This Southern-style air fryer fish recipe is healthy and gluten-free and seasoned to perfection. Use cod, catfish, or flounder for a crunchy finish with no deep-frying needed. This recipe also includes an oven-baked option!
This healthy air fryer fried fish uses all cornmeal and a blend of spices to keep it gluten-free.
You’ll only need a few ingredients for this recipe.
- Catfish, cod, flounder, or whiting
- Avocado or other oil sprays
Making this recipe is incredibly easy. Pat the fish dry. Dredge in the seasoned cornmeal. Place in the preheated air fryer and cook!
Don’t have an air-fryer? It’s OK. I’ve included standard oven directions below.
To make this recipe in a standard oven: Preheat oven to 475 F. Spray a shallow baking pan generously with oil spray. Place the cornmeal coated fish onto the baking pan. Bake 10 minutes on the middle rack. Serve hot.
Be sure to thaw the fish fully. Don’t be tempted to cook the fish from frozen. This recipe was developed using fully thawed fish.
Dry the fish well. This will allow the cornmeal coating to stick and the fish to get crispy in the oven.
Eat the fish the same day. Fried fish is best fresh. You can enjoy it as leftovers but it’s not going to be the same.
To reheat the fish: If you need to reheat it, do so in the oven on a rack. This will help to keep the fish from being soggy on the bottom and restore some of the crunch you’ll lose in the refrigerator.
What’s the best fish to air fry?
I grew up eating whiting. It’s a thin, inexpensive fish. It fries up really well – with a crispy, crunchy finish when it’s deep-fried. Whiting is not easy to find in most supermarkets though so here are some of the best other options.
Sustainably caught or raised cod, catfish, and flounder all make good options. Cod tends to be thicker than the other two. That means you may need to slice it thinner or cook it a bit longer to get the same effect. It can also be a bit drier.
Best seasoning for southern fried fish?
The cornmeal is flavorful in itself. Add to it a blend of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper for a simple but delicious coating that gets crunchy when air-fried.
Don’t skimp on the seasonings.
What goes well with fried fish?
More fish recipes
Crunchy Air Fryer Fish
- air fryer
- 1 lb. white fish fillets (not more than ½ inch thick)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- oil spray
- lemon and parsley for garnish (Optional)
- Preheat the air fryer for at least 3 minutes to 400 F. Whisk the egg in a shallow pan. In another shallow pan, combine the cornmeal and spices thoroughly.
- Pat the fish completely dry. Dip the fish fillets into the egg – allow the excess to drip back into the pan. Then press the fish into the cornmeal mixture until well coated on both sides.
- Place the coated fish into the preheated air fryer basket. Spritz lightly with oil. Cook for 10 minutes – stopping midway to flip the fish to ensure even cooking. If you notice dry spots, this is the time to spritz with a bit more oil. Return the basket to the air fryer and cook 5-7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.Once done, squeeze lightly with lemon and sprinkle with parsley or top with hot sauce as desired. Serve immediately.