Air frying fish is a quick and healthy way to cook fish with minimal oil. It produces fish that is crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside in a fraction of the time it takes to bake or pan fry fish. Knowing how long to air fry fish squares ensures your fish comes out perfectly cooked.
What temperature to Air fry fish?
The ideal air fryer temperature for fish squares is between 360-400°F. This high heat helps the fish cook fast and develops a crispy crust. Cooking at lower temperatures may result in soggy fish. Here are the recommended air fryer temperatures for common types of fish:
|Fish Type||Air Fry Temperature|
The high heat from the circulating hot air in the air fryer helps seal in moisture while creating a delicious crisp crust on the fish. Adjust the temperature as needed based on the thickness of your fish.
How long does it take to air fry 1-inch fish squares?
For 1-inch thick fish squares, the approximate air fry times are:
- Tilapia – 8-10 minutes
- Salmon – 10-12 minutes
- Cod – 10-12 minutes
- Halibut – 10-12 minutes
- Mahi Mahi – 8-10 minutes
- Catfish – 8-10 minutes
- Flounder – 6-8 minutes
The thinner the fish, the less time it needs in the air fryer. Flaky white fish like tilapia, cod, and flounder cook faster than fattier fish like salmon.
For best results, brush or spray fish lightly with oil before air frying. Flip the fish halfway during cooking to ensure even browning and cook through to the center.
How long to cook 2-inch thick fish squares?
For 2-inch thick fish squares, the air fry times are:
- Tilapia – 14-16 minutes
- Salmon – 16-18 minutes
- Cod – 16-18 minutes
- Halibut – 18-20 minutes
- Mahi Mahi – 12-14 minutes
- Catfish – 12-14 minutes
- Flounder – 10-12 minutes
Thicker fish fillets take longer to cook through. An extra 2-4 minutes in the air fryer ensures the center of the fish reaches food safe temperatures. Brush thicker fish with oil and flip halfway for even browning.
How to know when fish is done air frying?
Here are tips to check fish for doneness when air frying:
- Use a digital meat thermometer – Fish is safely cooked to 145°F
- Flake test – Fish should flake easily with a fork when done
- Opaque and firm – Fish should be opaque throughout and firm to touch
- Internal color – Fish should be white or opaque inside when fully cooked
Undercooked fish is translucent or jelly-like in the center when cut into. If the fish is not flaking easily or not opaque inside, return to the air fryer for 2-3 more minutes until cooked through.
Tips for the best air fried fish
Here are some tips for achieving the perfect air fried fish with a crispy golden crust:
- Pat fish dry thoroughly before air frying
- Brush lightly with oil or cooking spray
- Preheat air fryer before cooking
- Use air fryer cooking basket for best results
- Don’t overcrowd fish in the basket
- Flip fish halfway during cooking
- Spray fish with oil halfway for extra crispy crust
- Check fish early to avoid overcooking
- Let fish rest 2-3 minutes before serving
Following these simple tips will take your air fried fish from soggy to crispy and delicious in minutes.
Best fish for air frying
The best fish fillets for air frying include:
- Mahi mahi
Lean white fish fillets with low fat content are ideal as they cook up light and crispy. Fattier fish like salmon and trout air fry beautifully too, though may need a minute or two longer. Avoid air frying very delicate fish like shellfish.
Marinades and breadings for air fried fish
Marinades and breading add lots of flavor to air fried fish. Try these marinades and breading combinations:
|Lemon Pepper||Lemon juice, garlic powder, cracked pepper|
|Southwestern||Chili powder, cumin, garlic, lime juice|
|Herb||Parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano|
|Cajun||Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano|
|Panko Breadcrumbs||Panko crumbs, salt, pepper|
|Cornmeal||Cornmeal, Cajun seasoning|
Let the fish marinate for 15-30 minutes before air frying for the most flavor. For breadings, coat the fish first in egg or milk then the breadcrumb mixture. Spray with oil before air frying breaded fish.
Best seasonings for air fried fish
Season fish fillets with salt, pepper and any of these flavorful spices and herbs before air frying:
- Old Bay seasoning
- Lemon pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Chili powder
- Ground ginger
- Curry powder
Seasonings add big flavor without added fat or calories. For best results, season fish at least 15 minutes before cooking so the flavors are absorbed.
Air fryer cooking times for fish fillets
Use these air fryer cooking times as a guide for fish fillets:
|Fish Type||Thickness||Cooking Time|
|Tilapia||1/2 inch||6-8 minutes|
|Cod||1 inch||10-12 minutes|
|Salmon||1 1/2 inch||14-16 minutes|
|Halibut||2 inches||18-20 minutes|
|Mahi Mahi||1 inch||8-10 minutes|
|Catfish||3/4 inch||6-8 minutes|
|Flounder||1/2 inch||4-6 minutes|
Adjust times as needed based on thickness. The key is to flip fish halfway through cooking for even browning and use a thermometer to test for doneness when air frying.
Serving suggestions for air fried fish
Maximize the flavor of your air fried fish with these serving suggestions:
- Serve fish tacos or sandwiches with crunchy slaw, avocado, or mango salsa
- Make fish and chips with air fried french fries or potatoes
- Top fish with lemon thyme butter after cooking
- Serve seafood paella using a mix of air fried seafood
- Toss air fried fish into pasta or rice dishes
- Serve fish over fresh greens for a healthy salad
- Pair with roasted veggies or a side of air fried asparagus
Air fried fish is so quick to make, it opens up limitless possibilities for fast, flavorful meals.
Air frying is a quick and healthy way to cook moist, tender fish with a crispy crust in under 20 minutes. The ideal air fryer temperature for fish is between 360-400°F. Thinner fish fillets like tilapia and flounder take 6-12 minutes while thicker fillets like salmon and halibut cook through in 14-20 minutes. Season fish generously before air frying and flip halfway during cooking for the best results. In just minutes you can enjoy restaurant-quality crispy fish fillets at home with your air fryer.