Crispy on the outside, moist inside, delicious Parmesan-crusted air fryer tilapia recipe that you can make using fresh or frozen fillets, with no thawing. At 2 grams net carbs per serving, this recipe is keto and low-carb, with a paleo option.
Don't forget to check out the video for this recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page!!
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ninja air fryer tilapia
This tasty air fryer tilapia recipe is an all-time favorite of ours and I have a feeling you will love it as much as we do!
The Parmesan-crusting, lemon pepper, as well as other ingredients give this dish a delightful taste plus, it can be served with so many side dishes! It is quick and easy to make (you have the choice to use fresh or frozen tilapia). Also, at 2g net carbs, this recipe is also low-carb and keto-friendly.
I used a Ninja foodi 8 Quart Pressure Cook, Air Fry, and Crisp for this recipe, but any type of air fryer will do.
This is a summary showing you the best ingredients to make air fryer tilapia, as well as possible substitutions. You will find the full measurements in the recipe card below.
- fresh or frozen tilapia.
- seasonings - yellow mustard, olive oil, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, chopped chives, or Italian seasoning, black pepper.
- dairy - Parmesan cheese.
- fruit and vegetables - lemon to serve (optional).
- some cooking oil - brush or spray this on the basket, to prevent the fish fillets from sticking on the surface.
how to make ninja air fryer tilapia
This segment summarises how to make air fryer tilapia, with step-by-step photos. You will find the detailed instructions provided in the recipe card below.
- Grease and preheat your air fryer. Prepare the seasonings: mix lemon pepper, smoked paprika, ground garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese, chopped chives (or Italian seasoning), and black pepper.
- Brush the tilapia on each side with olive oil and mustard then coat the fish on each side with the prepared seasoning.
- Air fry the tilapia fish until done, making sure to flip midway through cooking for a more even cooking(see useful tips segment below).
- Serve with sliced lemon wedges and your favorite side dish!
To air fry frozen tilapia, first thaw the fish in the air fryer, then proceed on with the rest of the recipe steps.
Just like your regular oven-baked fish, you can serve your Parmesan-crusted air fryer tilapia with a variety of side dishes. My current favorites are these celeriac chips, Instant Pot mashed cauliflower, or Salad Shirazi recipes. Other ways to serve your tilapia include:-
- Vegetables - enjoy it with vegetables such as creamed spinach, collard greens, air fryer green beans, steamed broccoli, or green beans.
- Rice - serve it with regular rice, pressure cooker basmati rice, or some low-carb rice alternatives such as konjac rice.
- Masala chips or regular French fries (or chips, if you call them that in the part of the world you are in)!
- Baked potatoes, air fryer sweet potato cubes, mashed white or sweet potatoes with gravy, yum!
When it comes to ingredient substitutions, this recipe is so versatile! Here are a few other ways to make it:-
- Paleo option: to make paleo air fryer tilapia, replace the Parmesan cheese with a cup of cassava or arrowroot flour.
- Seasoning: Lemon pepper and Italian seasoning work great for this recipe but you can also substitute them for your favorite seasoning. The following spices are all great to use in seasoning tilapia:
- Onion powder
refrigeration and freezing
Just like most breaded or crumbed fish recipes, these tilapia fillets are best consumed immediately. You can keep and consume the cooked fish in the fridge within 3 days, but it will not taste as good once stored longer. Also, make sure to use suitable airtight containers. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- You can use other types of fish such as cod, sole, or salmon. Just keep in mind that you may have to adjust the cooking time, depending on the thickness of the fish.
- To avoid spoiling your air fryer, do not use aerosol sprays. Instead, fill a sprayer bottle with a healthy high smoke point cooking oil such as coconut oil and use this as a cooking spray.
- Because of the way the air fryer cooks food, you do not need to turn them halfway but I recommend carefully flipping as they cook more evenly when turned.
- Check for doneness by inserting an internal read thermometer inside the thickest part of the fish. It should read at least 145°F (63°C). In addition to the internal temperature, you can also check for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fish at an angle and gently twisting. It should be flaky and should have lost its translucent appearance.
frequently asked questions
As an alternative to Parmesan cheese, you can use regular dry breadcrumbs or panko. For those with gluten sensitivities, simply use gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs, and as a paleo option, a cup of tapioca or arrowroot flour instead.
Yes, you can air fry fish from frozen and still have it crispy.
The cooking time for tilapia in an air fryer can vary depending on the size and thickness of the fillets, whether or not they have some breading or crumbing, as well as your individual preference. However, as a general guideline, at a temperature of 392°F (200°C), you will require 7 to 12 minutes to air fry tilapia. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly. I
To ensure that the tilapia is cooked thoroughly, make sure to use an internal read thermometer to ensure the fish has attained a minimal internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
Keep in mind that different air fryer models may have slight variations in cooking time and temperature, so it's always a good idea to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for your specific appliance. Additionally, you may need to preheat the air fryer before cooking the tilapia for best results.
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Ninja Air Fryer Tilapia
- 4 tilapia fillets - (frozen or fresh)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives or Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- some cooking spray or oil (to brush the rack or basket)
- lemon (squeeze the lemon juice on the fish, when serving).
- Brush or spray the air frying rack or basket with some cooking spray or oil (this makes cleaning up later much easier, as it basically results in less sticking) and preheat the air fryer at 392F/ 200C.2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoon yellow mustard, some cooking spray or oil
- Next, mix lemon pepper, smoked paprika, ground garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese, chopped chives (or Italian seasoning), and black pepper then proceed to follow the following steps, depending on the state of your fillets.1 teaspoon lemon pepper, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon ground garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, ½ teaspoon black pepper
AIR FRY USING FRESH TILAPIA
- Brush the tilapia fillets on each side with olive oil and mustard.4 tilapia fillets - (frozen or fresh)
- Lay each fish fillet on the plate with the seasoned parmesan cheese crumbing and press to coat. Flip then press again, shaking off any excess coating.
- Set the time at 7 minutes for small fillets and 10-12 minutes for larger and thicker ones. Depending on the size of your basket or rack, place two to three of the parmesan-crusted tilapia fillets in the basket, set it in place then close.
- Allow to air fry then use a spatula to flip the fillets midway through cooking (see notes below). Allow the fillets to cook further for the remaining time until done (see notes).
- Serve the air-fried tilapia with a squeeze of lemon, and some mashed cauliflower, low-carb rice or your preferred sides!lemon
HOW TO AIR FRY FROZEN TILAPIA
- Set the air fryer at 392F/ 200C and program it to cook for 5 minutes. Lay the frozen fillets on the basket or rack and air fry so they slightly thaw.
- Next, carefully remove the fillets from the air fryer and transfer them to a plate. Working quickly, brush the fillets on each side with olive oil and mustard.
- Coat the fish on each side with the prepared seasoning.
- Return the fillets back to the air fryer, cook for 5 minutes then use a spatula to flip. Air fry for a further 5 minutes, then check whether it is cooked (see the notes below on how to check for doneness). Depending on the type and thickness of fish you are using, you may need to cook the tilapia fillets for a further 2-4 minutes.
- Once cooked, transfer to plates and serve.
- Because of the way the air fryer cooks food, you do not need to turn them halfway but I find they cook more evenly when turned.
Check for doneness by inserting an internal read thermometer inside the thickest part of the fish. It should read at least 145°F (63°C). In addition to the internal temperature, you can also check for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fish at an angle and gently twisting. It should be flaky and should have lost its translucent appearance.