Air-fried breaded shrimp are piled onto sandwich buns, and topped with a classic remoulade sauce in this recipe for the perfect Air Fryer Shrimp Po’ Boys. One bite, and you’ll be hooked on this spicy Southern seafood specialty!
Crispy Shrimp Sandwiches, Louisiana-Style!
Seafood Po’ Boys are a New Orleans favorite, and with good reason – these iconic sandwiches are loaded with irresistible bites of fried seafood, on the city’s airy, crisp-crusted French bread, and topped with mayonnaise or remoulade. This recipe allows you to bring a little taste of the Big Easy right to your kitchen!
To make things easy, this recipe uses the air-fryer to ensure perfectly crispy fried shrimp, without the hassle and the extra oil. It’s a simple meal you can make on a weeknight, or whip up for a fun weekend lunch. The creamy homemade remoulade adds an absolutely crave-able finishing touch.
What Is the Difference Between a Po’ Boy and a Sub?
A po’ boy is often considered a type of sub sandwich, but there are a few key differences. These sandwiches were invented during the depression, by two brothers (retired streetcar conductors) who wanted to support streetcar workers who were then on strike due to pay cuts. The two brothers promised to feed the striking workers, saying something to the effect of, “We’ll take care of you poor boys.” The rest is history – and the sandwich is as unique to New Orleans as this story.
One key feature of a good po’ boy is the bread. While you can use any sandwich roll you like, the best, most authentic bread is a New Orleans baguette. This kind of bread is very unique, with an ultra-light and airy interior and a crisp, crackling crust. The fillings are simple: rich roast beef, shredded and doused in gravy, or fried seafood such as shrimp, oysters, crab, or catfish. Po’ boys are hot sandwiches that can be messy to eat, but very rewarding!
The Ingredients You’ll Need
The shrimp are the main filling ingredient, and I think that larger shrimp make a better sandwich. Smaller shrimp may dry out too quickly. However, you can use whatever shrimp you like!
For the Shrimp
- Shrimp: Peel and devein one pound of raw shrimp. Some people leave the tails on for extra crunch, but this is optional.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour is fine.
- Cajun Seasoning: To season the flour and add flavor to the shrimp. I love this homemade cajun seasoning blend, but store bought works too.
- Egg Whites: To help your breading ingredients stick to the shrimp.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: I highly recommend Panko here – regular breadcrumbs can sometimes be hard when cooked, but Panko cook up light and crisp.
- Cooking Oil Spray: Go for a non-aerosol, 100% avocado or olive oil spray. Aerosol sprays can damage the finish on your air fryer over time.
For the Remoulade Sauce
- Mayo: You’ll need about a cup of your favorite mayonnaise. Don’t use salad dressing spreads here – they are sweet, and will not have the correct flavor in the final dish.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice has the brightest flavor, but bottled is fine, too.
- Capers: A classic ingredient in remoulade, salty pickled capers add a unique flavor to the sauce. Don’t skip these!
- Worcestershire: This bold and tangy sauce gives the remoulade a boost of umami goodness.
- Garlic: Mince or press the garlic.
- Smoked Paprika: Regular paprika will also work, but smoked adds a special smoky taste that’s really great with shrimp.
- Hot Sauce: I use the Slap Yo Mama brand, but feel free to substitute your favorite hot sauce.
- Dijon Mustard: For a subtle hint of mustard and wine.
- Olives: Chop up a few green olives.
- Sandwich Buns: Look for sandwich buns that are light and soft on the inside, but crisp and crackly on the outside. The buns should not be dense or thick. Bahn mi rolls are great if you can get them!
- Tomatoes and Lettuce: Sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce are traditional options for “dressing” a po’ boy.
- Pickles: I like to use long pickle sandwich slices, but you can use regular sliced pickles, or slice your own.
How to Make Air Fryer Shrimp Po’ Boys
To make these sandwiches, you’ll need to first air-fry your shrimp and make your sauce. From there, it’s all about piling on the yummy ingredients!
Make the Shrimp
- Preheat the Air Fryer and Set Up the Breading Ingredients. To begin, preheat the air fryer to 325°F. Next, set out three shallow bowls for breading, along with your air fryer basket. In one bowl, stir together the flour and Cajun seasoning. Place the egg whites in a second bowl, and give them a quick whip. Place the Panko in the third bowl.
- Bread the Shrimp. One by one, dip the peeled and deveined shrimp in the seasoned flour, followed by egg whites, and then Panko. Lay each one in the air fryer basket as you go. Don’t crowd the basket – you might have to bread and cook in batches.
- Air-Fry the Shrimp. Finally, spritz the shrimp lightly with cooking spray to help them crisp up in the air fryer. Air-fry for 4 minutes, flip, and spritz with oil again. Air-fry for 4 more minutes, or until golden-brown and fully cooked.
- Repeat as Needed. Set the shrimp aside on a plate, and repeat the process as needed until all the shrimp are cooked.
Make the Remoulade Sauce
- Mix Together Remoulade Ingredients. Place all of your remoulade ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate the sauce until you are ready to serve.
Assemble the Po’ Boys
- Prep the Buns. Slice the buns open, and toast them if you prefer. Then spread a layer of remoulade sauce over the bottom bun.
- Add Shrimp and Toppings. Add your air-fried shrimp, tomatoes, and lettuce to the sandwich, plus more remoulade sauce if you like. Place the top bun on top.
- Enjoy! Serve immediately.
Tips for the Best Shrimp Po’ Boys
Making po’ boys is super simple! I hope you are inspired to try making this Louisiana classic. But before you go, make sure to check out these helpful tips and tricks.
- No Crowding: Be careful not to crowd the air fryer basket when making the shrimp – and never layer the shrimp on top of each other in the air fryer. The hot air needs to circulate all around each shrimp in order to cook them properly, so arrange them in a single layer, not touching.
- Oil for Crispiness: While this recipe uses much less oil than traditional frying, oil is still a crucial part of the air-frying process. Make sure to lightly spray the shrimp with a small amount of oil before cooking, and then respray when you flip them over. If you don’t do this, they will not crisp up as needed.
- Pile Them High: When assembling your sandwich, it may be easier to cut the buns completely in half. That way you can layer them high with toppings, and rest the top bun on top.
- Toast the Buns: Toasting the bread is a nice touch, but you can skip this if you prefer. To toast a number of sandwich buns at once, slice them in half and bake them in a 400°F oven for a minute or two. You can bake directly on your clean oven rack, or on a baking sheet.
When it comes to serving, I like to keep my side dishes simple. You could really get away with just putting some chips on the side – but if you’d like to make something a little more special, these recipes are just right.
Fries: Fries are an unbelievably popular side dish, and they’re easy to make at home if you bake or air-fry them. Looking for something a little different? Try these Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries. You’ll love these flavorful seasoned fries, made with healthy sweet potatoes.
Salad: A little bit of salad makes a great side dish for any sandwich, including a po’ boy. Try a simple garden salad, some cold pasta salad (like my favorite Greek Pasta Salad), or do a little something different and serve sweet, creamy Ambrosia Salad. Made with pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and cherries, it’s to die for!
- Deviled Eggs: If you like deviled eggs, you have to try these Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs. Sweet and savory pimiento cheese dresses up ordinary deviled eggs, making these little bites unforgettably scrumptious.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- If you have any leftovers, refrigerate the shrimp and remoulade sauce separately in airtight containers. The cooked shrimp will keep for up to 5 days, while the remoulade keeps for up to one week.
- To reheat the shrimp, pop them back into the air fryer for about 2 – 3 minutes at 325°F. Microwaving is not as effective – it will warm the shrimp, but they will be very soggy instead of crispy.
For the Shrimp
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ¼ cup egg whites
- 1 cup Panko style bread crumbs
- Cooking oil spray (100% avocado or olive oil)
For the Remoulade Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 green olives, chopped
- 4 large sandwich buns
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 jar dill pickle slices
Make the Shrimp
- Preheat the air fryer to 325°F.
- Create an assembly line for coating the shrimp. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour and Cajun seasoning. Place the egg whites in a second bowl. Place the panko in a third bowl.
- First, dip the shrimp in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess.
- Then dip the shrimp into the egg whites, making sure they are completely coated.
- Place the shrimp immediately into the bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Press the shrimp into the bread crumbs to coat on all sides.
- Then place the shrimp in a single layer of the air fryer basket, making sure not to crowd the shrimp. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to cook the shrimp in batches.)
- Spray the shrimp lightly with cooking spray (this helps them get crispy in the air fryer).
- Cook shrimp in preheated air fryer for 4 minutes. Flip the shrimp and spray them one more time with cooking oil spray. Return to the air fryer for 4 more minutes, or until shrimp are golden and cooked through.
- Remove the shrimp and repeat with any remaining shrimp.
Make the Remoulade Sauce
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve, or for up to 7 days.
Assemble the Po’ Boys
- Slice the buns open. Spread a layer of remoulade sauce over the bottom of the bun.
- Layer the air-fried shrimp, tomatoes, and lettuce on the bun.
- Top with more remoulade sauce, if desired, and place the top back on.
- Serve immediately.
Storage: If you have any leftovers, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The cooked shrimp will keep for up to 5 days. The remoulade will keep for up to 7 days.
To reheat the shrimp, pop them back into the air fryer for about 2 - 3 minutes at 325°F. This will help them get crispy again. Microwaving is not as effective - it will warm the shrimp but they will not be crispy.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 916Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 42gCholesterol: 262mgSodium: 2658mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 40g
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