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Air Fryer Tilapia

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Air Fryer Tilapia is simple to make and creates a tender piece of tilapia with a crispy breaded layer on the outside. This tilapia works perfectly on its on, as a fish fry on a bun with tarter sauce or on Tilapia Fish Tacos! 

Air Fryer Tilapia in a basket.

AIR FRYER TILAPIA 

Some of my favorite air fryer recipes to make for my family are this Air Fryer Cod recipe and Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp.

It is the perfect way to make a crust on the fish yet still have a tender inside. It is the perfect use for fish tacos or a rice, bean and fish wrap.

I knew I had to share this Air Fryer Tilapia as another option to my cod recipe. 

Tilapia is a thin fish so it cooks quickly in the air fryer, making this a quick weeknight meal option. 

In today’s Air Fryer Tilapia recipe I use a lime marinade to infuse extra flavor into the tilapia.

You can skip this part if you want and the fish will still taste great. 

Air Fryer Tilapia in tacos.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS AIR FRYER TILAPIA?

MARINADE: The marinade helps to infuse flavor into the tilapia.

I created the marinade with lime juice, tequila {optional}, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

I suggest marinating the tilapia for about 10-15 minutes before coating the fish in the crust. 

TILAPIA: I like using tilapia because it cooks so quickly like in this Parmesan Crusted Tilapia. I used 12 ounces of tilapia which was about two large filets.

You could use other cuts of fish but the cook time will depend on how thick the fish is. I have an Air Fryer Cod recipe that works nicely for cod and Easy Cod Fish Tacos

FLOUR: The all-purpose flour helps to create the crust on the tilapia. 

EGG: I used two large eggs and whisked them to create the wash that helps to keep the crust on the fish. 

PANKO BREADCRUMBS: I like using panko breadcrumbs as a crust on fish.

You can use regular breadcrumbs if you want. I also added cumin and chili powder into the breadcrumb mixture to add extra flavor. 

Air Fryer Tilapia in tacos with salsa.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AIR FRYER TILAPIA?

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.

Air Fryer Tilapia marinade.

FOR THE MARINADE: Add lime juice, tequila, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Air Fryer Tilapia marinade.

Cut fish into 1” bite size pieces and add to the marinade. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Air Fryer Tilapia fish in a bowl.

Dredge the fish: Set up a dredging station with 3 bowls.

Add flour to one bowl, eggs to the other, and panko bread crumbs to the last bowl.

Drain fish from marinade and pat dry.

Air Fryer Tilapia spices and breadcrumbs.

Pat the tilapia fillets dry then dip each fillet into the flour and coat both sides.

Dip them into the egg wash and transfer them to the breadcrumb mixture to coat both sides of each fillet.

Air Fryer Tilapia fish in a bowl.

Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or cooking spray.

Take the air-fryer basket and place 1 to 2 tilapia fish fillet in the air fryer.

You don’t want to overlap the fish so you may need to do two batches.

Spray the top and bottom of the tilapia with olive oil.

Air Fryer Cauliflower air fryer

Place the tilapia into the air fryer and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Remove the fish once it gets a brown crust on the outside and the internal temperature is 145 F and is easily flaked by a fork at the thickest part.

Air Fryer Tilapia in tacos.

WHAT IS AIR FRY COOKING?

A lot of people might be wondering how an air fryer works.

It is similar to an amped-up countertop convection oven.

Its compact space promotes even faster cooking.

The top of the unit holds a heating mechanism and a fan.

Hot air rushes down and around the food which is placed in a basket. The rapid air circulation helps crisp up food.

A lot of people compare it to deep frying food but much, much healthier!

It also requires very little clean-up and most of the time the basket in the air fryer can be dishwashed.

Air Fryer Tilapia ingredients.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING THIS AIR FRYER TILAPIA

Make sure to spray the air fryer basket with olive oil to help prevent the fish from sticking. 

Put the tilapia in one layer in the air fryer basket. You might want to make the fish in two batches if the tilapia won’t fit. 

The fish should flake and reach and internal temperature of 145 degrees when it is done cooking. 

You can’t use frozen fish, you will want to thaw out the fish in the fridge before cooking it in the air fryer. 

Make sure to preheat your air fryer before cooking the fish. This will help the fish to cook evenly.

 

Air Fryer Tilapia tacos with salsa.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AIR FRYER TILAPIA TACOS?

I love using fish, like tilapia, in fish tacos. Here are some of the ingredients I add to fish tacos:

SALSA: Salsa is always a nice addition to fish tacos. I love making this Homemade Salsa, Avocado Tomatillo Salsa, Easy Homemade Salsa Verde and Mango Black Bean Salsa Recipe.

SLAW: Slaw is one of my favorite additions to tacos.

I often make this Healthy Coleslaw and this Mango Cabbage Coleslaw.

BEANS: I also really like adding refried or black beans to my tacos.

You could make these Quick and Delicious Cuban Style Black Beans for a zesty option.

VEGETABLES: There are a lot of vegetable options to add to fish tacos.

I often use tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion and radishes. You could also make pickled onions which are always a nice addition. 

Air Fryer Tilapia with sour cream.

OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Baked Cod with Lemon 

Black Sea Bass Recipe

Honey Garlic Sriracha Shrimp 

Air Fryer Tilapia in tacos.

Air Fryer Tilapia

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Air Fryer Tilapia is simple to make and creates a tender piece of tilapia with a crispy breaded layer on the outside. This tilapia works perfectly on its on, as a fish fry on a bun with tarter sauce or on Tilapia Fish Tacos!

Ingredients

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon tequila {optional}
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces of tilapia {about 2 large filets}
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions

    1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
    2. Prepare the marinade: Add lime juice, tequila, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut fish into 1” bite size pieces and add to the marinade. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
    3. Dredge the fish: Set up a dredging station with 3 bowls. Add flour to one bowl, eggs to the other, and panko bread crumbs, cumin and chili powder to the last bowl. Drain fish from marinade and pat dry.
    4. Pat the tilapia fillets dry then dip each fillet into the flour and coat both sides. Dip them into the egg wash and transfer them to the breadcrumb mixture to coat both sides of each fillet.
    5. Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or cooking spray. Take the air-fryer basket and place 1 to 2 tilapia fish fillet in the air fryer. You don't want to overlap the fish so you may need to do two batches.
    6. Spray the top and bottom of the tilapia with olive oil.
    7. Place the tilapia into the air fryer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the fish once it gets a brown crust on the outside and the internal temperature is 145 F and is easily flaked by a fork at the thickest part.
    8. Serve the tilapia in tacos, on its own, on a bun or in a wrap.

Notes

Be very careful when flipping the fish over as it can stick to the air fryer and break apart.

You can skip the marinade and it will still taste great.

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