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Air Fryer Fried Fish

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This Air Fryer Fried Fish is super flavorful and crispy without all the oil. Serve this flaky and tender fish simply with fries and tartar sauce or as part of a larger meal.

Air fried fish on parchment paper with lemon and fries.

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Crispy fried fish is a way of life here in New England.

The seafood places I love are usually seasonal, meaning there are MONTHS I have to go without crispy fish and chips, so I decided to come up with a homemade version!

Most importantly I wanted to do without is all the excess oil and the cleanup (and smell) that comes with deep-frying. So I knew that the air fryer was the right tool for the job.

This fried fish is so flaky, crispy on the outside, and full of flavor. It’s the perfect alternative to deep fried fish, without sacrificing texture or flavor!

For the full summer in New England fish and chips experience, make sure to serve this air fryer fried fish with my homemade tartar sauce, creamy coleslaw, air fryer french fries, and a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream for dessert!

Fried fish topped with dill on a pile of french fries.

Why You’ll Love Air-Fried Fish

  • Easier to make flavorful and crispy fish without a deep fryer
  • This air fryer recipe is healthier than deep frying with far less mess (and smell)
  • Super flavorful and crispy with no oil
  • It’s a simple recipe the whole family will love
  • Easy cleanup!

Ingredients for Crispy Air Fryer Fish

Overhead view of air fryer fish ingredients
  • Fish – I like to use haddock or cod filets for this recipe. Tilapia or Pollock will work too.
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Eggs
  • Seasoned Panko Bread CrumbsSeasoned panko is best because it has extra seasoning and parmesan for flavor and superior browning.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – for browning, binding the crust, and flavor
  • Coarse Kosher Salt – *do not use table salt or it’ll be too salty
  • Unsalted Butter

For equipment, you’ll need an air fryer. The one I use is the 6qt Instant Vortex Air Fryer. It takes about 3 batches to fry 2 lbs of haddock filets.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 

Cut the haddock into portions 3-4 oz in size. Butterfly thick filets and gently press to flatten.

How To Butterfly a Fish Filet

For even frying and maximum crispiness, thick chunks of fish need to be butterflied and flattened before breading and air frying. Here’s how to butterfly a fish filet:

A knife slicing a fish filet lengthwise.

Hold your fish filet and using a very sharp knife, cut lengthwise from top to bottom through the middle of the filet. Do not cut all the way through.

Try to use a long singular cutting motion instead of sawing back and forth with the knife.

A hand pressing the fish flat on the cutting board.

Press gently the piece flat so that the fish filet is the same thickness all the way through.

Step 2

Place sliced pieces of fish on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Using a ½ teaspoon of salt lightly salt both sides of the fish. Let the fish sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading station.

Step 3

To prepare the breading station, you’ll need 3 dishes.

Add the all purpose flour to a pie plate or shallow dish. In a separate bowl, whisk the three whole eggs until beaten well.

a hand pouring butter over breadcrumbs.

In the final dish, combine the Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk together to combine. Pour the melted butter over the breading mixture.

breadcrumbs in a dish with a fork

Stir together until all the breadcrumbs are evenly coated.

Step 4

A hand patting the fish filet dry on a wire rack.

After the fish has sat for 10 minutes, pat both sides dry with a paper towel.

Step 5

a fish filet in flour

Bread the fish by dredging each filet in flour.

A hand holding a fish filet dredged in flour

Gently shake off any excess flour.

fish filet in egg

Next, dip the fish in the beaten eggs.

a hand dipping fish in egg.

Let the excess drip off and transfer to the breadcrumb mixture.

Fish filets in breadcrumbs in a clear dish

Press the breadcrumbs onto the fish, making sure the filet is evenly and thoroughly coated. Shake off any excess.

A hand holding up a breaded fish filet

Repeat this breading process until all the filets are coated in the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture.

Step 6

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F and spray the basket with cooking spray.

Next, place a wire rack on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven. Set the oven to 200 degrees F.

Breaded fish filets in an air fryer basket.


Working in batches, add the fish to the preheated air fryer. Fry off the fish filets in a single layer, and try not to overcrowd the basket.

Partially cooked fish filets in an air fryer.

Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Cooked fish filets in an air fryer basket.

The fish is done when the breading is golden brown and crispy, and the fish registers 145 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.

Step 7

Transfer the first batch of cooked fish to the wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat the cooking process until all the fish filets are cooked through.

Serve the air fried fish hot with homemade tartar sauce, coleslaw, and fries.

Fried fish with tartar sauce, fries and ketchup in the background.

How to Make Air Fryer Fish in Advance

You can bread the fish earlier in the day and “fry” it hours later for easy meal prep.

Store the breaded fish in the fridge wrapped well on a plate or in an airtight container until ready to use.

You can also cook the fish completely and reheat it when you are ready for it.

Leftover cooked fish can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or a month in the freezer.

How to Reheat Fish In The Air Fryer

Reheat leftover fried fish in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 4-6 minutes until heated through. 

A fork dipping fried fish into tartar sauce.

Tips & Tricks

These are some of my best tips to ensure the most flavorful results.

  • Salt the sides of each fish fillet before patting dry. This releases excess moisture and ensures the coating sticks to the fish during cooking.
  • Place fish in a single layer in the basket. Work in batches and do not overcrowd the air fryer basket for best results. The fish needs plenty of room to cook on all sides completely.
  • Butterflying the thick filets will help cook the fish evenly and make it crispy
  • Add a little extra black pepper, onion powder or garlic powder to the flour mixture or breadcrumbs for bolder flavor.

How to Serve Air Fried Fish

You can go simple or fancy with these air fried breaded fish filets. 

Fried fish on a whte plate with fries, herbs, and lemon.

FAQs

Is fish good in an air fryer? 

Yes! Air frying produces tasty, flaky fish that is crispy and golden on the outside without using excess oil.

Why is my fish not crispy in the air fryer? 

Some issues could be that the basket was too crowded and the hot air couldn’t get around each piece of fish. Another reason could be the fish was too thick and started to release juices and excess moisture through the breading. Lastly, either it wasn’t cooked long enough or the temp was too low.

How long can you cook fish in an air fryer? 

The sweet spot is around 10 minutes, where the breading is nice and crisp and the fish is not overcooked!

Image of a whisk

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More Air Fryer Recipes

More Great Dinner Recipes

Air fried fish on parchment paper with lemon and fries.

Air Fryer Fish Recipe

Yield: 10 portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes

Crispy breaded fish made in the air fryer! A light and delicious take on your favorite fried fish recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of haddock or cod filets
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cup of seasoned panko bread crumbs (see note)
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided (see note)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Cut the haddock into portions 3-4 oz in size. Butterfly thick filets and gently press to flatten.
  2. On a wire rack set over a cookie sheet, lightly sprinkle both sides of the fish using am1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Let the fish sit for 10 minutes while you prep the breading station. You’ll need three dishes for breading.
  3. Add the all purpose flour to one shallow dish.
  4. In a wide bowl or pie plate whisk the three whole eggs until beaten well.
  5. In another shallow dish, combine the Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk together to combine. Pour the melted butter over the breading and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.
  6. After 10 minutes of resting, pat both sides of the fish filets dry with a paper towel.
  7. Start by dredging a fish filet in the flour. Make sure the filet is completely coated, shaking off any excess flour before transferring to the next dish.
  8. Next, dip the floured fish in the beaten eggs. Allow excess egg to drip back into the dish before moving to the breadcrumbs.
  9. Move the fish to the breadcrumb dish and coat it with the Panko mixture. Press the breadcrumbs onto the fish to make sure the filet is evenly and thoroughly coated. Shake off any excess. Set the breaded fish filet on a plate or the wire rack.
  10. Repeat this breading process until all the filets are coated in the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. This step can be done a day ahead.
  11. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F and spray the fryer basket with cooking spray. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven. Set the oven to 200 degrees F.
  12. Working in batches, fry off the fish filets, and try not to overcrowd the basket. Air needs to circulate around each filet for best results.
  13. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. The fish is done when the breading is golden brown and crispy, and the fish registers 145 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.
  14. Place the cooked fish in the low-temperature oven while you fry off the rest of the fish. Serve hot with tartar sauce and fries.

Notes

  • Seasoned breadcrumbs contain extra salt, flavorings, and parmesan. If you're using unseasoned breadcrumbs, you'll need to add Italian seasoning and extra parmesan.
  • Coarse Kosher salt is bigger and less salty than table salt. If you're using a table salt, reduce the salt in the breading to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • This recipe can be cut in half easily. Reduce the eggs to 2 and the breadcrumbs to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 667mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g

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