Go from frozen to fab with this easy recipe for air-fried shrimp. It’s ready in no time and uses lemon pepper seasoning and fresh lemon juice to make it shine. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners and last-minute lunches.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
Air fryers are really getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason. They’re basically like a convection oven, but because they’re so small, they heat up your food way faster. The sky is the limit with the light, convenient, and healthy recipes you can make in air fryers. One of my favorites? These easy air-fried shrimp!
What makes this recipe so easy? No need for thawing your shrimp! Yep, you can cook your shrimp from frozen. Plus, shrimp is one of the quickest proteins to cook. This really comes in handy when you need a balanced meal – stat.
Lemon pepper and fresh lemon juice take your basic shrimp up a notch and makes it a versatile addition to so many dishes. Enjoy your lemon pepper shrimp on top of a salad or pasta dish, in a wrap, in a taco, or serve with rice or potato and steamed vegetables.
Aside from being tasty and convenient, shrimp are a great source of protein and come with a healthy dose of selenium (an antioxidant that promotes heart health) and B12 (a vitamin that supports a healthy metabolism).
This recipe in particular uses plain frozen shrimp without extra breading, which can also make it a good option for gluten-free or low-carb diets.
Concerned about the cholesterol in shrimp? Fear not! Although shellfish like shrimp do contain dietary cholesterol, they are relatively low in saturated fat, which is more important to pay attention to for a healthy heart.
This recipe comes together in a snap. Read on for some bonus tips on making the best shrimp in the air fryer and be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the recipe itself.
Getting seasoning to stick
One challenge with cooking proteins from frozen is getting your seasonings to stick. Seasonings won’t stick to icy shrimp, so we have to thaw them first.
Instead of rinsing your shrimp or thawing them in the fridge, you can pop them right in the air fryer for a quick thaw. After 5 minutes, any ice will be melted and the shrimp will be partially cooked, which will give the seasonings a better surface to adhere to.
I recommend moving the shrimp from the air fryer basket to a small bowl, then coating with a touch of avocado oil spray and lemon pepper seasoning. After moving the seasoned shrimp back to the air fryer basket, you can discard the bowl.
Cooking shrimp to perfection
You’ll know that the shrimp are done when they are completely opaque (not translucent anymore) and pink. If you temp the shrimp with a thermometer, their internal temperature should read 145°F.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use any size or variety of raw shrimp for air frying. I used medium for this recipe, so you may need to shorten the cooking time for smaller shrimp or increase it for larger shrimp.
The shrimp should be bright pink and the flesh should be opaque. To check doneness, use an instant-read thermometer and ensure the internal temperature of the shrimp is 145°F
My favorite seasoning with just about any seafood is lemon pepper, but shrimp also pairs well with other seasonings. Try a cajun spice blend, jerk seasoning, curry powder, paprika and garlic, or black pepper and parsley.
Since shrimp is a great source of protein, all you need is a source of carbohydrates and a vegetable to make it a balanced meal. Serve atop a salad or pasta, with a side of steamed broccoli and rice, or get creative and add your shrimp to a taco with cabbage slaw. The sky is the limit!
- Different seasoning – Try a cajun spice blend, jerk seasoning, curry powder, paprika and garlic, or black pepper and parsley.
- From fresh – Season the shrimp before air frying and cook for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through.
- Oven version – No airfryer, no problem! You can also make this recipe on a sheet pan using the same instructions. Just use a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet to make cleanup a bit easier.
Lemon Pepper Frozen Shrimp in the Air Fryer
- air fryer
- 1.5 lb frozen shrimp
- 1 tsp avocado oil spray preferred
- 1 tbsp lemon-pepper seasoning
- fresh lemon juice to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
- Once air fryer is preheated, add the frozen shrimp to the air fryer basket in a single layer. (Pick apart any that are stuck together.) Air fry for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, the shrimp will be thawed but only partially cooked, so now is a good time to add your seasoning. (It will stick better compared to adding it to frozen shrimp.) Add shrimp to a bowl and coat with avocado oil, then add lemon pepper seasoning and toss to coat.
- Add the frozen shrimp to the air fryer basket again and put it back in the air fryer, cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the shrimp reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Serve immediately with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. (Use as a salad topper, your main protein source with a starch and veggie, or add to tacos.)
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.
Looking for something to serve with lemon pepper shrimp?
- Air Fryer Baby Potatoes
- Lemony Instant Pot Broccoli
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Potato Mash
- Couscous Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
- Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce