• 2 tilapia fillets about 1-inch thick. Thawed, if using frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra virgin Olive oil or Avocado oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves finely minced. Or 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • ½ teaspoon Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Seasoning I used Old Bay seasoning. You can also try it with lemon pepper seasoning, or cajun spice.


    • Prep Tilapia Fillets: Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200°C) while you prepare the tilapia fillets.

      While the air fryer is heating up, pat dry the tilapia fillets with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step is crucial. Do not skip it. It ensures that oil and seasoning adhere evenly and the fish becomes nice and crispy in the air fryer.

      tilapia fish rubbed with oil and seasoning
    • Brush each fillet with olive oil and season with lemon juice and old bay seasoning. Rub with freshly pressed garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper on both sides. I sometimes love to experiment with other flavors like cajun seasoning for some heat.
    • Air fry: Place the tilapia fillets in the air fryer basket and cook for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness) or until it turns golden brown and crispy. Flip the fillets halfway through the cooking time (see notes in the post) to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides. Use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature of the fish has reached 145°F.
  • Add lemon-butter-garlic sauce. The combination of tangy lemon, rich butter, and savory garlic creates a well-balanced flavor that enhances the mild taste of tilapia without overwhelming it. Melt 4-oz of butter in a saucepan or microwave, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and stir until the ingredients are well combined. Pour the sauce over the cooked tilapia.
    flaky flesh of air-fried tilapia


Tips for the Best Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe:

Cooking fish in an air fryer is easy, and leads to a quicker cooking time and less cleanup. To ensure your tilapia comes out just right, follow these tips:

  1. Opt for fresh or thawed fillets that are uniform in thickness to ensure even cooking.
  2. Season: Be generous with your seasoning to infuse the fish with flavor. Don’t forget to season both sides of each fillet. Some of my favorite fish seasoning is Old Bay seasoningCajun spice, Lemon Pepper, or Salmon rub.
  3. For an extra-crispy crust, lightly coat the fillets with a little oil before applying your breading or seasoning. Or use spray oil.
  4. Preheat your air fryer

    to 400°F (200°C) for 3-5 minutes before adding your seasoned fillets. This will ensure that they start cooking immediately upon placing them in the basket.

  5. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your fillets. Thicker fillets may need a minute or two longer.
  6. For perfectly cooked air fryer tilapia, cook at 400°F for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets. Halfway through cooking, gently flip the fillets over to ensure even browning on both sides. Once done, check for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fillet – it should flake easily when done. You can check this using a meat thermometer and inserting it into the thickest part of the fish. For most fish, including tilapia, the internal temperature should reach at least 145°F (63°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 242kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 35gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 736mgPotassium: 610mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 1189IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 2mg