Wondering how to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in air fryer? I've got you! Crispy air fryer frozen breaded shrimp takes only 6 minutes to cook without thawing! You can air fry Seapak popcorn shrimp, make Gorton’s popcorn shrimp in the air fryer, or your favorite brand. Everyone will enjoy this fast and simple one-ingredient air fryer recipe. Get the air frying temperature, nutrition information, and more for this easy seafood recipe.
Let’s make frozen breaded shrimp in the air fryer! This recipe works for breaded popcorn shrimp. You could also air fry frozen butterfly shrimp, jumbo breaded shrimp, or shrimp tempura by adding a few minutes to air frying time.
In terms of food safety, it’s fine to make air fryer frozen popcorn shrimp. There is no need to defrost it before cooking.
The air fryer is seriously the best way to make popcorn shrimp crispy and golden brown. Plus, you can air fry Great Value breaded shrimp poppers, SeaPak shrimp, and other shrimp bites in less time than it takes to preheat the oven. If you’re hungry now, there’s no need to wait!
No matter your diet restrictions or budget, there’s probably frozen breaded shrimp option out there for you! There’s Costco panko shrimp for large families, and Sophie’s Kitchen vegan breaded shrimp for my vegetarian folks. I’m using Gorton’s Popcorn Shrimp for these air fryer directions.
Some brands of frozen popcorn shrimp may benefit from spraying with oil spray before air frying. Most frozen shrimp have enough oil in the breading that you don’t need to do this. Just get the shrimp and your favorite dipping sauce, and you should be good to go!
According to the general nutrition guidelines, adults are supposed to eat two servings of seafood each week. The majority of Americans are not meeting this goal. Most frozen breaded shrimp is more breading than shrimp, but it still helps you increase your intake of seafood.
Store-bought breaded frozen popcorn shrimp is a highly processed food. Making popcorn shrimp from scratch is likely a more nutritious option. However, there are some benefits to making this air fried popcorn shrimp recipe:
- Fast: The shrimp is done in 6 minutes and you don't have to preheat the air fryer! Having a small serving of air fried frozen popcorn shrimp at home will likely be healthier than getting take out.
- Easy: All you need is a box of popcorn shrimp to make this. You don’t have to chop, measure, or do any meal planning. You’ve got to love a simple one-ingredient main dish.
- Healthy: Like I said, frozen popcorn shrimp is not the most nutrient-dense option. That said, air frying popcorn shrimp is better than deep frying, from the general nutrition standpoint. This is a healthier option, depending on what we’re comparing it to.
- Crispy: Air fryer frozen popcorn shrimp is delicious. It turns out crisp without being greasy or oily. It’s a seafood option even picky eaters may love.
What do you need to make uncooked breaded popcorn shrimp in the air fryer? Here’s what I used:
- One box of frozen popcorn shrimp
I used Gorton’s Popcorn Shrimp. These are uncooked, according to the packaging. The box says they’ve been lightly seasoned with crispy panko breadcrumbs. Yummy!
You’re getting more calories from fat with these than you are protein or carbs. Since there’s so much oil, you don’t need to use cooking spray prior to air frying. If the shrimp breading has no oil or low oil, some cooking oil spray can help the coating crisp up.
Remember that you will need to adjust the air frying times if you use large breaded shrimp. The only other things you might want on hand are shrimp dipping sauces (suggestions below) and quartered fresh lemons. A squeeze of lemon juice adds some brightness and ties everything together.
All you need to air fry frozen popcorn shrimp is an air fryer and meat thermometer. The thermometer will let you know whether the shrimp is properly cooked (at the minimum safe internal temp).
I use a spacious 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven but I only used one of the two trays. Your air fryer (Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, etc.) can cook popcorn shrimp. However, keep in mind that you may need to tweak the cooking time depending on the air fryer you use.
🔪 How to Air Fry Frozen Popcorn Shrimp
Time to air fry frozen breaded shrimp! Remove 6 ounces (170g) of shrimp from the box. Put them in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray.
️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long do you cook frozen popcorn shrimp in air fryer? What temperature do you air fry frozen breaded shrimp? It takes 6 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit to air fry frozen popcorn shrimp.
If you have an air fryer oven, put the tray with the shrimp in the top rack position. (Closest to the heating element.)
Air fry the popcorn shrimp for 4 minutes at 400F (200C). Then flip them and air fry an additional 2 minutes.
After air frying, check the popcorn shrimp with a meat thermometer. They should have reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63C).
Leftover shrimp lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a covered container.
🍤 Dipping Sauces
Here are (IMVHO) the best dips for popcorn shrimp:
- Pineapple coconut dip (from my Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp recipe)
- Ranch dressing
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Honey mustard
- Cocktail sauce
- Tartar sauce
👪 What to Serve with Popcorn Shrimp
Popcorn shrimp works well as an appetizer or main course, and they are perfect for shrimp po’ boys. Here are some of my favorite recipes for popcorn shrimp side dishes:
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Air Fryer Yellow Squash
- Jicama Fries Air Fryer Recipe (keto fries)
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). I've got a bit of bad news. The Gorton’s frozen popcorn shrimp I used provides 220 calories and 8 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving. Per Cronometer, a 3-ounce serving of shrimp (no breading) provides 84 calories and 20 grams of protein.
Shrimp without breading is a low-calorie lean protein. With the breaded popcorn shrimp, about half the calories come from added fat. Additionally, you’re getting more calories from white flour in popcorn shrimp than you are from protein.
You could save over 130 calories by choosing a serving of plain shrimp instead of breaded. The plain shrimp provides more filling protein and (unlike popcorn shrimp from the store), it’s not an ultra-processed food.
We’re all different, but I do find it possible to fit some “imperfect” food choices in an overall healthy diet. The method I like for healthy weight management is the Diabetes Plate. It's ¼ protein, ¼ starch, and ½ non-starchy veggies (with a small amount of added fat).
I look at popcorn shrimp as filling the starch portion of the plate. More protein and some non-starchy vegetables need to be added. A Greek yogurt-based dip for the shrimp would be one way to add more protein.
For a higher energy meal, add some whole grains or starchy vegetables to the plate as well. It could be in the form of potatoes, crackers, rice, noodles, or bread.
Fries and popcorn shrimp are delicious together but not my favorite duo nutritionally. Fries add even more fat and carbs to an entrée that is high in both. Non-starchy veggies (think garden salads, zucchini, peppers) add low-calorie volume to the meal, something lacking in breaded shrimp.
Yes, you can make air fryer battered shrimp too! If the frozen shrimp pieces are about the same size as breaded popcorn shrimp, the air frying times should be similar.
How can you reheat frozen cooked shrimp without overcooking the shrimp? Put your cold popcorn shrimp on an air fryer tray and reheat at 350F (177C) for about 3 minutes. Use the top rack position if you have an air fryer oven.
Yes! Here are my directions for Frozen Shrimp in Air Fryer without breading. Frozen shrimp is a lean protein and will dry out easily without breading. Make sure to follow the tips in the recipe and watch the shrimp closely so it doesn’t become overcooked!
A serving of this breaded popcorn shrimp provides 19 grams of net carbs per 3 ounce serving. For keto frozen popcorn shrimp, buy small shrimp and bread them with a low carb “breading” like pork panko or almond flour.
To make air fryer popcorn shrimp gluten-free, buy frozen popcorn shrimp with gluten-free breading. I’ve seen gluten free frozen popcorn shrimp at Sam’s Club.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Shrimp Recipes
Want more ways to cook shrimp in an air fryer? Try one of these next:
Also, don’t miss this post on the Best Frozen Foods for the Air Fryer.
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!
Frozen Popcorn Shrimp in Air Fryer (Frozen Breaded Shrimp)
- 6 ounces frozen popcorn shrimp (170 grams; Gorton's shrimp or Seapak shrimp)
- dipping sauce (optional)
- Put the frozen popcorn shrimp in a single layer on your air fryer tray. Put the tray in the top rack position of the air fryer, if you're using an air fryer oven.
- Air fry the popcorn shrimp for 4 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Then flip them and air fry an additional 2 minutes.
- Check the shrimp with a meat thermometer to ensure they reached a minimum safe internal temp of 145°F (63°C). Add additional air frying time if needed.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.