These crispy air fryer fish filets go from the freezer to your plate in under 15 minutes! Add some tartar sauce and your favorite side dish and dinner is ready in practically no time.
You know I’m a big fan of cooking food straight from the freezer. Whether it’s shrimp or chicken or even steak, cooking protein from frozen is definitely a handy skill to have. It’s saved me on more than a few occasions when I didn’t pull something out to defrost for dinner!
I recently discovered that you can use the same technique as the shrimp I mentioned above to make crispy air fryer fish from frozen — and it only takes a few minutes longer than the original recipe does. The texture of these frozen fish filets is a little meatier and not quite as flaky as my air fryer fish filets and they’ll only be breaded on one side, but they still come out super crispy and piping hot.
Do you have to defrost the fish before you cook it?
The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t need to defrost the fish first – it basically goes straight from the freezer to the air fryer, with just a short stop along the way to get a nice coating of breadcrumbs and seasonings.
The fish defrosts and cooks through while the breading crisps up, resulting in perfect fish filets with minimal effort.
How do you bread frozen fish?
The standard process of dredging the fish in eggs and breadcrumbs doesn’t work with frozen fish since the hard surface doesn’t give the breading anything to stick to.
Instead, start by coating the fish with a thin layer of olive oil — you can brush it on or use an olive oil mister. The oil will begin to freeze when it hits the frozen fish, becoming sticky and acting like a glue for your breadcrumbs.
Next spoon one tablespoon of seasoned panko breadcrumbs over the top of each filet, covering as much of the fish as you can. Press gently to help the breading stick.
Carefully transfer the fish to the basket of your air fryer and cook for 12-14 minutes, or until the fish is piping hot and cooked through and the breading is golden brown. I like to serve mine with a side of tartar sauce.
I can fit 2-3 fish filets into my 2.6 quart Crux air fryer at a time. If you need to make multiple batches, keep the cooked fish warm in a 250°F oven.
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
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