Last Updated on July 11, 2022 by Kayla Berman
Bang Bang Shrimp made in the air fryer is a delicious party appetizer or main course meal for the family! Made with medium shrimp, Panko bread crumbs, light mayo, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha … this golden brown, crispy shrimp is coated in a creamy, sweet, & spicy homemade bang bang sauce. This healthier version of the restaurant classic requires no deep fryer and will have you seriously addicted!
What is bang bang shrimp?
Bang Bang Shrimp is a popular appetizer at the American chain restaurant Bonefish Grill! It gets its name form the bang of flavor from the sriracha and Thai sweet chili used in the creamy sauce.
The dish is also sometimes called firecracker shrimp. For the same reason! But whatever you call it, I promise you will be seriously addicted.
Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp is a lighter version and healthier copycat of the famous dish. Air fried instead of deep fried and made with a lighter sauce – you’ll have no worries about indulging and eating the whole batch.
You can enjoy this crispy shrimp as a great appetizer for game day or even a main dish for the whole family.
This air fryer bang bang shrimp recipe has a few main ingredient groups! First you’ll need the shrimp, then all the breading elements, and lastly the fixings for the homemade creamy, sweet, and spicy sauce.
- Raw Shrimp: You will need 1 lb of raw shrimp for this recipe! I love medium sized shrimp. Try to get the shrimp shelled, deveined, and cleaned to save yourself some work.
- Corn Starch: Coating the shrimp in corn starch helps get them super crispy. 1/2 cup is perfect!
- Milk & Lemon Juice: Milk and lemon juice is used here to replace traditional buttermilk. You’ll simply combine 1 cup of whole milk and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: For the perfect shrimp breading, use Japanese Panko bread crumbs. They crisp and crunch up perfectly! Use 1 cup.
- Light Mayo: The base of the homemade bang bang sauce here is 1/2 cup light mayonnaise! This keeps the sauce a bit lighter, but still makes it rich, creamy, & delicious.
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce: Sweet chili sauce is what gives this shrimp sauce its classic taste. It is sweet and spicy all at the same time. 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp is just the right amount!
- Sriracha: To really add that bang of flavor to this dish add 3 tsp of sriracha sauce.
- Garlic Powder & Onion Powder: 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder add the best flavor to the shrimp breading.
- Salt & Pepper: Salt and black pepper also add flavor to the breading. You’ll need 1/2 tsp and 1/8 tsp respectively!
- Green Onions: Green onions are optional, but are truly a beautiful garnish and delicious addition.
Substitutions & Additions
There are a few substitution and additions you could make to this recipe to meet your personal preferences and needs.
Here are some of my ideas!
Breadcrumbs: If you do not have Japanese Panko breadcrumbs you can swap them with Italian style Panko breadcrumbs. As long as they are plain and not seasoned!
You can also use any other type of breadcrumb, the shrimp will just be less crispy.
Buttermilk: Whole milk and lemon juice are used in this recipe in place of buttermilk. But you could just use regular buttermilk instead!
Mayo: Light mayo is used as the base of the delicious sauce here. You could replace this with regular mayo or greek yogurt for an even lighter sauce. I just wouldn’t recommend fully replacing with greek yogurt, maybe 1/2 & 1/2!
Spices & Herbs: Adding more fresh herbs or spices here would only make things more flavorful! Try red pepper flakes, chives, or fresh parsley.
How To Make This Recipe
Air frying the shrimp for this delicious recipe is the perfect cooking method! The shrimp cooks in no time at all and comes out perfectly crispy.
Plus the air fryer is a much healthier alternative to a deep fryer!
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1: First prepare the shrimp if needed. Remove the shell, devein, and clean.
Step 2: Next combine the milk and lemon juice in a bowl or jar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Then add the cornstarch to a separate large bowl with the prepared shrimp. Toss so each shrimp is coated.
Step 4: Add the Panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to a third bowl. Combine evenly. I recommend using a shallow bowl!
Step 5: Dip each cornstarch coated shrimp in the milk and lemon juice mixture. Then coat in the breadcrumbs mixture. Ensuring that the entire shrimp is covered. Place each breaded shrimp on a baking sheet while you finish the rest.
Step 6: Then pre heat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Spray the rack or tray with oil. Place shrimp down in a single layer. Spray each shrimp with a little bit of olive oil. Fry for 5 minutes. (You will most likely have to do multiple batches.)
Step 7: While frying the shrimp, work on the bang bang sauce. Simply combine the light mayo, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha until smooth.
Step 8: Once all the shrimp is done frying, lightly toss it in the bang bang sauce or drizzle the sauce on top. Top with green onions.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Buy shelled, deveined, and cleaned shrimp. This will save you SO much time when making this recipe!
If you do not buy pre-prepared shrimp, prepare the shrimp yourself ahead of time. This will still save time when it comes to making dinner on a busy night or an appetizer for your next party.
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel before breading. This will help everything stick and crisp up!
Use a large air fryer if possible! This will help you throw this recipe together quicker, as you will have to do less batches.
Spray each individual shrimp with olive oil spray before air frying. This helps them get beautifully crispy and golden brown.
When air frying in batches, place the already fried shrimp on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees. This will keep them warm while you finish.
When coating the cooked shrimp in bang bang sauce, coat very lightly or even drizzle! This helps keep all the breading in tact.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend using medium raw shrimp in this recipe! I like how this shrimp is almost bite sized. It makes for the perfect appetizer.
You could also use large shrimp or jumbo shrimp though. The cook time will just alter slightly depending on the size of shrimp!
I recommend cooking shrimp at 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the air fryer.
Shrimp cooks very quickly in the air fryer. You will only need about 5 minutes!
You can serve this recipe in many different ways. It works great as a main course meal or a party appetizer recipe!
If enjoying for dinner I recommend serving with white rice and pairing with my cucumber salad or avocado, corn, & couscous salad. So delicious!
Unfortunately, bang bang shrimp does not store super well.
However, you can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1-2 days. Just pop in the oven or back in the air fryer to re-heat!
Just know the shrimp will lose most of its crisp and crunch when stored.
Love this recipe? Check out more delicious appetizers…
- Cold Artichoke Dip
- Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Tomato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
- Cheesy Bacon Corn Dip
- Baked Brie Bites
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Cauliflower Rice Balls
Connect with me!
If you make this air fryer shrimp recipe or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.
Love this recipe? Leave a comment and a rating! I love to see and it helps me continue to develop delicious recipes for this blog.Print
Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp (Healthier Copycat)
Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp is a delicious party appetizer or main course meal for the family! Made with medium shrimp, Panko bread crumbs, light mayo, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha … this golden brown, crispy shrimp is coated in a creamy, sweet, & spicy homemade bang bang sauce. This healthier version of the restaurant classic requires no deep fryer and will have you seriously addicted!
- Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- Cook Time: 15 Minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4–5 Servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer / Dinner
- Method: Air Fryer
- 1 lb raw medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, & cleaned
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
Homemade Bang Bang Sauce
- First prepare the shrimp if needed. Shell, devein, and clean.
- Next combine the milk and lemon juice. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Then add the cornstarch to a large bowl with the prepared shrimp. Toss so each shrimp is coated.
- Add the Panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to separate bowl. Combine evenly.
- Dip each cornstarch coated shrimp in the milk and lemon juice mixture. Then coat in the breadcrumbs mixture. Ensuring that the entire shrimp is covered. Place each breaded shrimp on a baking sheet while you finish the rest.
- Then pre heat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Spray the rack or tray with oil. Place the breaded shrimp down in a single layer. Spray each shrimp with a bit of olive oil. Fry for 5 minutes. (You will most likely have to do multiple batches.)
- While frying the shrimp, work on the bang bang sauce. Simply combine the light mayo, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha evenly.
- Once all the shrimp is done frying, lightly toss it in the bang bang sauce or drizzle the sauce on top. Top with green onions.
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