This air fryer tilapia without breading is a keto friendly recipe that makes for a healthy and tasty dinner. Ready in 22 minutes, the fish turns out perfectly flaky with a crispy, slightly charred outer edge. Cook from fresh or frozen fillets!
Air fried tilapia with a simple seasoning is a hit in my home every time I make it. There’s no hassle of breading the fish, and if you have frozen fillets, you don’t even have to thaw them. They can go straight from the freezer into the air fryer. The whole meal is ready in 22 minutes flat!
And the best part? With no breading, it is a gluten-free, low-carb dinner, suitable for people on a keto diet. As a family, our carb intake is high (thanks to all the bread we consume), so I’m usually all for a recipe that doesn’t call for it in any form. Air frying tilapia is a delicious and healthy way to include white fish in your dinner rotation.
Note: exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down.
- Tilapia fillets – two fillets will easily fit into the Instant Pot Vortex Plus at one time
- Light olive oil – avocado oil can also be used
- Garlic – finely chopped or minced. You can also use 1/2 tsp garlic powder if you don’t like the charred look.
- Dried parsley – or the herbs of your choice
- Black pepper – freshly ground for maximum taste
- Sea salt
- Chilli flakes (optional) – leave out if you have kids or adults with less tolerance for heat
- Lemon wedges (for serving)
1. Wash the fish and pat dry
Wash the fish fillets in cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.
2. Make the seasoning
In a small bowl, add olive or avocado oil, garlic, parsley, ground black pepper, sea salt and chilli flakes if using. Whisk lightly.
3. Get your air fryer ready
Preheat your air fryer to 400 F and set the timer to 12 minutes.
4. Brush the seasoning on the fish fillets
Brush this seasoning evenly on one side of the fish fillets, getting the edges too.
5. Air fry the fillets
Place the fillets in a single layer in the preheated air fryer basket and allow them to cook. Once the timer beeps, remove the fish and serve hot with lemon wedges.
How to cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer
The steps for cooking frozen tilapia remain the same except the cooking time. Season the fillets as usual and place in the air fryer in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes to make sure the fish is cooked through.
FREEZER TIP: If you want to do a make-ahead meal, you can also season fresh tilapia fillets and keep each fillet in individual ziploc bags. Store these in your freezer. Take them out and air fry them without thawing for a super-quick dinner!
- If you want a slightly less ‘charred’ surface, reduce the cooking times to 10 minutes for fresh fillets and 13 minutes for the frozen. The fish will still be cooked through.
- A good sign of whether the fish is cooked through is to break it with a fork. If the flesh is white in color and flakes easily, it is done.
- There is no need to flip the fish halfway through the cooking. You can if you want to, of course, but tilapia is a very delicate fish and may break as you’re flipping it.
- This recipe makes more than enough for two people, but if you are a family of four, double the seasoning and air fry the tilapia in two batches. If you have a larger air fryer, like the 10-quart Vortex, you can do it all in one go.
Storage and reheating
Storage – Keep any leftovers in a covered food container for 2 or 3 days in the fridge. When you want to eat it again, just reheat it in the air fryer (below) and you’ll have hot, crispy fish on the table in minutes!
Reheating – Preheat the air fryer to 400 F and spray it very lightly with cooking oil. Keep the fillets in a single layer in the basket and cook for 3 minutes only. It will come out perfectly warmed right through the centre.
- For low-carb options, serve the tilapia with air fried vegetables like asparagus, carrots, green beans, or cauliflower steaks.
- Or you can go down the traditional fish and chips route and serve the fish with air fryer potato fries. Avocado and sweet potato fries also go well with fish.
Try this bang bang salmon and this salmon with vegetables as well if you like cooking your fish in the air fryer.
Air Fryer Tilapia Without Breading
- Air Fryer Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-quart
- 2 tilapia fillets rinsed and patted dry
- ½ tbsp light olive oil or avocado oil
- ½ tsp garlic finely chopped or minced
- ¼ tsp parsley dried
- ¼ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- ½ tsp sea salt adjust to taste
- ¼ tsp chili flakes optional
- 2 lemon wedges for serving
- Wash the fish fillets in cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, add olive or avocado oil, garlic, parsley, ground black pepper, sea salt and chilli flakes (if using) to make the seasoning. Whisk lightly.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 F and set the timer to 12 minutes. If using frozen fillets, set the timer to 15 minutes.
- Brush the seasoning evenly on one side of the fish fillets, getting the edges too.
- Place the fillets in a single layer in the preheated air fryer basket and allow them to cook. Once the timer beeps, remove the fish and serve hot with lemon wedges.
- If you want a less charred look, reduce the air frying time to 10 minutes for fresh fillets and 12 minutes for frozen ones.
- Substitute the fresh garlic with 1/2 tsp garlic powder if you don’t like the garlic getting charred during air frying.
- There is no need to flip the fish halfway through the cooking. Tilapia is a very delicate fish and may break as you’re flipping it.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat when needed in the air fryer set to 400 F for 3 minutes.