Air Fryer Tilapia Fillets – Blackened and Lightly Breaded Recipe

Air Fryer Tilapia Fillets – Blackened and Lightly Breaded Recipe

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Air Fryer Tilapia Fillets – Blackened and Lightly Breaded Recipe
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Tilapia is the name used to describe a wide variety of freshwater fish species. These fish are commonly found in rivers, notably in Northern Africa and parts of Asia. Commercially available tilapia is mostly farm raised. These fish tend to thrive in crowded conditions, making them a great option for commercial fisheries. Tilapia is quite affordable.

When shopping for tilapia, try to find filets that are labeled as “sustainably farmed”. You aren’t likely to see a whole tilapia in your fish monger’s display case. Tilapia is generally sold in 4 or 8 ounce filets that have no skin or bones. Your best bet is to buy fresh filets rather than frozen. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can smell the fish. There should be no fishy odor. And, the flesh should appear a little shiny and white in color.

The flesh of tilapia is lean and has a firm texture that flakes when it is cooked. It holds up well when cooked in an air fryer. The flavor is very mild. The filets can benefit from intense seasoning or breading.

Nutrition of Tilapia

Tilapia is a great source of lean protein. A small filet at 3.5 ounces has approximately 128 calories, 26 grams of portion, only 3 grams of fat, and no carbohydrates. Tilapia is high in selenium and vitamin B-12. It is moderately high in Niacin, phosphorous, and potassium.

The Recipes

There are three recipes featured here. The last one is for southern style rice with tomatoes that can go with the two fish recipes. It takes the longest time to cook, so if you want to make it with your fish, then you can prep the rice before working on the fish and accompaniments. Allow it to simmer while you make your salsa or tartar sauce and fish so that everything is ready to serve at the same time.

The first recipe is for an intensely seasoned blackened tilapia with a cooling mango salsa. The second recipe is for lightly breaded tilapia filets with a super easy tartar sauce. You can definitely make the salsa or tartar sauce well ahead of time and refrigerate for a meal served later in the day or even the next day.

Blackened Tilapia Filets with Mango Salsa and Rice

Ingredients:

Salsa

  • 1/2 mango, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup peeled, diced cucumber
  • 1-1/2 tsps jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 3 TBS diced red onion
  • 1-1/2 tsps lime juice
  • 3 TBS cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Tilapia

  • 2 (4 ounce) tilapia filets
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 TBS smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsps onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 lemon wedges

Total time:26 minPrep time:15 min – Cook time:11 min – Serves:2 people
Author:

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine the diced mango, cucumber, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve the tilapia.

2. Rinse the fish filets under cold water and dry them well with paper towels.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Coat the tilapia filets completely with the olive oil. Press equal amounts of the seasoning into all sides of each filet to completely coat. Allow the fish to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature prior to cooking.

4. Set the air fryer to 350°F and 20 minutes. After 5 minutes, place the tilapia in the fryer basket or on the crisper plate. Cook for 6 minutes. Gently flip the filets over and continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. (If you are afraid the fish will fall apart, don’t bother flipping it).

5. Place the rice on a large serving platter. Put the tilapia filets on top of the rice and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve right away with the mango salsa on the side.

Lightly Breaded Tilapia Filets with Tartar Sauce and Rice

Breaded air fryer tilapia fillets

Ingredients:

Tartar Sauce

  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tsps dill pickle relish
  • 1-1/2 tsps pickle relish juice
  • 1-1/2 tsps onion, minced

Tilapia

  • 2 (4 ounce) tilapia filets
  • 1 TBS mayonnaise*
  • 3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs**
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

* You can use a beaten egg if desired in place of mayonnaise.
**If you can’t find fine breadcrumbs, you can make your own by pulsing your favorite crackers in your food processor or smoothie bullet.

Total time: 21 minPrep time: 10 min – Cook time: 11 min – Serves: 2 people

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, relish, pickle juice, and onion to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve the tilapia.

2. Rinse the fish filets under cold water and dry them well with paper towels.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Place this mixture on a plate. Coat the tilapia entirely with the mayonnaise, using a pastry brush, spoon, or your hands. Set the filets aside.

4. Set the air fryer to 350°F and 20 minutes.

5. Place the filets into the breadcrumbs and coat entirely, pressing with your hands. Once the air fryer has preheated for 5 minutes, place the tilapia in the fryer basket or on the crisper plate. Cook for 6 minutes. Gently flip the filets over and continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. (If you are afraid the fish will fall apart, don’t bother flipping it).

6. Place the filets on individual dinner plates with the tartar sauce on the side. Place the rice in a medium serving bowl. Enjoy.

Southern Style Rice and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes with liquid

Total time: 30 minPrep time: 5 min – Cook time: 25 min – Serves: 2 people

Directions:

1. In a medium soup pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and olive oil. Toast the rice for 1 minute while stirring.

2. Add the onion and sauté with the rice for another minute or 2, just until the onion begins to soften.

3. Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. As soon as the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a well fitting lid and simmer the rice for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the tomatoes with the juices to combine with the rice. Bring back up to a gently rolling simmer. Cover the pot and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

6. Fluff the rice gently with a fork and serve warm with the tilapia filets.



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