can you cook tilapia from frozen

My Air Fryer Tilapia is a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love! Made with just a handful of simple ingredients, this is a great recipe for busy weeknights and can be made in 15 minutes! This easy fish recipe is low carb and keto too.

Although I was initially hesitant to get one, my air fryer has quickly become one of my most used kitchen appliances! I make everything from quesadillas to turkey burgers to salmon teriyaki in my air fryer. I even use it to reheat leftover pizza!

We eat a lot of seafood in my house. I love using my air fryer to cook fish like this healthy air fryer tilapia recipe. Its easier than flipping fish in a hot skillet on the stove and it wont leave a fishy odor in your kitchen.

The air fryer heats up and cooks food really quickly. This makes it perfect for those busy weeknights when youve got hungry mouths to feed and need to get dinner on the table fast![feast_advanced_jump_to]

Yes, you can pan-sear frozen tilapia. Start by heating a bit of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the frozen fillets with salt, pepper, and any desired seasonings. Place the fish in the hot skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until it is golden brown and cooked through.
can you cook tilapia from frozen

How to Cook Frozen Tilapia in the Air Fryer

For best results, its always a good idea to start with fresh tilapia fillets. Fresh fish fillets will cook more evenly than frozen. Plus, its hard to get the seasoning mixture to adhere to frozen fish.

So if you have time, ideally, you should defrost the tilapia before cooking it.

The best way to defrost fish is to put it in the refrigerator overnight. You can also defrost it a lot faster by putting it in a bowl of cold water in the sink for 20-30 minutes.

However, if youre really pressed for time, you can cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer.

To cook frozen tilapia, first rinse it under cold water to remove any frost or ice. Then pat it dry with paper towels. Then brush the tilapia with oil and sprinkle on your spices as per the recipe instructions.

The cooking time will be longer for frozen tilapia compared to fresh fillets. Cook frozen tilapia in the air fryer about 12-13 minutes at 380°F. If it seems like its getting dark on the outside too quickly, turn the temperature down to 350°F or 360°F.

The best way to make sure the fish is done is to check it with a meat thermometer. It should have an internal temperature of 145°F.

Recommended Air Fryer Accessories

can you cook tilapia from frozen

can you cook tilapia from frozen

can you cook tilapia from frozen

Line your air fryer basket with these reusable perforated silicone mats. You can buy square or round mats. The holes allow hot air to circulate around the food prevent it from sticking.

You can also line your air fryer basket with one-time-use perforated parchment sheets. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors- white or brown (unbleached).

This EVO oil sprayer is perfect for evenly spraying your food and air fryer basket with oil. It doesnt clog up like many other brands.

can you cook tilapia from frozen

Why You’ll Love This Dish

  • Quick and easy– all you need is 15 minutes from start to finish! Its become one of my favorite easy last minute dinners on busy days.
  • Healthy meal– packed with protein, vitamins and minerals ; uses minimal oil because the air fryer cooks food with hot air rather than oil
  • Family-friendly– this recipe is a great way to introduce your kids to seafood; it has a mild flavor so many kids will enjoy this tasty fish
  • Low carb and keto– a good option if youre watching your carbohydrate intake

Tilapia is a nutritious fish and can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. Its a popular fish because it has a mild flavor, is easy to prepare, and is relatively inexpensive.

This mild, flaky white fish is packed with protein and is low in calories and fat. Its also rich in many vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and phosphorus.

It has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, however its omega-3 content is not particularly high compared to other varieties of fish like salmon.

Tilapia is native only to the Middle East and Africa but is farm-raised in over 120 countries worldwide. Wild tilapia is hard to find. The vast majority of tilapia available to consumers is farmed.

Questions have been raised surrounding tilapia farming practices. Farming conditions can affect the safety and nutritional content of the fish. So it is important to choose tilapia from a responsible source to ensure that the fish you are eating is eating is safe, nutritious, and sustainable.

You can look for the country of origin or the Ocean Wise symbol (which labels fish according to their sustainability) on the packaging.

If you cant find a good tilapia option at the store, you can substitute any mild, flaky white fish in this recipe like flounder, cod, grouper, or halibut.

If youre following a low carb or keto diet, then this dish is a great option for you!

While many fish recipes use bread crumbs in the topping, this healthy recipe does not. I use dried spices instead to add a punch of flavor this mild fish.

Each serving is packed with a whopping 34 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of net carbs.

You can also try my delicious tilapia piccata recipe, which features pan-seared tilapia cooked in a delicious lemon butter caper sauce.

can you cook tilapia from frozen

Recipe Notes and Substitutions:

  • Tilapia fillets– you can use fresh or frozen fillets; you can also substitute any mild, white fish such as flounder, cod, grouper or halibut.
  • Olive oil– I like to brush the tilapia with heart-healthy olive oil or use an olive oil spray to help the spices adhere; I also use it to brush or spray the air fryer basket to prevent the fish from sticking
  • Dried spices– I use a mixture of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika (along with salt and black pepper); you can substitute other spices like Cajun seasoning, thyme or even cayenne pepper for some heat
  • Lemon– a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is the perfecting finishing touch for this dish
  • Parsley– I like to add Italian flat leaf parsley for color and a pop of fresh flavor but its optional

can you cook tilapia from frozen

  • Step 1– Mix the dried spices together in a small bowl.
  • Step 2– Brush the tilapia fillets with olive oil. You can also use an olive oil sprayer.
  • Step 3– Sprinkle the spice mix on the fish.
  • Step 4– Preheat your air fryer to 380°F and spray or brush the basket with a little oil. Place tilapia in the basket in a single layer (depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the tilapia in batches). For easy clean up, you can line your air fryer basket with a perforated silicone liner or perforated parchment sheets.
  • Step 5– Cook for 8-10 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through. The final cook time will depend on your air fryer model.
  • Step 6– Plate the tilapia and garnish with fresh parsley and a nice squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with extra lemon wedges on the side.
  • Tilapia is a mildly flavored fish so season it liberally. Use your favorite spices- Cajun seasoning, thyme, and cayenne pepper are all good options. You can also try my Salmon Dry Rub.
  • Theres no need to flip the fish in the air fryer- it will cook evenly.
  • Leftover tilapia is perfect for repurposing into other dishes like fish tacos, burrito bowls or salad.

Oven Baked Tilapia/One Pan Frozen Fish and Vegetables


Do you have to thaw frozen tilapia before cooking?

While you technically can cook certain fish from frozen (the leaner varieties, like cod or tilapia, but nothing as fatty as salmon or swordfish), we don’t recommend it for the same reasons as above. More moisture leads to less flavor and increased sogginess, which you don’t want.

Is it safe to cook frozen tilapia?

Frozen tilapia is a great option for a quick weeknight dinner. Mix together a fast blackening seasoning and coat the frozen fillets with the rub. Bake the tilapia until the fish is browned and slightly crispy on the edges. Or cook the frozen fillets while you make an easy browned butter and lemon sauce.

How long to bake frozen tilapia at 400?

Lemon juice, black pepper, minced garlic, and pinch of oregano. Oven bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 F. Easy peasy fish.

Can I cook frozen fish directly?

Cooking fish fillets straight from the freezer may produce a slightly different texture than fresh fish, depending on which recipes you are cooking, so we would advise on planning things ahead and gently thawing your fish if possible, in order to get keep quality at its best.

Can you cook frozen tilapia fillets without thawing?

Yes, you can cook frozen tilapia fillets without thawing them first. In fact, it is recommended to cook them directly from frozen to ensure they stay fresh and retain their texture. Thawing frozen tilapia fillets may lead to a loss of moisture and result in a less flavorful final dish.

Is it safe to eat talapia fish?

Tilapia fish is a low-calorie source of protein. In addition, tilapia fish contains vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and phosphorus. However, tilapia fish contains omega 6, which is relatively high, higher than omega 3. Ideally, omega 3 and 6 have a ratio close to 1:1. Excessive consumption of foods high in omega 6 is at risk of increasing inflammation. In addition, it is also essential to know the process of cultivating tilapia fish to avoid harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or other harmful substances that may arise during cultivation.

How do you cook frozen tilapia?

First set your oven to 400 degrees F. Slice lemons and place 3 lemon slices under each frozen tilapia fillet. Drizzle melted butter on the tilapia fillets with a sprinkle of chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook fish for about 20-25 minutes or until oven baked tilapia is cooked thoroughly into the center and fork tender.

Should you season frozen tilapia before cooking?

Yes, seasoning the frozen tilapia before cooking is recommended to enhance its flavor. You can season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, paprika, or any other spices or herbs you prefer. Brushing the fillets with oil or melted butter before seasoning can also help to keep them moist and add extra flavor.

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