Looking for some new inspiration to mix up your Taco Tuesday routine? We have found the perfect recipe in our mouth watering fried fish tacos. You will love these crispy shells filled with flakey air fried tilapia, crisp veggies, fresh cheese and delicious salsa.
Impress your family and guests with an amazing Mexican feast by combining some of your easy to follow recipes. Homemade air fryer taco shells, air fried fish, tangy mango habanero salsa and creamy cilantro lime sour cream make this meal absolutely irresistible.
❤️ WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS FISH TACOS RECIPE
✔️ Air fried fish is amazingly crunchy on the outside but tender and flakey on the inside!
✔️ Fish tacos are a great way to introduce new flavors to Taco Tuesday. Fried fish tacos are an extra special treat.
✔️ Crispy fried fish, crunchy vegetables and mouth watering sauces create the perfect mix of textures and flavors. This fried fish is cooked in the air fryer.
✔️ Fish tacos are a scrumptious and healthy alternative to beef tacos.
FRIED FISH TACOS INGREDIENTS
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for battered fish tacos, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
You may have all of the ingredients for this best fish tacos recipe in your refrigerator or pantry and not need to make a trip to the grocery store. See recipe card below for ingredient amounts.
- White Fish Filets: We recommend using tilapia, cod or mahi mahi filets.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Use regular panko bread crumbs or substitute Italian bread crumbs. When using Italian bread crumbs, omit the Italian seasoning.
- Parmesan Cheese: We recommend freshly shredded parmesan cheese for best flavors.
- Italian Seasoning: You can substitute plain oregano, or make your own Italian seasoning by mixing oregano, dried basil, and thyme.
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Oil: We like to use oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil or avocado oil.
- Air Fried Tortillas: Have you tried our quick and easy Air Fryer Taco shells recipe? But you can also use regular corn or flour tortillas or your favorite store bought taco shells.
- Fresh Cilantro
- Mango Habanero Salsa: You can also substitute pico de gallo, mango avocado salsa or your favorite store bought salsa for convenience.
- Queso Fresco: Or use any other crumbly Mexican cheese.
- Shredded Cabbage
- Cilantro Lime Sour Cream: You can substitute your favorite lime crema. For a healthier option, simply mix some greek yogurt with lime juice.
- Black Beans
This section shows how to cook fried fish tacos in the air fryer, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, nutritional information, to print the recipe or to have the recipe scaled to double or triple, see the recipe card below.
MAKE BREADING: First, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper in a shallow bowl.
🔴 TIP: Use Italian bread crumbs, instead of panko breadcrumbs. When using Italian bread crumbs, omit the Italian seasoning.
PREPARE FISH: After brushing the fish with 2 tablespoons of oil, gently roll it in the panko mixture to cover. Using your hands or a rolling pin, put gentle pressure on the fish to push the seasoning into the fish. It will stay on the fish better this way and less will fall off while cooking.
PLACE IN AIR FRYER: Spray your air fryer cooking basket/tray with cooking spray to prevent fish from sticking. Place fish into the air fryer cooking basket/tray. Make sure there is space in between each piece of fish. Do not overcrowd the basket. You may need to cook the fish in batches.
🔴 TIP: Use air fryer parchment paper, because it keeps the fish from sticking to the air fryer basket and therefore makes sure your breading stays in place.
AIR FRY: Cook at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. Cook time depends on the thickness and width of your fish pieces. Check on the fish intermittently. Internal temperature should be 145°F.
SERVE: Warm the tortillas in the microwave or a skillet, or air fry them to make crispy tacos. Place a piece of fish into your tortilla. Top with chopped cabbage, crumbled cheese, salsa, cilantro and any other toppings you choose!
🔴 TIP: Use homemade taco shells. Have you tried our quick and easy air fryer taco shells?
Air Fryer – The air fryer works great with this recipe as it makes the fried fish super crispy and flakey without adding a lot of oil.
HOW TO MAKE FISH TACOS AHEAD
If you are in a time crunch, here are a couple of ways to pre-prep fried fish tacos.
You can prepare most taco toppings in advance, then store them individually in airtight containers in the fridge. Black beans and refried beans can easily be made a day ahead. Then simply reheat when you are ready to serve the tacos. Additionally you can shred the cabbage and crumble the cheese in advance.
Most Mexican condiments like salsa and guacamole are best made fresh. However, they can be prepared a couple of hours ahead of time. The added lemon and lime juice as well as storing them in the fridge will keep them fresh until ready to serve.
Air fried fish is ready in only 16 minutes, so there is no real need to make the tilapia ahead of time. Fried fish is definitely best when eaten fresh.
⚠️ TIPS FOR THE BEST FRIED FISH TACOS
Follow these tips to make the best fish tacos.
✔️ Cut your fish into thin strips. Wide pieces of fried fish don't work well in fish tacos because corn tortillas are small.
✔️ Press the bread crumb mixture into the fish. If the crumbs are falling off they'll blow off in the air fryer.
✔️ Balance the textures in the tortilla. Fish tacos need a good mixture of crunchy, spicy and soft ingredients inside the tortilla. Cabbage works well for a crunch so don't skip that if you're using soft corn tortillas
Refrigerate: We recommend storing all taco toppings separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Let any air fryer fried fish leftovers cool completely. Then store them in an airtight container or ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Already assembled fish tacos need to be eaten right away.
Reheating: Reheating air fried fish in the air fryer is super easy and beats reheating it in the microwave by miles. To bring your fried fish back to almost perfect crispiness, simply put your pre-cooked fish back into the air fryer and cook at 400ºF for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Your fish fingers should once again be crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH FRIED FISH TACOS
Serve these yummy fish tacos inside our homemade air fryer taco shells with a side of mango avocado salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro lime sour cream, Instant Pot black beans or even Instant Pot refried beans. And don't miss the guacamole!
Not in the mood to bread fish? Air fryer tilapia is another absolutely scrumptious, quick and easy option to make fish tacos with.
MORE MEXICAN RECIPES
If you love love fish tacos you'll enjoy our Crock pot chipotle chicken tacos, air fryer taco stuffed pasta shells, sheet pan chicken fajitas, chipotle chicken burrito bowls, Instant Pot carnitas or Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For perfect results every time, here are answers to the most common questions about cooking fish tacos.
Any mild tasting white fish works well with this recipe. Besides tilapia and cod, you can also try haddock, halibut, grouper, pollock, flounder or whiting.
Yes, because fish cooked in the air fryer uses a lot less oil than traditional deep fried fish. Additionally, most taco toppings are fresh, cut up vegetables. Eating fish tacos therefore also provides you with a healthy serving of raw, nutritious vegetables.
Air Fryer Fried Fish
- 1 lb white fish filets - cut into 1 inch strips
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese - grated
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsps oil - high heat oil like vegetable oil or avocado oil
Air Fryer Fried Fish:
- Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper in a shallow dish.
- Brush fish with oil.
- Gently roll fish in the crumb mixture to coat. Press down to prevent it from falling off while cooking.
- Spray the air fryer basket/tray with cooking spray or use air fryer parchment sheets. Place fish into the basket.
- Cook at 400°F for 10-12 minute. Cook time depends on the thickness and width of your fish. Internal temperature should be 145°F.
- Remove from the air fryer.
- Use your favorite type of fish. We love using our Air Fryer Fried Fish recipe.
- Substitute the mango habanero salsa for pico de gallo or your favorite salsa.