These air fryer fish tacos are a total game changer. The tilapia is coated in the best homemade fish seasoning blend, it’s served with the best ever cilantro lime coleslaw, and then it’s all wrapped up in tasty tortillas.
Air Fryer Fish Tacos
Cooking fish tacos in the air fryer is a total game-changer. It delivers that golden exterior and keeps the fish moist and tender on the inside. It’s honestly the best way to cook fish, in my opinion.
As for the air fryer tilapia fish tacos themselves, we’re going all out. I’m not talking about a simple piece of fish in a tortilla. No, these are loaded with a hearty amount of cilantro lime coleslaw, made with a mix of green and red cabbage for added color and crunch. A hint of honey in the slaw adds a touch of sweetness that balances out the savory, spiced fish.
The light and flaky tilapia is perfectly cooked and coated in the best homemade seasoning. A blend of cumin, chili powder, oregano, and garlic creates a delicious coating that’s full of flavor. These air fryer fish tacos are seriously the best!
Tilapia: Tilapia is the perfect choice for these fish tacos due to its mild flavor and firm texture. It absorbs the flavors of the seasoning blend well and provides a satisfying bite. Look for fresh tilapia fillets at your local fish market or in the seafood section of your grocery store.
Homemade Seasoning Blend: This blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper creates a flavorful and smoky depth that enhances the tilapia. You can find these spices in any grocery store, but for the best flavor, consider using organic spices or grinding your own from whole spices.
Cilantro Lime Coleslaw: This combination of green cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, fresh cilantro, mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt, lime juice, honey, salt, and black pepper adds a fresh, tangy crunch that complements the spiced tilapia. When selecting cabbages and onions, look for vibrant colors and firm textures. For the freshest cilantro, check your local farmers’ market or grow your own.
Corn or Flour Tortillas: Corn tortillas have a slightly grainy texture and robust flavor, while flour tortillas are soft and mild, so choose based on your preference. Look for tortillas that are pliable and don’t crack when folded.
Optional Toppings: Avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce, and queso fresco or feta cheese are great ways to top your fish tacos. Avocado adds creaminess, lime wedges provide a tangy squeeze, hot sauce brings heat, and the cheeses offer a salty tang. Choose ripe avocados that yield slightly to pressure, and fresh, juicy limes.
If you want to change things up a bit, you could easily switch out the tilapia for another type of fish. Cod or mahi-mahi would work beautifully. For a spicy twist, try adding some chipotle powder to your homemade seasoning blend. If you prefer a different type of slaw, a cilantro lime slaw would be a fantastic swap. The beauty of these air fryer fish tacos is that they’re completely customizable!
How To Make Air Fryer Fish Tacos
Preparing Your Air Fryer: Begin by preheating your air fryer. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Mixing the Seasoning Blend: In a small bowl, combine your spices and herbs to create a homemade seasoning blend.
Seasoning the Tilapia: Pat your tilapia fillets dry with a paper towel. Apply the homemade seasoning blend evenly across each fillet. Finish by giving each fillet a light spray with cooking spray.
Arranging the Fish in the Air Fryer: Now, you’ll want to arrange your seasoned tilapia fillets in the air fryer basket. Be careful not to overlap them, as this could lead to uneven cooking. You may need to cook the fish in two rounds.
Preparing the Coleslaw: While your fish is cooking, it’s time to prepare the coleslaw. Combine the cabbage, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lime juice, honey, salt, and black pepper. Pour this dressing over your cabbage mixture and toss it all together.
Warming the Tortillas: Warm your tortillas in a dry skillet or in the microwave until they’re soft and pliable.
Assembling Your Tacos: Now for the fun part! Assemble your tacos by placing a portion of the cooked tilapia on each tortilla, then adding a generous heap of your cilantro lime coleslaw. Top with your desired extras, and enjoy your delicious, easy air fryer fish tacos! See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, and helpful tips, etc.
- Always pat your fish dry before seasoning. This allows the seasoning to stick better and helps the fish cook more evenly.
- Be sure to preheat your air fryer before adding the fish. This ensures that the fish starts cooking immediately and helps to achieve a crispy exterior.
- Don’t forget to flip the fish halfway through cooking for even browning.
What Is The Best Fish For Fish Tacos?
While I chose to use tilapia in this recipe, the best fish for fish tacos is really up to personal preference. Any white fish with a firm texture and mild flavor, like cod or mahi mahi, would work great. Experiment with different types and find your family’s favorite!
Is Fish Better In An Air Fryer?
In my opinion, fish is fantastic in an air fryer! This cooking method gives the fish a beautifully crispy exterior while keeping the interior tender and juicy. Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to deep frying, as it requires less oil.
Are Fish Tacos Better On Corn Or Flour Tortillas?
This is largely a matter of personal preference. Corn tortillas have a more robust flavor that complements the fish, while flour tortillas are softer and more pliable.
Does Fish Need To Be Thawed Before Air Frying?
While it’s possible to cook frozen fish in an air fryer, for the best results, I recommend thawing your fish before cooking. This ensures even cooking and optimal flavor.
Can I Use Foil In The Air Fryer For Fish?
While some air fryer models may allow for the use of foil, it’s generally not necessary and can inhibit the circulation of air that makes air frying so effective. Always check your model’s instructions before using foil.
Do You Need To Flip Fish In The Air Fryer?
Flipping the fish halfway through cooking in the air fryer ensures that it cooks evenly and gets a nice, crispy exterior on all sides.
How Do You Know When Fish Is Done In An Air Fryer?
Fish is done in the air fryer when it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F on an instant-read thermometer. It should be golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Why Is My Fish Sticking To The Air Fryer?
Fish might stick to the air fryer if it wasn’t coated with cooking spray before cooking. You could also try placing a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the air fryer basket before adding the fish.
Can I Use Fresh Herbs In The Seasoning Blend?
Yes, you can! If you’re using fresh herbs, you’ll want to use about three times the amount you would use of dried herbs since they’re less concentrated. Just remember to chop them finely so they blend well with the other spices.
What Other Toppings Can I Use For My Fish Tacos?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to taco toppings! Some of my other favorites include diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dollop of guacamole, or a sprinkle of diced jalapenos for a little heat. Get creative and make these tacos your own!
How Do I Warm Tortillas Without A Microwave?
No microwave? No problem! You can warm tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat. Just place them in the skillet for about 10-15 seconds on each side for flour tortillas, or 15-30 seconds on each side for corn tortillas. You can also wrap them in foil and heat them in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our other Mexican Recipes. Some reader favorites are:
- Easy Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce
- Cilantro Lime Sauce
- Chicken Tostadas
- Pozole Verde
- Ensalada de Pollo
- 4 tilapia fillets (4-5 ounces each)
- Cooking spray
Homemade Seasoning Blend:
- 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder*
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for more heat)
Cilantro Lime Coleslaw:
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream (Greek yogurt also works)
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (the juice of about 1 lime)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
- Sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce
- Crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using) to create the homemade seasoning blend.
- Pat the tilapia fillets dry with a paper towel, then coat them evenly with the homemade seasoning blend. Spray each fillet lightly with cooking spray.
- Spray the trivet with cooking spray then place the seasoned tilapia fillets in the air fryer basket, making sure they don't overlap (you may have to cook the fish in 2 batches). Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reads 145°F on an instant read meat thermometer.
- While the fish is cooking, prepare the coleslaw. In a large bowl, combine the shredded green, red cabbage, red onion, and cilantro. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lime juice, honey, salt, and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
- Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or in a dry skillet over medium heat for 10-15 seconds per side for flour tortillas, or for 15-30 seconds per side for corn tortillas.
- Assemble the tacos by placing a portion of the cooked tilapia on each tortilla, followed by a generous serving of the cilantro lime coleslaw. Add your desired toppings, such as avocado slices, lime wedges, hot sauce, or crumbled cheese.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!
*This chili powder is a spice blend that’s sold in the US and Canada. It’s much more mild than the pure chili powder that’s sold in the UK and other parts of the world.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 413Total Fat: 16.7gCarbohydrates: 35.4gFiber: 5.9gSugar: 8.8gProtein: 33.6g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
I hope you enjoy making and eating these air fryer fish tacos as much as I do! These tacos are so fun to experiment with different toppings and flavors.