This quick, easy, and healthy recipe for healthy air fryer tilapia is perfect for a fast supper any night of the week. The fish is perfectly crispy and flavourful and comes together in a flash with a simple mango salsa accompaniment. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and made with whole foods.
Tilapia Made Fast in the Air Fryer
If you don’t own an Air Fryer yet, I highly recommend adding one to your must-have list. This small kitchen appliance is very easy to use and gives so many different foods a delicious crispy, crunchy texture that a deep fryer does… without the deep-frying! This simple recipe for healthy air fryer tilapia shows just how easy it is to use the air fryers for perfectly cooked fish.
The perfectly seasoned air fryer tilapia tacos is light, slightly crispy on the outside and flaky and tender on the inside. The mango salsa topping is simple and minimal and makes the best accompaniment for this tasty fish.
What is Tilapia? Where Does Tilapia Come From?
Tilapia is a white fish that is mostly farm-raised. Wild tilapia live near Africa and are native to those areas but Tiplia can be found all over the world because it’s a fish that can easily be bred for food in captivity. It’s a mild-flavored white-fleshed fish that doesn’t have a strong taste of its own making it perfect for pairing with just about any seasonings or flavorings you may desire.
Can you cook fish in an Air Fryer?
Absolutely! When you think of “air frying” you might think of foods that are more common to be deep-fried like fries, chicken wings, and mozzarella sticks, but you can seriously put almost anything “fryable” in air fryers and get great results, including tilapia fillets.
When it comes to cooking fish in the air fryer you can bread the fish with a heavier breading to get a more deep-fried crunchy texture like that of “fish and chips” or you can lightly season and get a more baked texture. You can easily use fresh fish, frozen fish, fish sticks, and the like in an air fryer.
Air Fryer Tilapia Ingredients:
For this air fryer tilapia recipe, I really wanted the perfectly air-fried fish to be the star, so I kept the ingredients list really simple. The items you need are common, healthy, and most of them you likely already have in your fridge and pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh tilapia fillets
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Dried parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
Mango Salsa Ingredients
The light and fresh mango salsa is totally optional but elevates this simple dish. It’s perfectly sweet with a touch of tanginess and the flavour goes so well with the seasoned tilapia.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh mango
- Fresh cilantro
- Red onion
Other Optional Accompaniments:
To make this a heartier meal I chose to add in wild rice but you can also use white rice, brown rice, corn tortillas (to make tacos!), or any other carbohydrate you wish to add (or none at all).
How to Cook Tilapia in Air Fryer
How long to cook tilapia in air fryer will depend on whether it is fresh, frozen, thawed, etc. To cook fish in the air fryer basket it usually doesn’t take long at all!
While the type of fish you use (fresh, frozen, etc.) will vary the cooking time, here are general recommendations:
First, I recommend preheating the air fryer for 3-5 minutes before cooking fish for best results!
- Fresh fish fillets:6-10 minutes at 330-400 degrees, flipping once halfway through (increase the temperature for heartier fish like halibut or salmon, and lower the temperature for thinner fish like tilapia).
- Frozen fish fillets (unbreaded): 10-12 minutes at 370 degrees, flipping once halfway through
- Frozen breaded fish sticks/bites/etc: 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping once halfway through
Note: These are general cooking times and may vary depending on the brand/size of the fish.
Preparing Air Fryer Tilapia
When it comes to making this delicious and easy tilapia, there are only a few steps you need to follow. I love recommending this kind of recipe for someone who is newer at healthy eating and wants to make a restaurant-style meal at home without the added calories and deep-frying that comes with a lot of restaurant meals.
How to Season Tilapia
Here are the steps:
- In a small bowl, combine all of the seasonings until well blended.
- Prepare the tilapia fillets by brushing with olive oil and then coating them with the seasoning mixture.
- Preheat the Air Fryer for 3 minutes (follow manufacturers instructions for pre-heating.)
- Place the fish in the air fryer basket and set to the fish setting (or 330 degrees) for 7 minutes.
- While you cook the tilapia, prepare the mango salsa.
- Serve the hot air fryer tilapia on a bed of rice (optional) and top with the mango salsa. Or turn into yummy fish tacos.
How to Grill Tilapia
Preheat your grill to 350 degrees F. Prep your tilapia as directed and place directly onto the hot grill rack. If needed, brush olive oil on the grill before applying fish to prevent sticking. Cook for about 4 minutes per side or until fork-tender and easily flaked.
How Many Calories in Tilapia
The number of calories in the fish (before seasonings) will vary greatly on the size of Tilapia that you have on average a 6 ounce of tilapia can have 120-160 calories, making it one of the more low cal fish options available.
Is Tilapia a White Fish?
Yes, Tilapia is a white fish. It’s very lean and low in fat while being very high in protein. It’s very similar to another one- cod.
How to cook frozen tilapia in air fryer
You can prepare your tilapia as directed and then cook the tilapia in a preheated air fryer at 370 degrees F for 10-12 minutes in the air fryer basket, making sure to flip over at the halfway mark.
Is tilapia good for you/ Is tilapia healthy?
While a lot of people try to avoid tilapia because it’s farm-raised, it’s actually a pretty healthy fish. It may get a bad rap but it’s one of the better fishes to enjoy not just for the high protein and low fat health benefits that it brings but it’s also usually one of the more affordable fish options too.
Does tilapia have bones?
Yes, just like any other fish out there tilapia has fish bones and scales just like any other fish. They are real fish, they’re just born into captivity for eating purposes. They aren’t slabs of meat grown in a lab under microscopes.
I’ve been using my air fryer even more than my oven lately. I find in the summer it’s so handy as you don’t have to preheat the oven or heat up the house by turning the oven on. The air fryer truly does cut down on time and makes cooking a delicious dinner a breeze! Serve this up for a tasty weeknight dinner any night of the week!
Do you have an air fryer? What kind of delicious and healthy air-fried meals or snacks have you been making? Tell me about it in the comments and be sure to pin the photo below the recipe to save this one for later!
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I just finished eating the tilapia. OMG it was delicious and crunchy. I had it with coleslaw. Yummy. 5 minutes one side, flip and 5 the other. PERFECT.
So glad you enjoyed it!!