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Air Fryer Tilapia

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This easy tilapia in the air fryer is a great weeknight meal that is ready in 15 minutes! A perfect kid friendly seafood recipe, tilapia is mild and delicate and perfect for busy weeknights!

This easy tilapia in the air fryer is a great weeknight meal that is ready in 15 minutes! A perfect kid friendly seafood recipe, tilapia is mild and delicate and perfect for busy weeknights!
lemon pepper tilapia on serving platter
tilapia on serving platter with lemon

Tilapia is a great type of fish to serve for young kids – its soft, delicate, and mild in flavor. Making it in the air fryer is the best decision ever because it makes it absolutely quick and cooked to perfection in no time.

Season and toss into the air fryer is all you need to do! It’s easier than baking in the oven or pan frying fish. 

You can serve leftover tilapia by gently reheating on a skillet until just warm, or in the air fryer for about 3 minutes . You can also serve leftover tilapia cold in a salad.

lemon pepper tilapia on serving platter

What you need:

Here’s what you need to have on hand to make this recipe:

  • Tilapia filets – you need one filet per person, around 6-8 ounces each.
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon pepper
  • Paprika 
  • Lemon 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish (optional)

Want a little more seasoning? Add in ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder.

Air fryers can work differently depending on make and model. We use and love the Ninja Air Fryer (affiliate link)!

You will love this AF because it’s a space saver on the counter, and you can use it for a lot of other things too a lot more efficiently than if you had to turn on a big ole oven… 

air fryer tilapia with lemons on rack

How to make tilapia in the air fryer

This recipe is easy to make. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat your Air fryer to 400F
  2. Season the tilapias generously with salt and let it sit a few mins. 
  3. Drizzle olive oil on the filets.
  4. Mix the lemon pepper and the paprika then massage that in the tilapias to coat.
  5. While that sits, slice the lemon 
  6. Spray the basket of your AF with cooking oil. 
  7. Place the tilapias making sure it has some space in between them so air can circulate
  8. Place the lemon slices on top of the tilapias and air fry for 10-15 mins.

Recipe Note: If the lemon slices begin to crisp up, you can reduce the heat to 375, or remove the slices and keep air frying it until you reach your desired doneness. Want to boost up the flavor? Sprinkle in some garlic powder or onion powder, too! 

coating filets in oil and spices

Tips for cooking tilapia

Seasoning your tilapia generously with salt is really important, otherwise they’ll taste like nothing at all! When it comes to tilapia, if you don’t salt it well, it won’t even matter how much seasoning you add… it’ll still be bleh! Trust me, don’t skimp! 

For perfectly cooked tilapia, you will want to use a meat thermometer! Tilapia needs to be cooked to 145 F. It should be opaque all the way through.

If using frozen tilapia, make sure you defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Using frozen filets in the air fryer could result in uneven cooking with some parts being overcooked and dried out and some parts being undercooked. 

fork showing tender flaky tilapia filet

Storage Information

This is best served fresh, so I recommend only cooking what you need for one meal. But you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days .

You can serve leftover tilapia by gently reheating on a skillet until just warm, or in the air fryer for about 3 minutes . You can also serve leftover tilapia cold in a salad.

How to serve this to your family

Because tilapia is a mild and delicate flavored fish, it can be easily overpowered. Serve this easy tilapia recipe with an easy veggie like roasted green beans and a rice or nice side salad recipe.

air fryer tilapia with lemon pepper

Other Air Fryer Recipes:

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lemon pepper tilapia on serving platter

Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe

This easy tilapia in the air fryer is a great weeknight meal that is ready in 15 minutes! A perfect kid friendly seafood recipe, tilapia is mild and delicate and perfect for busy weeknights!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 316kcal
Author: Jenni – The Gingered Whisk

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper spice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Lemon Sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (affiliate link)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Parsley for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400F
  • Season the tilapias generously with salt (this is really important, otherwise they’ll taste like nothing at all – when it comes to tilapia, if you don’t salt it well, it won’t even matter how much seasoning you add… it’ll still be bleh) let it sit a few mins.
  • Drizzle olive oil on the filets.
  • Mix the lemon pepper and the paprika then massage that in the tilapias to coat.
  • While that sits, slice the lemon.
  • Spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking oil.
  • Place the tilapias into the air fryer, making sure there is some space in between them so air can circulate well.
  • Place the lemon slices on top of the tilapias and air fry for 10-15 mins.

Notes

Note: if the lemon slices begin to crisp up, you can reduce the heat to 375, or remove the slices and keep air frying it until you reach your desired doneness.
Want to boost up the flavor? Sprinkle in some garlic powder or onion powder, too! (about 1/2 teasooon of each).

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 585mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

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