Irresistible Air fryer Tilapia with Lemon and Garlic

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Air Fryer Tilapia with lemon and garlic is not only delicious, it is also packed with nutrients, making it a great option for a healthy and satisfying meal. Air fryers are perfect for making flavorful and healthy fish!

This air fryer tilapia is the perfect meal for busy weeknights because you can cook a healthy meal and have it on the table in about 15 minutes! The air fryer cooks the tilapia quickly and evenly, resulting in a tender and flaky fish dinner, expertly seasoned with garlic and lemon.

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And the entire family will enjoy this easy and delicious weeknight dinner. And you can feel good serving it since seafood is an excellent source of protein without extra fat. This recipe uses lemon juice and simple seasoning to give the fish a mild flavor.

This air fryer tilapia with no breading is a low-effort and low-mess dinner with just a few ingredients. Keep reading to learn about cooking tilapia in air fryer, find alternatives to tilapia, and learn how to cook frozen tilapia filets

Wondering if the air fryer is good for cooking fresh fish? It is ideal for cooking seafood! Check out my fish recipes for air fryer catfish, air fryer salmon, or air fryer shrimp for more easy seafood dinner ideas.

🥘Simple Ingredients

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

There are just a few ingredients in this easy air fryer tilapia recipe:

  • Tilapia filets – For best results, thaw the fillets before cooking.
  • Lemon or lemon juice – Use fresh lemon juice or bottled.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • black pepper
ingredients for air fryer tilapia.

🥣How to Cook Tilapia in Air Fryer

  1. Season – Pat the fish fillets dry, then mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Brush the mixture on the fillets and sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  2. Air Fry – Put the fish in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook in batches if necessary. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
adding the oil and spices.
Add the lemon and oil
tilapia air fryer basket.
Tilapia before air frying

🍴Serving Ideas

An extra squeeze of lemon on the tilapia accentuates the flavor of this delicious dinner. Or brush it with melted butter! Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or chives are perfect for sprinkling on top.

This is a quick healthy dinner, so I generally serve it with a green salad or a simple vegetable like zucchini or asparagus that I can cook fast. And sweet potato fries or air fryer tater tots go well with fish.

💭How to Store

Leftover tilapia can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It is excellent served cold, on a salad, in a quick fish taco, or on fish sandwiches.

fork full of air fryer tilapia

🧊Can I Cook Frozen Tilapia in Air Fryer?

Yes, although it won’t be quite as tasty. Spray the frozen fish fillets with olive oil spray and put them in a single layer in the air fryer at a cooking temperature of 360 degrees F for 8 minutes.

Then add lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to the fish. Increase the heat to 400 F and air fry for another 5-8 minutes until it is cooked and flakes easily.

❓Why Use Tilapia

Tilapia is common in grocery stores in the U.S. and is relatively inexpensive. It is a generic freshwater fish that has a mild taste. I use it in this recipe because it is:

  • Not very “fishy” tasting
  • The fillets are well-sized for my air fryer
  • inexpensive
  • easy to find

🐟Alternatives to Tilapia

Some people prefer not to use tilapia because it is raised in fish farms and is not wild-caught. Also, some people enjoy fish that has a stronger, more distinctive taste.

This simple recipe would work well with other types of fish, mainly white, lean, and flaky white fish. This would include species like:

  • flounder
  • red snapper
  • Mahi Mahi
  • rainbow trout
  • catfish

The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of fish.

plate of tilapia with garlic and lemon.


Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • This recipe will work with other white fish like flounder, rainbow trout, or catfish.
  • You don’t need to flip the fillets as they cook.
  • Switch up the seasoning to match your tastes. A little cayenne pepper or lemon pepper tastes delicious.
  • This is a recipe for tilapia with no breading. Try this fish fry recipe if you want to use breading.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

top view of tilapia on a plate with basil and garlic scapes
4.97 from 51 votes

Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe

Published By Anne
This easy air fryer tilapia with no breading helps you get a healthy dinner on the table in about 15 minutes. Flavored with lemon and garlic this meal is simple yet delicious.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1 lemon or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste


  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 F for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pat each piece of fish dry with paper towels.
    2 tilapia fillets
  • If using a fresh lemon juice it to obtain about 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
    1 lemon
  • Mix the lemon juice, oil, garlic in a small bowl and stir.
    2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove garlic
  • Brush both sides of the fish fillets with the lemon juice and oil mixture. Then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on the fish fillet. I use about 1/4 teaspoon of each per fillet.
    1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • Place the fillets in the air fryer basket, in a single layer, making sure there is space for the air to circulate.
  • Cook at 400 F for 8-12 minutes, until the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 F. When it is done the fish will be lightly brown at the edges but not crispy. It should flake easily with a fork.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and fresh herbs like basil, parsley or chives.


Frozen Tilapia Cooking Process

You can cook frozen tilapia fillets. Spray the frozen fish fillets with olive oil spray and put them in a single layer in the air fryer at a cooking temperature of 360 degrees F for 8 minutes.
Then take out the basket and add seasoning like lemon juice, salt and black pepper to the fish. Increase the heat to 400 F an air fry for another 5-8 minutes until it is cooked through and flakes easily.

Expert Tips

This recipe will work with other white fish like flounder, rainbow trout or catfish.
You don't need to flip the fillets as they cook.

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Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 628mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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air fryer tilapia with seasoning.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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