How To Cook Fish In Air Fryer

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Cooking fish is fast and easy to do but it can be frustrating. The most common problem with cooking fish, especially fish fillets, is that it can fall apart as you're frying it. This fear also leads to another problem: overcooking the fish that while it's crispy, it may no longer be flaky but tough and chewy in texture instead. 

There are many tips you can use to cook fish just the way you like it on the stove. If you're using an air fryer, however, you can't do much other than prepare the fish, place it in the basket, and let the air fryer cook it without any interference from you. 

Preparing the fish for cooking in the air fryer needs a little care. Here are tips you need to know if you're cooking fish in the air fryer

Photo by Patrick Martires

1 Add a little oil. 

No matter what you're cooking in the air fryer, a little oil can only make it better. Why? Air fryers work best when the food itself is naturally fatty such as pork chops or frozen food that has already been cooked in oil, or you add oil to it. It's the presence of the oil that will help the browning and get it to that golden brown and delicious stage that all fried food aspire to look and taste like.

Without the oil to help promote browning, your fish won't brown well nor will it taste as great either. To help your food brown and benefit from being cooked in the air fryer, brush or spray oil onto your food. Even a light coating will do! 

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You might be thinking that you can lightly oil the basket. While this will help in preventing the fish and other food from sticking to the basket, it will not help in browning the fish. If you're worried about adding too much oil on your fish, you'll love the air fryer's ability to do this: any excess oil will drip down and collect in the container that holds the basket. This is what you can do to food, especially fried chicken, after deep frying it to not only remove excess oil but also help any absorbed oil drip off, too, leaving you with crispy, not soggy, fried chicken.  

Photo by Shutterstock

2 Use foil, parchment paper, or even banana leaves. 

The basket is meant to hold the food you're cooking in the air fryer. However, it's usually not nonstick. To prevent sticky food from sticking to the basket, especially fish, you can use any of these in the basket:

  • • aluminum foil, lightly greased
  • • parchment
  • • banana leaves 

We love that foil is so versatile in the kitchen! You can make saucy but crispy fried chicken wings in the air fryer with the help of foil but you can also use other equipment as well. Parchment paper, not to be confused with wax paper which is literally coated in wax that will melt when heated, is coated in a thin layer of silicone or another heat nonstick coating to make it slick. What's so fantastic about this is that this lining won't melt when heated. It is this quality that makes it indispensable in baking and, now air frying, recipes.  

If you want to go truly Asian-inspired, you can use banana leaves. Banana leaves are the organic and natural version of parchment paper. It's a large leaf, becomes flexible when lightly heated, and best of all, it's so slick that it's waterproof, too. It makes a great lining for air fryers if you don't have foil or parchment paper on hand. It makes a fantastic fish packet! 


It will dry up and wilt, but the good news is that it's meant to. It will impart a little grassy flavor to your fish but that's just part of the charm behind using banana leaves. 

Are you thinking of frying fish in the air fryer and have other air frying cooking tips and tricks, too? Share it with us! 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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