This fast and delicious Air Fryer Tilapia cooks up plain tilapia fillets into tender, flaky portions that are an absolute delight! The best part is that this flavorful seafood dish comes together in just 10 minutes for a super convenient weeknight meal!
My Air Fryer Tilapia is full of flavor, tender, and effortless – everything you want in a main course!
Summer calls for light meals that can be made without much fuss! Like my lemon butter baked cod, this air fryer tilapia without breading is a super-fast and mouthwatering seafood main course that you can whip up for your family in just 10 minutes!
It’s amazing with buttery tilapia – but you can also use whatever favorite white fish you have available! Full of heart-healthy Omega-3’s, tilapia is a fantastic, healthy, and affordable option for dinner.
This tasty entree already cooks quickly, but you can cook it faster with the air fryer, which makes the tilapia golden on the outside and wonderfully moist on the inside. The air fryer really takes it up a notch when it comes to flavor and speed in cooking!
My family and I love the light, fresh flavors of this dish. You and your family are sure to love this air fryer tilapia recipe too!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Incredibly Fast! This recipe is no-fuss and basically effortless, no matter what your culinary experience level! Makes the perfect meal for a busy weeknight!
It’s Tasty! The air fryer makes this tilapia succulent, and the rich seasonings highlight the flavor of the fish without overwhelming the delicate flesh.
Make it Your Own! Use this recipe as a base and experiment with different flavors to find your favorite!
Let the air fryer do the cooking with this effortless 4 ingredient recipe. Unable to find Cajun seasoning in your grocery store? Make my simple and quick recipe!
- Tilapia Fillets – Fresh is always best! You can use frozen too – but make sure to thaw! You can also substitute any white fish for the tilapia.
- Olive Oil – A fantastic, healthy cooking oil. You’ll use this to coat the air fryer basket and rub on the fillets.
- Cajun Seasoning – An incredibly delicious seasoning blend to sprinkle on the fish. Use your favorite store-bought or use mine to add delicious flavor to so many recipes.
- Lemon – This is optional, but lemon enhances the flavor of the fish and adds an incredible fresh bite.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Cooking times are an estimate and may vary, based on many factors.
Every air fryer is different! Cooking times may vary slightly based on air fryer model or the thickness of your fish. Using the manufacturer’s instructions and my recommendations will make sure your fish is perfect.
Oil your air fryer basket or use a liner to prevent the tilapia from sticking.
Fish sticks to pans and breaks apart easily. Protecting the bottom of the fillet will make sure you’re serving whole, beautiful fillets of fish.
Aerosolized non-stick cooking sprays will damage your air fryer and its use is not recommended to make sure you get a long life out of your appliance.
Don’t overcook your tilapia! Use a thermometer to ensure a perfect finish.
According to the USDA, the internal temperature for tilapia should be 145°F (63°C). Tilapia is a fish that should be fully cooked, but don’t worry – my recipe makes sure it’s perfectly tender.
Don’t have a thermometer? When tilapia is fully cooked, it will be opaque, firm to the touch, and will flake easily when you twist a fork inserted into the thickest portion of the white fish.
Does cooking any fish over 120-125°F (49-52°C) sound like crazy talk?! I'm with you! However, I checked into the why of this USDA recommendation a bit more for all of us.
Because freshwater fish and lake fish can have parasites, you really do want to cook them to that completely done (and safe) temperature of 145°F (63°C). Fish that has been in the deep freezer has had the bacteria killed, so this is the exception. Someone else had the same question here.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
My fast and delicious air fryer tilapia comes together so effortlessly, you’ll be amazed! This recipe makes 2 servings, but you can easily increase this recipe to feed the whole family.
- Prep the air fryer. Rub a small drizzle of olive oil (about ½ of a teaspoon) on the air fryer basket or use an air fryer liner. Then preheat your air fryer to 400°F (205°C).
- Prep the tilapia. Rinse and pat dry one 8-ounce tilapia fillet or two 4-ounce tilapia fillets. Next, rub a small amount of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) over both sides of the fish. Then, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning over both sides of the tilapia, until well-coated.
- Air fry the tilapia. Place the tilapia in the air fryer and air fry at 400°F (205°C) for 4 minutes, then flip and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. When the fish is done, it will reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). It should also be completely opaque and flaky.
- Serve. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the fish, if desired and serve immediately.
I love to serve this fast and delicious air fryer tilapia for a light summertime lunch or dinner with my equally effortless air fryer asparagus. Make it hearty with a side dish like my delicious oven-roasted potatoes! Enjoy!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
This tilapia is fantastic for lunch the next day or for meal prep! If you do make extra, this incredible air fryer salmon will last for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator!
Make sure any leftover tilapia is completely cooled, then use an airtight container to store for the freshest quality.
You can further extend the shelf life of this cooked tilapia by freezing it. Place cooled fillets in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag.
Eat the tilapia within 4 months for the best flavor. When defrosting, a slow defrost in your refrigerator overnight is the safest and best option!
To reheat this delicious tilapia, preheat your oven to 275° F (135° C). Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until it’s reached an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
You can also use the microwave, by reheating in short, 30-second intervals until it’s reached the proper temperature. However, I don't recommend the microwave for reheating tender fish like tilapia.
Tilapia is fantastic with Cajun seasoning, but if you’re not a fan, I’ve got you covered! This simple recipe provides a great base that you can totally customize with your favorite herbs, spices, and seasoning blends!
Use Old Bay for a classic seafood flavor, Italian seasoning and garlic for a delicious, savory taste, or Adobo seasoning for a Latin-inspired kick.
Air fryers work well for so many things! Everything from frozen snacks to veggies, to meaty mains and much more! Try another wonderful seafood dish with my air fryer shrimp!
You can also try making easy air fryer brats or toast up some delicious air fryer quesadillas. Whatever you decide to make – it’s guaranteed to be delicious!
If you don’t have an air fryer, this tilapia will be just as delicious when oven-baked or pan-seared!
Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C). Prepare your tilapia as instructed and place it on a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
You can also pan-sear tilapia! Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes on one side, flip, and cook for another 4 minutes until it reaches the proper internal temperature.
Tilapia is a lean white fish with a buttery flavor and firm, but delicate texture. Any white fish would make a good substitute, but Catfish, Striped Bass, Bream, Red Snapper, Flounder, and Branzino are the closest substitutions.
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Air Fryer Tilapia
- 8 oz tilapia fillet (or 2 4oz portions)
- ½ Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning (use mine or store bought)
- 1 lemon (optional)
- Rinse and pat dry the tilapia.8 oz tilapia fillet
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (205°C). Lightly coat the basket bottom with cooking oil, or use an air fryer liner.
- Rub a small amount of olive oil over both sides of the fish and sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over both sides of the tilapia.½ Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
- Place into your preheated air fryer and cook at 400°F (205°C) for 4 minutes, then flip and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
- When the fish is done, it will be flaky and completely white throughout. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the fish if desired and serve immediately, enjoy!1 lemon
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Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!