Using an air fryer is a great way to reduce cooking time and get dinner on the table fast. Plus, it helps you enjoy foods that are typically deep-fried without the oil and calories. These air fryer tilapia recipes are family-friendly and so easy to make! Try one next time you're planning a fish dinner for the family.
No matter how you enjoy tilapia fillets–with breading or without–they cook up quickly and don't have a strong fishy taste. That's why we suggest them as an easy family meal, because kids like tilapia as an intro to other fish meals. Air frying is just one way to cook tilapia.
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Why make tilapia in the air fryer?
Using an air fryer to make tilapia means the fillets will not dry out. Plus, there's no oil or fat (unless you add it as part of a recipe). Air frying is also so quick! It's a big help to get dinner on the table on busy weeknights.
You can also scale any tilapia recipe depending on the size of your family. If you have an extra large air fryer, you can easily fit enough fillets to serve the whole family.
How to cook tilapia in the air fryer
Air fryers typically come with basic cooking instructions for each type of meat, so start there with a time suggestion and test it out. The goal is to have the fillets cook evenly, so do not overlap them, same as you would do on a baking sheet or baking dish for the oven.
Just like with baking, it's important that the fillets are of similar thickness so that they cook in the same amount of time. You don't have to flip the fillets since the air circulates around them.
How to store leftover tilapia
Air fried tilapia will taste best the day it is made, but you can always refrigerate your leftovers for another time within 3-4 days. Just reheat the tilapia in the air fryer for the best texture.
Can you use frozen tilapia in the air fryer?
A benefit to using the air fryer is that you don't have to defrost fish before cooking it. Tilapia is a very lean fish, so it goes from frozen to cooked easier than a fatty fish would. Just be sure to use a digital thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees before serving. That goes for fresh fillets, too!
What to serve with air fryer tilapia
If you're using the air fryer to eat light, it makes sense to continue with your side dishes. Keep it simple and low carb by serving easy vegetable side dishes. Fresh roasted vegetables are also a nice side dish. Try my Garlic Green Beans with Tomatoes.
Cole slaw is a traditional side dish for fish dinners. You'll love this easy cole slaw recipe.
To make a whole meal, think about serving your air fryer tilapia on top of a green salad. You can make your own dressing like Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. Alternately, add a pasta salad that has both carbs and vegetables like Greek Pasta Salad.
Helfpul for air-frying tilapia
- Reusable silicone liner – rather than use and dispose of foil or parchment paper, use this liner that can be run through the dishwasher.
- Silicone-tips tongs – perfect for carefully removing cooked tilapia
- Air fryer cheat sheet – reference for cooking temperature (and internal temperatures) when you cook meat and fish
- Oil spritzer – so you can control the amount of oil added, works great with flavored olive oils
- Silicone brush – I like using this when moistening fillets before adding rubs or breading
What are some air fryer tilapia recipes?
You can use any dry rub or seasoning mix that you'd use to bake tilapia when you cook it in the air fryer. One of the best parts of cooking in the air fryer is getting the crispy texture without all the calories and fat from oil.
Give some of these a try!