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Air Fryer Tilapia

This Air Fryer Tilapia recipe has a crunchy crumb with perfectly cooked juicy fish! It is absolutely delicious with a quick homemade tartar sauce or made into easy fish tacos.

an air fryer basket with cooked tilapia garnished with lemon slices and parsley

I have been loving my air fryer so much, that I have started to make an entire dinner in air fryer without having to turn on the oven or stove. It is a game changer for sure!

We love chicken, shrimp, pasta, rice, tacos, vegetarian dishes for dinner, but today we are making an easy baked fish recipe that is delicious as is with a dip or made into tacos / sandwiches. Ain’t the usual breading process! You know we love to come up clever techniques around here.


Instead of adopting a regular breading method of flour-egg mixture-bread crumb, we’ve come up with a much easier one which involves tossing the fish in a batter and then coating them with breadcrumbs. The crumbs stay intact and forms a lovely crust on the outside.

Air fryer Tilapia

What is Tilapia?

The name tilapia refers to several species of mostly freshwater fish that belong to the cichlid family. It is the fourth most commonly consumed fish in the US due to the affordable price, mild taste and ease of preparation. It is good source of protein and vitamins like niacin, B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.

Main ingredients

Tilapia fish – Any fresh white fish can be used instead

Eggs – Cold or room temperature

Seasoning – Black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt

Bread crumbs – Plain panko bread crumbs

Flour – a little all purpose flour as a binding agent.

How to make tilapia in air fryer?

Make wet batter – Whisk eggs, flour and all seasonings together until smooth.

Prepare fish – Toss fish fillets in the wet batter, remove fish allowing excess batter to drip off. Coat fish in panko bread crumbs on both sides, packing them well with fingers.

Air fry – Cook fish at 350 degrees for about 11 to 12 minutes

an air fryer basket with breaded tilapia

Expert tips

Pat fish dry with paper towels on both sides! Any moisture on the fish might not allow the batter adhere well.

Other recommended fish – Cod, Mahi Mahi are all great options. Increase the cooking time slightly if the fish is thicker.

How do you know when tilapia is done cooking? The first test is that the flesh turns white in color. Secondly, insert the tip of a knife on the thickest part of the fish, if you feel resistance then the fish is done cooking.

Can you use frozen fish? We recommend not using frozen fish since it might cook unevenly. If you have frozen fish then thaw until completely defrosted.

Do you need to flip over fish in the air fryer? We recommend cooking fish only one side, which results well browned and crispier top crust with a slightly softer bottom crust.

How much fish to buy per person? The American heart association recommends 3.5 ounces of cooked fish per serving. In general, 4 to 6 ounces per person is suggested depending on the serving size.

How many portions of tilapia can be cooked at once? It depends on the size of the air fryer. We used Instant Vortex 6-quart air fryer and was able to cook 2 large tilapia fillets at the same time. If using a smaller air fryer, then one to two portions can be cooked at once.

Love crispy and crunchy foods? More breaded recipes: Bang bang cauliflower, Spicy pita chips, Roasted cashews, Baked shrimp rolls, Parmesan cheese crackers, Popcorn chicken, Deep fried cauliflower or crispy cauliflower tacos.

What do you serve with tilapia?

  1. Serve air fried tilapia with the homemade tartar sauce / cilantro lime sauce / avocado crema
  2. Make them into fish tacos or into these easier fish tacos.
  3. Healthier fish and chips. Serve with baked or air fried fries.
  4. Make fish sandwiches —> Spread tartar sauce in between toasted buns, place an air fryer breaded tilapia (cut to the size of bun), lettuce leaves and tomato slice.

How to store leftovers? Leftover tilapia can be stored either in the freezer or the refrigerator. We prefer freezing since it maintaining the crispiness to a large extent when re heated from frozen.

How to reheat leftovers?

Refrigerated tilapia -> Microwave until heated through (the crust looses it crispiness) or air fry at 400 degrees for about 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through.

Frozen tilapia -> Place the frozen fish (do not thaw) in the pre heated air fryer at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes, flip over and cook for additional 2 to 4 minutes or until heated through.


Can I use regular bread crumbs instead of panko?

Absolutely! Panko will result in much more crispier and lighter crumb when compared to the regular bread crumbs.

How long to cook tilapia in air fryer?

It depends on several factors like the cooking temperature, thickness of the fish and the amount being cooked. I used Instant Vortex 6 quart air fryer and it took about 11 minutes for 2 large fish fillets. If you are using a different variety of fish that is thicker, then it might take longer.

How to defrost tilapia?

Place the frozen fish (do not remove packaging or the plastic bag) in a large bowl and cover with room temperature water (or slightly cooler), until thawed. Warm or hot water will mess with the fish’s texture (more detailed article here).

Can you cook fish in the air fryer?

Air fryer is perfect for cooking fish recipes since air fryer cooks fish by circulating hot air around it, creating a convection effect, which helps in crisping and browning the fish exterior yet keeping it tender and moist inside.

More easy baked dinner recipes: Garlic Parmesan Wings, Air Fryer Mushrooms, Baked Chicken Burger Patties, Baked Fish Tacos, Tandoori Chicken or Bang Bang Cauliflower Tacos.

an air fryer basket with cooked tilapia along with tarter sauce
baking tray with crispy tilapia with one cut into chunks with a fork

More Air Fryer recipes

Bread Pudding

Ground Chicken Burger in Air Fryer

Air Fryer garlic bread with sliced bread

Egg Omelette Air Fryer

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Wings

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Panko Fried Shrimp Air Fryer

Baked Apples in air fryer

Air Fryer Broccoli

Air Fryer Chickpeas

Chocolate Chip Cookies in air fryer

Chicken Parmesan in Air Fryer

French toast in air fryer

Air Fryer Mushrooms

Yield: 3 Servings

Air Fryer Tilapia

Air Fryer Tilapia

This Air Fryer Tilapia recipe has a crunchy crumb with perfectly cooked juicy fish! It is absolutely delicious with a quick homemade tartar sauce or made into easy fish tacos.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes


Wet batter

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

Additional ingredients

Equipment used


Prepare fish

1. Add all wet ingredients into a shallow bowl, whisk until smooth and well combined.

2. Place panko breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.

3. Place tilapia in wet batter, turning over couple of times to make sure that it is coated thoroughly. Lift tilapia with hands or tongs, allowing excess batter to drip off and then place over the bread crumbs.

4. Pack bread crumbs on both sides of the fish (pressing with fingers to adhere).

5. Place on a plate and repeat process with remaining fish.

Air Fry

1. Pre heat air fryer to 400°F for 12 minutes. When ready, place tilapia, spacing evenly and spray the top with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, spraying a coating of non-stick cooking spray again once in between (this is optional, but it helps in achieving more golden crust), or until it is cooked to your liking.

Serve with homemade tartar sauce or make into fish tacos or sandwich.

(Refer notes for quick tartar sauce recipe)


Tartar sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon pickle relish

1 tablespoon water

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon each salt, ground black pepper and sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

Stir all ingredients together.

Other recommended fish – Cod, Mahi Mahi are all great options. Increase the cooking time slightly if the fish is thicker.

Pat fish dry with paper towels on both sides! Any moisture on the fish might not allow the batter adhere well.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 595mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 37g

I am not a certified dietician or nutritionist. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This information is provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is a product of online calculator such as Although Kitchen at Hoskins attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their fact sources and algorithms. Under no circumstances will Kitchen at Hoskins be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the nutritional information. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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