Simple tilapia fillets get a zesty Parmesan breading in this quick recipe for Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Tilapia! It’s a family-friendly, weeknight-friendly meal that’s so delicious and sure to please everyone at the table.
Why I Love Air Fried Tilapia
- Easy-To-Make: This recipe is ideal for those unfamiliar with preparing seafood. The simplicity and straightforward steps of the Air Fryer Tilapia recipe make it an approachable option for cooks at any skill level.
- Healthier “Fried” Option: The use of an air fryer allows for a deliciously crispy texture, similar to traditional frying, but with significantly less oil.
- Quick: The recipe is not only easy but also quick to prepare, making it a perfect choice for both lunch and dinner.
- Different: Moving away from the usual chicken or beef, this fish recipe introduces a refreshing change to everyday dinners.
- Tilapia Filets: This recipe serves four. Fresh or frozen tilapia is fine.
- Panko: You can use the pork rind panko for a low carb option, or just go with regular panko crumbs.
- Parmesan: Freshly-grated parmesan has the boldest taste, but pre-shredded or grated is fine, too.
- Spices: Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper add plenty of flavor to the fish.
- Cooking Spray: Non-aerosol cooking spray is best.
- Parsley: Optionally, chop up some fresh parsley for garnish.
- Lemon Slices: Also optional, for serving.
Can You Put Frozen Tilapia in an Air Fryer?
Actually, yes! That’s another amazing thing about air-frying fish filets: they cook up very well straight from your freezer. If you use frozen filets, they will need to cook for around 10 minutes. Fresh filets will only need about half that time.
How to Make Air Fryer Tilapia
This recipe is so simple, but most of all, it’s easy and quick! If you’re making sides to go with it, I recommend getting started on those first because once the tilapia is in the air fryer, you only need 5-ish minutes to cook it.
- Prep the Air Fryer, Tilapia Filets, and Parmesan Mixture. Preheat the Air Fryer to 350˚F. Meanwhile, pat your filets dry with clean paper towels, and make the Parmesan crust mixture by mixing together all of the crust ingredients in a small bowl.
- Bread the Fish Filets. Spray the fish filets with cooking spray to help the crust mixture stick. Dip the filets one by one into the crust mixture, and gently press the crust into the filets with your fingers to help it stay on.
- Place the Tilapia in the Air Fryer Basket. Arrange 2 tilapia filets in a single layer inside the air fryer basket, or however many will fit without crowding. It’s important not to crowd the basket so the fish can crisp up.
- Air-Fry the Fish. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until each piece is golden brown. The fish is done when the internal temperature registers at 145˚F. Remove the fish from the air fryer and continue to cook the rest.
- Enjoy! Once all the filets are cooked, garnish them with parsley, and serve with lemon slices.
Tips And Variations
- Thaw Just a Little: If you’re using frozen filets, I recommend letting them sit at room temperature just for a few minutes while the air fryer preheats. The tiny bit of thawing time will help the breading stick to the fish. If your fish are encased in ice glaze, use cool running water to melt it away. Then let the fish thaw for a few minutes, pat dry, and proceed.
- Fish Options: If you don’t have tilapia or prefer to use another type of fish, try catfish, bream, red snapper, flounder, or any relatively firm white fish. This recipe is very flexible!
- Don’t Crowd the Air Fryer: It’s best to leave a little room around each filet so that the air can circulate and crisp up every piece of the fish. If your air fryer can’t hold all of the fish comfortably, cook them in batches.
- Season It Your Way: The seasoning blend in this recipe can easily be replaced with your favorite pre-mixed seasoning, such as Old Bay or any all-purpose seafood seasoning. If you’d like a spicy kick, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or a few crushed red pepper flakes to the dredging mixture.
To serve, I recommend making an easy veggie side or two, like this recipe for Roasted Sugar Snap Peas or this easy and light Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dressing. No one can resist a simple, cheesy side of bread, so if you can, make my Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread with a store-bought loaf.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat directly from frozen.
- To reheat, place the fish in a preheated 350°F oven or air fryer. If you’re using a regular oven, you can reheat it on a wire rack over a baking sheet or directly on the baking sheet itself – your call. It will take about 6 minutes or so in a regular oven and a couple of minutes in an air fryer.
More Easy Seafood Recipes
- Blackened Balsamic Tuna Steaks
- Salmon Florentine
- Easy Shrimp Fried Rice with Pineapple
- Air Fryer Shrimp Boil
- Seafood Mac And Cheese
Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
- 4 tilapia filets, thawed
- ½ cup panko crumbs, or pork rind crumbs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- cooking spray
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- lemon slices, for serving
- Preheat the air fryer to 350˚F.
- Pat dry the tilapias with paper towels.
- In a shallow dish combine the crumbs, grated parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper; mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Lightly spray the fillets with cooking spray, then dredge them in the cheese and crumb mixture, pressing the mixture onto the fillets with your fingers to ensure it adheres well.
- Arrange 2 tilapia filets in a single layer inside the air fryer basket; do not crowd the basket because it will steam the fish rather than fry.
- Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature registers at 145˚F.
- Remove fish from air fryer and continue to cook the rest.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon slices.