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Satisfy your taco cravings with these incredible Air Fryer Shrimp Taco Bowls with pineapple salsa fresca and chipotle mayo! One taste of these crispy, spicy, air fried shrimp paired with refreshing pineapple salsa fresca and dressed with tangy, satisfying chipotle mayo will make you completely forget about the tortilla! An awesome dish to serve at a Cinco de Mayo fiesta or for everyday lunch or dinner, these air fryer shrimp taco bowls are also Paleo, Whole30 and low FODMAP, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.
My Favourite Fish / Shrimp Tacos
I didn’t grow up eating anything but tacos made with ground beef. It wasn’t until adulthood that I ever tried a fish or shrimp taco. A friend of mine is an avid fish taco eater and ordered them often on our dinners out. Her fish tacos always looked amazing, so eventually I started ordering them, too. I really liked ordering them at restaurants as they are tasty, not too heavy, and usually pretty nutritious.
Out of all the fish tacos I’ve ever had, my favourite come from the BC-based restaurant chain, White Spot. They call them “Mexicali Tacos” and give you the option of tempura-battered cod or Nobashi prawns, which are large prawns that have been stretched out long, making them good for dipping. I actually prefer the cod version over the prawn version but thought I could enhance the latter using air fried, battered shrimp.
In addition to cod or prawns, White Spot’s Mexicali Tacos are topped with coleslaw, pickled onions, chipotle mayo, and strawberry pico de gallo (a.k.a. salsa fresca). I have kept the chipotle mayo as a topping with my recipe as well as a fruit salsa fresca. The salsa started with strawberries as the star component, but due to a “happy accident” during testing, changed to pineapple (read more about that in my homemade pineapple salsa fresca recipe post).
The equipment I use to make my air fryer shrimp taco bowls includes:
Air Fryer Shrimp Taco Bowls: Ingredients and Tips for Success
I posted this dish as three separate recipes on the blog as each component can be served with many different things. To be perfectly honest, this recipe, when prepared in its entirety (shrimp, salsa and mayo), is more labour intensive than most of my other recipes. So, if you were to prepare the shrimp but use a canned salsa to go with it or throw it in a gluten free tortilla and top it with some lettuce and lactose-free sour cream, I would completely understand. I don’t recommend preparing this dish in its entirety as it is written for a quick weekday lunch or a weeknight dinner. It’s just too much work.
To make it easier to prepare this recipe as it is written, I highly recommend peeling and deveining the shrimp and preparing the homemade chipotle mayo the night before you plan to serve the bowls. You could also prepare the homemade pineapple salsa fresca the night before; however, the longer it sits, the juicier it becomes. Extra salsa juice doesn’t go well with the rest of the dish. The salsa is best when it is fresh.
Breaded, Air Fried Shrimp
I use large shrimp when making this recipe, but small shrimp also go really well with this. I originally wrote this recipe using small shrimp, but I can no longer find them locally. If you prefer to use small shrimp, it is more work to bread them all. Prepare to increase the almond flour by 1/3 cup as 1 lb of small shrimp will require more breading. Also, decrease the cooking time of small shrimp to 4 minutes per side instead of 5 minutes per side.
To bread the shrimp, add blanched almond flour, chili powder, ground cumin, sea salt and black pepper to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Put the peeled/deveined shrimp in another large bowl, pour tapioca flour (a.k.a tapioca starch) over the shrimp and toss with your hands to coat. Pour garlic-infused olive oil over the shrimp and toss them again until evenly coated. Dredge each shrimp in the almond flour mixture, shaking off the excess, and place on a large plate. I typically dredge 3-4 at a time to make things go faster.
If you’re not concerned with FODMAPs, you can use regular olive oil to coat the shrimp and add 1 tsp of garlic powder to the almond flour mixture instead of using garlic-infused olive oil. I originally wrote and tested this recipe for Paleo/Whole30 only and later rewrote it for low FODMAP, so I have tested this option, and it tastes just as amazing!
Once the shrimp are breaded, spray the pan of your preheated air fryer with paleo compliant cooking spray. Using tongs, add as many as can fit in your air fryer in one layer. Leave a little space between each shrimp as best you can. Spray the shrimp with cooking spray and air fry for 5 minutes. Flip the shrimp using a fork, spray with cooking spray, and air fry for another 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat these steps for the remaining shrimp. You may have to cook the shrimp in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your air fryer. I typically have to cook them in 3 batches but serve them as the subsequent batches cook. In other words, we eat the first batch while the second batch cooks, etc.
If you prefer not to serve them as soon as they are cooked, place the cooked shrimp on a large plate while the other batches cook. Then, if they have cooled significantly while the other batches were cooking, add them back to the air fryer and cook for about 30 seconds to warm them back up.
Pineapple Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Mayo
I recommend preparing the salsa just prior to cooking the shrimp and preparing the chipotle mayo (if not the night before) while the shrimp are cooking. View the recipes for homemade pineapple salsa fresca and homemade chipotle mayo for tips and more information on their ingredients.
Assembling the Bowls
To assemble the bowls, place chopped romaine in the bottom of each serving bowl. Top the romaine with the cooked shrimp and the pineapple salsa fresca. Drizzle everything with the homemade chipotle mayo, garnish with fresh lime slices or wedges (optional) and serve.
Satisfy your taco cravings with these incredible Air Fryer Shrimp Taco Bowls! Crispy, air fried shrimp breaded and seasoned with classic Mexican flavours paired with refreshing pineapple salsa fresca and topped with tangy, satisfying chipotle mayo. An awesome dish to serve at a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, for Taco Tuesday, or everyday lunch or dinner! Paleo, Whole30, low FODMAP, egg-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.
AIR FRIED SHRIMP:
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed (ideally the night before)
Preheat your air fryer to 400° F for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, add the almond flour, chili powder, ground cumin, sea salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. In another large bowl, add the peeled/deveined shrimp. Pour tapioca flour over the shrimp and toss with your hands to coat. Pour the garlic-infused olive oil over the shrimp and toss again until evenly coated. Dredge each shrimp in the almond flour mixture, shaking off the excess, and place on a large plate. Dredge multiple shrimp at a time to make things go faster.
Once the air fryer is preheated, spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Using tongs, add as much shrimp that will fit in one layer, leaving a little space between them as best you can (you may need to cook 2-3 batches depending on the size of your air fryer). Once in the air fryer, spray the shrimp with cooking spray. Cook for 5 minutes. Using a fork, flip the shrimp, spray with cooking spray, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove cooked shrimp to a fresh plate. Repeat these steps until all the shrimp are cooked.
To assemble the bowls, add the chopped romaine to the bottom of your serving bowls. Then, place shrimp and pineapple salsa on top of the romaine. Drizzle the chipotle mayo on top of everything, garnish with fresh lime slices or wedges (optional), and serve.
Please note: Some people react poorly to food that’s spicy even if it is low FODMAP. Be mindful of how your body reacts to spicy food and consult your doctor or dietitian before making this recipe if you have concerns about how your body might react.
*If you don’t have an issue with FODMAPs, you can use regular olive oil to coat the shrimp and add 1 tsp garlic powder to the almond flour mixture instead of using garlic-infused olive oil.
Prep time reflects the time it takes to prepare all components of the bowl (shrimp, salsa fresca and chipotle mayo).
If the cooked shrimp have cooled significantly while cooking subsequent batches, stick them in the air fryer for another 30 seconds just before serving.
You could prepare the pineapple salsa the night before as well, but I typically don’t as the longer it sits, the juicier it becomes. It is best to prepare it the day of.
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