Tilapia is one of those dishes that never disappoint. Its pearly white flesh has intense but not overly fishy flavors, it’s readily available everywhere in the world, and it’s a sustainable alternative, so it checks all the right boxes.
Being a white fish, tilapia filets are also super easy to cook, and they’re ready in minutes! Let’s say it out loud; we should all be eating fish more often; it’s healthier and delicious. Why not start with a crispy and succulent air-fried tilapia?
This recipe is popular because it’s a no-brainer. The fish goes straight from the freezer to the air fryer; you don’t even need to add oil.
The key here, though, is getting the fish just right. If the heat is too low, the fish will end up raw in the middle, and that’s not only awful, but it can also be dangerous. If overcooked, the fish dries out. That’s also bad.
In my experience, anywhere between nine to twelve minutes at a high temperature of around 390°F is the sweet spot. Of course, all air-friers are different, so try these specifications and adjust them to your case.
Having covered the basics, let’s see how to complement our fish to make it even more exciting. A dollop of mayo and a lime wedge is my go-to set up for a fried fish filet, and you can get a chipotle mayo to spice things up. As for side dishes, white rice and a tossed salad will never disappoint. I’m curious, what are your go-to sides for fried fish?
Finally, there’s the ultimate recipe variation, the breaded and fried tilapia. Sadly, for this one, you must thaw the fish first, then toss it in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. It will take you ten more minutes, but the result is much more satisfying, at least for me!
Here’s a final thought before we get cooking. Picture how much oil you would use for frying a couple of fish filets. That’s at least half a cup. Now remind yourself that buying that air fryer was an excellent investment!
Place the filets in the air fryer without overlapping; if the pieces are too large, work in batches.
Air fry for 9 to 12 minutes at 390F degrees. Flip the fish and air fry for 34 more minutes. The surface must be crispy and golden, and the fish should be cooked through.
Serve with a lime wedge and a spoonful of mayo and enjoy!