Perfectly cooked shrimp and vegetables cooked in the Air Fryer, then tossed with a nicely spicy Kung Pao sauce. This Air Fryer Kung Pao Shrimp recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare, and it’s a way better than delivery!
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Air Fryer Meals
I love my Air Fryer! But I’m sure you already know that. It’s so fast and energy efficient.
I would use it to cook just about any meal!
So. I decided to make a recipe for these quarantined times, where you may have limited ingredients.
Using pantry and freezer items
See, I wanted to use mostly canned veggies and veggies that last a long time in the fridge, and of course shrimp from the freezer.
Water chestnuts and canned baby corn fit nicely into that canned category, and you can keep a couple of cans around for weeknight meals, or for these weird times where groceries are in short supply.
Red peppers last a nice long time in the fridge, so they also fit perfectly into my meal planning. I often add red peppers to just about any meal: breakfast omelets, Mexican food, Asian food, simple dinner. So I like to keep them around.
This Air Fryer meal is nice and flexible too. Use whatever veggies are in there. Some great options for veggies are:
Green onions cut into 1-inch pieces
Green Bell Pepper
I almost always have frozen shrimp in the freezer. We buy one of those nice big bags of shrimp. They often have those big bags of frozen shrimp on sale for $5 (at least they used to). It makes for a very economical (budget-friendly) meal.
How to prep Shrimp
Simply defrost frozen, peeled, & deveined shrimp and remove the shell from the tail. I like to buy the extra jumbo shrimp 16/20 count per pound. They’re nice big shrimp.
To defrost the shrimp, simply place them in a medium bowl and cover with cool tap water. Change the water out for fresh tap water a couple of times, and in about 5 minutes they’ll be defrosted.
At this point, the tail shell is easily removable.
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
Kung Pao Sauce
I created the Kung Pao sauce using all cupboard items, things I always have on hand. So you shouldn’t have to buy anything new or special to make this sauce.
It has a nice little background spice kick to it, but if you like your food really spicy, feel free to double the amount of chili garlic paste in the sauce.
Also, the amount of sauce just nicely covers the meal. If you like your food really saucy, I suggest doubling the amount of sauce. My husband would have liked me to double the sauce for him.
Doubling the recipe is easy; simply use the servings slider in the recipe card to double all the ingredients.
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Air Fryer Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe
Air Fryer Kung Pao Shrimp
Veggies & shrimp:
- 1 pound large shrimp defrosted, shells and tails removed
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
- 15 ounce can whole baby sweet corn drained and cut in half
- 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts
- 1 tablespoon light tasting oil of your choice
- 2 ½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
- Prepare shrimp and veggies, place in a large bowl, and toss together with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Preheat the air fryer 400° F.
- Place the shrimp and veggies in the air fryer basket, and cook 8 minutes at 400° F, shaking the basket half way through cooking. If you have a smaller air fryer, the shrimp and veggies may need to be cooked in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the basket.
- While the shrimp & veggies cook, prepare the sauce:
- Place the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, cornstarch mixture, sesame oil, chili garlic paste, garlic, and ginger) in a small saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, pour the sauce over the cooked veggies & shrimp, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve over rice.