Can you cook breaded fish in the air fryer? Indeed you can! And without the fuss or muss of deep frying, it comes out crisp, crunchy, and delicious every time.
I love crispy fish and chips, but I don’t love cooking it at home because of the deep frying. But the air fryer is a game changer. It makes fish and chips easy enough to enjoy any time. Admittedly, breaded fish filets, like in the recipe below, aren’t quite the same as battered, which is what most restaurants make.
But breaded in the air fryer is 90% as good and 1000% easier than deep fried fish. There’s a crunch on the outside while remaining tender inside. Which, for me, makes air frying fish a no-brainer.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Kind Of Fish Should I Use In The Air Fryer?
Air Fryer Fish can be made with any kind of white fish fillet you like, as long as it’s 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. (Much thicker can take too long to cook through, resulting in over-browned breading.) That makes pollock, haddock, and thinner fillets of cod good candidates.
Once you get it home, you can cut your fish fillets into whatever size or shapes you like (fish sticks, anyone?) or leave them whole. It’s important, though, that they fit into your air fryer basket without crowding. That’ll help ensure crisp crunchiness. If they won’t fit, just cook the fish in two batches, keeping the first batch warm in the oven while you cook the second.
Want a different kind of air fryer fish recipe? Try this Air Fryer Salmon with crispy skin.
Making The Crispy Coating
Another thing that helps ensure crisp crunchiness is a three-part coating—flour, egg, and panko. The panko is what makes for crunch, but the egg helps the panko stick, and the flour helps the egg stick.
I like the rougher shards of panko, but you could substitute regular breadcrumbs if that’s what you prefer or have on hand.
And speaking of substitutions, my panko mixture in the photo is simply seasoned with a little paprika, but you could use other seasonings as well. You could add onion powder or garlic powder, use black pepper instead of the white. An Italian herb blend would be nice, as would Old Bay seasoning or Salt and Vinegar Seasoning. But check to see if your blend includes salt and, if so, adjust the salt that gets sprinkled on the fish before coating.
Serving Crispy Air Fryer Fish
And don’t forget your favorite dipping sauce, be it ketchup, tartar sauce, or ranch dip. Something creamy is soooo nice with all that crunch. Lemon wedges to squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish is great too.
Podcast Episode About Making Crispy Fish In The Air Fryer
Listen to our editor, Christine Pittman, explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
- 12 oz. white fish fillets (for example, pollock, haddock, or cod), 1/2– to 3/4-in. thick, cut into pieces
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper, ideally white pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup panko
- 1 tsp. paprika, dried parsley, Italian seasoning blend, or other favorite seasoning or seasoning blend (see note)
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow bowl or dish. Put the egg in a second shallow bowl or dish. In a third shallow bowl or dish, combine the panko and paprika.
- Coat fish one fillet at a time. Dredge both sides of the fish in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg, shaking off the excess, and then the panko, shaking off any excess.
- Arrange the fish in the air fryer basket. Cook until the coating is crisp and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
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Note: If using a seasoning blend, be sure to check if it includes salt and, if so, adjust accordingly.
This post originally appeared in July 2022 and was revised and republished in June 2023.