This Air Fryer Tilapia is tender and flaky in the middle and golden-brown and crispy on the outside. This 25-minute recipe makes the best light, fresh, and healthy seafood dinner!
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If you’ve never tried cooking seafood in the air fryer, then get ready for your life to change! After I made my air fryer salmon recipe, I knew that I needed to try more air fryer fish.
Tilapia is a great choice because it has a neutral flavor that pairs well with everything!
This Air Fryer Tilapia gives the salmon a run for its money! This recipe is made with tilapia fillets that are soaked in milk and egg, then coated in flour, breadcrumbs, and the perfect blend of seasonings. The result is tilapia that is deliciously moist and flaky on the inside yet golden-brown and crispy on the outside.
This recipe is simple, ready in 25 minutes, and makes the best light and healthy dinner!
This Air Fryer Tilapia recipe is made with just a few basic ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tilapia: you’ll need 2 full tilapia fillets or 3-4 loins for this recipe.
- Milk and Egg: coats the outside of the tilapia to add moisture and help the breading stick. Regular milk or buttermilk work great!
- Seasoned Breadcrumbs, Flour, and Parmesan: the base for our breading. Flour helps absorb moisture, parmesan adds delicious saltiness, and the breadcrumbs are what gives the tilapia that crispy texture.
- Seasonings: we’re using a flavorful blend of seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper.
How to Cook Tilapia in the Air Fryer
This Air Fryer Tilapia recipe is ready in a total of 25 minutes for a super quick, healthy dinner option!
- Prep: Preheat the air fryer and pat the tilapia dry with a paper towel.
- Bread it: In a wide shallow dish, combine milk and egg. In a separate, combine breadcrumbs, flour, parmesan, and seasonings. Coat the tilapia first in the milk mixture, then press it firmly into the breading mixture. Cover both sides well.
- Air fry: Brush the air fryer basket lightly with oil, then add in the tilapia and spray the top of each with cooking spray. Cook until golden-brown and flaky, then serve and enjoy!
Air Fryer Tilapia FAQs
I find that the perfect temperature for air frying tilapia is 400ºF. This is a high enough temperature for it to get nice and crispy, but not so high that the outside burns before the inside is cooked through.
The tilapia should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF. You’ll know it’s done cooking when the exterior is golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Technically, yes. However, I recommend fresh or thawed tilapia for this recipe. Frozen takes longer to cook through and the breading can burn before the fish is fully done. Fresh or thawed tilapia also absorbs the flavor from the seasonings and holds the breading better!
Leftover air-fried tilapia will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight if frozen, then reheat in the oven or air fryer to warm and re-crisp.
Tips, Tricks, and Notes
- Pat it dry. Before you season and bread the fish, pat it dry gently with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Too much moisture can prevent the exterior from getting. nice and crispy!
- Preheat the air fryer. If the air fryer is heating up with the tilapia inside, the outside can burn before the inside is cooked all the way through.
- Grease the basket. Be sure to grease the air fryer basket lightly with oil. This prevents the tilapia from sticking.
- Another option is to line the air fryer basket with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the tilapia.
- If you want to ensure even cooking, flip the tilapia halfway through the cooking time. If you do this, keep in mind that the fish is delicate, so be gentle.
Add a side of Garlic Bread for the finishing touch!
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
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Air Fryer Tilapia
- 2 tilapia fillets (full fillets or 3-4 loins)
- 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs (Panko or fine)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (reduce to ½ teaspoon if you prefer less salty)
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees according to manufacturer directions.
- Pat tilapia dry with paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- Whisk together milk and egg in a wide shallow dish.
- Combine coating in a large glass dish (big enough so that the dish can lay flat): bread crumbs, flour, Parmesan, seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper.
- Coat tilapia in milk mixture and press firmly into the coating mixture, coating both sides well.
- Open air fryer and brush basket with oil. Place tilapia in the basket (if you like, you can line the basket with parchment so they are easier to remove later). Spray top of tilapia with oil spray.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. If desired, you can flip the tilapia half way for more even browning, but remember that fish can be delicate.
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