These air fryer Hawaiian garlic shrimp will have you coming back for more. The shrimp are air fried in just a few minutes and then tossed in a garlicky ghee (butter) sauce. Serve this low-carb, paleo, and whole30 shrimp recipe as an appetizer or main dish.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to Oahu, Hawaii fairly frequently over the years. All it took was one visit to one of the famous North Shore shrimp trucks and I was hooked. A few years later I finally made my way to Giovanni’s. Since then, whenever I am on Oahu, I always make the trek North. Last October (before COVID-19 hit) I sat at Giovanni’s and said on video that I was going to re-create their Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe. It took me a year but here we are. For the record, I don’t consider this a recreation more an ode to.
What Are Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp?
Hawaiian garlic shrimp are a local Hawaiian dish made from shell-on (I’ll talk about that later) shrimp that are tossed with a paprika flour then cooked in a garlic butter sauce. Hawaiian garlic shrimp is usually served with rice and a lemon wedge.
What Is An Air Fryer?
The name air fryer is a little bit confusing, because when you cook food in your air fryer you aren’t actually frying it. An air fryer cooks your food by circulating hot air around the food at a very high-speed, cooking the food and producing a crispy ‘fried’ layer. This is called convection so your air fryer is actually a small countertop convection oven. An air fryer can help you cook your food faster while still getting a nice baked or fried texture on the outside, all with a very small amount of oil. Air fryers come in a variety of different sizes and styles. I use a 5.8-quart COSORI Air Fryer which is the one you see pictured with this recipe. Mine feeds 3-5 people and can fit a whole chicken in the basket easily, but if that doesn’t match your needs you have plenty of options! There are three and four-quart air fryers that are great for households of one or two.
Leave The Shells On
When making this garlic shrimp recipe, local Hawaiians leave the shells on. There are a few reasons you should leave the shell on when you cook your shrimp, no matter how you make them. Shrimp cooked in the shell has a deeper flavor than shrimp that was peeled before it was cooked. Leaving the shell on your shrimp can also help you make sure you get the timing right when you’re cooking so you can hit that sweet spot where you get it just right before you overcook it. Another awesome benefit of cooking your shrimp in the shells is that once you are done with your meal, you can reuse the shells to make a seafood broth! My recipe for bone broth can be adapted to use the shells leftover from these Hawaiian garlic shrimp to make a great seafood broth that can be the foundation for many great soups and stews.
Make This On The Stove
If you don’t have an air fryer yet, you can adapt this recipe for Hawaiian garlic shrimp to be made on your stove top. Melt the ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Once the ghee melts, add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn a light brown color. Pour garlic ghee mixture into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the shrimp in a layer. You may need to do this in batches. Cook shrimp over medium-high heat until browned, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side. Pour the garlic ghee sauce back into the pan and toss the shrimp to ensure they’re all evenly coated.
Tips For This Recipe
- If you try to put too much food into an air fryer your food will end up unevenly cooked, possible even still cold in places. This is called overcrowding and you want to make sure to avoid it so you have a consistent doneness in every bite. Make sure all your food fits in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.
- To get the best crisp when cooking, make sure to pat your shrimp dry before putting them into your air fryer. Drying your shrimp before cooking absorbs the extra moisture on your shrimp that would have to be cooked into steam before your shrimp can start to cook. It also makes sure that there are no soft spots on the shrimp and each piece is evenly crispy and delicious.
- Flip the shrimp: Another tip to get amazingly crispy Hawaiian garlic shrimp is to pause your air fryer and flip the shrimp over halfway through their cook time. This lets the side that doesn’t get as much air movement a chance to crisp up a bit more and can help make sure each tangy, garlicy bite is just as crispy as the last.
- Line your air fryer with air fryer liners. This helps with clean up!
What To Serve This With
The local Hawaiian way to serve garlic shrimp is with rice and lemon wedges. Since this recipe was made with the intention of being low-carb, keto, paleo, and whole30 compliant – cauliflower rice!
Other air fryer recipes you might enjoy:
I use a 5.8-quart COSORI Air Fryer for this recipe.Print
- 1 pound shrimp, shells-on
- 4 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour/starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- cooking spray
- Clean and devein the shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry as possible.
- In a large bowl, combine the arrowroot flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss gently. Make sure each shrimp is evenly coated in the flour mixture.
- Line the air fryer with liners. Add shrimp to the air fryer basket in a single layer. Do not stack shrimp. You may need to cook this in batches depending on how large your air fryer is. Spray the shrimp lightly with cooking spray.
- Set air fryer temperature to 350 degrees. Cook 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. When you flip the shrimp, spray the other side lightly with cooking spray.
- Add ghee to a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Once melted, add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn a light brown color. Turn off & remove from the heat so you don’t burn the garlic .
- Use tongs to remove shrimp from the air fryer. Pour garlic butter mixture evenly across all the shrimp.
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