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Air fryer tilapia in the air fryer basket after cooking.

Air Fryer Tilapia

With fresh citrus, herbs, and Parmesan in the topping, this non-fishy-tasting Air Fryer Tilapia recipe is one that kids and adults alike love. Plus, this weeknight meal is budget-friendly and only takes minutes to cook thanks to the air fryer.

Yield: 6 servings (1 filet per person) 1x
Prep: 10 minutesCook: 15 minutesTotal: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (sub: full-fat Greek yogurt)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley (sub: 1 tablespoon dried parsley or other fresh herbs like minced dill, chives, or basil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets, completely thawed
  • Salt and ground black pepper

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Make It Now:

  1. Make Topping: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the Parmesan, butter, mayo, lemon zest and juice, fresh herbs, black pepper, garlic powder, and celery salt until combined. Set aside.
  2. Prep Tilapia: Pat tilapia fillets dry. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Generously spread the Parmesan topping over the tilapia pieces (I use the back of a spoon).
  3. Air Fry & Serve: Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Working in 2 or 3 batches, air fry 2-3 filets at a time for 6-8 minutes. (Do not flip.) Serve warm with lemon wedges on the side and fresh chopped parsley on top (optional).

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Place this mixture in a quart-sized freezer bag or small freezer container and seal. Freeze alongside the frozen tilapia filets (if not already frozen, then place the fish in a gallon-sized freezer bag).

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the Parmesan mixture and the tilapia (preferably in the refrigerator overnight). Then, follow the cooking instructions starting with Step 2.


  • Consider using a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the fillet, and it should register 145°F (63°C) when fully cooked.
  • Surprisingly, leftovers are really good.
  • Want to use the oven? Use our Parmesan Broiled Tilapia recipe.
© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Method: Air Fryer