There’s nothing fishy about cooking up seafood in an air fryer. On the contrary, air fryers might just be the perfect vessel for making crispy fish without an abundance of added oil. And because they can cook things more quickly than the oven, air fryers are also ideal for making easy home-cooked dinners that are on the table without a ton of fuss—something most of us could probably use more of, especially on busy weeknights.

Whether you’re new to air fryer cooking or are just looking for some seafood-inspired meal ideas, we’re sharing 13 of our favorite air fryer fish recipes, with flavorful options that are guaranteed to get you out of your cooking rut. Let’s dive in!  

How Do You Cook Fish in an Air Fryer?

Air frying fish is easier—and a whole lot less messy—than deep frying it. Depending on your comfort level in the kitchen, it can also be a more foolproof cooking method than baking or pan searing. There are just a few basics that you need to know about air frying fish, and none of it is too complicated.

Cooking temperatures and times will vary based on the type of fish that you’re air frying and the recipe that you’re working off of. However, some general rules of thumb will always apply:

  • Don’t overcrowd the fryer basket. Air fryers crisp up food by circulating air around it. If you don’t leave enough room around each piece of fish, air won’t be able to circulate, and you won’t end up with an optimal texture.
  • Flip your fish halfway through the cook time. This way, the bottom of the fish fillet or patty will get a chance to brown in addition to the top.
  • Fully preheat the air fryer before adding your fish. You want it to be at maximum heat from the moment your fish enters the cooking chamber.

Regardless of which air fryer fish recipes you choose to make, following these general rules will ensure that your food comes out as crispy and delicious as possible. When in doubt, air fry fish in batches so that you can guarantee air circulation and make sure that the cooking temp and time is just right.

Can You Put Frozen Fish in an Air Fryer?

Yes! You can absolutely air fry frozen fish, which is good news for those nights when you’re short on time but don’t want to sacrifice having a tasty dinner. As a bonus, you don’t always even need to thaw the fish first.

Again, cooking times and temps will vary, but follow the same rules as above so that your fish comes out crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside. If you’re making fish fillets (as opposed to frozen battered fish), season them before cooking and check your seasoning again when your fish is cooked to get the flavor just right.

Air Fryer Fish and Chips

fish and chips
For truly authentic fish and chips at home, don’t forget to serve it on newspaper.

Now that it’s time to get into the recipes, let’s start with a classic: fish and chips. Cod is the go-to fish variety for this UK staple, but it’s also a smart way to make air fryer pollock if that’s what you’ve got in the fridge.

1. Traditional Fish and Chips

This recipe uses a simple dredge on cod before air frying it to perfection. Be sure to pat your cod dry before dredging to remove as much moisture as possible, which will help you achieve peak crispiness with your breading. Then pair with baked or air fried chips (a.k.a. French fries), tartar sauce, malt vinegar, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.

2. Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Want to mix it up? Try these beer-battered fish and chips in the air fryer instead. You’ll get a little bit more moisture in your breading, which makes for a succulent bite and a great contrast to the meaty cod.

Air Fryer Fish Fillets

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to fish fillets, including air fryer haddock, mahi-mahi, cod, hake, and catfish. The trick, regardless of what kind you use, is to cut your fillets to the exact same size before air frying so that they cook evenly and in the same amount of time. Don’t skimp on seasoning either, since many of the types of fish that work best for fillets are also rather light on flavor on their own.

cripsy fish
You’re not going to get fillets this crispy out of a drive-thru.

3. Crispy Air Fried Fish Fillets

These air fried fillets are drizzled with oil before being breaded to help ensure that the seasoned breadcrumbs stay in place. Fresh or frozen fillets will work, but this is one of those instances where you will want to thaw the frozen fish first. 

As for what to do with your fish fillets once they’re out of the air fryer, consider serving them up with some roasted veggies and a salad, or put a fillet on a brioche bun with a slice of American cheese and a drizzle of tartar sauce for a homemade fish fillet sandwich that blows McDonald’s version out of the water.

Air Fryer Salmon Recipes

There is so much that you can do with salmon in an air fryer. Air fryer salmon patties? You bet. Air fryer garlic butter salmon? Yes, please. Air fryer maple glazed salmon? Yum. Whatever flavors are on the menu, using your air fryer to cook salmon will provide you with expertly cooked fish that can hold its own against salmon cooked in the oven or on the stovetop.

Salmon is a great protein for experimenting with big and bold flavors. (Via @thecookierookie)

4. Seasoned Air Fried Salmon

A good place to start is with this recipe, which is a simple seasoned pairing for a fresh salad. Feel free to get creative with your seasoning mix and combine the spices that sound good to you at the moment or that go well with your planned side dishes.

5. Air Fryer Salmon Patties

If air fryer salmon patties are more your thing, these patties come out gloriously golden and are made with canned salmon, so you don’t even need to make an extra trip to the seafood counter. Use them to make juicy salmon burgers topped with avocado and spicy mayo.  

6. Air Fryer Maple Glazed Salmon

The maple glaze on this air fried salmon is so good. You’ll thicken a combination of maple syrup, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic on the stove while your salmon cooks, then pour it over the cooked fillet for a sweet and sticky finish.

7. Air Fryer Garlic Butter Salmon

Garlic and butter are the peanut butter and jelly of cooking with fish. This air fried salmon recipe brings them together beautifully with an added hint of lemon, parsley, and oregano. Altogether, it’s a restaurant-worthy seafood dish that’s ready in the air fryer in only about 10 minutes.

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Air Fryer Fish Tacos

Making mouthwatering fish tacos doesn’t require any deep frying. Air frying is an ideal cooking method for this healthy yet indulgent meal, and it’s so easy that you’ll wonder why you would ever try to make them any other way.

For best results, enjoy with a chilled beer or margarita. (Via @fooddoodles)

8. Air Fried Fish Tacos with Mango Habanero Salsa

If air fried fish tacos aren’t already on your weekly menu rotation, then they’re going to be after you try this recipe. The secret is using a lean, saltwater fish (here it’s mahi-mahi), which is light enough to hold on to the breading and not so oily that the seasoning gets lost. These are topped with a mango habanero salsa, but guacamole, Mexican crema, and raw cabbage and onion would all work, too—just don’t forget the fresh lime!

Air Fryer Trout Recipes

It’s easy to get a crunchy exterior on trout in the air fryer. A basic breading will do (just follow the air fryer fish fillet recipe above), but try one of these trout recipes if you want to do something a little different.  

Plate your air fried trout like a pro, and no one will suspect that it all came together in under 15 minutes.

9. Air Fryer Pecan Crusted Trout

Amazing things happen when you add ground roasted pecans to your breadcrumb mixture. This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and deceptively simple to make. Take it to the next level by topping with a lemon butter sauce, or enjoy it as is with a side of roasted veg.

10. Trout With Southwestern Spices

For this recipe, you’ll combine Panko with a Tex Mex-inspired mix of spices before coating your trout and cooking it in the air fryer. If you don’t have trout—or if you like the spice blend so much that you want to try it out with other types of fish—salmon would work just as well.

Air Fryer Tuna Recipes

Fresh, raw, or canned tuna can all be put into the air fryer. This type of fish comes out particularly juicy due to its natural oiliness, though stick to high-quality varieties so you don’t end up with something that’s more mushy than moist.

tuna cakes
Tuna salad is no longer the quickest tuna recipe in your arsenal. (Via @theairfryerworld)

11. Air Fryer Tuna Patties

Air fryer tuna patties are almost indistinguishable from their pan-fried counterparts. The only difference? You’ll use way less oil, meaning less grease, less fat, and fewer calories. They’re made with canned albacore tuna, but you can use yellowfin instead if that’s what you have on hand.

12. Air Fryer Tuna Casserole

Fish and cheese don’t always go together, but when they do, it’s magic. This air fryer tuna casserole is another canned tuna recipe, and it’s absolutely packed with flavorful ingredients—including shredded Mexican cheese, parmesan, spices, and pickled jalapenos (optional… but not really).

Air Fryer Catfish 

As the king of fried fish, it makes sense that catfish would be so superbly suited for air frying. Cook it up for an at-home Friday night fish fry that can rival any Midwestern dive bar (and yes, that’s a compliment).

fish with lemons
Fuss-free fried catfish, air fryer style. (Via @thetopmeal)

13. Air Fryer Fried Catfish

You’re only three ingredients away from these fried catfish nuggets. This recipe uses pre-made fish fry seasoning mix, but just in case you can’t find it, you can quickly make it yourself by combining two cups of white or yellow cornmeal with ¼ cup all-purpose flour and salt, paprika, lemon pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

Get Creative Cooking with Seafood

The air fryer is just one of many ways to cook creative seafood dishes at home. For other healthy meal ideas, try making your own sashimi or crudo, or give a homemade seafood paella a shot. Cooking with fish is a fantastic way to get healthy fats and omega-3s into your diet and allows you to experiment with a huge range of flavors, textures, and cooking techniques. With so many different varieties of fish to choose from (not to mention other types of seafood, like shrimp, mussels, clams, and crab), there’s always something new and delicious to try.  

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Written By

Laura Mueller

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