This parmesan crusted air fryer tilapia is the perfect 20 minute weeknight dinner! It’s gluten free, keto and paleo friendly and so easy to make. Serve it with fresh rice and your favorite veggies for a simple and healthy meal.
Most of the time, I have no patience to cook a fancy dinner. But I still want something that tastes fancy and delicious. In comes this air fryer tilapia.
It’s parmesan crusted, so naturally has so much delicious flavor, but also filled with herbs like paprika, chives and really anything else you have on hand.
Plus, tilapia has such a mild flavor and doesn’t give off a super strong fishy smell or taste, so it takes on the flavors of whatever you put on it!
Serve it with some jasmine rice, my air fryer carrots, or a simple kale salad for a light and paleo friendly option.
This whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes and is packed with protein from both the tilapia and the parmesan. If you love this recipe, try my air fryer salmon next!
PARMESAN. You’ll need 1/3 cup of grated parmesan for this recipe. For a dairy free option, you can easily swap for my homemade cashew parmesan cheese instead.
TILAPIA. I love buying the frozen tilapia filets from whole foods because they’re so easy. Just be sure to let them thaw completely before starting.
SPICES. A mix of salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder add so much flavor. I love regular paprika, but you can use smoked for a different flavor variation.
CHIVES. Chives work best, but you can also use very finely chopped scallions if that’s what you have.
OLIVE OIL. A little olive oil or melted butter will help everything stick to the tilapia.
How to make air fryer tilapia
Combine the parmesan, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and mix well.
Drizzle the olive oil on the tilapia and rub on top. Dredge each piece of tilapia in the parmesan mixture until well coated.
Spray your preheated air fryer basket with oil, then add the tilapia, keeping each piece apart.
Air fry for 7-9 minutes or until completely cooked through in the thickest part. It will depend on how thick each piece was. Remove the tilapia with a spatula for best results since it’s a delicate fish.
Serve with fresh lemon over rice, your favorite veggies and my pesto vinaigrette!
How to serve and store
I recommend serving it up with some fresh jasmine rice, your favorite veggies (I love green beans, broccoli or arugula here) and either with my pesto sauce or pesto vinaigrette.
The flavors in basil pair so well with the parmesan and chives in the tilapia.
Once prepared, this air fryer tilapia will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. I do not recommend freezing it after it has cooked. This recipe only makes two servings, so hopefully you don’t have too much leftover.
You can reheat it in the microwave for about 1 minutes, or in a preheated air fryer fr 2-3 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
Can I cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer?
You can, but for this particular recipe I don’t recommend it. If you cook it from frozen, the parmesan mixture won’t stick as well to the fish and you will need to cook it for longer.
How long does fish take in the air fryer?
Cooking fish in the air fryer is such a great method because it’s so quick, taking just 8 or so minutes to cook.
Plus, you don’t need tons of oil so it’s a much healthier method too.
How do you keep fish moist in the air fryer?
First, don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Since this only serves two, you shouldn’t have a problem, but if you double the recipe, you may need to do this in two batches.
Second, don’t overcook! Tilapia is on the thin side, so it can overcook pretty easily. You’ll know it’s done when it flakes easily with a fork.
Finally, be sure to add oil or butter to the tilapia and spray the air fryer basket with oil. This will ensure nothing sticks and keep the fish from drying out.
More quick & easy dinners!
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Parmesan Crusted Air Fryer Tilapia
by: claire cary
- 2 tilapia filets about 6 ounces each
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ¼ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 Fahrenheit.
- Combine the parmesan, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and mix well.
- Drizzle the olive oil on the tilapia and rub on top.
- Dredge each piece of tilapia in the parmesan mixture until well coated.
- Spray your air fryer basket with oil, then add the tilapia, keeping each piece apart.
- Air fry for 7-9 minutes or until completely cooked through in the thickest part. It will depend on how thick each piece was. Remove the tilapia with a spatula for best results since it's a delicate fish.
- Serve with fresh lemon over rice, your favorite veggies and my pesto vinaigrette!
Needed something quick and healthy for dinner and this was perfect. Thank you! Can’t wait to try more recipes from your site.