Crispy Air Fryer Fish

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You need just 5 ingredients to make Crispy Golden Air Fryer Fish fillets so the whole family can indulge in a healthier version of super delectable, crunchy fried fish without the guilt!

Suitable for Gluten Free and Low Carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

crispy air fryer fish fillet on a plate with some salad and a fork

Like this juicy Air Fryer Salmon, making healthier yet full of flavor golden crispy Air Fryer Fish Fillets is easier than you think! As a self-proclaimed foodie, I am a pretty adventurous home cook.

I am always willing to try anything at least once, and there are not many things I hesitate to whip up in my kitchen. But frying fish is one of those items. The task is filled with so much uncertainty: how do I know when the fillets are fully cooked through?

And then there is the balancing act of making sure the fillets turn out crisp on the outside without getting soggy from absorbing too much oil.

Luckily, I am happy to report that this delicious Crispy Golden Air Fried Fish Recipe has changed all that. #airfryerforthewin. And these are just as good as these Air Fryer Fish Sticks and well loved Air Fryer Chicken Breast.

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It is in easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love. And you get grease free restaurant quality crispy fish at a fraction of the cost.

close up of an air fried fish on a plate with some salad

Why Make This Recipe

  • Fast and Easy: Just toss the fillets with the flavorful Cajun mixture, pop them in the air fryer, and in just a handful of minutes, they are ready to serve.
  • Healthy : this recipe has fewer calories and less fat than traditional deep-fried versions.
  • Fail-proof: you get fish that is perfectly crunchy on the outside and delightfully light and flaky on the inside every time.
  • Family Friendly: Kids and adults love this dish! Just like this Air Fryer Frozen Tilapia.
  • Dietary – this recipe is gluten-free.

Ingredient Notes

  • White Fish fillets – the best fish is really the fish that you like. You can purchase tilapia, cod, catfish, haddock and other white fish, and more from the grocery store
  • Cornmeal – The crispy cornmeal coating is one of the best things about this fish. Plus using cornmeal keeps this gluten free.
  • Salt – use your favorite sea salt flakes.
  • Garlic powder – adds delicious flavor. You can use garlic salt instead of salt and garlic.

Ready to learn just how easy it is to make fish in Air Fryer? Then gather up your ingredients and I will show you….

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Air Fryer Tools on Amazon.

How To Cook Fish In Air Fryer

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400F / 200C.
  2. Mix the first 5 ingredients together and then add to a Ziploc bag or shallow dish.
  3. Rinse the fillet, pat dry, and place it in the bag.
  4. Seal the bag and then shake until the fillet are fully coated in the cornmeal mixture.
  5. Place fish fillet in the air fryer basket in a single layer. And repeat. (If you have a small fryer you will need to cook them one at a time). Spray with low-calorie cooking spray or cooking oil and Air Fry for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the air fryer fish fillets over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until done.
  7. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and sides that you like.
image collage showing the steps for making air fryer fish

Expert Top Tips

Some tips so you end up with the best fried fish in air fryer.

  • Use fresh fish fillets for the best results.
  • Pat fish dry very well so that the coating sticks on.
  • Your fillets need to be thick enough for this recipe, as if too thin they will cook through before the crust has time to crisp up.
  • Only spray the tiniest amount of oil evenly over the breaded fish. This is what covered cornmeal / flour spots so that the fish is golden all over. If you notice any flour spots when turning them over then spray a tiny bit more.
  • Don’t let the fish sit in the cornmeal crust mix or it will get soggy. Coat the fillets and then immediately place in the air fryer to cook.
  • You can use gluten free flour or breadcrumbs instead if you prefer.
  • If you prefer to dip this in egg (see notes below), then make sure you let the excess egg drop off the fillets before coating with the breadcrumbs.
  • Feel free to customize the flavor by using your favorite spices, herbs, and seasonings.
  • If your air fryer basket is small, you may need to cook in batches. Everyone can start on their first piece of fish while the second piece cooks. 
  • To make this low carb – skip the cornmeal.

Chef’s Tip: Since air fryer temperatures can vary depending on the make and model, this recipe includes a range of suggested cook times. I recommend starting with less time, checking for doneness, and then adding more time as needed.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap the fish: use tilapia, cod, or halibut, Pollock, catfish or whatever you like.
  • Hot sauce – brush on some of your favorite hot sauce before adding the cornmeal crust or breadcrumbs.
  • Turn it into tacos: to make air fryer fish tacos, cook fish as directed, then slice, add to taco shells, and top with shredded cabbage, salsa, avocado, sour cream, etc.
  • Use different seasoning: You can simply use salt and pepper or make this with Old Bay Seasoning, instead of Creole. Or for even more zesty flavor, try a combination of creole seasoning with a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a nice kick.
horizontal image of fish fillet on a table with some on a form being eaten


How To Bread Fish?

Cornmeal or breadcrumbs give really good results aka crispy fish fillets. One way to bread the fish fillets is to lightly spray with low-calorie cooking spray or olive oil before coating it in your bread crumbs.

Alternatively, you can dip it in egg before coating it with breadcrumbs. This changes the flavor very slightly, but not enough to make a big deal out of it.

How To Make Sure Your Air Fryer Fish Is Crispy?

Don’t let the fish sit in the coating mix or it will get soggy. Coat the fillets and then immediately place them in the air fryer. Use a very light olive oil spray or brush a small amount of olive oil onto the fish fillets before dipping.

Can You Air Fry Fish Without Breading?

One question I have been asked if you can air fry fish without breading? And the answer is yes you can. Simply season with herbs and spices to your taste and air fry as normal.

How Long Do You Cook Fish in Air Fryer?

Cooking times depending on the thickness of the fillets. Thicker fish takes longer than thinner fish.

This recipe took 13 minutes. When cooking fish fillets in the Air Fryer for the first time, I recommend aiming for 10 minutes on the first side, checking for doneness, turning, and then cook for 3-4 minutes on the second side. You can then increase or decrease the cooking time according to your results.

Can You Cook Frozen Fish Fillets In Air Fryer?

Yes, you can certainly cook Frozen Fish Fillets In Air Fryer. It’s handy for those days when you don’t have time to take out the fillets from the freezer beforehand.

Head on over to the Air Fryer Frozen Fish Fillets post to find out more.

How To Make Air Fryer Fish And Chips?

The simplest way to make Air Fryer Fish and Chips is to first fry the french fries (aka chips), and get the fish seasoning ready while the fries are cooking. Then remove the fries, coat the fish, and fry.

How Do I Know When Fish Is Cooked?

The easiest way to tell if fish is cooked is to use a fork and these should flakes easily and be opaque. In addition, the internal temperature of fish should be 145 degrees F / 63 degrees C when checked with a meat thermometer. The total time to cook fish can depend on the thickness of the fish.

Can I make This From Scratch With Frozen Fish Fillets?

You certainly can. But you would need to thaw them out first otherwise the breading will not stick. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for smaller fillets leave in cold water till thawed out.

Can I Use Parchment Paper In The Air Fryer?

You can certainly use parchment paper rounds in the air fryer to help make cleanup a breeze. Preheat the Air fryer, then add the parchment rounds into the basket before adding the breaded fish and frying.

Serving Suggestions

This goes well with potatoes dishes like crispy Air Fryer French Fries, Air Fryer Potato Wedges, the best Air Fryer Tater Tots and delicious Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries.

Sauces and sides you can serve this with include Tartar Sauce, Homemade Ketchup and Sriracha Aioli and your favorite hot sauce.

More Recipes You’ll Love

fried fish made in the air fryer on a plate with lettuce, tomatoes and a fork.

Weight Watchers Points

There is just 1 Blue Plan SmartPoint in a serving of this.

Thank you for reading my Air Fryer Cajun Fish recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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crispy air fryer fish fillet on a plate with some salad and a fork
Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

Crispy Golden Air Fryer Fish

A family favorite that turns out deliciously crunchy on the outside and light and flaky inside.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time13 minutes
Total Time19 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Western
Servings: 2
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • sea salt flakes to taste
  • 2 white fish fillets
  • low calorie spray


  • Preheat air fryer to 400F / 200C.
  • Mix the first 5 ingredients together and then add to a Ziploc bag.
  • Rinse the catfish, pat dry and add fillets to the Ziploc bag.
  • Seal the bag and then shake until the fillets are fully coated.
  • Place in the air fryer basket. (if you have a small fryer you will need to cook them one at a time). Spray the fillets with low calorie spray, close the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Turn and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until done.
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  • Use fresh fish fillets for the best results.
  • Don’t let the fish sit in the coating mix or it will get soggy. Coat the fillets and then immediately place in the air fryer to cook.
  • Make sure you let the excess egg drop off the fillets before coating with the breadcrumbs.
  • Feel free to customize the flavor by using your favorite spices, herbs, and seasonings.
  • There is just 1 WW Blue Plan SmartPoint in a serving of this.


Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 598mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1415IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1.9mg


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing. We absolutely loved these. They were so flavorful, and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This will be in my regular rotation!

  2. 5 stars
    We love how simple and yet delicious this recipe is! My kids and husband devoured it. Thanks for another great one!

  3. I noticed in the recipe notes that you mention excess egg but it is not referenced in the recipe to dip the fish in egg. I will make it as the recipe states but would like to know if next time I need to dip the fillets in egg first.

  4. It looks like I haven’t been using my air fryer to its fullest potential because I need to make this now!! Bookmarked to make this weekend, thanks so much for the recipe! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe and so delicious! My daughter and I loved how ours turned out. Such great flavor and crispy too!

  6. 5 stars
    This fish looks absolutely incredible! Love that crispy coating and the texture with the air fryer. So easy too!

  7. 5 stars
    Any time I can use my air fryer, I’m sold! Can’t wait to use it to make this fish!

  8. 5 stars
    I am air fryer obsessed and this recipe is perfection! Super easy to make and tastes even better than fried. yum!

  9. 5 stars
    Very good recipe. Loved the fish, outside was very crispy, fish was quite flakey. Making it again today with one slight tweak: less paprika as the kidlets found it a bit spicy [but still ate every bit]!

  10. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to get an air fryer and I’m going to need lots of help learning how to use it. This would make the best weeknight fish tacos. I need new ways to prepare fish so my kids will eat it!

  11. This air fryer fish sounds amazing. I would definitely be trying this fish. But I need to get my air fryer ASAP. I see lots of recipe to try on your blog.

  12. 5 stars
    i absolutely love fried fish, but like you i don’t like to cook it either. mostly because of the smell, i feel like i can never get that grease smell out of the air. i love this recipe in the air fryer. one of these day im going to have to make the plunge and buy one!