Fiercely flavorful, super speedy, and actually healthy (!!!), these Spicy Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos are about to make your weeknights SO MUCH BETTER. Better yet, they’re made with just 13 ingredients (5 of which are spices) in just 30 minutes.
One bite. One bite of this marvelous air-fried shrimp taco. That’s all it takes to fall in love! It’s got the perfect balance of succulently spiced air-fried shrimp, crunchy-sweet cabbage, creamy avocado, and salty, mild cheese. Oh, and rich, creamy-dreamy Bang Bang Sauce, because why the heck not?!?
But that’s not even the best part! These fusion Mexican shrimp tacos are also made in just 30 minutes — start to finish. “But wait, Megan,” you say. “I forgot to defrost my shrimp!” Not to worry, dear readers! You can easily take frozen shrimp to ready-for-airfrying shrimp in just 10 minutes.
Seriously, friends. Shrimp tacos, air fryer-style. Try ‘em. They’ll change your weeknights for the better. Now make a batch for your fam! And if not’s too hot where you live, eat ‘em al fresco and soak up the long days while you can. Then have some creamy mango popsicles for dessert. Because SUMMER. 😎
- What are air fryer shrimp tacos?
- What do they taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos
- Taco Toppings Ideas
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos Nutrition
- Pricing Info
- Other Mexican-inspired recipes
What are air fryer shrimp tacos?
Prepare yourselves for a scrumptious delight: air fryer shrimp tacos. Featuring succulent shrimp coated in a crispy, golden crust — but they’re healthy! The air fryer works its magic by circulating hot air around the shrimp, giving them that irresistible crunch without the need for excessive oil.
They’re also super easy. You pop them into the air fryer, where they cook in a matter of minutes, ensuring they’re juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The result? A spectacular (and nutritious!) swap for your normal chain takeout tacos that’s both delicious and guilt-free.
Load these crispy, juicy little nuggets of deliciousness into warm tortillas with all your favorite toppings and you have the best, easiest way to shake up your Taco Tuesday routine. My air fryer frozen shrimp tacos are the perfect laid-back, no-fuss, mid-week meal you’ve been looking for.
What do they taste like?
Imagine succulent shrimp, their delicate flesh enveloped in a bespoke cloak of homemade seasoning. Each morsel bears witness to the artistry of spices, a harmonious blend of zesty garlic, smoky paprika, and a citrusy embrace of lime juice. As you savor their tender juiciness, rejoice in the knowledge that these tantalizing crustaceans have been air-fried to a golden crisp, leaving behind the heavy burden of excess oil.
Now, cast your eyes upon a verdant cascade of shredded cabbage, a crisp and refreshing bed for our celestial shrimp. Its vibrant hues whisper of vitality and nourishment, reminding you that this choice is as healthy as it is indulgent.
Nestled beside this verdant oasis, behold! The majestic avocado, its buttery richness bestowing a creamy allure that harmonizes seamlessly with the shrimp’s oceanic charms. And hark! The Cotija cheese, a tantalizing sprinkle of crumbly delight, lending a subtle tang that harmonizes with the medley of flavors.
But like any well-written hero’s tale, there is one final flourish — Bang Bang Sauce. Prepare to be captivated by its fiery dance of heat and sweet, a tantalizing symphony of chili, honey, and spice. Fear not, for even as this ambrosial sauce awakens your taste buds, it remains a testament to the astuteness of healthy choices.
These ethereal frozen shrimp tacos offer respite from the heavy hand of frying, embracing the easy elegance of air frying. With every bite, you indulge in a healthy journey that nourishes the body and delights the soul. Enjoy this odyssey of taste and wellness, where vibrant flavors and nutritious pleasures unite!
Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos Recipe
Air fryer frozen shrimp is the weeknight hack I feel like EVERY working mama needs. Here’s why:
- Quick & Easy – 5 minutes of prep and 15 minutes in the air fryer are all that stand between you and a plate of these air-fried shrimp tacos. Your Taco Tuesday just got a whole lot simpler!
- Fresh, Crunchy, & Super Satisfying – When the summer here gets hot, hot, hot, all I want to eat are fresh veggies and protein — plus a few popsicles and smoothies for good measure. All the cabbage is also an easy way to help up your water intake for the day. 😉
- Perfect Last-Minute Meal – Aside from being a great source of relatively inexpensive protein, the thing I love MOST about this crispy shrimp taco recipe is that you can go from frozen to dinnertime in just 35 minutes flat. So, when you forgot to take that rump roast out of the freezer this morning, don’t fret! My air fried shrimp taco recipe has you covered!
- Versatile AF – Yes, these deliciously seasoned air fryer frozen shrimp are excellent as filling for tacos. But they’re also perfect for adding protein to salads, pastas, grain bowls, and more! Read on below for tons of ideas. 🤓
As promised, you don’t need much to make super tasty frozen shrimp in air fryer. Here’s what to grab:
- Large Shrimp – Unless you live in a fishing town, chances are the frozen shrimp are fresher than the ones being sold as “fresh.” You’ll need them to be tail-off and deveined, so I prefer to buy them that way to save time. They’re also easy (albeit a bit time consuming) to peel yourself.
- Avocado Oil – I love this neutral-flavored oil for its high-smoke point and incredible health benefits.
- Chili Powder – What’s labeled as “chili powder” is actually a spice blend that includes multiple varieties of chili peppers, as well as warming spices like cumin. The blend does have a bit of heat, but it’s not blow-your-top-off, either.
- Garlic Powder & Onion Powder – For mild, sweet allium goodness. Plus, no sticky fingers or papery skin to contend with. Bonus!
- Salt – In my kitchen I use [kosher salt]. If you use a different variety, consult with a conversion chart for proper measurement.
- Cumin – This spice has a super distinct, warm aroma that’s essential for so many Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites. If you only have whole cumin seed, gently toast it in a dry pan until fragrant (30-45 seconds), then mash with a mortar and pestle.
- Smoked Paprika – For warmth and a hint of smoke, which sort of gives these not-too-spicy air fryer shrimp a chargrilled flavor — without needing a grill!
- Small Tortillas – You’re looking for the little guys that are street taco-sized. Feel free to use either corn or flour tortillas — though corn is a better source of fiber.
- Shredded Cabbage – You can slice it thinly using a long, sharp knife. To make quick work of it, use a food processor outfitted with a shredding blade. Or, simply buy it pre-shredded in the bagged salad section — just note that it typically is more expensive and has a shorter shelf life than a whole head of cabbage.
- Avocado – 🥑 Because they’re yummy and packed full of potassium (more than a banana!).
- Cojita Cheese – A shower of white, crumbly, salty, milky cheese takes these air fryer tacos to whole new levels of deliciousness. Feel free to use your favorite vegan substitute if needed!
- Bang Bang Sauce – I love this creamy, slightly spicy sauce to no end. You’re welcome to swap in the salsa or sauce of your choice!
If you’re out of something or it doesn’t work in your diet, don’t fret. Here are some easy substitutions you can make:
- Large Shrimp – Shrimp sizing is weird, but jumbo or colossal are also welcome here. 😂 So long as you’re under 21 pieces per pound, you should be good. Larger shrimp are easier to cook without overcooking, which is why you want to go large or larger.
- Avocado Oil – As a nutritionist, avocado oil is always on hand and is my preferred (non-EVOO) oil. Any neutral-flavored, high-smoke point oil will also work.
- Spices – Save yourself some trouble and make a big batch of my taco seasoning ahead of time! Or, you can make the following swaps:
- Chili powder – Any other variety of ground chili, from mild sweet paprika to spicy cayenne.
- Garlic Powder/Onion Powder/Salt – You can also use garlic salt, onion salt, or a mix thereof. If you can’t do alliums, try using a pinch of asafoetida instead.
- Cumin – Coriander has a more citrusy vibe, but feels like a nice, adjacent flavor.
- Smoked Paprika – Ground chipotle is decidedly spicier, but will add the same yummy smokiness. You can also use regular, sweet, or hot paprika here as well!
- Salt – If you’re on a reduced-sodium or salt-free diet, consider using a zippy lime instead. Don’t forget about the zest!
- Small Tortillas – Feel free to omit these in favor of eating your shrimp tacos like a salad. You can also use the shrimp and fixings to make crispy tostadas using store-bought or homemade tostada shells.
- Shredded Cabbage – Feel free to purchase cole slaw mix to save on time! You can also sub in shredded romaine if you like.
- Avocado – Guacamole is the closest substitute. Faux guacamole is awesome if you’re feeling tight on cash. Greek yogurt, skyr, crema or sour cream can all replace some of the creaminess, but add a little tang to boot.
- Cojita Cheese – If you can’t find cotija, feta is a pretty close substitute. If you prefer to go dairy-free, consider using vegan tofu feta.
- Bang Bang Sauce – I love this creamy, slightly spicy sauce to no end. You’re welcome to swap in the salsa or sauce of your choice!
How To Make Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos
These air fried shrimp tacos come together in just a few simple steps:
Step 1: Pre. Spray your air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray and preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
Step 2: Pat Shrimp Dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Toss with the oil and set aside.
Step 3: Season. In a small bowl, combine salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Add to the shrimp and toss until the shrimp is evenly coated.
Step 4: Air-Fry Shrimp. Carefully place the shrimp in a single layer in your air fryer basket (you may have to do this in batches), and air fry at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through to 120 degrees. Set the shrimp aside on a plate.
Step 5: Warm Tortillas. Wrap your tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in your air fryer basket. Air fry for 2-3 minutes at 400 degrees until they’re warm. Remove the foiled-wrapped tortillas from the air fryer basket and set on a plate.
Step 6: Assemble the tacos with warm tortillas, shrimp, and toppings. Enjoy!
Taco Toppings Ideas
I’m perfectly satisfied with my crunchy, creamy, spicy, sweet combo of cabbage, avocado, cheese, and bang bang sauce, but there are so many other options out there to choose from! Feel free to go buck wild with your toppings and add your favorites. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Pickled Red Onions
- Escabeche or Pickled Jalapeños
- Sliced Radishes
- Guacamole or Avocado Mash
- Pico de Gallo
- Mango Salsa
- Restaurant-Style Salsa
- Peruvian Green Sauce
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
What do you like to put on your taco air fryer goodness? Let me know in the comments below!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
While I think this recipe for air fryer shrimp tacos is pure weeknight perfection, feel free to make any edits you or your family need!
- Dairy-Free – Omit the cotija cheese, or swap in your favorite dairy-free alternative.
- Gluten-Free – Double-check all of your dried spices, and opt for certified gluten-free corn tortillas.
- Extra Spicy – Add some cayenne pepper to your seasoning mix, and introduce extra heat with sliced and/or pickled jalapeños.
- Extra Mild – Use sweet paprika in place of chili powder.
- Different Types of Shrimp – While I love the taco-seasoned shrimp, you’re also welcome to air fry your favorite frozen shrimp like Trader Joe’s popcorn shrimp or coconut shrimp instead.
Wondering what pairs well with shrimp tacos? Why, all your Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites, of course! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Chips & Dips like guacamole, salsa, or queso.
- Sides like cilantro lime rice, Mexican rice, refried beans, charro beans, or black beans.
- Drinks like citrus coolers, mojitos, margaritas, or aguas frescas.
- Desserts like tres leches cake, key lime pie bars, churros, paletas, or horchata ice cream!
Recipe Success Tips
- Buy peeled and deveined shrimp to save on time. Or, if you peel them yourself, use the shrimp tails to make & freeze a heady broth that you can use for fish chowder or gumbo in the future.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around, so make sure you lay the shrimp in a single layer without any touching to get crispy golden goodness on all sides.
- Feel free to line the air fryer basket for easy cleanup. Just make sure your liners have plenty of holes in them so the air can move!
- Shredded cabbage can be purchased near other bagged salads if you don’t want to do it yourself. Feel free to swap in cole slaw mix with carrots if you like!
- Don’t overcook your shrimp. When shrimp become opaque, they’re fully cooked. Once they start to curl into tight “O’s,” that means they’re overcooking and are at risk of being rubbery.
Absolutely! My air fryer shrimp tacos are a healthy choice. They require less oil, reducing calories and fat compared to deep-fried versions. Shrimp itself is a good source of lean protein and essential nutrients. By using fresh toppings like veggies, salsa, and avocado, you can add fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just remember to watch portion sizes and customize your taco to suit your dietary needs. Enjoy the deliciousness with a healthier twist!
Generally speaking, I’ve found that large shrimp take just 4-5 minutes in my air fryer. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the shrimp, as well as the specific model of your air fryer. To ensure perfectly cooked shrimp follow best practices — preheat the air fryer, arrange the shrimp in a single layer, and keep a close eye on them. When they turn pink, opaque, and slightly crispy, they’re ready to be enjoyed!
Absolutely! You can definitely use the air fryer to reheat pre-cooked shrimp. The air fryer makes reheating a breeze. Simply preheat the air fryer, arrange the shrimp in a single layer, and warm them up for about 2 to 4 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. Once they’re heated to your liking, take them out and enjoy the deliciousness all over again!
Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos Nutrition
These shrimp tacos are not only scrumptious but also pack a healthy punch! Each serving comes in at 502 calories, providing a satisfying meal without excessive calorie intake.
With 28 grams of total fat, predominantly from nutritious sources like shrimp and avocado, you can enjoy the richness while staying mindful. The protein content is a respectable 32 grams, helping you feel full and supporting muscle health.
It’s worth noting that these tacos contain 1051 mg of sodium, so if you’re watching your sodium intake, you can adjust accordingly.
On the positive side, they offer 8 grams of fiber, contributing to a healthy digestive system and long-lasting satisfaction. With 35 grams of carbohydrates, these tacos strike a balanced note. All in all, these air fryer shrimp tacos make for a tasty and health-conscious choice. Bon appétit!
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 502 calories
- Total Fat: 28 grams
- Protein: 32 grams
- Sodium: 1051 mg
- Carbohydrates: 35 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This is what I personally paid to make this recipe:
- 1 ½ lbs large shrimp: $11.24
- 2 tbsp avocado oil: $0.62
- 1 tsp chili powder: $0.03
- 1 tsp garlic powder: $0.04
- ½ tsp salt: $0.01
- ½ tsp onion powder: $0.01
- ½ tsp cumin: $0.02
- ½ tsp smoked paprika: $0.03
- 8 small tortillas: $1.06
- 1 cup shredded cabbage: $0.22
- 2 medium avocado: $1.56
- ½ cup crumbled cojita cheese: $0.79
- bang bang sauce: $0.58
The total for this recipe comes out to be around $16.21 or roughly $4.05 per serving!
Other Mexican-inspired recipes
Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the comments below! I would really appreciate your feedback!
Air Fryer Shrimp Tacos
- 1 ½ lbs large shrimp tail off and deveined
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
For the Tacos:
- 8 small tortillas corn or flour
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 2 medium avocado sliced
- ½ cup crumbled cojita cheese
- bang bang sauce or salsa
- Spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Pat your shrimp dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Toss with the oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Add to the shrimp and toss until the shrimp is evenly coated.
- Carefully place the shrimp in a single layer in your air fryer basket (you may have to do this in batches), and air fry at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through to 120 degrees. Set the shrimp aside on a plate.
- Wrap your tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in your air fryer basket. Air fry for 2-3 minutes at 400 degrees until they’re warm. Remove the foiled-wrapped tortillas from the air fryer basket and set on a plate.
- Assemble the tacos with warm tortillas, shrimp, and toppings!
If you end up making this and loving it, take a photo and tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your versions of my recipes! And feel free to rate it down below in the comment section. I would really appreciate it!