plate of air fryer tilapia.

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Easy Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe

You can always count on fish to be an easy meal, and this recipe is no different! Ready in just 20 minutes, it’s fast, easy, and gives you lots of crisp texture without the need for deep frying.

All you need are a few seasonings and breadcrumbs to create incredible flavor. Then, pop your tilapia filets in an air fryer, and dinner is ready in minutes!

You have plenty of time to prepare a few sides, and cleanup is a breeze. Even better, this recipe is so good that it will convert even those who claim not to love fish.

Looking for more quick seafood meals? Try my Grilled Salmon, Air Fryer Salmon, and Fish Tacos, too!

top down image of a plate of air fryer tilapia served on a white round plate.

Easy Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe

So, how does this air fryer tilapia get all its flavor? Garlic powder, a little salt, pepper, and basil in the seasoned Italian breadcrumbs are the only spices you need. However, these basic seasonings add tons of taste and texture to every bite of fish. 

The simple ingredients aren’t the only reason why this recipe is so great. I also love how quickly it cooks. You can have tender, golden-brown fish in under 15 minutes. Even better, the whole cooking process is entirely hands-off thanks to the air fryer!

You really need to make this air fryer tilapia to see just how good it is. 

Ingredients For Air Fryer Tilapia

To print: see recipe card below

ingredients to make air fryer tilapia.
  • 1/4 cup flour – Regular, all-purpose flour is perfect for this recipe. If needed, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour to keep this recipe gluten-free.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk I like to use whole milk to add a little richness to the fish. Unsweetened almond milk will work as well and provide a slightly nutty taste.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs – Italian-style breadcrumbs feature a mix of breadcrumbs and herbs including dried basil, oregano, and parsley.
  • 4 tilapia fillets You can use fresh or frozen tilapia. If you’re using frozen tilapia filets in the air fryer, it is best to let them thaw first. Tilapia filets are nice and thin, so they should thaw quite quickly. 

Variations

  • Replace the ground black pepper with lemon pepper seasoning. The bright lemon taste is delicious with the flakey air-fried tilapia.
  • If you do not have Italian-style breadcrumbs, use two cups of regular breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons dried basil, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Mix to combine, and use the breadcrumbs as directed in the recipe.
  • This recipe works well with any white fish such as flounder filets, cod, and also catfish. Try using a different fish for a whole new flavor!

How to Make Air Fryer Tilapia

  1. Prep your equipment: Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Set up the bowls for breading: In one shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Pour the breadcrumbs into the third bowl. 
  3. Bread the fish: First, dip the tilapia filets into the flour mixture. Then, transfer them to the egg mixture. Next, dip the fish into the breadcrumbs. At every step, be sure to coat the tilapia filets completely so the breading envelopes the fish all the way around. 
  4. Air fry the tilapia: Place the breaded fish into the greased air fryer basket. Pop it into the hot air fryer, and cook for ten minutes. Once the fish filets are golden brown and flake easily, they’re ready to serve!

Quick Tip

Fish in the air fryer should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cook frozen tilapia, you will likely need to adjust the cook time, adding a few minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Tilapia is a mild-flavored fish that pairs well with fresh lemon juice and a variety of side dishes. I like to serve air fryer tilapia with my summer pasta salad, which is filling but still nice and light.

Tilapia is also great with a veggie side dish like roasted broccoli or some air fried zucchini. And, a quick bowl of Instant Pot rice will go with the air-fried tilapia perfectly. 

close up image of air fried tilapia cut open to see the cross section served on a white round plate.

How to Store Air Fryer Tilapia

  • Store leftover air fryer tilapia in an airtight container in the fridge for three to four days.
  • Reheat in the air fryer for three to four minutes. This will make it nice and crispy, just like the day it was made!

Quick Tip

If you do not have an air fryer, you can still make this easy tilapia recipe. Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and line a baking sheet tray with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray, and arrange the breaded tilapia in an even layer.

Bake for five minutes. Then, flip and bake for five minutes more or until the fish cooks through.

A plate of air fryer tilapia.

Air Fryer Tilapia

This easy air fryer tilapia recipe makes delicious, perfectly cooked fish that happens to be healthy too! The air fryer results in tilapia that is crisp on the outside yet tender and flaky in the center.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients  

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 4 tilapia filets

Instructions 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F and spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Add the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a shallow bowl and whisk them all together.
    ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Add the milk and egg to a second shallow bowl and whisk the egg with the milk, breaking up the egg completely.
    1 Tablespoon milk, 1 egg
  • Pour the breadcrumbs into a third shallow bowl.
    2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • Dip the first tilapia filet into the spiced flour mix and coat both sides of the fish with the flour. Then, dip the fish into the eggs, covering it completely in the liquid. Finally, dip the fish into the breadcrumbs and make sure both sides are covered completely in breadcrumbs.
    4 tilapia filets
  • Place the breaded fish filet on the prepared air fryer tray then continue to dip and bread the remaining fish filets.
  • Once you have all the fish breaded and lined up in your air fryer basket, place the basket into the hot air fryer and cook for 10 minutes. The fish will be golden brown and crispy. Enjoy right away!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 443kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 1489mg | Potassium: 694mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 183IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

Did you make this Easy Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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