It couldn’t be easier to make Air Fryer Tilapia. In less than 15 minutes you’ll have a delicious and healthy dinner on the table. This mild fish is seasoned simply and is full of amazing flavor!
If you’ve been here before, you probably know that I have a real love affair with my air fryer! It’s so convenient to use and I love that I can use less oil when preparing my favorite recipes. In case you’re wondering what’s my favorite Air Fryer, I use the Cosori XL Air Fryer and I really like its large square basket.
Fish is one of my favorite things to make for dinner and this recipe for tilapia in the air fryer is so easy! The tilapia naturally has a mild taste, so all you have to do is add a bit of oil and some simple seasoning to create a big flavor! Serve it along with your favorite side dishes and you have an amazing meal everyone will love.
If you like your fish with breading, I also have a recipe for air fryer fish where you coat the fish with dry seasoned breadcrumbs before cooking. The coating gives the fish a little added crunch.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Budget-Friendly. Tilapia is one of the more affordable fillets and you can find it either fresh or frozen pretty easily in most grocery stores.
- Quick and Mess-Free. The fish will cook in a few minutes, and you don’t have to mess around with hot oil splattering everywhere.
- Healthy Dinner Option. Tilapia is a low-calorie source of good protein, making it a great choice for a health-conscious dinner.
Here’s what you need to make this simple tender flaky fillet.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- 2 tilapia fillets: You can use fresh or frozen fillets for this recipe, just make sure that if they’re frozen, you let the fillets thaw in the fridge overnight before air frying. When buying fresh tilapia, look for firm shiny flesh that bounces back when you press on it. It should be a pinkish-white color that turns white when cooked. Also, if it has a strong odor, it’s not fresh, so avoid buying it.
- Seasoning: I use a blend of smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powder, but you can use your favorite seasoning blend. I’ve shared some other blends further down in the post.
How To Make Air Fryer Tilapia
Air frying is a quick mess-free way to cook tilapia and lots of other fish too! Follow these simple steps for tender fish every time.
- Preheat your air fryer to 375°F/180°C for 5 minutes.
- Make the Seasoning Blend: Combine the seasoning and spices in a small bowl.
- Season the Fish: Pat the fillet dry and drizzle it with olive oil, then use a pastry brush or your hands to lightly coat the fish all over with the oil. Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the fish.
- Air Fry: Line the basket with a parchment paper liner if you prefer to use one. Add the fish to the air fryer basket and air fry for 6–7 minutes making sure to flip halfway through.
- Serve: Let the air fryer tilapia rest for 5 minutes then serve it with lemon wedges and sides of your choice.
How to tell if tilapia is cooked
The best way to check that it is done is to use an instant-read thermometer. You want the fish to reach an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C.
It will no longer have a translucent or raw appearance and it should flake easily when you press on it with a fork.
Use a thin, flat spatula to handle the cooked fillet. It’s quite delicate and a thin spatula will help to flip or transfer the tilapia without ruining the whole piece!
Tilapia has a mild taste, so you can easily jazz it up with any seasonings you like to give it more flavor. Here are some of my favorites:
- Cajun: Coat the fish with some homemade or store-bought Cajun seasoning
- Lemon pepper: Sprinkle over some lemon pepper seasoning and squeeze over some fresh lemon before serving.
- Italian seasoning: Give your fish a Mediterranean twist with this Italian herb blend of oregano, basil, rosemary, and time.
- Fajita seasoning: Add a Mexican flair with a blend of chili powder, cumin, paprika, and other spices. You can use a packet from the store or make your own.
- Old Bay seasoning: This classic seasoning is perfect with fish. Made with a warm blend of spices including celery salt, cinnamon, and dry mustard, it adds amazing flavor to everything!
- Prevent sticking. If you’re worried about the fish sticking to the basket, you can line it with a parchment liner before adding the fish. It also makes clean up easier!
- Cook in batches. If you’re cooking more than 2 fillets, work in batches so the air can circulate the fish as it cooks.
- Adjust cooking time. You might have to adjust the cooking time a little bit depending on how thick your tilapia fillets are. A kitchen thermometer will help you check to see if your fish is done.
Leftover air fryer tilapia can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You have a couple of options for reheating the fish. The quickest way is to pop it back into the air fryer at 350°F/180°C for about 3 minutes. Another option is to heat it in a pan on the stove top with some butter. Heat the pan and melted butter over medium heat and warm the fish through.
What To Serve With Tilapia
I always have some lemon wedges on the plate or on the table so people can squirt a bit of lemon juice over their dish.
- Rice. Air fryer tilapia pairs well with all kinds of rice dishes like mushroom rice, lemon rice, and cilantro lime rice.
- If you’d rather have potatoes, try crockpot mashed potatoes, air fryer roasted potatoes, or oven baked potato wedges.
- Can’t forget the veggies! Think about adding roasted root vegetables or this creamy broccoli casserole. You can even use this fish in a wrap with a creamy slaw for fish tacos!
Tilapia is a healthy source of protein and the great thing about cooking fish with an air fryer is that you only need to brush on a small amount of oil to achieve a crispy outside.
While you can cook fish frozen in an air fryer, I recommend thawing the tilapia beforehand, so I have provided the cooking times for this recipe based on thawed fish.
Yes! Cooking fish in an air fryer is a great option. It’s so quick and easy to do plus you don’t have to worry about frying your fish in a lot of oil.
I hope you enjoy this quick and tasty tilapia air fryer recipe as much as I do! Pin it for more people to enjoy too!
- 4 tilapia fillets 4-6 ounces each
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or granules
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- lemon wedges
- Preheat your air fryer to 375°F/180°C for 5 minutes.Make the Seasoning Blend: Combine the seasoning and spices in a small bowl.
- Pat the fillet dry and drizzle it with olive oil, then use a pastry brush or your hands to lightly coat the fish all over with the oil. Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the fish.
- Line the basket with a parchment paper liner if you prefer to use one. Add the fish to the air fryer basket and air fry for 6–7 minutes making sure to flip halfway through.
- Let the air fryer tilapia rest for 5 minutes then serve it with lemon wedges and sides of your choice.
- You could use either fresh fish fillets or frozen fish fillets that are completely thawed. The fillets should not be too thin as thin strips won’t work in this recipe. For smaller pieces of fish, try this Air Fryer fish sticks recipe.
- Make sure that your air fryer basket is not overcrowded as that will prevent the fish from crisping.
- You might need to adjust the cooking times depending on the kind and the thickness of the fish that you’re using and the model of your air fryer. Fish is ready when it’s easily flaked with a fork.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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