How to Cook Tilapia in Air Fryer?

Tilapia is a mild-flavored white fish that is perfect for a delicious meal. Garlic butter and parmesan sauce are easy ways to add flavour to air-fried fish. It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and cook this recipe, which can be produced for one person or in bulk for a large group of people. This recipe is excellent for a planned dinner or a quick meal from the freezer because it can be made with fresh or frozen fish.Tilapia in Air Fryer

What is Tilapia?

Last year, you probably consumed tilapia, a freshwater, plant-eating fish species. Each American consumes more than 1 pound (lb) of fish annually, and it currently ranks fourth among fish consumed in the US, behind tuna, salmon, and Alaskan pollock.

Tilapia is a mild white fish that is affordable, simple to prepare, and delicious as a dinner option. Beyond flavour, tilapia’s appeal has soared because of the agricultural methods. Tilapia, sometimes known as the “aqua-chicken,” is a fish that can be grown in large quantities, making it widely available and reasonably priced.

The fish tilapia are bred on farms. There are worries that tilapia is no longer an authentic fish and is instead a “frankenfish” because it is not readily available in the wild. Tilapia are cultivated in freshwater systems and fed algae as part of aquaculture. According to Seafood Health Facts, these producers have created various breeds or hybrids to enhance and regulate the quality of fish growth, look, and flavour.

How to Cook Tilapia in Air Fryer?

To prepare the fish for this air fryer dish, lightly rinse each piece of fish, blot it dry with paper towels, and then lay it aside. Combine the chilli powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Combine by combining with a stir.

An olive oil brush or oil spray coats both sides of each fillet before sprinkling with the spice mixture. Tilapia should be placed in the air fryer basket in a single layer without overflowing. For 5 to 6 minutes, air fry the cooking temperature until golden brown at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because cooking durations might vary based on the thickness of the fish, more cooking time may be required. Use Cajun seasoning, such as this one from Louisiana Cajun Seasoning, to modify this air fryer tilapia dish if you’re in a hurry. Avoid overfilling the basket with fish or having overlap to prevent an uneven cook.

Most air fryer baskets should easily accommodate 2 to 3 tilapia fillets. To prevent the tilapia from sticking to the basket, use parchment paper or cooking spray even though it has been lightly coated with olive oil, and this also makes cleaning the air fryer simpler.


  • a fresh or frozen 6 to 8-ounce fillet of tilapia
  • salt of kosher to flavour
  • pepper to taste with black
  • 1/8 teaspoon of powdered garlic
  • spraying oil
  • One tablespoon of melted unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of grated parmesan
  • Italian seasoning, one teaspoon, dried
  • A lemon wedge is not required


  1. Turn the air fryer on at 400 F.
  2. Tilapia should be well-seasoned on both sides with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder while the air fryer is getting ready.
  3. Spray the air fryer basket lightly after it has heated up. Additionally, lightly mist the fish filet’s two sides. Tilapia should be cooked in the air fryer, and fresh fish should be cooked for 4 minutes before being flipped and cooked for 3 to 4 minutes. When using frozen fillets, heat for 5 minutes before converting and cook for another 4–5 minutes. When the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145 F, it is opaque, firm to the touch, and flakes readily with a fork.
  4. Melted butter, parmesan, Italian seasoning, and a dash of salt should be combined in a small bowl and stirred together while the fish is cooking.
  5. With a spatula, carefully remove the fish. If preferred, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the butter mixture before serving. Enjoy right away with your preferred sides.

Can Frozen Tilapia be Cooked in the Air Fryer?

Yes! Tilapia can be cooked from frozen at the same temperature; however, the cooking time will need to be increased by one to two minutes. Frozen tilapia fillets are excellent to keep on hand in the freezer for a quick meal on a busy or low-energy night.

If you want the most outstanding quality fish but don’t live near the shore, frozen fish is a fantastic alternative because it is typically flash frozen. Put either fresh or frozen tilapia fillets in an air fryer basket, a Ninja food basket, or an air fryer tray. Tilapia fillets from frozen should be cooked at 400° for 10 to 13 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish.

While not essential, flipping halfway through Cooking is advised. Frozen tilapia can be cooked in an air fryer for 12 minutes at 390 degrees, and this amount of time is sufficient to cook four small fillets thoroughly, and cooking time should be increased to 14 minutes if using large fillets.

Thawing tilapia is required before cooking it, whether in the oven, deep-frying, or another. Additionally, you can prepare tilapia straight from the freezer. It is okay to cook food partially thawed for about 50% longer than the suggested time.

How do you Know When Tilapia is Done?

Use a meat thermometer to determine the precise doneness of tilapia (affiliate link). When the fish reaches about 145 F inside, it is finished cooking. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cook the fish until the thickest section may be readily flaked with a fork. The fish should be solid to the touch and utterly opaque. The flesh of raw tilapia is slightly transparent and has a pinkish tint when fresh.

It will turn opaque and white after it has finished cooking. Insert a fork at an angle into the thickest portion of the fish’s meat and gently twist to see if it is fuAlly done. It is finished if it flakes. Overcooking fish is the most frequent blunder and the worst one, in my opinion.

Fish are thin, even supposedly “fat” fish like salmon. Lean protein that has been overcooked becomes rough and dry. Crispy skin is present. If the fish was cooked with the skin on, it was probably also cooked with the skin-side down at first to make it crispier. The white flesh seeps out. The meat of the fish will turn opaque while it cooks, as you can see if you look at it. Fish is tough.

The essence of raw tilapia is slightly transparent and has a pinkish tint when it is fresh. It will turn opaque and white after it has finished cooking. Insert a fork at an angle into the thickest portion of the fish’s meat and gently twist to see if it is thoroughly done. It is finished if it flakes.

Do you Need to Flip Tilapia in the Air Fryer?

To achieve consistent Cooking, the tilapia must be turned. Even though tilapia is a thin fillet, an air fryer only has a heating element on the top. The underside of the fillet cooks more slowly as a result. When cooking frozen fillets, flipping is exceptionally crucial.

Tip: If you’re feeding a large group, fry the tilapia in single layers in batches to guarantee even cooking. When the pan is hot, put the fillet inside, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the first side. Fish should be cooked and flake easily with a fork before flipping the fillets and cooking on the other side. Finally, add some limes as a garnish.

Cook the fish in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through or until it is brown and flakes readily with a fork. If more oil spray is required, mist it on the breaded fish. Serving instructions: Carefully remove the fish from the pan and serve with a lemon wedge and tartar sauce for dipping.

With an air fryer, frying fish at home is simpler than ever. An air fryer may cook frozen or fresh fish, and the dish will taste as if it came from your favourite seafood restaurant. No minor burns from hot oil splashes or extra calories from cooking it in fat are a concern.

How Long does Frozen Tilapia Take in the Air Fryer?

Tilapia will require 5 to 6 minutes on each side to cook when frying it on the stove from frozen (not thawed). It will take 6 to 8 minutes to cook a thawed Tilapia, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Fish fillets frozen and breaded for air frying need to cook for 12 minutes. To allow for air circulation, be sure to leave some space between your fillets. Test your fish for doneness by gently twisting it at an angle with a fork at the thickest part of it. When the fish is finished, it flakes easily and loses its translucent or raw aspect.

As a general rule, cook the fish until the internal temperature reaches between 140 and 145 degrees. Your air fryer should be preheated for around 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. After coating them with oil spray, place the leftovers from your fish fillets in the air fryer basket ( if you reheat frozen leftovers, there is no need to defrost them). Your leftover fish fillets should be air-fried for 3 to 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Even though some types of fish, such as lean fish like tilapia and cod, can be cooked right from the freezer to roasting or sauté pan, it’s usually recommended to defrost the fish thoroughly.

Is Tilapia a Good Fish to Eat?

Tilapia is a type of fish considered one of the healthiest protein sources. Choline, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and phosphorus are just a few vitamins and minerals in which tilapia is rich. Additionally, it is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which your body requires to function. Tilapia is the ideal supplement to a healthy, balanced diet because it has fewer calories than salmon or other common fish. In addition to being substantial in protein, it is also naturally gluten-free, high in potassium, and contains iron.

One low-carb plate of tilapia contains a tonne of nutrients and is a lean source of protein. Cod offers a few percentage points more vitamins and minerals, including B6, thiamin, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and zinc, than tilapia, but it is only marginally healthier. With around 23g of protein per fillet, both offer the same amount. Tilapia are raised on farms using corn or soybean meal instead of their natural diet of algae. When no other food is available, they will consume “poop,” though. In some cases, it has been discovered that tilapia are being fed dung from pigs, sheep, or chickens on Asian fish farms.


Tilapia is a delicate white fish that is easily overwhelmed. Serving suggestions include three-minute corn on the cob or roasted Brussels sprouts. Simple rice pilaf or even a little side salad are both excellent alternatives. Tilapia is really at its best when served with a straightforward side dish. How should leftover tilapia be heated? I’ve discovered that reheated fish doesn’t taste as nice as freshly prepared fish; therefore, I advise only cooking as much fish as you’ll consume in one sitting. If you do have any leftover tilapia, you may gently reheat it in melted butter over low heat until it is barely warmed through. Eat it cold on a salad or a sandwich as an alternative.