This air fryer tilapia recipe is a quick and easy way to make a delicious and healthy meal! With just a few simple ingredients and less than 15 minutes of cook time, you can have dinner ready in next to no time! Serve with potato fries and a side salad for a dinner the whole family will love!
Why you’ll love this recipe
This recipe for air frying tilapia is so easy and delicious. It takes just a few minutes prep time to crumb and season the fish, and it can be on the table in around 15 minutes!
You can use this recipe for any white fish fillets, try cod, grouper, haddock, or halibut. The recipe below is for breaded fish, but if you prefer you can season the fish and cook it unbreaded.
If you like this air fryer fish recipe, you also might like to try this recipe for unbreaded air fryer fish, Air Fryer Salmon, or if you are in a rush and need dinner on the table five minutes ago, try air fryer fish sticks (aka frozen fish fingers).
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer tilapia recipe, or read on for all the details!
What do you need?
Fresh tilapia fillets
This recipe calls for tilapia, but you could substitute any other white fish fillet if you prefer. You can use frozen tilapia if you like, however the cook times will be longer than stated in the recipe.
I love the light crispness of panko bread crumbs, but any bread crumbs will work if you have a different type. For a Parmesan-crusted crumb you can substitute Parmesan for ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs.
I have used paprika and black pepper in the recipe below, but you could substitute different seasonings if you like. Try flavors like lemon pepper, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, or cayenne pepper.
How to cook tilapia in the air fryer
Step 1: Prepare fish fillets. First, it is important to rinse the fish fillets, check for and remove any remaining bones, and rinse off any scales. Pat the fish dry on paper towels.
Step 2: Crumb tilapia fillets. To crumb the fillets, I mix a good drizzle of olive oil and the seasoning in a bowl. Add the fish and gently turn it to coat with the seasoning. Then I sprinkle the breadcrumbs on and press them down gently to ensure they stick.
Step 3: Air fry tilapia. Preheat air fryer to 400°F/ 200°C. Place the tilapia in the air fryer basket. If you are cooking more than one, place them in a single layer, and try to ensure they are not touching.
If your air fryer basket is prone to sticking, give it a spritz with olive oil before you place the fish in the basket, or you can sit the tilapia on a small square of parchment (check your manual to see if this is recommended for your air fryer).
Air fry tilapia for 8-12 minutes, until the crumb is golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 145°F / 63°C in the center of the thickest part. Flip the fish over halfway through the cooking time if required for your air fryer.
Note: if you are cooking a frozen fish fillet, then the cooking times will be longer, around 12-18 minutes.
How long to air fry tilapia?
The exact cook times for tilapia in the air fryer will depend on a few factors, including exactly how large your tilapia fillet is and how powerful your air fryer is.
The fish is cooked when the crumb is a golden brown color and flakes easily with a fork. It will be a uniform white color all the way through and no longer translucent.
To be sure that your fish is cooked correctly, use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should be at least 145°F / 63°C in the center of the thickest part.
>> Related post: How to use a meat thermometer.
I love to serve tilapia with potato wedges or fries, and I have found that you can cook both in the air fryer by precooking the wedges for 20 minutes, and then adding the tilapia to cook with the wedges for the final ten minutes, flipping it over after 5 minutes.
Some other great serving ideas are:
- Make fish tacos: serve tilapia in tortillas with crisp lettuce and salsa (use taco seasoning when cooking the fish)
- Serve in a hamburger bun with salad and tartare sauce to make a crispy fish burger
- Cut tilapia into bite sized pieces before crumbing and serve with a dipping sauce as crispy fish bites.
Storage and reheating
Store any leftover tilapia in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You can reheat tilapia in the air fryer, place the fillets in the air fryer basket and air fry at 360°F/ 180°C for around 5 minutes until warmed through.
How to cook tilapia or other white fish in an air fryer.
- 4 fresh tilapia fillets
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil (drizzle)
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- Mix a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, and paprika in a large bowl.
- Pat tilapia dry, and add to bowl with oil mixture. Turn the fish to coat well.
- Add the panko bread crumbs to the bowl and press them into the fish down so they stick and coat the fillets on all sides.
- Place tilapia in air fryer basket [Note 1]
- Air fry tilapia for approximately 10 minutes until it has cooked through and the crumb is golden-brown and the fillets are 145°F / 63°C in the center of the thickest part [Note 2]. Flip the fish fillets over halfway through the cooking time if required for your air fryer.
- If your air fryer basket is prone to sticking, give it s quick spray with oil before adding the tilapia fillets.
- Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 199mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 36g