Make the crispiest air fryer tilapia with a dash of seasoning and a drizzle of lemon butter. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner — quick, easy, and absolutely delicious!
How To Make Air Fryer Tilapia
You wouldn’t believe that it takes only 13 minutes to make this restaurant-worthy tilapia. Season the fillets, air fry to crisp perfection, and add the finishing touches!
- Preheat the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Pat dry and season the tilapia: Pat the tilapia fillets dry with paper towels. Combine the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over both sides of the fish and gently rub it in to coat.
- Cook the tilapia: Lightly drizzle or spray the air fryer basket with oil, and place the fillets in a single layer on it. Cook the tilapia for eight minutes total, flipping halfway through. The internal temperature should reach 145°F.
- Garnish and serve: Gently remove the fish from the air fryer, then drizzle it with melted butter. Garnish with fresh parsley and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you’d like. Enjoy!
Tips From the Kitchen
Do you want to know the secret to cooking tilapia that is mouthwateringly juicy inside and crispy outside? Follow these tips to achieve air frying success!
- Season generously. White fish like tilapia is quite bland on its own, so it’s up to the seasoning to deliver flavor. Our favorite combo is garlic parsley salt and paprika, but feel free to customize this recipe to your taste. Try black pepper, lemon pepper, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, or garlic powder for a flavor twist!
- Avoid overcrowding the basket. Air fryers operate by circulating hot air throughout the basket, which efficiently cooks the food inside. If you overcrowd the basket, the air is unable to circulate properly, leading to a steaming effect as opposed to frying.
- Use a cooking thermometer to gauge doneness. If you’re wary of undercooked seafood, invest in a quick-read thermometer like this one. The cooking time depends on the size and thickness of the fillets, so play it safe by ensuring the fish reaches 145°F in the thickest portion.
- Add a garnish. You can’t go wrong with melted butter as an accompaniment to fish — not only does it add flavor, but it also makes the fish more moist. Add freshly minced garlic, lemon juice, and parsley to take your tilapia over the top.
- Serve immediately. The wonderfully crispy exterior is best enjoyed within minutes — so dig in quickly!
Ways To Serve
Air fryer tilapia is a versatile dish perfect for lunch prep or busy weeknight dinners. Serve it hot and fresh out of the fryer with melted butter, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. Are you craving fish and chips? This tilapia pairs wonderfully with tartar sauce and homemade French fries. Pack tasty and satisfying fish tacos for lunch using air fried tilapia, or enjoy it for dinner with cilantro lime rice and pico de gallo, or with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.
Storage & Reheating
Nothing beats the crispness of fish straight out of the fryer, but this tilapia stays delicious for another few days. All it needs is a quick burst of heat to restore the taste!
- Storage: To store for up to three days, transfer the cooked and cooled tilapia to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Reheating: For the best flavor and texture, reheat leftover tilapia in the air fryer at 300°F for 3-5 minutes. If you’re looking for an even quicker reheating option, use the microwave. Heat the fish in 30 second intervals until warmed through.
More Tilapia Recipes
- Pan Fried Tilapia — Seasoned with a dry rub and fried on a skillet
- Lemon Butter Baked Tilapia — Flaky, tender, and bursting with flavor
- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia — Baked with a crispy Panko and Parmesan crust
- Grilled Tilapia — Whole tilapia stuffed with butter and lemons, then grilled
- Combine the seasonings in a small bowl. Pat the tilapia fillets dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over both sides of the fish and gently rub it in to coat.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Lightly drizzle or spray the air fryer tray with oil, and place the fillets in a single layer on it. Cook the tilapia for 8 minutes total, or until it flakes easily, flipping halfway through. The internal temperature should reach 145°F.
- Gently remove the fish from the air fryer and drizzle with melted butter. Garnish with fresh parsley and optionally add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!