Air Fryer Tilapia

5 from 16 votes

This air fryer tilapia is a quick, easy, and delicious dinner idea that comes together in less than 10 minutes! This tender white fish is perfect for those skeptical of seafood!

air fryer tilapia

We love using our air fryer to cook seafood.

Unlike using the oven or the pan, we never have to worry about overcooking or undercooking it. It’s also incredibly quick and the cleanup is minimal. Our favorite seafood to air fry include shrimp, salmon, and tilapia. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy and quick. No marinating needed, and it takes just a few minutes to cook. 
  • Economical yet delicious. Compared to other fish, tilapia is affordable and easy to find at most grocery stores. 
  • Fresh or frozen. Either fresh or frozen fillets work!
  • Healthy. Tilapia is a low calorie and low carb fish, with just 120 calories per 4 ounce serving.

What I love about this tilapia recipe is that it NEVER leaves a fishy flavor. Unlike other seafood, it’s mild flavored and can easily be customized. 

I mean, as someone who grew up not liking the taste of any fish, this one was an immediate winner!

air fryer tilapia recipe

Ingredients needed

You’ll love the basic ingredient list to make this recipe. Besides a few spices, the fish is really the only thing you’ll need to find and honestly, everywhere sells it! Here is what you’ll need:

  • Tilapia fillets. While fresh or frozen fillets work, always choose fresh when possible. Also, try to choose equal sized fillets so they cook evenly.  
  • Salt and pepper. To taste. 
  • Smoked paprika. Adds a lovely smokey flavor. 
  • Garlic powder. Adds a subtle garlic flavor without needing to use actual garlic. 
  • Lemon juice, garlic, and butter. To prepare the sauce. 
  • Lemon wedges, cilantro, and parsley. To serve. 

How to cook tilapia in the air fryer

Like most air fryer recipes, this one is very simple to make. The air fryer takes care of all the hard work.

Step 1- Prepare the air fryer

Start by preheating the air fryer to 200C/400F and spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. 

Step 2- Season the fish

Next, pat dry the tilapia fillets.

pat drying tilapia.

Mix the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic in a bowl then rub it on both sides of your tilapia fillets using your hands. 

seasoned tilapia.

Step 3- Air fry the tilapia

Now, add the fish to the air fryer basket and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.  

tilapia in air fryer.

Step 4- Make the sauce

Finally, whisk together the butter, garlic, lemon juice, and cilantro in a bowl. 

lemon butter garlic sauce.

Brush the sauce generously on your cook tilapia fillets, and sprinkle with more cilantro.

air fried tilapia.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket, so your tilapia cooks evenly. 
  • If you are worried that the fish will stick to the basket, you can use parchment paper to line the base. 
  • Flip the tilapia fillets during cooking to avoid over-cooking on one side. 

Flavor variations

The beauty of this fish is that it is so mild tasting, you can change up the spice mix a plethora of ways. 

  • Cajun– Coat the fish with Cajun or taco seasoning
  • Blackened-Like in my blackened chicken, use the same spices to coat the fish. 
  • Teriyaki– Dredge the fillets in teriyaki sauce for ten minutes before air frying. 
  • Lemon pepper– The classic. Rub 1/2 large juiced lemon and black peppercorns over the fish. 
  • Spicy– Add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the spice mix. 

Storing and freezing instructions 

  • To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. 
  • To freeze: Place cooked and cooled tilapia can in an airtight container and stored in the freezer for up to two months. 
  • Reheating: Either microwave the fish for 20-30 seconds or reheat in the air fryer for 2 minutes, until crispy around the edges. 
tilapia in air fryer

More air fryer recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does fish take in the air fryer?

White fish, like tilapia, needs just 7-8 minutes to cook in the air fryer.

Do you have to thaw fish before air frying?

It depends; you can thaw it or cook it without thawing. If the fish isn’t thawed, you’ll need to increase the cooking time.

Are air fryers good for fish?

Air frying fish is considered to be the best way to cook fish. It’s healthier, the fish is flakier, and it cooks in less time.

air fryer tilapia recipe

Air Fryer Tilapia In 7 Minutes | Tender, Juicy, Easy

This air fryer tilapia is a quick, easy, and delicious dinner idea that comes together in less than 10 minutes! Healthy, tender, and flavorful. 
5 from 16 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 155kcal
Author: Arman

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets 4-6 ounces each
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic

For the lemon butter sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F. Spray the basket with cooking spray. 
  • Pat dry the tilapia fillets. Mix the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic and using your hands, rub the spices over both sides of the fish.
  • Add the tilapia filets in the air fryer basket and spray the top with cooking spray. Air fry for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • While the fish is cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. 
  • Brush the lemon butter sauce generously over the top of the fish fillets and serve immediately.

Notes

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. 
TO FREEZE: Place cooked and cooled tilapia can in an airtight container and stored in the freezer for up to two months. 
TO REHEAT: Either microwave the fish for 20-30 seconds or reheat in the air fryer for 2 minutes, until crispy around the edges. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1fillet | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 471mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 441IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Comments

One thought on “Air Fryer Tilapia

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been obsessed with air frying lately, and this recipe is one that will be on my regular rotation! So easy and quick.

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