How To Cook Tilapia In An Air Fryer

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How To Cook Tilapia In An Air Fryer Without It Drying Out

Have you been trying to figure out how to cook tilapia in an air fryer without it becoming soggy or drying out? If so, this post has you covered. In this post, we will explore whether or not you need to talk about your tilapia before cooking, how to get your tilapia to hold the breading, and delicious recipes for cooking your tilapia in an air fryer.

Throughout the years, I have gone more and more onto the side of cooking directly from the freezer. There is just something about the hassle-free nature of watching my frozen food come to life in the air fryer. What’s even better, is that they always cooked to perfection. Using the air fryer is easy, quick, and there are tons of recipes that you can find for any protein you decide to cook.

Cooking frozen fish can be problematic as there is a trick to breading that you must follow to get your coat to stick. Fret not, as before we go through the recipes we will be walking through exactly how to accomplish this.

Do I Have To Tell My Tilapia Before Cooking It?

Of course, not! The brilliant thing about the air fryer is that you can achieve the same delicious finish whether you thaw your frozen foods or not. To achieve the perfect tilapia simply go through a brief breading session, then toss in the air fryer and watch the magic happen. Let’s explore how to bread your tilapia so that you get a crispier finish.

How to Bread My Tilapia so the Coat Sticks?

If you choose not to defrost your tilapia before cooking, there are a few tweaks you will need to make to the usual breading process. Luckily, there is a unique workaround. Before you begin breading generously coat your tilapia in your preferred cooking oil then proceed to bread as usual.

You can choose the coat in oil by brushing with a pastry brush, spraying with cooking spray, or even dredging your fish in the oil. The oil will and dare to the fish and serve as a sort of glue for whatever you choose to bread your fish with.

I like to spoon my breadcrumbs directly on top of the tilapia. That way I get a beautiful coat that is crisp and flavorful on top of my fish. They have your coat on top allows me the pleasure of cracking the crust to reveal a juicy, perfectly cooked tilapia surprise.

How To Cook Tilapia In An Air Fryer: Recipes

Buffalo Tilapia

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 16 mins


  • Tilapia (12oz.)
  • Almonds (3/4 cup, sliced)
  • Almond Flour (1/4 cup)
  • Egg (1)
  • Buffalo sauce (1/2 cup)
  • Garlic salt (1 tsp.)
  • Pepper (1 tsp.)


Add your almonds, almond flour, and eggs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Lightly grease the bottom of your air fryer in preparation for frying. Dredge tilapia in flour, egg, and sliced almonds in that order then transfer to your air fryer. Set to air fry at 375 degrees F until fully cooked (about 15 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes). Add your tilapia into a large bowl with buffalo sauce and toss to coat. Serve.

Perfect Air Fried Tilapia

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10mins

Cook Time: 25mins


  • Tilapia (1 lb., fillets)
  • Salt (2 tsp., to taste)
  • Pepper (1 tsp., to taste)
  • Almond Flour (3/4 cup, for coating)


Set your air fryer to 360 degrees F. Season your tilapia to taste, then roll them in flour so that they are evenly coated. Once coated, place your tilapia in your fry basket. Allow to cook until golden brown in appearance and fully cooked (about 25 minutes). Enjoy!

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 15mins

Cook Time: 15mins


  • Tilapia (1 lb.)
  • Salt (2 tsp., to taste)
  • Pepper (1 tsp., to taste)
  • Eggs (2, beaten)
  • Almond (1 cups, crushed)
  • Vegetable Oil (1 tbsp.)


Set your air fryer to 370 degrees F. Season your tilapia to taste, then roll the tilapia pieces in your flour, then eggs, then almond so that they are evenly coated. Once coated, place your tilapia into your fry basket, and sprinkle evenly with oil. Allow to cook until golden brown in appearance and cooked through (about 15 minutes). Serve and enjoy!

Seared Tilapia with Spiralized Zucchini

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 3mins

Cook Time: 13mins


  • 1 1/2 lb. zucchini
  • 2 small tilapia fillets (1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Lemon (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 1/2 c. flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (minced)


Preheat the air fryer to 380°C. Line a suitable-sized rimmed baking sheet with foil or a reusable baking sheet. Gather zucchini and use a spiralizer to slice zucchini, into thin strips. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a knife and thinly slice zucchini.

Combine zucchini with 1 tbsp oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss, evenly spread zucchini mixture, and allow to roast for approximately 8 minutes. Allow zucchini to cook until golden for an additional 1-2 minutes. In a reasonable size skillet heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat.

Cook tilapia for approximately 4-5 minutes seasoning with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil to the skillet gradually stirring in garlic, lemon, and capers. Fold in the parsley and sever tilapia with zucchini blend.

Air Fried Cajun Tilapia

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 6mins

Cook Time: 7mins


  • Tilapia (200g, fillet, clean)
  • Cajun seasoning (3 tbsp.)
  • Sugar (1 tbsp.)
  • Lemon Juice (¼ lemon)


Set your air fryer to preheat to 350 degrees F (about 2 minutes). Use your Cajun seasoning, and sugar to lightly coat your tilapia. Add tilapia to your fryer basket then set to air fry skin side up until cooked (about 7 minutes).

Final Thoughts

Tilapia is a delicate fish that must be cooked with care. Though the air fryer cooks at high speeds, it quickly gives it a beautiful sear leaving the outside crisp and the insides juicy.

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