Air Fryer Fish features fresh catfish fillets covered in a Cajun-spiced polenta crust, then air-fried until perfectly tender with the crispiest exterior. A gourmet-level dinner that’s ready in 20 minutes!
Seafood is the perfect ingredient when you’re craving for a light but delicious meal. They cook up in a flash, and you can season them with virtually anything you want. See it for yourself when you try our Lemon Garlic Scallops, Shrimp Fried Rice, and Crab Salad!
Air Fried Fish Recipe
Air Fryer Fish tastes restaurant-quality, but requires minimal ingredients and about 20 minutes from start to finish! What makes this dish so special is the Cajun polenta crust that gives the fish a beautiful, crunchy crust with a bold Southern flavor.
Squeeze some lemon on top and serve it with a fresh salad, and you’ve got a dish that you can proudly serve to company, but easy enough to have on a regular day.
We know that catfish is not available everywhere, so we also listed some equally-delicious substitutions later on. Line this up for dinner or lunch today, and enjoy!
Is homemade air Fryer Fish healthy?
Catfish is a very healthy, lean protein that’s light on calories and heavy on the nutrients. It has tons of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B12, Thiamine, Phosphorus, and Selenium.
In addition, air-frying food is a low-fat cooking method that helps the food retain more nutrients compared to boiling and deep-frying. In short, this dish is a healthy addition to your regular meals!
- Catfish: This recipe uses about two fillets.
- Breading: For that crispy, perfectly-spiced breading, we’re mixing up cornmeal polenta with Cajun seasoning, a dash of paprika, and some garlic powder.
- Low-calorie spray: This helps the crust to crisp up without a lot of fat!
How to make Air Fryer Fish from scratch?
- Mix. Very thoroughly mix the cornmeal polenta with the rest of the spices inside a Ziploc bag.
- Coat. Dry your catfish after rinsing, and pop into the bag with the breading. Give it a good shake until all the fillets are covered.
- Cook. Spray all over, then air-fry for 10 mins. Afterwards, flip and continue air-frying for another 4 mins.
- Serve. Enjoy immediately with a nice salad on the side!
Recipe variations and substitutions:
- Other types of fish: You can use other fish with a similar texture and flavor to catfish, such as tilapia, cod, haddock, flounder, and green stripe bass.
- Keto: Use a low-carb breading like almond meal or keto panko.
- Garlic lemon: Skip the Cajun, and add some lemon zest to the breading and double the garlic powder.
- Parmesan: Instead of the Cajun spice, add lots of parmesan.
- Lighter: Instead of cornmeal polenta, use a light dusting of flour.
- Spicy: Add cayenne, fresh pepper, or chili flakes to taste.
Can I air-fry fish if it’s still frozen?
You certainly can. Just add a few minutes to the cooking time. However, we do recommend thawing it out first. The breading sticks better, and in our experience, you get a crispier crust that way because you start out with a dry surface for the fish.
What goes with homemade Air Fryer Fish?
Again, our first choice would be light salads like our colorful Cabbage Salad, Broccoli Salad, and this super fresh Avocado Corn Salad. However, it’s equally delicious with Green Beans with Bacon, Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts, Air Fryer Asparagus, and even on top of our take-out style Egg Fried Rice!
More fish recipes to try:
How to store leftovers?
These air-fried catfish fillets are definitely best when enjoyed immediately, so we recommend finishing them ASAP. However, you can store leftovers by cooling them down, placing in an air-tight container, and storing in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can re-crisp them by air-frying at 370F or baking at 400F for a few minutes.
- If you have a small air fryer, it’s best to cook one fillet at a time so they can cook and crisp up evenly.
- To help the breading stick well to the fish, don’t forget to pat it as dry as possible before placing in the Ziplock.
- Different air-fryer brands heat up differently, so use the cook times as a rough guide. It will also depend on how big your fillets are. Use your judgment— once the fish is as golden and crispy as you like, you may take it out.
Air Fryer Fish
AirFryer Fish features fresh catfish fillets covered in a Cajun-spicedpolenta crust, then air-fried until perfectly tender with thecrispiest exterior. A gourmet-level dinner that’s ready in 20minutes!
- 2 tbsp cornmeal
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- sea salt flakes to taste
- 2 tilapia fillets
- oil spray
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F
Mix the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
Rinse and pat dry the fish fillets. Place on a cutting board and season with the mixture well on both sides.
Place the coated fillets in the air fryer basket. Spray lightly with oil spray.
Air fry for 10 mins.
Turn the air-fried fish fillets over and cook for an additional 3-4 mins, or until done.