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Air Fryer fish is perfectly flaky inside with a breading that cooks up golden and crispy without much oil! Works with any white fish like tilapia or cod.

a white plate with air fried breaded fish fillets with lemon wedges, next to a bowl of lemon wedges and a bowl of mayonnaise

Making breaded fish in the air fryer is so much easier and less messy than frying it! The fish comes out perfectly flaky and moist with a delicious crispy crust on the outside that cooks evenly all around.

20 minutes is all you need when the craving for classic fish and chips hits! This air-fried fish is a hit with kids and adults alike and goes perfectly with some tartar sauce on the side and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Reasons you’ll love this recipe

  • Works with any kind of fish fillet!
  • Mess-free, cooking fish in the air fryer is less messy than in a skillet and you need a lot less oil
  • Kid-friendly, your picky eater will love this crunchy air-fried version of their favorite fish sticks

Ingredient notes

Here is an overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for quantities.

ingredients for breaded tilapia.Lemon, Flour, Tilapia Filets, Onion Powder, Paprika, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Eggs, Panko Breacrumbs.
  • Fish fillets – This recipe works great with any mild, firm white fish. You can use tilapia, cod, catfish, pollock, hake, or haddock for example. If you want to make salmon, check out my Air Fryer Salmon recipe
  • Flour – Helps crisp up the breading and makes it stick better.
  • Seasoning – In addition to salt and pepper I like to use a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. But feel free to use your favorite spices
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – Panko has more surface than normal breadcrumbs which makes breaded foods crispier. If you don’t have panko you also use normal breadcrumbs
  • Eggs – To get a perfectly crispy crust you need eggs. They make sure that everything sticks to the fish and won’t fall off during cooking
  • Lemon – A squeeze of lemon just before dipping the fried fish in your favorite sauce adds a tangy burst of flavor – so delicious!

How to make this recipe 

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found at the bottom of the page on the printable recipe card.

steps for making breaded fish in the air fryer.
  1. Prep: Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside. On a plate, mix together the spices and flour. Add the breadcrumbs to a separate plate.
  2. Crust: Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, then dip into the whisked egg, shaking off any excess egg. Then dredge the fish in the breadcrumbs.
  3. Spray with oil: Place several pieces of breaded fish into the air fryer basket and spray the top of the breaded fish with oil spray (depending on your fryer size you may need to cook in batches).
  4. Air Fry: Cook on the air fry setting for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F, flipping halfway through, or until the fish is golden and flakes easily with a fork. Spray breaded fish with more oil spray as needed.
  5. Serve: Remove the fish carefully and serve with a lemon wedge and tartar sauce for dipping, enjoy!
Collage of top down shots. Left: uncooked breaded fish filets in an air fryer basket, right: fried and golden brown breaded fish fillets.

Expert tips for success

  • You can use fresh or frozen fish fillets that have been thawed completely for this recipe
  • Instead of my seasoning, Cajun or Old Bay seasoning is also delicious, or use a mix of your own favorite spices
  • The fillets should be similar in size and thickness for the best result
  • It is done when it can easily be flaked with a fork. I recommend using an Instant Thermometer and cooking the fish until it reaches 145 degrees F internally
  • Thinner fish fillets will cook faster, thicker fillets like cod will take a minute or two longer
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon over the air fried fish makes it extra delicious
  • If your air fryer basket is not non-stick spray it with oil spray before placing the fish in it (don’t use nonstick aerosol spray, like cooking spray, it will damage your basket)
  • You can also use special air fryer parchment paper (affiliate link) to make the clean up easier
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket! Depending on your Air Fryer you have to work in batches. If the basket is too full the fish won’t cook evenly and won’t crisp up because of the steam
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the Air Fryer at 350 degrees F for a few minutes until heated through
  • To make a gluten-free version use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and switch out the panko breadcrumbs for crushed cornflakes

Recipe FAQs

How long to cook fish in an air fryer?

Cooking fish fillets in the Air Fryer takes only 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F. The fish is done when it can be easily flaked with a fork.

What is the best way to defrost fish?

The best way to defrost fish is overnight in the refrigerator. But if you are in a hurry, use this method: To quickly thaw fish put your frozen fish in an airtight plastic bag or leave it in its vacuum packaging and put it in a big bowl filled with water that’s a little bit cooler than room temperature. Use thawed fish right away.

How to make sure that the breading sticks to the fish?

To make sure the breading adheres to the fillets, shake off any excess flour and egg during the breading process. Use your hands to carefully press the panko onto the fish fillets and be gentle when you transfer and flip the breaded fish fillets.
If you still have problems you can put the breaded uncooked fish fillets into the refrigerator for 10 minutes on a parchment-lined sheet tray before air frying them.

Close-up of a white plate of air fried breaded fish fillets with lemon wedges.

Serve it with

Breaded fish tastes best hot with some lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the fillets. I also like to serve it with a dipping sauce like tartar sauce or my homemade Aioli sauce. But you can also keep it simple and dip it in some ketchup!

Here are a few other recipes that pair perfectly with our Air Fryer Fish recipe:

breaded fish fillets with fries and lemon wedges in front of a bowl of mayonnaise, a bowl of lemon wedges and an air fryer basket

More Air Fryer Recipes to Try

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5 from 3 votes

Air Fryer Fish

Air Fryer fish is perfectly flaky inside with a breading that cooks up golden and crispy without much oil! Works with any white fish like tilapia or cod.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4 boneless fish fillets, white fish such as tilapia or cod
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil spray
  • Lemon wedges and tartar sauce, for serving

Instructions 

  • Pat fish dry. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside. On a plate, mix together the spices and flour. Add the breadcrumbs to a separate plate.
  • Dredge the fish in the flour spice mixture, then dip into the whisked egg, shaking off any excess egg. Then dredge the fish in the breadcrumbs.
  • Place several pieces of breaded fish into the air fryer basket and spray the top of the breaded fish with oil spray (depending on your fryer size you may need to cook in batches).
  • Cook on the air fry setting for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F, flipping halfway through, or until the fish is golden and flakes easily with a fork. Spray breaded fish with more oil spray as needed.
  • Remove the fish carefully and serve with a lemon wedge and tartar sauce for dipping, enjoy!

Notes

  • You can use fresh or frozen fish fillets that have been thawed completely for this recipe
  • Instead of my seasoning, Old Bay or Cajun seasoning is also delicious, or use a mix of your own favorite spices
  • The fillets should be similar in size and thickness for the best result
  • It is done when it can easily be flaked with a fork. I recommend using an Instant Thermometer and cooking the fish until it reaches 145 degrees F internally
  • Thinner fish fillets will cook faster, and thicker fillets like cod will take a minute or two longer
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon over the air-fried fish makes it extra delicious
  • If your air fryer basket is not non-stick spray it with oil spray before placing the fish in it (don’t use nonstick aerosol spray, like cooking spray, as it will damage your basket)
  • You can also use special air fryer parchment paper (affiliate link) to make the cleanup easier
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket! Depending on your Air Fryer you have to work in batches. If the basket is too full the fish won’t cook evenly and won’t crisp up because of the steam
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the Air Fryer at 350 degrees F for a few minutes until heated through
  • To make a gluten-free version use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and switch out the panko breadcrumbs for crushed GF cornflakes or GF breadcrumbs

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
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About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the BEST Air Fried fried fish recipe I have made. I used Cod and it was easy, fast and delicious. I am going to try the same technique on chicken and pork chops. I have used other recipes but have not gotten these results. Not sure why but it is the best in my Ninja.

  2. I haven’t tried the recipe yet. Just wanted to comment for the gluten free option that corn flakes are not usually GF in the U.S.