The Washington Post

Air-Fryer Fish Fillets

Air-Fryer Fish Fillets 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Mar 2, 2021

Use your air fryer to get crispy fish fillets faster and with less mess. Make a sandwich or serve them with a green salad. Cocktail sauce adds a nice kick, but you can also serve the fish with tartar sauce. Cod is what we use here, but any white-fleshed fish, such as trout, catfish or tilapia, would work as well. Thinner fillets will result in crunchy-edged fish. The recipe works in a convection oven, as well (see NOTE).

Active time: 10 min; Total time: 25 min

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. For crisper fish, reheat in a preheated air fryer for 2 minutes or until warmed through.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) cod fillets, or other white-fleshed fish
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Cocktail sauce, for serving (see NOTES)


Set the air fryer to 400 degrees and preheat for at least 5 minutes.

While the fryer is preheating, pat the fish dry and season both sides with salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. If the fillets are long, cut them in half or thirds. (Small, thinner fillets are easier to flip and turn out crispier edges.)

Set out three shallow bowls. In one, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. In the next, whisk together the egg, water and hot sauce. In the third, put the panko.

Working with one piece at a time, coat a fillet with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then, dip it into the egg, letting the excess drip off, and finally place it in the panko, pressing the breadcrumbs into the fish on all sides. Place the fillets on a baking rack and lightly spray them on one side with cooking oil. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

Carefully remove the air fryer basket from the preheated fryer and lightly spray it with the cooking spray. (Never spray the cooking spray directly into the fryer.) Place the fish in the basket and, working in batches to avoid crowding, cook for 5 minutes. Then, remove the basket, flip the fillets and spritz them with the cooking spray. Cook for another 5 minutes — the fish should be golden and flake easily with a fork. If not, cook an additional 1 minute or until cooked through.

Serve the fish with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce (see NOTES).

NOTES: If using a convection oven, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Follow the recipe as directed, placing the fish on a heatproof rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet. This method may require slightly longer cooking time, about 7 to 8 minutes per side, especially for thicker fillets. In our tests, the air-fryer fillets were crisper and cooked more evenly.

To make cocktail sauce: In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup of ketchup, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of horseradish and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional). Mix well, cover and chill until needed. (Makes a scant 1 cup.)

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Recipe Source

From recipes editor Ann Maloney.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6): 226

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 3g 5%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 111mg 37%

Sodium: 231mg 10%

Total Carbohydrates: 23g 8%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 25g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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