Tips and Tricks
Can you cook fish in the air fryer? Yes! Cooking fish in the air fryer results in a tender and juicy piece of fish. Seasoned well and then tossed in sauce, this is an easier method than the oven and faster than pan frying fish. Because the air fryer is so quick, it is done in about 15 minutes start to finish!
What do you serve with tilapia? Tilapia is a very light white fish and can be overpowered easily. I’d suggest eating with a roasted vegetable like roasted brussels or whatever is in season. Another great option is an easy rice pilaf or even a light side salad. Pairing tilapia with a simple side dish really lets it shine.
How much fish do you buy per person? Six to eight ounces of tilapia is perfect with a side dish of roasted vegetables or rice. Luckily, that’s usually the size of most filets that I’ve seen, so I usually order one filet per person. I recommend definitely asking your fishmonger or fish counter at the store. If you’re not sure, you can ask “I want to cook for this many people, how much should I get?”
How do you reheat leftover tilapia? I find that reheated fish isn’t as good as freshly cooked fish, so I recommend only cooking as much as you’ll eat in one meal. However, if you find yourself with leftover tilapia, you can reheat it on the stove gently in melted butter until just warmed through. Another option is to eat it cold on a salad or on a sandwich.
How do you make tilapia in the air fryer? Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. Next, season tilapia on both sides well with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Make sure to evenly season the fish so it is flavorful. Once the air fryer is preheated, lightly spray the air fryer basket with spray oil. Next lightly spray both sides of the filet and place tilapia into the air fryer. Cook for four minutes, flip and cook for another three to four minutes or until the fish registers about 145 F internally and is flakey. While the fish is cooking mix together melted butter, parmesan, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt. Once cooked, carefully remove fish with spatula. Drizzle butter mixture over tilapia and finish with fresh lemon juice if desired.
How do you know when tilapia is done cooking? The most accurate way to tell if tilapia is done is with a meat thermometer. The fish is done cooking when it reaches about 145 F internally. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cook until the fish is easily flaked with a fork in the thickest part. The fish should be opaque all the way through.
How many portions can you make at once? This depends on the size of your air fryer. I have a smaller five quart one and only one six ounce portion of fish fits at a time. It is important in an air fryer to cook tilapia in a single layer, so if multiple pieces don’t fit in a single layer, don’t force it. To make multiple portions I cook in batches and the result is definitely worth the extra time. If your air fryer is larger, you can definitely cook multiple pieces!
Can you use frozen fish? If you have frozen tilapia, I recommend defrosting it overnight in the fridge so it’s thawed and ready to cook. If you cook the tilapia from frozen, it may cook unevenly resulting in dried out and overcooked parts. You can also thaw tilapia in a plastic bag in a bowl of cold water for about 15-30 minutes.
What other sauces can you use? Once the tilapia is cooked, you can really use almost any flavoring you want! You could season the fish with homemade taco seasoning and then make fish tacos with cabbage, avocado and your other favorite toppings. A few other options are chimichurri sauce, cajun seasoning or just freshly squeezed lemon with herbs is great.
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Air Fryer Tilapia
- 6 oz fillet of tilapia
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Spray oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1-2 tablespoons parmesan
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Lemon wedge optional
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F.
- While the air fryer is preheating, season tilapia on both sides well with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Once preheated, lightly spray the air fryer basket. Also spray both sides of the fish filet lightly. Place tilapia into the air fryer and cook for 4 minutes and flip, cooking for another 3-4 minutes. The fish is done when it registers about 145 F internally and is easily flaked by a fork at the thickest part.
- While the fish is cooking, mix together melted butter, parmesan, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
- Remove fish carefully with spatula. Drizzle butter mixture over fish and finish with fresh lemon juice if desired. Enjoy immediately.
- To cook multiple filets, make sure they are in a single layer otherwise do in batches. This will depend on the size of your air fryer.
- Defrost your tilapia filets before cooking to ensure even cooking.
- If you use a smaller or larger piece of tilapia, adjust the cooking time not the temperature.
- If you have leftovers, it’s best to gently warm in butter or eat cold on a salad.