:
- Food processor
- Air Fryer
- Meat thermometer
The food processor is used to grind the pecans and coconut for keto coconut shrimp “breading.” We’ll use the meat thermometer to help ensure that the shrimp was properly cooked.
I use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven for my air fryer recipes. You can air fry keto coconut shrimp in a Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, or other air fryer. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the air frying time slightly depending on your air fryer brand.
If you’re cooking the recipe in batches with one air fryer basket or tray, your cooking time may be much shorter per batch. Air fryer oven recipes using two trays usually have a longer cooking time. This is because one of the air fryer trays is always further from the heat source.
🔪 How to Make Keto Coconut Shrimp in Air Fryer
Let's learn how to air fry keto coconut shrimp! Start by putting the raw shrimp on a few layers of paper towels. Pat the tops of the shrimp with more paper towels so they’re completely dry.
Next, put the pecans in a food processor and grind them. You want them to become like a coarse flour- not like nut butter! Put the ground pecans in a bowl.
Put the unsweetened coconut flakes into the food processor and grind them into crumbs. The coconut goes in the same bowl as the pecans; mix them together with some salt and pepper.
Place the almond flour in a separate bowl. The eggs go in a third bowl. Whisk the eggs with a fork.
Now you have three filled bowls. Line them up in this order: almond flour, eggs, coconut mixture. Mist two air fryer trays with cooking spray.
Put the shrimp in the bowl of almond flour and gently stir. Next, add the shrimp to the bowl of eggs. Any excess almond flour should be left at the bottom of the bowl.
Stir the shrimp to coat them all in the egg. Using a fork, lift individual shrimp out of the bowl with the egg and place in the bowl with the coconut.
Stir the shrimp well to coat with the pecan and coconut mixture. With clean hands, smoosh any excess coconut coating on to the shrimp pieces. The shrimp will be a bit crumbly but there should not be extra coconut mixture left.
Place the shrimp in a single layer on two air fryer trays. (Don’t overcrowd them; cook them in two or more batches if your air fryer is small.) Spray the shrimp with cooking spray.
️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to air fry keto coconut shrimp? What temperature to air fry keto coconut shrimp? It takes a total of 11-12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C) to cook coconut shrimp in the air fryer.
Begin by air frying the shrimp for 6 minutes. Then flip the pieces over on the top rack only, and switch the position of the trays in the air fryer. Air fry for 5-6 minutes more at 400F (200C).
When the coconut shrimp are done, they’ll be golden brown on the outside. Inside, the flesh of the shrimp will be opaque.
The best way to ensure doneness, however, is to check the shrimp with a meat thermometer. Fish and shellfish should be cooked to a minimum safe internal temp of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63C).
Extend the cooking time if the shrimp are not at a safe temperature. The coconut coating in this recipe helps keep the shrimp moist. There’s less of a risk that the shrimp will dry out compared to shrimp without coating.
While the coconut shrimp air fry, you can get your shrimp dip ready. (BTW, it’s normal if some coconut crumbs fall off after cooking. Most of the coconut should stay put if it’s packed on well.)
If you use extra-large or jumbo shrimp, you’ll use less coconut coating and have a longer air frying time. When I tested this recipe with 21-30 count shrimp, the total cooking time was 15-18 minutes (using both air fryer trays).
For the best texture, coconut shrimp should be made and enjoyed fresh. You can keep leftover coconut shrimp in a covered container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat refrigerated coconut shrimp in the air fryer at 400F (200C) for 1-2 minutes to warm.
You can also freeze keto coconut shrimp. Freeze shrimp in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray before putting it into freezer bags. Be careful not to overcook it with reheating or it will become rubbery.
🍤 Keto Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce
My favorite coconut shrimp sauce is a pineapple coconut dip made of the following ingredients:
- Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Canned light coconut milk
- Drained, crushed pineapple (from a can)
The pineapple in this dip means it’s not keto, though it could fit in some low carb diets. Unfortunately, a lot of dips for shrimp are not low carb. Cocktail sauce is not keto friendly, and neither is sweet chili sauce.
Two keto shrimp dips are sugar-free BBQ sauce and mayo-based aioli dip. To make a keto pineapple sauce, I would use the following ingredients:
- Pineapple extract
- Keto-friendly liquid sweetener
- Unsweetened Greek yogurt
- Canned coconut milk
🥗 What to Serve with Coconut Shrimp
What are some good coconut shrimp sides? Since this is a low carb recipe, here are some keto sides for coconut shrimp:
- Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash
- Air Fryer Frozen Vegetables
- Cabbage Wedges (Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Cauliflower Rice
You could also use this recipe to make keto coconut shrimp tacos. Yum!
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
How many calories in coconut shrimp? How many carbs in coconut shrimp? One serving of this keto coconut shrimp air fryer recipe has 548 calories, 3.2 grams net carbs, and 32.6 grams protein. This nutrition information does not include coconut shrimp dipping sauce.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Shrimp are a low calorie, high protein food that I consider a good choice for weight loss diets. This coconut shrimp is air fried without added oil. So why is it level 3?
The coconut, pecans, and almond flour are energy-dense, high-fat foods that bring up the calories on this one. One serving of this recipe using ¼-lb of shrimp is over 500 calories- and we haven’t added a dip or side dishes. In contrast, ¼-lb of plain shrimp is 80-100 calories (depending on the size of the shrimp).
What we’ve added to the recipe to make it high calorie are what most would consider healthful plant foods. This is part of the reason vague advice like “eat more plants” or “eat healthy” might not lead to weight loss. However, using an air fryer instead of frying with oil does lighten up this dish a little.
If you need a moderate calorie meal, I would keep things keto and add some non-starchy veggies for sides. Broccoli roasted in minimal oil or a light garden salad are two good options. For a higher calorie meal add some grains (such as coconut rice made with coconut milk) and/or non-starchy veggies to your plate.
This air fryer coconut shrimp recipe is a great example of how recipes that are level 3 are not necessarily “bad” or unhealthful. Homemade keto coconut shrimp is packed with nutritious whole foods, but it has high energy density (i.e., calories by volume). This means it might be a better choice for weight gain than weight loss if you tend to eat big portions.
You can make frozen coconut shrimp in the air fryer as well! Air fry Seapak coconut shrimp in an air fryer preheated to 390F (199C) for 8 minutes. You can also use these directions for Trader Joe’s coconut shrimp, Whole Foods coconut shrimp, or another favorite brand.
To oven bake keto coconut shrimp, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Place the shrimp in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time. Watch them closely so they do not burn, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
Dried coconut is not a “carb food,” but it’s often sold sweetened with a lot of white sugar. You can make keto toasted coconut by using unsweetened coconut shreds. Let’s Do Organic has no sugar coconut, and so does Bob’s Red Mill.
In general, coconut shrimp is not a great choice because it loaded with white flour and sugar and it’s fried. How healthy or nutritious coconut shrimp is really depends on how it’s prepared. This coconut shrimp air fryer recipe is a healthier option than most fried coconut shrimp.
No, Red Lobster’s Parrot Isle Coconut Shrimp is not keto. One serving of Red Lobster coconut shrimp with pina colada sauce has 87 grams net carbs and 28 grams of sugar. It is not a low carb option.
👩🏻🍳 Other Shrimp Recipes
Want more recipes using shrimp? Try these next:
- Frozen Shrimp in Air Fryer (no flour)
- Frozen Popcorn Shrimp in Air Fryer
- New England Shrimp Chowder
- Easy Shrimp Fajita Bowl Meal Prep
Also, don’t miss the entire collection of Keto Recipes.
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Keto Coconut Shrimp (Air Fryer, Low Carb, Paleo, Whole30, GF Recipe)
- 1 lb. medium shrimp (454 grams; raw; 41-60 count shrimp; peeled and de-veined, tail-off)
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 large eggs
- 26 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut flakes (1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup pecans
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil spray (non-aerosol)
- Put the raw shrimp on a few layers of paper towels. Pat the tops of the shrimp with more paper towels so they’re completely dry.
- Grind the pecans in the food processor until they are ground into a coarse flour. Don't grind them too long or you'll have pecan butter! Put them in a shallow bowl.
- Put the unsweetened coconut flakes into the food processor and grind them into crumbs. Put the coconut in the same bowl as the pecans, and mix them together with some salt and pepper.
- Place the almond flour in a separate bowl. The eggs go in a third bowl. Whisk the eggs with a fork.
- You now have three filled bowls. Line them up in this order: almond flour, eggs, coconut/pecan mixture. Mist two air fryer racks with the cooking oil spray.
- Put the shrimp in the bowl of almond flour and gently stir. Next, add the shrimp to the bowl of eggs. Any excess almond flour should be left at the bottom of the bowl.
- Stir the shrimp to coat them all in the egg. Using a fork, lift individual shrimp out of the bowl with the egg and place in the bowl with the coconut.
- Stir the shrimp well to coat with the pecan and coconut mixture. With clean hands, smoosh any excess coconut coating on to the shrimp pieces. The shrimp will be a bit crumbly but there should not be extra coconut mixture left.
- Place the shrimp in a single layer on two air fryer trays. Lightly mist the shrimp with the cooking oil spray. Air fry at 400°F (200°C) for 6 minutes. Then flip the pieces over on the top rack only, and switch the position of the trays in the air fryer. Air fry an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Check with a meat thermometer to ensure the shrimp reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Add a couple of minutes to the cooking time if needed.
- Note: If you use extra-large or jumbo shrimp, you’ll use less coconut coating and have a longer air frying time. When I tested this recipe with 21-30 count shrimp, the total cooking time was 15-18 minutes (using both air fryer trays).
🥥 Low Carb Coconut Shrimp Dip Recipe
- ⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup light coconut milk
- ½ cup drained, crushed pineapple (from a can)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon keto-friendly liquid sweetener
- ⅛ teaspoon pineapple extract
Ghulam Mohyudin says
It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.
Summer Yule says
Thank you so much for leaving a rating! It makes me so happy to hear when someone enjoys a recipe. You have made my day! 😀
Terrified Amateur says
Splendid, Summer! Problem is, I kept reaching for that shrimp, it looks so exquisite. Hungrier than ever, and all there's to show for the effort is a cluster of fingerprints on the screen.
Oh yes, I'm familiar with the shellfish emporium of which you write. Overindulgence is understandable, especially as you're coerced into it. Seriously - consider their commercials. I think there's one that shows a lobster tail passing through cascading drawn butter. Tantalizing, yet shameless.
Half that description applies to today's entry. The "tantalizing" part, that is. The pineapple dipping sauce does amazing things for the taster. I just know it does. Not only does the flavor compliment shellfish beautifully, but pineapples also have an enzyme that tenderizes meat, correct? Taste+Texture. A double winner, Summer!
Summer Yule says
Thank you! Haha, the "seafood emporium" 😉 is not as popular in Connecticut as some other places we've lived. However, we'd still make the 30-45 minute trek there and wait an hour for a seat. I had a lovely frittata for dinner, but I could go for that lobster. Yes, indeed.
You're right, the pineapple has bromelain that can act as a meat tenderizer. Papaya and kiwi has other enzymes that act similarly. This was something we had to learn for the RD exam. I hadn't thought about it in a while!
This looks delicious!
Summer Yule says
Thank you so much!
Brian Hardin says
Fantastic all around recipe! Great tips about controlling the total sugar as well. The pistachios in the crust are also an original touch! Thanks for posting!
Summer Yule says
Thanks for visiting and glad you liked it! Unrelated, I tried to leave a comment on your Crema CaThailana post but I think it went to spam again 🙁 Your recipe made me want to go get a torch for desserts!