This Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp with a creamy spicy chili sauce makes a crowd-pleasing appetizer or a delicious meal.
Bang Bang Shrimp is the most popular item at Bonefish Grill and for good reason! Crispy, golden brown, flavorful shrimp kicked up a notch with a sensational sauce — these bite-sized morsels are perfection.
The authentic Bonefish Grill version of this shrimp appetizer contains 780 calories and 61 grams of fat. The most troublesome nutrition stat from this dish is that it contains 11 grams of saturated fat.
By making Bang Bang Shrimp in an air fryer, we can slash several dozen calories and reduce the saturated fat substantially.
And though you can accomplish the same thing by baking them in the oven, the air fryer is much faster. Plus, you won’t heat up your whole kitchen so you can enjoy this dish any time of year.
This is an easy recipe that doesn’t require special skills (if it did, you wouldn’t find it on this site!). You won’t believe how simple it is to make this copycat version of Bonefish Grill’s bang bang shrimp!
Why is it called Bang Bang Shrimp?
The story behind this name is actually pretty interesting since it’s a pretty thin line that leads us from the origin to the modern dish.
The term “bang bang” was initially used in connection with chicken. Specifically, it is a Szechuan dish that is prepared by beating the chicken with a wooden baton to tenderize it. “Bàng” is the Chinese word for baton.
Bang Bang chicken is served with a sweet and spicy sauce. And that is how we make the jump to Bang Bang Shrimp even though we don’t beat the shrimp with a baton.
To add to the confusion, at Bonefish Grill, they use a sweet Thai chili sauce in their signature Bang Bang sauce which leads many people to believe Bang Bang Shrimp is a Thai recipe.
Oh, and some people also call this dish “Boom Boom Shrimp” instead. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious!
What Size Shrimp to Use
When it comes to making Bang Bang Shrimp, the size of your shrimp can make a big difference in the outcome of your dish.
Personally, I like using medium-sized raw shrimp (31-40 count) for this recipe. They’re not too small and not too large, which means they cook evenly and stay tender on the inside while getting crispy on the outside.
However, you can use larger or smaller shrimp depending on your preference. Just keep in mind that larger shrimp may take longer to cook and smaller shrimp may not have as much flavor.
If you’re unsure of what size shrimp to use, ask your fishmonger or check the label of the frozen shrimp package for the count per pound. The higher the count, the smaller the shrimp.
Overall, it’s important to choose high-quality shrimp that are sustainably sourced and have been properly cleaned and deveined.
If you’re wondering if you can use frozen shrimp, the answer is yes. Just make sure to thaw them completely beforehand.
Bang Bang Shrimp Ingredients
One of the best things about this recipe is that it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. All you’ll need are:
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 pound large peeled and deveined frozen or fresh shrimp, tails removed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch
- 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- Cooking spray (I use olive oil spray)
- Fresh parsley or green onions
Mayonnaise: You can substitute plain Greek yogurt if you want to cut calories, but the flavor will be impacted. I’m a big fan of Greek yogurt, but in this recipe I prefer mayo.
Bang Bang Sauce: The first three ingredients are for homemade bang bang sauce. You may be able to find pre-made bang bang sauce like this one at your local grocery store.
And it’s just a coincidence that all these sauce names repeat themselves, I swear.
Sweet Thai Chili Sauce: If you don’t have Thai chili sauce, you can double the sriracha and combine it with a tablespoon of honey.
Sriracha: Although sriracha is a hot sauce, you can’t simply swap in Tabasco or Cholula. You’re better off subbing in a chili paste, harissa paste or sprinkling in crushed red chili or ground cayenne to kick up the heat.
Panko Bread Crumbs: Panko works best in this recipe to give you a nice crispy but light crust on the shrimp. In a pinch, you can use regular bread crumbs. For a keto or low-carb version, use pork rind crumbs instead.
Eggs: If you don’t have eggs, you can dip the shrimp in milk or buttermilk before breading to get the cornstarch and bread crumbs to stick. However, eggs will give you a thicker, less crumbly coating so use them if you have them.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is essential to getting the nice, crisp texture that makes these shrimp so satisfying, but if you have a corn allergy, potato starch is the perfect alternative. If you just don’t have cornstarch on hand and need a quick substitute, you can use all-purpose flour but the result won’t be as crispy.
Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools
- Air fryer: We’ll be air frying the shrimp to avoid deep frying so we can cut the calories and fat but keep all the crunch and flavor
- 2 small mixing bowls: One for the sauce and another for the egg
- 2 shallow bowls: For the cornstarch and panko
- Dipping sauce bowls: To portion out sauce for each person without worrying about double dippers
- Chopsticks: Not necessary at all but may slow down your eating so you don’t down the whole plate in a few minutes!
How to Make Bang Bang Shrimp in the Air Fryer
This recipe is pretty straightforward. We just coat the shrimp, air fry them and serve them with the sauce.
I’ve broken the process down step-by-step below just in case you want to check your home version against mine as you cook.
Step 1: Prepare the sauce
Even though we won’t use the sauce until we serve, we’re going to prepare it first to give the flavors time to combine.
Just add the mayo, sweet chili sauce and sriracha to a small bowl and stir together until well blended.
Step 2: Coat the shrimp
Next, you’ll prepare the shrimp. You’ll need one pound of peeled, deveined shrimp with the tails removed. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel to make them easier to coat.
Add the eggs to a small bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch. And in another shallow dish add the panko.
Take each shrimp and coat it first in cornstarch. You want a nice, even coat on each shrimp.
Then, dip each cornstarch-coated shrimp in the beaten egg and then in the panko breadcrumbs.
Step 3: Air fry
Once all the shrimp are coated, it’s time to air fry! Place the breaded shrimp in a single layer inside the air fryer basket and spray with cooking oil.
Make sure the shrimp aren’t overlapping. We want the air to flow around each piece to cook them evenly so we get perfectly crispy shrimp. If you have a small air fryer, you may need to cook in batches.
Cook at 400°F for 5 minutes. Then, flip the shrimp over, spray with cooking oil, and cook for another 5 minutes.
They should be a nice golden brown when they’re ready.
Step 4: Finish and Serve
Place the shrimp on a plate and drizzle with spicy bang bang sauce. For added color, sprinkle the shrimp with fresh chopped parsley or green onions.
If you’re preparing Bang Bang Shrimp as a meal, you can stuff them inside a flour or whole wheat tortilla for shrimp tacos. This is my favorite way to eat them. Just top with a broccoli slaw (broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage).
You can also serve them in a bowl over brown or white rice (or cauliflower rice if you’re watching carbs) for a simple, easy one-bowl meal.
Want more veggies in your meal? Spoon the shrimp into lettuce wraps over over a bed of lettuce to make a salad instead. You can also just add some steamed veggies to your rice bowl.
Tips & Tricks
- Breading: Minimize the mess by using one hand for the egg and the other for the cornstarch and panko. Coat the shrimp in cornstarch first, then use the “dry” hand to drop it into the egg. Use the “wet” hand to coat it in egg and drop it into the panko. Use the dry hand to scoop panko over the shrimp, then coat it completely.
- Sauce: Drizzle the sauce over the shrimp rather than tossing the shrimp in the sauce to prevent the breading from falling off. If you want more sauce, serve the sauce on the side to dip the shrimp in as you eat.
- Spice Level: Bang Bang Shrimp is best when you strike the right balance between sweet and spicy but that perfection point is different for each of us. Change the proportion of sweet chili sauce to sriracha to achieve your ideal balance. If you like spicy food, use more sriracha. To tone it down so the whole family can enjoy it, use more chili sauce.
- Leftovers: This shouldn’t happen because it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from eating all of them, but if you don’t manage to consume them all in a single sitting, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to finish them off, reheat them in your air fryer at 350°F for 4-5 minutes.
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
If you liked this recipe for Bang Bang Shrimp, here are some other recipes you may want to try:
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoon : This simple appetizer recipe is another great seafood appetizer.
- Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings: While we’re on the subject of popular appetizers, we can’t forget this staple!
- Air Fryer Blooming Onion: Ready to tackle another popular restaurant appetizer?
- Air Fryer Hush Puppies: An easy and hassle free way to make these southern crispy fried corn fritters. They are a delicious side dish.
- Air Fried Coconut Shrimp: Not only is this air-fried shrimp healthy, but it’s also super easy to make.
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Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp
- Air Fryer
- Mixing Bowl
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 2 tablespoons parsley optional (for garnish)
- Cooking spray
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce and sriracha. Stir until well blended.
- In another bowl, whisk eggs and set aside. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, add panko crumbs.
- Dip the shrimp in cornstarch first, then egg wash and finally, in the panko.
- Place shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. Cook at 400°F for 5 minutes. Flip shrimp over and cook another 5 minutes.
- Remove from air fryer and drizzle bang bang sauce over shrimp. Sprinkle with parsley.
Need to run to the grocery store for a few ingredients first? Don’t forget to pin this recipe so you can find it when you’re ready to cook!