Recipe to try at home: Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls

Recipe to try at home: Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls

Nikki ParkinsonFood and Wine, Life 4 Comments

It’s no secret that we love holidaying at Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast but, since 2016, an added attraction to our holidays at this iconic spot has been dining with the sand between our toes and tucking into Rick Shores bug rolls.

Rick Shores took up prime breach front position (you cannot get closer to the water) that summer and from the moment we first bit into one of its now-famous (Moreton Bay) bug rolls, it was love. And I mean LOVE. They may have gone up in price about $6 each (they’re now $18 each) but, to us, they’re synonymous with summer. 

Yes, we’ve dined inside at Rick Shores, and it’s a stunning experience, but the most fun we’ve had is popping on a cover-up over our swimsuits and stepping off the sand on to an outside table. We set up our CoolCabana tent nearest the outside tables and as the clock ticks on over at 12noon, inevitably one of our extended asks the question: “bug roll and a Rose?”.

This trip past we answer the call this twice. Each time it reminded me just how lucky we are to have such incredible dining experiences right on our door step, well 1.5 hours away.

Rick Shores Burleigh Heads Queensland Gold Coast

Rick Shores Bug Rolls Burleigh Heads Queensland Gold Coast

I’ve re-created the bug roll experience at home once before and a couple of my girlfriends *gently suggested* that it was time to do so again. I’m always up for a challenge and after some thought about how our kitchen didn’t cope so well with the frying last time, I decided to put our new Air Fryer to the test, making the below Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls. We were thrilled that it worked, serving up these rolls as starters at a summer party we hosted last weekend. They may not have looked as good but they certainly passed the taste test.

Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls

(Makes 20 large bug rolls – this recipe was adapted from a recipe shared by Rick Shores in The Sunday Mail newspaper)

Recipe to try at home: Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls


20 brioche buns 
40 pieces Moreton Bay raw bug meat (equivalent to 20 whole raw Moreton Bay bugs)
250g Panko bread crumbs
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 x 400ml coconut cream
2 stalk lemongrass, trimmed
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 baby gem lettuce

For the bug meat mayo:
250ml classic Kewpie mayo
4 kaffir lime leaves
Juice of one half a fresh lime 
1 tsp Togarashi, or to taste
Salt flakes

For the sriracha mayo:
2 tsp sriracha sauce, or to taste
250ml classic Kewpie mayo


1. Trim bugs so you have a “clean” tail. Reserve these off-cuts. Place clean tails in fridge.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring to simmer the coconut cream, 4 kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass stalks. Place bug off-cuts in simmering mixture to lightly poach. Use a sieve to remove poached bug off-cuts from coconut cream mixture. Place bug off-cuts in fridge to cool.

3. Once cool, use to create the bug meat mayo. Finely chop the remaining 4 kaffir lime leaves. Mix with 250g Kewpie mayo, lime juice, Togarashi* and salt (to taste). Finely chop bug off-cuts and add to mix. Set aside in fridge.

4. Create sriracha mayo by mixing together sriracha sauce and 250g Kewpie mayo.

5. Prep bug tails for air frying. Coat in flour, then egg, then Panko breadcrumbs. Place in fridge until ready to cook.

6. Heat Air Fryer to 200 degrees Celsius for five minutes. Place bugs in Air Fryer (avoid over-crowding and cook in batches). Spray with cooking oil spray of choice. Cook for five minutes. Repeat spray. Cook for a further two minutes.

7. Meanwhile, toast brioche buns. Spread one side with bug meat mayo, top with lettuce, then two cooked bug tail pieces. Spread other side of bun with sriracha mayo. 

8. Enjoy immediately (with our without a crisp, dry Rose).

Recipe notes: Ask your local seafood supplier if they can source bug tail meat for you. It will save you a lot of extra work and actually works out value for money. You’ll find brioche buns of varying sizes in most supermarkets. Choose what works for you. We accidentally ended up with large hotdog buns that were already split at the top, so had to work with that. If the buns were smaller, we’d have put just one piece of bug meat on each. Look for Togarashi at speciality delis, Asian food stores and some supermarkets. If found the “” brand at our local fruit and veg shop. Want to make the recipe gluten-free friendly? You’ll find gluten-free brioche buns at Coles. Substitute plain flour for gluten-free plain flour. And look for gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs in the health food aisle of your local supermarket or health store. Don’t have an Air Fryer? You could shallow fry using the same breadcrumb mix or create a batter. The Rick Shores batter recipe is HERE

Recipe to try at home: Air Fryer Rick Shores Bug Rolls

Comments 4

  1. So excited to try this recipe! Thanks so much. We tried to go to Rick shores for bug rolls over Iso, only to discover that the main beach pop up was serving takeaway but not burleigh, so I’m yet to try this much raved about treat! Now I can try it at home. Many thanks

    1. Post
    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.