Easy Frozen Tilapia In The Air Fryer Recipe


How to Cook Frozen Tilapia in Air Fryer

Learning how to cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer is surprisingly easy, and it tastes absolutely delicious. I am so excited to share this easy recipe with you, in the hopes that you will enjoy making this delicious, yet easy dinner recipe.

cooked tilapia in the air fryer

Tilapia fish is a type of white fish that can sometimes be found as fresh fish sold at your local grocery store. But you can almost always find tilapia in the frozen aisles of the store. This is a delicious type of fish to pick up, because it is low cost, good for you, and can be very easily prepared as dinner for your entire family. 

Making air fryer fish recipes is very easy. In this recipe, we will walk through the step-by-step instructions of how to take frozen fish fillets and turn them into the perfect healthy meal that the entire family can enjoy, even during your busy weeknights. 

There is no need to take the extra time to thaw your tilapia filets, and still have them turn out amazing. Plus, you can season them just the way you like, with a few basic seasoning options, depending on your taste preferences. 

Air Frying Tilapia

Making tilapia in the air fryer is such an easy way to cook fish filets. You can enjoy them simply as cooked fish, or you can make them into fish tacos as another great option. 

Choosing to cook fish in the air fryer is a great solution. Cooking tilapia in the air fryer will allow you to make the fish quickly without having to heat up the entire oven. This is a great idea if you are only preparing small amounts of fish or want the delicious taste that the air fryer adds when cooking your fish.  

Let’s look at how to cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer in order to achieve the best results. There are just a few simple steps you can follow to easily air fry tilapia even when the fish filets are frozen. 

Easy Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe


Frozen Tilapia. You can use frozen tilapia filets or cut some frozen tilapia into pieces that will fit in your air fryer basket. 

Melted Butter. I prefer to use melted salted butter, as it will give you the best overall flavor. But you can also use unsalted butter, as well as olive oil spray, or other types of cooking spray such as avocado oil.

You can also brush the fish with cooking oil if preferred. 

A Squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice. Lemon juice typically serves to enhance the other flavors in your recipe.

Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will add a slight citrus flavor, as well as increase the other delicious flavors. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can also use a little bit of bottled lemon juice. 

Seasonings. You can choose to use a variety of seasonings on your tilapia if desired. However, one of my favorite go-to seasoning options is to use a little bit of garlic powder and garlic salt sprinkled on top of the fish filet after it has been brushed with melted butter.

These basic seasonings will give your fish a lovely flavor, without overpowering it. If you want a few more ideas, make sure to check out some seasoning variation ideas outlined below. 

air fryer tilapia

How to Cook Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer

To cook your frozen tilapia in the air fryer, you will first want to preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit if applicable for your air fryer. 

While your air fryer is preheating, lay the frozen fish out on a clean flat surface like a cutting board, or plate. Please note that you may need to run the fish packaging under warm water for a few minutes to easily remove the fish from its packaging. 

Once the fish is lying on a clean surface, brush the top and sides of the fish with melted butter. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then sprinkle the fish with garlic powder and garlic salt. 

Use a spatula to move the prepared fish into the air fryer basket. Make sure to arrange the fish in a single layer with space in between if possible. Replace the air fryer basket with the preheated air fryer. 

raw frozen tilapia

The average cooking time will likely be between 10 and 15 minutes for most frozen tilapia filets. Please note that the cooking time may need to be adjusted, depending on how big of a piece of frozen tilapia you are cooking. Typically, at 350°F it will take between 10 and 15 minutes, but make sure to add more time as needed. 

Tip: It’s always a good idea to set the cooking time for less than you think you will need, then add more time as needed. Some types of air fryers will cook differently than others, and the size of the fish will also determine the exact cooking time needed. 

When your tilapia appears to be done air frying, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fish. The internal temperature should reach 145°F, in the thickest part of your fish fillet for it to be fully cooked.

Once the internal temperature is reached, you can remove the fish from your air fryer and serve it with your desired sides for a delicious dinner. Enjoy! 

Other Simple Seasoning Ideas

In addition to using the suggested garlic powder and garlic salt we mentioned above, there are a few other seasoning ideas you might want to consider. 

Black Pepper. Adding black pepper to your tilapia is a tasty version you might enjoy to prepare the fish. The black pepper will add a bit of spice to the fish recipe. 

Cajun Seasoning. Adding a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning is another way to add some heat to the fish if desired. 

Lemon Wedges. Decorating the tilapia with lemon wedges is a lovely way to add additional flavor to the fish as it cooks, and also add some visual appeal to the fish, which is otherwise plain and white. 

Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Lemon pepper seasoning adds a tasty hint of lemon as well as the spice of pepper. Make sure to add just a little bit, as sometimes a little bit goes a long way depending on your taste preference. 

Old Bay Seasoning. Using old bay seasoning is another easy way to season your fish. Keep in mind this brand of seasoning comes in many different flavor options, so make sure to choose something that sounds good to you. 

Parmesan Cheese. Seasoning your frozen tilapia with parmesan cheese is another great idea. You can simply sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese on the fish filets before cooking them for additional flavor. 

Hopefully, these ideas have gotten your creativity going with different favorite ways you might enjoy seasoning your frozen tilapia to cook in the air fryer. If you aren’t sure then you can simply stick with the garlic powder, garlic salt, and lemon juice for a basic, yet delicious seasoning option for tilapia. 

air fried tilapia cooked close up

Cooking Tips

Tilapia comes in many different sizes and shapes. Before you begin making it in your air fryer, you will first want to make sure you can fit the filet in your air fryer basket. Then keep in mind that the different sizes of fish will require different cooking times.

Especially if your frozen fish is thick, you may need to add more time to your air fryer before serving the fish. It’s always a good rule of thumb to set the air fryer for less time than you think you will need, then add more as desired. 

Storage of Leftover Fish

At Room Temperature. Tilapia should not be left at room temperature any longer than necessary. A good rule to follow is if the room temperature is between 40°F and 90°F it should be left out no more than two hours, but if the room temperature is 90°F or above it should be left out for no more than one hour.

It’s always the best practice to not leave the food out, any longer than necessary, so that it does not spoil. 

In the Fridge. The best way to store leftover tilapia if you happen to have any, is to allow it to cool slightly, then transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it securely in plastic wrap. You can then place it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days before it goes bad. 


How long does cooked tilapia last in the fridge?

Once tilapia has been cooked, it should be transferred to an airtight container or sealed in a plastic storage bag. It can then be placed in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days before it goes bad.

Can you use fresh tilapia fillets for this recipe? 

Yes, you can use fresh tilapia for this recipe if desired. The main difference is that fresh tilapia will take less time to cook in the air fryer than frozen tilapia does. Therefore, you would want to set the cooking time for a few minutes less, then check on the fish often until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. 

What internal temperature should tilapia reach? 

The internal temperature of tilapia should reach 145°F for it to be considered safe to eat. You can use an instant-read meat thermometer, to check the thickest part of the piece of fish.

When the internal temperature reaches 145°F, you can remove it from the air fryer and let it rest for a minute before serving.

Tilapia Air Fryer Recipe

Making deliciously tender fish, by cooking frozen tilapia in the air fryer, using only a few simple ingredients is the perfect recipe for an easy dinner. If you are looking for a simple, yet delicious fish recipe, then you should give this frozen tilapia in the air fryer a try! 

Thank you so much for stopping by, to learn how to cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer. I hope that this has been helpful to you, and now you can enjoy your own easy dinner following the simple recipe. Enjoy!

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Faith is the resident baking expert of this sister duo, and first started baking at age ten when she learned to make chocolate chip cookies on her own. From there she went on to have her own night of the week to make dinner for the whole family. She is excited to share amazing recipes and a love of food, and help you become kitchen smart!

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