Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer is super fast to prepare and perfectly seasoned with parmesan cheese, savory butter, and some simple spices you already have on hand.
This recipe can also be used for cooking other white flaky fish, such as flounder.
Air fryer frozen tilapia recipe
This healthy and affordable dinner can be on the table in under 20 minutes, and there is zero fish thawing involved.
Cooking frozen tilapia is so easy, I can’t believe it took me so long to do it!
These tender, flaky white filets that can be cooked quickly in the air fryer from frozen or thawed.
Substitute any mild fish for tilapia in this recipe, such as cod, halibut, or even flounder.
As long as the fish fillets are thin like tilapia, you can air fry them from frozen with no problem.
We make air fryer tilapia all the time now.
Frozen tilapia in the air fryer recipe ingredients
- Tilapia fillets: These boneless, individually packaged fillets can be found in the freezer section of your local grocer.
- Melted butter: I use unsalted butter for all my recipes to control the amount of salt added.
- Grated parmesan cheese: I love how convenient and easy grated Parmesan is to use when you want to add some quick flavor without tons of calorie and fat.
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed, and black pepper add tons more flavor to the Parmesan topping.
How to Cook Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
Spray the air fryer rack with a bit of non-stick spray, then place the frozen fillets onto the rack.
Air fry for 5 minutes.
If you happen to be air frying thawed tilapia fillets instead of frozen, reduce the cooking time to 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and spices.
Stir in the melted butter, combining well. The mixture will be slightly crumbly in texture.
Divide the prepared Parmesan mixture between the fillets, gently pressing it together on top of each one.
Air fry the fish once more for 5 minutes or until the fillets flake easily with a fork at the center when tested.
The topping should be nicely golden brown at this point, too.
An easy test for the doneness of fish is to test it with a fork at the center (or the thickest part of the fillet); if the fish easily flakes apart when you gently twist the fork, the fish is fully cooked and ready to eat.
Meanwhile, combine the tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and smooth.
- Mayonnaise and sour cream
- Red wine vinegar: You can substitute apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even rice vinegar.
- Pickle relish: You can use sweet relish or dill relish, either one.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar cuts the acidity of the vinegar a bit, making it a perfect partner.
- Dill weed: If you aren’t a fan of dill like I am, you could opt out of the dill in the tartar sauce since it’s in the Parmesan topping or vice versa.
Serve the tilapia fillets at once with tartar sauce on the side.
Can I bake this fish from frozen in the oven if I don’t have an air fryer?
Yes. Bake the fish on a rimmed (greased) baking sheet at 400 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily at the center when tested with a fork.
Which other types of frozen fish can be cooked in an air fryer?
For the most part, nearly any frozen fish fillet can be cooked from frozen in an air fryer.
Thinner frozen fillets, like tilapia, swai, flounder, crappie, sole, or haddock (to name a few) will take 9-12 minutes to air fry.
Firmer and thicker frozen fillets, such as salmon, halibut, and cod will typically take 13-16 minutes to air fry.
How do I know when fish is done and fully cooked?
Fish is fully cooked and ready when the flesh has gone from light pink in color to an opaque white and flakes easily at the center when tested with a fork.
It will also be 140-145 degrees F. at the center when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
How do I reheat fish in the air fryer so it’s crispy again?
Mist the breaded cooked fish with cooking spray and air fry at 350 degrees F. for 5-7 minutes.
If the fish is a thicker type, you may need to reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Can I cut this recipe in half and just make two pieces of fish?
Yes, this recipe can also be doubled if you want to cook two batches of fish for a larger group.
We find that 4 pieces of tilapia fits really nicely, without crowding, on our air fryer rack.
Cooking two batches is totally doable since they cook so quickly.
How to store air fryer tilapia
Store the leftover tilapia in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Or, freeze the leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can reheat the frozen tilapia in the air fryer or even in the microwave.
What can I serve with air fryer fish?
If you’re looking for vegetable side dishes to serve with air fryer tilapia, try crispy bacon and sweet potato hash or maple bacon brussels sprouts. My boys love potatoes, so I often serve baked yum yum potato wedges when we have air fryer fish.
Easy Air Fryer Recipes
I am constantly on the look out for new and tasty air fryer recipes, especially easy recipes, so I can share them here on my blog. To satisfy our Italian cravings, we are big fans of Air Fryer Pizza Breadsticks and Easy Air Fryer French Bread Pizza.
Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer
- 4 frozen tilapia fillets, approx. 4 oz. each
For the Parmesan Topping
- 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. dill weed
- additional parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
For the Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs. sour cream
- 2 Tbs. pickle relish, drained, use your favorite
- 2 tsp. red vinegar
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. dill weed, optional
Air Fry the Tilapia
- Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Spray the air fryer rack with a bit of non-stick spray, then place the frozen fillets onto the rack; air fry for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and spices; stir in the melted butter, combining well; mixture will be slightly crumbly in texture.
- Divide the prepared Parmesan mixture between the fillets, gently pressing it together on top of each one.
- Air fry the fish once more for 5 minutes or until the fillets flake easily with a fork at the center when tested. The topping should be nicely golden brown at this point, too. **If cooking thawed fillets instead of frozen, reduce the cooking time to 7-8 minutes.
Prepare the Tartar Sauce
- Meanwhile, combine the tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl; serve on the side with the cooked tilapia.