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Easy Air Fryer Fish has a golden, crispy coating, a super quick cooking time, and is delish with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon. Use this recipe for cod or other white fish and get that Midwestern fish fry experience without the frying!

overhead view of air fryer fish fillets on platter with tartar sauce and fries

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Fish Fillet Recipe

  • Quick and Easy for a Weeknight. Air fryer fish is similar to my Fish and Chips recipe—marinate the fillets, give them a quick dip in the coatings, and air fry to crispy perfection. Simple, no messy deep fryer required!
  • The Platonic Ideal of an Air Fryer Recipe. Some air fryer recipes fall into a category I like to call you-can-but-that-doesn’t-mean-you-should. Air fryer cheesecake? Probably unnecessary. But like this fish in the air fryer recipe and Air Fryer Fried Chicken Breast take advantage of the best attributes of this small but mighty appliance—quick cooking time and an ability to make foods crispy without deep frying!
  • Irresistible Taste and Texture. The taste comes thanks to a generous amount of Old Bay seasoning (also good on Air Fryer French Fries!) and white fish fillets. The texture is from a double dredge—first in flour, next in egg, and finally in Panko for the crispedy-crunchedy factor. Like Teriyaki Salmon, this is fish that will convert fish haters!
air fryer fish fillets on platter

How to Make Air Fryer Fish

The Ingredients

  • Low-Fat Buttermilk. Here’s the thing with buttermilk, friends: you rarely need a whole bottle for a recipe. The good news is that you can freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. (Use it to make Buttermilk Pie!)
  • Old Bay. Old Bay seasoning is THE classic seasoning for seafood, so it’s a natural choice for making fish in the air fryer.
  • White Fish. I use cod fillets because they’re inexpensive and widely available, but pollock and halibut also work.
  • Egg. Whisk this very well so there aren’t stringy, unbroken bits of egg white in there.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs. For max crisp on the exterior!
  • For Serving. Lemon wedges, tartar sauce, parsley, and anything else you like with crispy fish fillets.

Dietary Note

To make gluten-free air fryer fish, you can swap in your favorite measure-for-measure gluten-free flour and gluten-free Panko. Can’t find GF Panko? An easy swap is crushed Rice Chex cereal.

The Directions

marinade for air fryer fish
  1. Make the Marinade. Whisk together the buttermilk and Old Bay.
fillets in marinade for air fryer fish
  1. Marinate the Fish. Combine the fillets and marinade in a zip-top bag and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
coating fillet in flour for air fryer fish
  1. Coat in Flour. Make sure the fillets are evenly coated, tapping off the excess.
coating fillet in egg for air fryer fish
  1. Coat in Egg. Let the excess drip off.
coating fillet in panko for air fryer fish
  1. Dredge in Panko. Again, evenly coated and excess tapped off. 
crispy fish in air fryer
  1. Air Fry the Fish Fillets. Place the fillets in a single layer in the basket and mist with cooking spray. Air fry fish at 390 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it reaches 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Serve air fryer fish with garnishes and ENJOY!
overhead view of crispy air fryer fish fillets in air fryer basket

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Air fryer fish is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
  • To Reheat. Let the fish come to room temperature, then place it on a baking sheet in the oven or in an air fryer at 350 degrees F for a few minutes, just until warmed through. 

Meal Prep Tip

You can marinate the fish for up to 8 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook.

overhead view of air fryer fish fillets on platter with potato wedges

What to Serve with Air Fryer Fish

plate with air fryer fish, tartar sauce, and potato wedges
  • Pie Dish. I love using these for dredging!
  • Fish Spatula. Excellent for handling and serving air fryer fish.
  • Air Fryer. This one is nice because it doubles (triples?) as a regular toaster oven and indoor grill.
squeezing lemon onto air fryer fish fillet

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Mess-Free Dredging. To keep your fingers from getting coated with gunk, you can use tongs or chopsticks for transferring the fillets from one dredging station to the next and turning them in the coating.
  • Use a Firm Fish. We love a flaky fish! But not for this crispy air fryer fish recipe. Tilapia or snapper will not hold together as well as cod, halibut, or haddock.
  • Don’t Crowd the Basket. The golden rule of air frying! It’s better to work in batches than cram everything in at the same time and end up steaming your fish. To keep the fillets warm between batches, set the fish on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and place in a 250°F oven.
  • Use an Instant Read Thermometer. This is the best way to know when fish is done. Check the thickest part of the fillets; they should reach 145 degrees F, which is the FDA-designated safe temperature for consumption. I use an instant read thermometer like this one.
fork digging into crispy air fryer fish fillet

Air Fryer Fish

5 from 3 votes
Crispy, golden air fryer fish give you the taste of a fish fry, without the oily mess of a deep fryer. Quick, easy, and delicious!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 42 minutes

Servings: 4 fillets

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk*
  • 3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning divided
  • 4 (4-ounce) pieces cod or Pollock, halibut, or other firm, white fish fillets
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Tartar sauce for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, stir together the buttermilk and 1 teaspoon Old Bay. Add the fish to a large ziptop bag and pour the buttermilk mixture over the top. Tightly seal the bag removing as much air as possible, and turn several times to coat the fish. Place the bag on a plate to catch any drips and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinade.
  • Meanwhile, set up your stations: In a wide, shallow dish (a pie dish works well), place the flour. In a second dish, briskly whisk the egg until very well blended. In a third dish, stir together the Panko and the remaining 2 teaspoons Old Bay.
  • Working one fillet at a time, remove the fish from the marinade, shake off any excess, then dip in the flour, coating all sides, then the egg (let the excess drip off), and finally dip in the Panko. Press the Panko onto the fish’s surface as needed so that it sticks to all sides. Place on a plate or parchment lined baking sheet, then repeat with the remaining fish.
  • Coat your air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Add the fillets in a single layer so they are not touching (you may need to cook in batches), lightly mist the tops with nonstick spray, then air fry the fish at 390°F for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping it over around the 6-minute mark. When the fish is done, it should be firm, flake easily with a fork, and register 145°F on an instant read thermometer.
  • If desired, place the fish on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and keep it warm in a 250°F oven between batches. Repeat with remaining fish. Serve hot with lemon wedges, tartar sauce, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Notes

  • *You can make your own low-fat buttermilk adding 3/4 teaspoons of white vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup, then filling it to the 1/4 cup mark with skim milk. Stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes; it will curdle. 
  • TO STORE: Air fryer fish is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
  • TO REHEAT: Let the fish come to room temperature, then place it on a baking sheet in the oven or in an air fryer at 350 degrees F for a few minutes, just until warmed through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1filletCalories: 139kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 59mgPotassium: 205mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. My hubby brought home frozen Pollock fillets and this is the recipe I landed on. This is fabulous, no grease and easy clean up as I used a silicone baking bowl inside. It was delicious and crunchy on the outside and flaky and cooked on the inside.5 stars

  2. Great recipe. I used mahi mahi. The seasoning was perfect but I did add a bit of Cajun spice to hubby’s fish. Nice crispy, flaky fillet without all the grease from pan frying. I never thought the crumbs would adhere to the fish. No need for hood fan or degreasing stovetop!5 stars

  3. It’s my very first time using an Air Fryer for fish. I usually pan fry and oil splatters everywhere. Then we eat oily, greasy fish. NOT ANYMORE!! This was really tasty and easy to make! I used gluten free flour as well as gluten free Panko breadcrumbs then added paprika to add some heat. Thanks so much!5 stars