Never have a soggy fish taco again! Our Air Fryer Fish Tacos produce the CRISPIEST breaded fish without all the fat and calories and WITH all the flavor. We nestle the crunchy barramundi in charred street taco tortillas, top with a quick pineapple slaw, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.
Serve with our favorite Goat Cheese Guac!
Crispy Air Fryer Tacos
Irresistibly crispy, flavorful air fryer fish tacos. These guys are every bit as crunchy as the most perfectly deep-fried fish taco and they’re infinitely crispier than anything you can bake in the oven.
Using a crispy panko coating and a generous coating of olive oil is what does the trick, and the air fryer does the rest of the work.
While I prefer a fried or breaded fish taco over a grilled or baked fish taco at restaurants, the one thing I always find absent from the fried version is flavor. To combat that, we make sure to season the panko mixture with plenty of seasoning (very similar to what we used in this blackened fish sandwich) to ensure every crispy bite is better than the last.
Not to be forgotten in the ensemble is the spicy pineapple slaw (we’ve been having a moment with fruit slaw/salsa lately) nestled into the street taco-sized tortillas and alongside the crispy fish. The salsa can be tailored to suit your taste but we’re partial to the simplicity of cabbage, pineapple, jalapeño, and lime juice vinaigrette.
Serve with a zippy sour cream or leave them as is and enjoy!
What is the best fish for fish tacos?
Oftentimes this depends on whether or not you are serving breaded fish tacos or leaving them as is. When we bake or blacken the fish, pretty much any fish will work, but I prefer mahi mahi or halibut.
When you bread the fish, as we are today, you want something flaky, but sturdy and not super delicate. I love using halibut or Barramundi, which we’re using today.
Barramundi is called the Asian seabass but it actually hales from South Australia to Southeast Asian. It’s a little bit firmer than tilapia and has a lovely mild, sweet favor.
It works really well for fish tacos because it’s sturdy and has about 1/2-inch thickness to it, which means it won’t fall apart before you can get it from air fryer to plate.
I know some people like to use cod for fish tacos, but it’s not really my cup of tea, so we veer away from it. If that’s your favorite, go for it!
Ingredients in Fish Tacos
Panko. We like to use panko breadcrumbs because they’re light and crisp up beautifully. If you want to go a little healthier, it’s pretty easy these days to find whole-wheat panko.
Spices. I wanted to mimic the flavors of a blackening seasoning, so we toss the panko with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cumin.
Egg. The egg is what will act as the glue to help the panko and seasoning stick to the fish.
Fish. Again, as we mentioned before we’re using barramundi, a firm, mild, sweet fish. We like to cut the fish into 1×4 inch pieces. I usually get about four pieces per filet.
The Pineapple Salsa
Lime juice. Always fresh lime juice!
Honey. Honey is always my go-to when it comes to sweetening up dressing and sauces. You can also use agave or maple syrup.
Garlic. Instead of mincing the garlic, I like to grate it directly into the “dressing.”
Salt + pepper.
Spices. To keep things simplified, we mimic the same spices we use in the breading for the fish tacos in the slaw.
Cabbage. I like to use plain cabbage, but Brussels sprouts, or red cabbage also work great.
Jalapeno. We like spice in our house, so we add one whole jalapeño, seeds and all to the salsa.
Pineapple. If you can, be sure to use fresh pineapple. You can also swap out mango (similar to the salsa on our burgers from last week), or any other in-season fruit.
Red onion. Red onion is always my go-to when adding onion to salsa both for it’s vibrant purple hue and sharp bite it has.
Cilantro. We load up the cilantro, but if you aren’t married to it as much as we are, you can cut back on it.
Let’s make Air Fryer Fish Tacos
Make the breading. Add the panko and seasoning to a shallow dish or bowl. Mix until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the eggs and water to another shallow bowl. Whisk to combine.
Cut the fish. The key to fish filets that cook evenly is to make sure the fish pieces are all the same size. I measure them about 1×3-4 inches depending on how big your filet is.
I will typically get four pieces per filet.
Bread the fish. Seasons the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Dip in the egg. Let the excess drip off.
Dredge in the Panko mixture, making sure to use your hands to press the panko into the fish.
Fry! Preheat the air fryer for five minutes at 380 degrees.
Add half of the fish to the bottom of the air fryer. Spray generously with olive oil spray. Don’t skip this!
Close the air fryer and cook for four minutes. Pull the fish out, flip and cook another two minutes.
Repeat with the remaining fish.
Tip! When the fish are done, I like to keep them on a cookie cooling rack set over a baking sheet to make sure they stay crispy. If you want them to stay hot, you can also put them in a 250 degree oven while you cook the rest of the fish.
Make the slaw. While the fish cooks, whisk together the lime juice, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the cabbage, jalapeños, pineapple, cilantro, and red onion. Toss to combine. As you toss, the cabbage will wilt.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble. I like to slightly char all my my tortillas over the gas flame, but it’s totally optional. Either way, I would heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to make them pliable.
Spoon a little bit of the slaw in to each tortillas. Top with a pieces of fish along with more slaw. Dollop some sour cream or greek yogurt on top if desired!!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Don’t skip the olive oil spray! This is going to make the air fryer fish tacos super crispy.
- After the first batch, the fish may not need a full two minutes to cook on the back end, check them after one minute.
- Don’t make the slaw too early. The longer it sits, the less crisp the cabbage will get.
- For extra spice, add a little bit of cayenne pepper to the panko mixture.
- Wipe the bottom of the air fryer clean after each batch. It’s super quick and easy and prevents the fish from burning later on.
Don’t miss our favorite taco recipes!
- These Pork Tenderloin Tacos are out of this world delicious. Filled with crisp pork, corn salsa, and a zesty crema.
- Need something you can make ahead? Our Honey Lime Shredded Chicken tacos are made in the slow cooker and the perfect weeknight meal.
- Another great healthy option for tacos are our Baked Supreme Turkey Tacos. A classic!
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 24 oz barramundi (4 filets)
- 1 large egg + 2 tablespoons water
- 16 flour tortillas (street taco sized)
- sour cream and lime juice for serving
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- Air fryer
- Preheat are fryer for five minutes at 380 degrees.
- Add the panko, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper to a shallow dish or bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add egg and water to another shallow dish or bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Pat fish dry with paper towels. Use a sharp knife to cut the fish into four 1x4 pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Dip each piece of fish into the egg. Let the excess drip off. Coat in the bread crumbs. Use your fingers to make sure the breadcrumbs are pressed into the fish. Repeat with remaining fish.
- Add half of the fish to the air fryer. Spray the top generously with olive oil spray. Cook for 4 minutes. Pull the tray out and flip the fish over. Spray with olive oil spray. Cook another 2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Wipe the bottom of the air fryer clean after each batch. It's super quick and easy and prevents the fish from burning later on. Repeat with remaining half of the fish.
- While the fish cook. Add the lime juice, honey, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, jalapeño, pineapple, cilantro, and red onion. Toss until coated in the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Warm tortillas in the microwave. If desired, char the tortillas over an open flame.
- Add a little bit of slaw to each tortilla. Top with a piece of fish. Cover with more slaw. Serve with sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice.