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When you are looking for a sandwich that is going to satisfy every craving that you have, look no further than this Air Fried Cajun Po’ Boy. Flaky tilapia or juicy shrimp lightly battered and seasoned with enough heat to make you notice and keep you coming back for more on a soft, hoagie roll topped with Jalapeno Relish Mayo… is your mouth watering, yet?

This Cajun Po’ Boy works for a fun family night at home, dinner on the patio with friends, or a satisfying meal for yourself after a long day of either work or play. What we really love about this sandwich, is that while it’s got all of the southern flare and fun from the region that it was born, putting some tilapia or shrimp in the air fryer makes this a viable option when you’re looking for something tasty, filling, and healthier than a fried option.

So if you are ready to be full and satisfied, let’s get cooking!

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What Ingredients Do I Need for the Cajun Po’ Boy?

The ingredient list for the Cajun Po’ Boy isn’t too far out of the realm of what you might have on hand, but make sure to double check your fridge and shelves before diving in.

First off, you’ll want tilapia filets or shrimp. You’re going to batter these in egg wash and breading, so you’ll be ok with frozen filets for this recipe.

Next? The Buns. Buns are actually what makes a Po’ Boy and Po’ Boy, so you want to find the right consistency. Look for some long hoagie rolls that are hearty enough to hold up to a sandwich of this size but soft enough to sink your teeth into. The traditional hoagie rolls you find at your local grocery store will be fine. You’ll want something that has a nice crust on it, not just a hot dog or bratwurst bun, as those will break down very quickly under a sandwich of this substance. You can also use a long French roll, which has that nice outer crust that will hold up. If you are really excited, you can try cooking your own hoagie rolls, too!

Ingredients for Air Fried Cajun Po' Boy
Flavoring Ingredients for Air Fried Cajun Po’ Boy

OK, you’ve got your buns and protein, let’s get to the flavors. For your breading, pick up Panko breadcrumbs, flour, yellow cornmeal, cornstarch, and cajun spice. The cajun spice gives a nice bit of kick.

For the egg wash you’ll need an egg, milk, and buttermilk. The marinade is a combination of sriracha and buttermilk. If you don’t like the creaminess of buttermilk you can use olive oil and sriracha.

The final flavorings come with the sauce and the toppings. The sauce is a mix of mayo, sriracha, and jalapeno relish. Jalapeno relish is typically the most exotic ingredient in the dish. If you can’t find it, you can dice up some jalapenos and mix those in with the mayo and sriracha.

Finally, our favorite toppings for this are spinach and tomatoes. Toppings are always a personal preference, so find the toppings you like! Pepperoncini, onion, avocado… There are so many options!

Putting Together Your Po’ Boy

The beauty of the Po’ Boy is that it was designed to be a simple, tasty, and filling sandwich, which means putting it together is fairly simple as well.

The most work intensive part of this process is preparing your fish. Quick secret – it’s not that intensive.

Placing Fish in the Marinading Bag
Place Marinade in Container

The first thing you’ll need to do is marinade your fish (or shrimp.) The marinade is a combination of sriracha and buttermilk. Mix these ingredients together and put in a container you can seal. Add your fish or shrimp to your marinade and mix it up nicely to make sure the protein is completely covered by the marinade. Put in the refrigerator and let marinade for at least 30 minutes. If you want the fish a little spicier you can marinade for a couple of hours.

When your fish are just about done marinading, start getting the rest of your flavors ready! Pull your fish out of the refrigerator so it can get near room temperature while you are getting the rest of your ingredients ready. Having the fish at room temperature allows it to cook more evenly when you put it in the air fryer.

Pre-heat the Air Fryer to 390 degrees. We use the Ninja Foodie 5 in 1 Countertop Grill which we love for air frying and so many other uses.

Now you’ll start making your breading mixture. Put your bread crumbs, flour, cornmeal, corn starch, and cajun spice in a shallow baking pan and mix together. You’re putting them in a shallow baking pan because you will put your fish fillets or shrimp in this pan to coat them with the breading.

Now get your egg wash. For the egg wash you just need to whisk together your egg and milk. Again, putting these in a shallow baking dish will allow you to easily coat your fish or shrimp.

OK, your protein, egg wash and breading are ready. Here we go!

Pull the fish filet or shrimp out of the marinade. Drain off extra marinade and place into the flour mixture to coat. Soak in the egg wash, flipping it over to make sure it is completely coated.

Fish Filets in Breading
Placing fish in breading after egg wash

Once the fish has been coated in the egg wash, pull it out and place it in the breading. Again, make sure it is completely on both sides.

After breading then remove and place on a plate. Repeat the process with all fish filets or shrimp.

Spray all fully breaded filets with a light coat of cooking oil.

Once you have everything coated in the egg wash and breading, place the filets or shrimp in the air fryer. Make sure they are not stacked on each other to ensure an even cooking process.

For the cooking process you will flip your protein after 4-5 minutes. The shrimp will be done after about eight minutes, so you’ll flip it once. The fish should take two turns and cook for about 12-15 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your filets and shrimp. The coloring will be a nice light brown and the breading will be on the crispy side. The meat will temp at 145 degrees for both proteins when finished. We always have our Thermopro Meat Thermometer on hand to make sure we’ve got it at the right temp.

While your fish is cooking, get your buns ready! Slice them the length of the bun, making sure both sides will be thick enough to hold the sandwich. Spread your favorite mayo or alternate spread on the bun. We really like mixing some pickle juice and jalapenos into some mayo to spread on the bun.

Assembled Cajun Po' Boy
Building your Cajun Po boy

Place your heartier toppings on the bottom bun so they are flat and can support the fish. We are big fans of the long pickle slices, tomato, spinach, and maybe some avocado. But this is your sandwich, so find those toppings that you like!

Once your fish is done, well you just about are, too! The next step is to get that fish on top. Finish off with any of your smaller toppings, and you are ready to eat!

Please visit our Resources page if you are interested in finding some of the tools and gadgets Dre uses to make cooking accessible while combatting MS.

Air Fried Cajun Po' Boys
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5 from 4 votes

Air Fried Cajun Po’ Boy

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 45 min Total Time 45 mins Servings: 2 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine Sriracha and buttermilk. Place in a container and soak the tilapia or shrimp in this mixture to marinate for 30 minutes to 6 hours.

    Soaking Tilapia in Buttermilk Sriracha
  2. Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees

  3. In a mixing container mix together the Panko breadcrumbs, Italian breadcrumbs, cornmeal, Cajun spice, cornstarch and flour. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg and milk.

    Mixing Bread Crumb Mixture
  4. Remove the tilapia from the marinade and shake off additional moisture. Place the fillets one at a time into the flour mixture, and then the egg mixture, and then back into the flour mixture. Spray with cooking oil and set aside.

    Soaking the Tilapia in the Egg Wash
  5. Place the breaded tilapia into the pre-heated air fryer and cook 15 minutes shaking/turning every 5 minutes. 

    Tilapia Filets in Air Fryer
    If you are using shrimp cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping once. All seafood proteins should temp at 145 degrees prior to eating.
  6. Place the cooked tilapia on a French roll with mayo, tomato and lettuce! Enjoy.

Keywords: Air Fried Cajun Po' Boy, Cajun Po' Boy, Air Fryer
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  1. Holly

    This recipe is simple to make, and amazing! My entire family loves it when I make this, and that says a lot because I’ve got some pretty opinionated eaters in my house!

  2. Emily

    Delicious and easy with a healthy twist. My family LOVED this meal. Will definitely make again and often.

  3. Milanne Kolquist

    Easy, quick, and delicious!.

  4. Terri and Bill

    We don’t have an air fryer so fried them in a pan and these were delicious! Will definitely make again!

  1. Holly

    This recipe is simple to make, and amazing! My entire family loves it when I make this, and that says a lot because I’ve got some pretty opinionated eaters in my house!

  2. Emily

    Delicious and easy with a healthy twist. My family LOVED this meal. Will definitely make again and often.

  3. Milanne Kolquist

    Easy, quick, and delicious!.

  4. Terri and Bill

    We don’t have an air fryer so fried them in a pan and these were delicious! Will definitely make again!

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