The classic Po’ Boy sandwich originates from Louisiana and is one of my all time favourites. This Air Fryer Shrimp Po’ Boy while not 100% authentic is close and it’s a really tasty sandwich no matter what you call it. A popular weeknight dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes using an Air Fryer, and fresh, easily accessible ingredients. You’re going to make this make this often once you see how easy it is. I mean just look at how good this looks!
There’s nothing really complicated about a Po’ Boy, it’s just a perfectly balanced bite of really good ingredients. Sweet shrimp coated and cooked until crispy, paired with classic toppings, crunchy shredded lettuce, ripe sliced tomatoes, and mayo, remoulade sauce or melted butter. Yes, you read that right! Some of the best Po’ Boys I’ve had are drizzled with melted butter. Definitely rich, decadent, and oh so delicious.
Now we need to talk about what we do with all those delicious ingredients and learn how to create an amazing sandwich.
What kind of Bread is used for a Po’ Boy?
Traditional Po’ Boy bread is hard to find outside of Louisiana. It’s a cross between a French Baguette and a Sausage or hot dog bun. It’s got a slightly crusty exterior similar to Baguette, providing structure to the sandwich. Anything too soft, won’t hold up and you definitely don’t want to skimp on the filling. The inside of the bread is softer, and fluffier than a baguette, the perfect texture to absorb all the delicious flavours from the filling, not to mention the sauces!
Since we can’t find an authentic Po’ Boy Bread locally, and I’m not wanting to make the buns from scratch on a busy weeknight, I use any of the following breads. However, if you have the time, and like to bake, try this recipe for homemade Po Boy Bread.
- French bread, wider than a baguette
- French Roll
- Ciabatta Bread
- White Submarine or Hoagie Rolls
- Crusty Italian roll
- Sesame Sausage Buns, in a pinch
Why this Air Fryer Shrimp Po’ Boy recipe works
There are a few reasons this recipe works really well.
- Using a combination of cornstarch, cornmeal and flour makes for a really crispy coating
- Using the Air Fryer cooks the shrimp evenly and in half the time of frying
- No deep frying required, so that means less mess, and less calories
- Various sauces all work well, and allow for different tastes and picky eaters.
What size shrimp should I use?
Since shrimp is the star of the show here, I like to use a larger shrimp, 31/35 if I can find it. Shrimp size is determined by weighing the number of shrimp per pound. So this means, 31-35 shrimp per pound or roughly 8 per Po’ Boy. Look on the outside of the packages if you are buying frozen shrimp. Anything too small will dry out, and have too much coating vs. shrimp. However, bigger isn’t always better and anything too large, may take too long to cook through, and the coating can burn.
Fine Cooking has an excellent article with pictures if you’re new to cooking with shrimp. I’m a visual learner and the article includes a great photo labelled with the different sizes and the corresponding number per pound.
Po’ Boy Filling variations
A Po’ Boy is basically a sandwich that includes a protein and some fresh vegetables, on a Po Boy roll, it’s really quite flexible, but there are some “traditional” combinations that are most often associated with Po’ Boys.
- Crispy Fried Shrimp
- Cornmeal Crusted Oysters
- Fried Catfish
- Popcorn chicken bites
- Alligator Bites! A great recipe from Went Here 8 this!
- Roast beef or ham, thick sliced
What to serve with a Shrimp Po’ Boy?
While you can eat just the Po’ Boy as is, it’s got all the food groups, I do have a couple of suggestions for sides that I really enjoy. Choose one or two of these sides and you’ve got a complete dinner that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Air Fryer Shrimp Po Boy
- 1 lb. large raw shrimp peeled
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 cup fine corn meal
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp parsley flakes
- CAJUN MAYO:
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 2 tomatoes sliced
- 4 hoagie rolls
- Gather 3 bowls. I like to use cereal bowls. In the first bowl beat the eggs, in the second bowl mix the together the corn meal and panko crumbs. In the last bowl mix together the cornstarch and seasonings.
- Dredge each piece of shrimp first in the cornstarch, then the egg wash and then the corn meal panko mixture.
- Spray air fryer basket or tray lightly with oil and place breaded shrimp in a single layer. Lightly spray the top of the shrimp with oil and Cook on 390 for 5 minutes
- In a mixing bowl, combine the Cajun seasoning and the mayonnaise. Mix well.
- Open rolls and place lettuce on bottom, the add 8-10 pieces of shrimp, next add tomato slices and top with Cajun Mayonnaise
Want to make a Shrimp Po’ Boy and don’t have an Air Fryer? Not to worry, I have an excellent, easy to prepare Shrimp Po’ Boy recipe you can make instead. The breading is different, slightly less crispy as it doesn’t have any cornmeal in the coating, but frying in oil ensures you still get the required crunch.