Seafood Recipes

Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi (Easy Recipe)

Crispy, crunchy, shrimpy, scampi!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated September 10, 2022

Air-Fryer-Shrimp-Scampi-Recipe
Mouthwatering Italian food is easy to make at home, especially with an air fryer.

This air fryer shrimp scampi recipe is a tasty dish that’s fast to make. And because you use your air fryer instead of a pan of oil, there are no splatters to clean up afterward.

Scampi is an Italian word that refers to langoustines, or little sea creatures in the lobster family. When Italians immigrated to the United States, they started cooking with shrimp instead of true scampi. But they used both shellfish to name the dish.

There are many variations on this classic meal. But the basic recipe covers shrimp with a silky sauce made from butter, white wine, and garlic.

This garlic shrimp is a very delicious topping for spaghetti, or you can serve it with slices of fresh bread.

Any way you make this, the trick is to fry the shrimp for the right amount of time. You want them cooked through, but not tough.

Choosing the Best Shrimp

Buy Frozen, Not Fresh

Unless you live on the coast and can buy seafood right off the boats, your best bet is to cook frozen shrimp.

Since these shrimp get frozen right away, they’ll be fresh when you cook them. They’ll taste a lot better than “fresh” shrimp from the seafood counter that have been sitting around for a while.

Also, frozen shrimp from farm-raised shellfish can be found at most grocery stores all year round.

One other option is thawed shrimp, but that won’t taste very good. It has less flavor, and you have to cook it within a few days of buying it. Frozen shrimp, on the other hand, lasts for a few weeks in the freezer without losing quality.

When you buy your frozen shrimp, get ones that are whole – with their heads, tails, and shells intact.

While you can get deveined shrimp that are already cleaned and peeled, they might not work as well in this recipe. Since they’re washed and prepared beforehand, they can lose some texture and flavor.

For the best air fryer shrimp scampi, buy whole shrimp and clean them yourself. Remove the head, shell, and vein, but leave the tail on if you want. As well, unshelled frozen shrimp are cheaper.

Know Your Numbers

It doesn’t matter what size your shrimp are when you make shrimp scampi; it will just affect how long the shrimp cook. But, knowing what the labels on packages mean is quite practical.

For example, you might see U/25 or 21/25. If you see a “U,” it means there are fewer than the given number of shrimp in each pound of shellfish. So, U/25 means that if you buy a 1-pound bag of shrimp, there will be no more than 25 pieces in the bag.

But if there are 2 numbers, that’s the range of pieces. So, a bag that says 21/25 will have between 21 and 25 pieces of shrimp in it.

When you look at the labels, you know that if the numbers are smaller, the shrimp will be bigger. Therefore, if you want really big shrimp, look for the smallest numbers. Also, some producers write descriptors such as “small” or “large” on the package. But, there is no standard for these labels.

In other words, for one brand of shrimp 21/25 could be “large,” and for another, it could be “medium.”

Tips & Tricks for Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi


  • Never overcrowd your air fryer basket. If you do, you’ll steam the shrimp and they won’t crisp up. So, divide your shrimp into 2 or 3 groups, and fry in batches.
  • Don’t overcook. The flesh should go from gray to pink. But you need to stop cooking the air fryer shrimp before all the water comes out of them and the texture turns to rubber. To do so, keep an eye on your shrimp and only cook them for about 7-8 minutes. As an alternative, cook for 5 minutes, remove the air fryer pan and let the shrimp cook in the residual heat for 2-3 additional minutes.
  • Make it non-alcoholic. While the white wine adds a lovely flavor to the sauce, you can easily make this air fryer shrimp scampi alcohol-free. All you need to do is swap out the wine for chicken stock. If you do so, adjust the seasonings, including adding extra lemon juice or reducing the added salt.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Shrimp in an Air Fryer Basket?

To make sure your frozen shrimp are safely cooked, see whether they’ve browned nicely or if the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees F.

If you have your air fryer set to 400 degrees F, it will take about 5-7 minutes to thoroughly cook your frozen shrimp scampi.

However, there are a few other things that can affect your cooking time:


  • Size: If your shrimp are bigger or smaller than “average,” you may need to change your cooking time. So, keep watching them and adjust it as necessary.

  • Temperature: If you start with frozen shrimp, you’ll obviously have to cook them for longer than thawed, pre-cooked shrimp. In general, frozen foods need 50% more time to cook than thawed ones.

  • Air Fryer Model: Every air fryer is different, so every model will cook your shrimp scampi slightly differently. But for a model with a basket, rather than a rack, you might need to add 1-2 extra minutes to your cooking time.


Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi

  • Prep Time1 hr 10 min
  • Cook Time25 min
  • Total Time1 hr 35 min
  • Servings4
  • Yield4

Level: Easy

Ingredients










 

Equipment




Method


  1. Make the Marinade

    Put all of the ingredients except for the shrimp, butter, and fresh parsley into the mixing bowl or plastic bag. Stir or shake the mixture until combined.

    Add the shrimp and stir gently. Cover the bowl or seal the bag, and place it in the refrigerator.

    Let the shrimp marinate for at least an hour so they will absorb all of the garlic flavor.


  2. Preheat the Air Fryer

    Before you start cooking, set your air fryer to 400 degrees F, and let it heat up. Some air fryers have an automatic preheat option, but you can also do this manually.

  3. Cook the Shrimp

    Remove your shrimp from the refrigerator and divide it into several batches. Add one batch of shrimp and some of the marinade and butter to your air fryer, and shut the lid.

    Leave the shrimp to air fry for 3-4 minutes.


  4. Flip and Continue Cooking

    Open the air fryer and gently flip the shrimp over. Close the lid once more and let them cook for 2-3 more minutes.

    Test one of the shrimp to make sure it’s properly cooked, and adjust your cooking time accordingly.

    Repeat with the remaining batches of shrimp.


  5. Enjoy

    Take out the shrimp scampi and sprinkle on the fresh parsley. Serve hot.


What to Serve With Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi

Because shrimp scampi is so versatile, you can serve it with whatever you like.


  • Typically, Italian cooks serve it with long noodles such as spaghetti, angel hair, linguini, or fettuccini. But you can use whatever pasta you like or serve the scampi with rice or potatoes.

  • For a low-carb version, make a big green salad or steamed vegetables.

  • You can also change your sauce for some variety. Try ranch dressing, sweet chili sauce, remoulade, bang bang sauce, or even hot sauce for a kick.

  • As well, you could make other air fryer recipes while you have the equipment out. For instance, you could serve this shrimp scampi with French fries or cauliflower bites.

Storing Air Fryer Shrimp Scampi Leftovers

If you have leftover shrimp, pack it away in shallow containers, plastic bags, plastic wrap, or tin foil. Just make sure it’s airtight. According to the USDA, the refrigerated shrimp will stay good for 3-4 days.

On the other hand, you can also put your shrimp in the freezer. Again, make sure it’s wrapped very tightly. Frozen, your leftovers will stay good for 3-4 months.

Also, put away your shrimp quickly. Since seafood can grow bacteria really quickly between 40 – 140 degrees F, put your leftovers away as soon as you can.

And it’s better to cool your shrimp scampi down quickly in the fridge or freezer than to leave it on the counter. If it’s been out for over 2 hours, throw it away.
Air-Fryer-Shrimp-Scampi-Recipe-Pin

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 356Calories
  • 26.9gFat
  • 2.6gCarbs
  • 23.6gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories356
% Daily Value*
Total Fat26.9g34%
Saturated Fat14.8g74%
Cholesterol232mg77%
Sodium336mg15%
Total Carbohydrate2.6g1%
Dietary Fiber0.2g1%
Total Sugars0.3g
Protein23.6g
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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