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If you’re a fan of seafood and spicy flavors, then you’re going to love Air Fryer Blackened Shrimp! This dish is not only delicious, but it’s also quick and easy to make. Love seafood dishes? Try this easy shrimp recipe!!
Tender plump shrimp are tossed in oil and then heavily dredged in blackening seasoning. Then they’re quickly seared in a preheated air fryer for a quick and easy dinner!
Aren’t Blackening Seasoning and Cajun Seasoning the same??
Blackening seasoning and Cajun seasoning are two popular spice blends used in southern cuisine, but they have distinct differences in flavor and use. Blackening seasoning is typically a mix of herbs and spices that are applied to fish or meat and then cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
And no, Blackening does not mean they’re burnt. It means meats are heavily coated with spices and herbs and look darker. But not burnt!
While Cajun seasoning, on the other hand, is a mix of herbs and spices that originated in Louisiana and is used to add flavor to a wide variety of dishes, including meats, seafood, soups, stews, and vegetables. It’s typically not as spicy as blackening seasonings, such as these cajun shrimp which are flavorful yet not as spicy as blackened shrimp.
Blackening seasoning is primarily used for a specific cooking technique while Cajun seasoning is more versatile and can be used to add heat, spice, and flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
If you don’t like things spicy, the beauty of both blackening and cajun is that you can adjust the heat in both!
What are the benefits of cooking in an air fryer?
Cooking in an air fryer is becoming increasingly popular! Air fryers use hot air to cook food, so you can achieve a crispy texture without deep-frying, grilling, or pan-frying. This makes them a healthier alternative to traditional cooking methods.
You can really do it all in the air fryer. Chuck roasts to chicken wings to roasted vegetables, you can make it all! And if you love seafood then definitely check out these air fryer scallops for a light and delicious dinner.
Worried about cooking seafood in the air fryer?? Don’t, simply turn on your exhaust fan and let it run while using the air fryer. And wash the air fryer well after use. I have never experienced a lingering fishy smell when using the air fryer for fish or shrimp.
But can you REALLY make an air fryer blackened shrimp in it? Well, it is NOT cast iron but I think getting it searingly hot by preheating it approximates the heat attained by cast iron. And because the juices drip off, you are truly dry cooking them like you would searing them off in a cast iron skillet.
What you need to make blackened shrimp in the air fryer:
- extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on or off, your personal choice
- light olive oil
- smoked paprika
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- ground black pepper
- mixing bowl
- rubber spatula
- digital thermometer
- basket-style air fryer
What to serve with Blackened Shrimp
You can serve blackened shrimp with pasta dressed with a simple butter sauce. Or serve them with polenta or grits. Serving them with buttery creamy grits is our favorite way to enjoy blackened shrimp.
We LOVE to serve these shrimp with our Garlic Herb Prime Rib Roast for big meals with family. Thanksgiving or otherwise. That way if anyone doesn’t like seafood OR beef they can eat one, the other, or both!
A few tips for cooking these shrimp:
- Use any size of shrimp you like simply adjust the cooking time up or down depending on the size, smaller shrimp cook more quickly than big shrimp
- If you like the tails left on leaving them! I know people will tell you to take them off but when you’re cooking for teens it’s a great way to slow them down and hope they’ll actually taste the shrimp
- Do not overcook the shrimp, they cook quickly, use a digital thermometer and cook the shrimp to just 120° F
- The spice level of this dish can be adjusted to your liking, just use less cayenne pepper
If you have leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the air fryer or microwave.
Air Fryer Blackened Shrimp
- 1 pound shrimp extra large raw shrimp, fresh or frozen
- 1 TBSP light olive oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper can leave out if it's too spicy
- thaw shrimp ahead of time if needed
- rinse in cool water then peel and devein, leave the tails on or remove them
- preheat the air fryer at 400° for at least 5 minutes while you mix up the shrimp
- pat the shrimp dry
- put them in a mixing bowl and drizzle the oil over the shrimp
- mix the spices together
- sprinkle half of the spice mix over the shrimp and toss to coat
- repeat with the remaining seasoning mix
- when the air fryer is done preheating open the basket and pour the shrimp in the basket
- air fry at 400° F for 4 minutes
- shake the basket to redistribute the shrimp
- cook again on 400° for 3 minutes and then test the shrimp for doneness, if they're 120° F the are done and ready, if they haven't reached 120° shut the air fryer and cook again on 350° for another 1-2 minutes
- once the shrimp have reached 120° F they are ready to enjoy!