This air fryer tilapia recipe is the healthiest and simplest way to cook fish to perfection!
It’s a cheap and easy meal that’s great for busy weeknights, but it also has the flavor and wow-factor to make it a special meal. It’s keto-friendly and low-carb.
Making your own fried fish is easier than you think, and tilapia may become a meal you add to your regular rotation with the help of an air fryer.
WHAT IS TILAPIA?
Tilapia is a very broad term that refers to many different species of cichlid fish. They are predominantly freshwater fish.
Tilapia has a mild flavor, making it an ideal canvas for you to add lots of flavor to.
Tilapia is the fourth most popular seafood in the United States. Costco always has a large supply of it and it is always very cheap.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS CRISPY AIR FRYER TILAPIA?
- It’s a low-cost and healthy dinner option. Tilapia is a freshwater fish that is relatively inexpensive. It’s a cheap source of protein that’s high in selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, and potassium. I purchased the whole tilapia from Costco for about $3.99 per pound, or about $2 – 2.50 per fish. That’s a great deal, in my opinion!
- It’s the healthiest way to deep fry fish without consuming extra calories. Fish fried in a lot of oil contains a lot of calories. Cooking fish in an air fryer requires only about 2 teaspoons of oil.
- It is seasoned simply. This tilapia was seasoned with fresh lime juice, kosher salt, and black pepper. I also stuffed the cavity with garlic cloves to give the fish flavor and aroma.
- Tilapia Fillets (fresh or frozen): Fresh or frozen tilapia can be found in any supermarket or grocery store. You should also look into Wild Alaskan Company if you want the freshest fish delivered right to your door! They have an incredible wild white fish box with pacific halibut, pacific cod, pacific rockfish, and wild Alaska pollock!
- Oil or Air Fryer Safe Cooking Spray: When cooking air fryer tilapia, I recommend using oil or air fryer safe cooking spray. Fish tends to stick in air fryers, so spray on some oil to avoid this.
AIR FRYER FROZEN TILAPIA
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil (or your preferred oil) or coat the tilapia filets directly.
- Season your tilapia with the seasonings of your choice. Seasoning suggestions can be found in the notes.
- Place a fresh or frozen tilapia filet in the air fryer, Ninja foodi basket, or air fryer tray.
- Cook frozen tilapia filets at 400° for 10-13 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish. It is recommended, but not required, to flip the pan halfway through the cooking process.
- According to the FDA, air fryer tilapia should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°.
- Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on the side.
HOW TO DEFROST FISH?
If you’re using frozen tilapia, make sure it’s completely defrosted before cooking. You can store your tilapia in the refrigerator overnight, covered.
Before coating the tilapia and cooking it in the air fryer, pat each fillet completely dry.
If you do not completely dry the fish fillet before coating it, you will not get as crunchy a crust on the fish.
WHAT TEMP SHOULD TILAPIA BE COOKED TO?
Tilapia should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
Normally, you can tell when a fish is done when it is no longer transparent, but with the breading, it’s difficult to tell.
As long as the fish isn’t more than 1 1/2 inches thick and wasn’t frozen, it’ll be done in 15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer if you’re unsure.
HOW TO SEASON YOUR AIR FRYER FISH?
The following are some fun seasoning ideas for your air fryer fish. I recommend that you coat your fresh fish in oil before seasoning it.
If you’re cooking tilapia from frozen, I recommend adding seasoning after the first flip.
- seasoned with salt and pepper
- Seasoning with lemon pepper
- Seasoning with blackened peppers
- Seasoning for steak
- seasoning with mesquite
- Smoked paprika and paprika
- Onion or garlic powder
- Crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper
Frequently Asked Questions
How much tilapia fillet should you buy?
Each person should have one tilapia fillet. Tilapia fillets typically weigh 6-8 ounces. This portion is ideal for serving with a side dish.
Can you use frozen tilapia in air fryer?
You can cook air fryer tilapia with either fresh or frozen fillets. If you can defrost the tilapia fillets overnight, they will cook faster. If you need to defrost the fish fillet quickly, place it in an airtight plastic bag in a bowl of cold water for 15-30 minutes.
How can you reheat leftover tilapia in an air fryer?
Reheat leftover tilapia in an air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes. Reheated tilapia goes well with salads or sandwiches.
How long does fish take in the air fryer?
Working in batches, place fish in air fryer basket and cook for 10 to 12 minutes at 400°, gently flipping halfway through, or until fish is golden and flakes easily with a fork.
Alternative recipes to try:
This air fryer tilapia recipe is crispy and delightfully flaky, and it takes only 15 minutes to prepare! Serve the savory air fryer fish with potatoes, rice, a salad, or in tacos.
Cooking air fryer tilapia is a no-brainer and a snap to adapt to your personal preferences. You can mix up the seasonings and what you serve it with to suit your tastes; tilapia tacos/taco salads, rice, or Air Fryer Corn Dogs From Scratch are two of my favorites!
The best way to cook fresh or frozen tilapia is in an air fryer. Yes, you read that correctly: frozen fish! The outside of the fish is faintly crispy, while the inside is soft and flaky. These delicious tilapia fillets take only 12 minutes to prepare. This tilapia recipe isn’t breaded, but it’s perfectly seasoned, low-carb, and the ideal way to have dinner on the table quickly!
Video Recipe: Air Fryer Tilapia Fillets