Crispy Air Fryer Fish Recipe – Evolving Table

Cooking fish in air fryer recipes

Crispy, crispy air fried fish is a simple recipe that will satisfy your fried fish cravings! The white, flaky fish is dredged into a tasty mayonnaise mixture so that the coating sticks, then covered with a crust of seasoned cornmeal before being air-fried to perfection. Prepare this quick and easy dish in just 20 minutes for an easy weekday meal.

For the past four years, my husband has completed what’s called the Texas Water Safari, a 260-mile canoe race that starts at the headwaters of the San Marcos River and ends at the


Every year they have a huge fish frying for all the competitors and their families.

Fresh fish and shrimp are caught locally on the Gulf Coast, topped with a cornmeal crust (because that’s how we make it in the south!) and then fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.

While fried fish is definitely something to enjoy on special occasions, it’s not exactly weekday dinner friendly for those watching what they eat.

So instead, I took the basic recipe for that fried fish and turned it into this easy air fryer fish recipe.

You’ll get all the flavor and crunch you love, but without a TON of oil.

Cornmeal adds good sand that becomes crispy when fried, and flour helps bind to fish.

Speaking of bonding; Mayonnaise is our secret binding agent in this recipe. Others don’t use a binder at all, or some simply use a splash of oil that causes the coating to slide straight off the fish.

But that’s not so with this recipe! Due to the egg-based sauce, the cornmeal rind sticks beautifully to the fish and does not fall off after air frying.


The simple ingredients needed to make this air-fried fish recipe include:

  • Fish. Soft white fish is best for this recipe. You don’t want more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch of thick fillets or cooking times will vary. Read below to learn more about fish selection.
  • Cornmeal. Find a medium to fine sand to achieve the right texture. Also, look for a certified gluten-free type if you’re avoiding gluten.
  • Flour. Regular all-purpose or a 1-to-1 gluten-free blend will work. Mixing flour and cornmeal creates a crispy exterior while easily bonding to the fish.
  • mayonnaise. The secret ingredient that works incredibly well to help the coating stick to the fish!
  • Cajun seasoning. This gives the taste a good kick. You can also use blackened seasonings for a little more spices, or even old bay seasonings for softer fish.

How to fry

fish in the air

The basic steps for making air fryer fish are easy to follow. See the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient quantities.

Dredge the fillets

Combine the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a separate bowl


Mix the fish in the mayonnaise mixture until completely covered. Dry the fillets before doing this so that they stick better.

<img src="" alt="The fish is covered with mayonnaise

in a glass bowl.” />

Top the fish

Measure cornmeal, flour,

Cajun seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl and mix


One at a time, dip each steak in the mixture of cornmeal and flour. Make sure the coating covers all sides and then shakes off the excess.

The fish fillets are covered with a mixture of cornmeal and flour.



Place the coated fish fillets in a 6-quart Air Fryer basket in a single layer. If the fish overlaps, it won’t get crispy where the fish is touching. Work in batches to make sure there is enough space in the basket.

Cook at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, flipping the steaks over after 5 minutes.

You’ll know that fish finishes cooking when easily shelled with a fork. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

The fish is fried in the air until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with sauce

Serve this fish simply with lemon slices, or one of these easy homemade sauces:

Tartar sauce Remoulade sauce Ranch avocado dressing Lime cream Secret sauce

  • Cocktail sauce

The best fish for air frying

This recipe covers the fish in a crispy crust of cornmeal. You want to use a firm white fish with a mild taste. Types of fish that fit these characteristics include


  • Cod: Depending on where you live, Atlantic or Pacific cod will be more available. Although not technically cod, haddock and whiting fish are often sold as cod.
  • Sole – This flatfish has a firmer texture than cod, with a mild, slightly sweet taste. Some compare it to a cross between tilapia and cod.
  • Halibut – Another flatfish, halibut has dense
  • and firm flesh with a light and clean taste. Mahi-Mahi –

  • Also known as Dorado or Dolphin (not to be confused with Flipper!), Mahi-Mahi’s firm texture and sweet taste resemble swordfish, albeit a bit softer.
  • Catfish – Although firm, catfish is less flaky than the other varieties. It also tastes more fishy, but soaking it in milk before cooking can help remove some of that flavor.

You can

also fry air-fried salmon or other red fish without the cornmeal coating if you prefer!

Preparation and storage

of meals To

  • prepare in advance: You can mix the coating and binder in advance, or store separately until ready to use
  • . To

  • store: Keep fried fish air-cooked in the refrigerator for
  • up to 3-4 days. To freeze:

  • Organize fried fish in a single layer and freeze for 2-3 hours; then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag for up to 3-4 months
  • .

  • To reheat: Add the fried fish back to the air fryer at 350° for 3-5 minutes or until well hot.

Dietary modifications

The recipe below is now dairy-free as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help fit your other dietary requirements:

Gluten Free – Use gluten-free flour and a

  • certified gluten-free
  • cornmeal. Low carb –

  • Substitute cornmeal for low-carb breadcrumbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Expert tips and tricks

  • Cover it first. Using mayonnaise as a binder adds flavor and makes the coating adhere better.
  • Get the right texture. Choose a firm white fish to make it flaky while maintaining its shape.
  • Look at the thickness. Fillets closer to 1/4 inch thick will be made in as little as 8 minutes. Thicker fish may take 10 minutes or more.
  • When it peels, it ends. It is not necessary to take out the meat thermometer, when the center of the fish is easily flakes with a fork, it is ready to eat!
  • Make it spicy! Replace the Cajun seasoning with a blackened seasoning.

More air fryer recipes

Create the best crunchy flavors and textures with this practical appliance! Here are a few more dishes to try below:

Air fryer Apple chips Air

  • fryer eggplant
  • Kofta
  • Air frying Pumpkin chips
  • Air

  • fryer pickles
  • Fish tacos Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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