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These Air Fryer Fish Tacos are ready start to finish in about 15 minutes. Toss a simple Cilantro Lime Slaw together while the fish air fries and you will have the perfect taco dinner. Use your favorite white fish: tilapia, mahi mahi, cod, etc. A weeknight dinner that is so simple and one that everyone will love!

Air fryer fish tacos on white plate with slaw and fresh cilantro.
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My husband is NOT a fan of fish tacos. And yet, after I made these Air Fryer Fish Tacos the first time, he asked for them on the weekly rotation. So yea, I think it’s safe to say they are that good.

Since we were married, tacos have been a weekly thing. Not always a Taco Tuesday kind of thing, but tacos, and especially tacos with fish or shrimp are my go to when I don’t feel much like thinking about the evening’s dinner menu.

And my 3 year old just wants cheese rolled up in a tortilla–seriously, that is what he thinks a taco is. Hey, it’s the easiest dinner ever when he is around! But now that this 15 minute meal is on the list, there is really not much I can complain about, right?

Why you will love these Air Fryer Fish Tacos:

  • Quick and easy. Literally dinner is ready in under 20 minutes. And we are looking more at 15 minutes if you play your cards right.
  • Amazing flavor combo. The combo of the spices in the fish and the cilantro lime slaw is unbelievable. A little heat and a little tang–the best!
  • A delicious way to add fish to your meal. Trying to eat some more fish? We always start with tacos. Fish tacos on the menu? I am in! Try some shrimp in the air fryer too if you love this recipe!
Air fryer fish tacos on white plate with lime.

Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • tilapia: tilapia is my go to for fish tacos. It’s an affordable fish and has a light flavor. Any white fish should work if you prefer. Mahi Mahi is my other absolute favorite fish for these air fryer fish tacos.
  • olive oil: the oil will help the spices stay on the fish as it air fries. I highly suggest it. You don’t have to use olive oil. Another cooking oil should work well. You could also use a spray oil.
  • spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder. We like the kick the cayenne gives these fish tacos, but it’s not for everyone. Feel free to cut the amount in half, or even more if you are concerned that the tacos will be too hot. You can always add hot sauce or more cayenne in the end.
  • cole slaw mix: any combo of cabbage and carrots chopped is great here. I always love the color when purple cabbage is included in the mix, but it’s not in too many cole slaw mixes.
  • mayonnaise: gives the perfect amount of tang to the slaw. Side note–I actually used vegan mayo when make this and didn’t even know it!
  • cilantro: freshly chopped
  • lime juice: freshly squeezed is always ideal. Save some to squeeze over the tacos as well.
  • garlic: garlic powder is great for the spice rub used on the fish, but minced works better in the cilantro lime slaw.
Fish, tortillas, slaw, spices and other ingredients labeled on a counter.

How to make these fish tacos:

Toss the spice mix together to start along with the sea salt and pepper. Start light on the cayenne if you are worried about too much heat.

Spray the basket of your air fryer with oil.

Cayenne, chili powder, oregano, and other spices in bowl.

Lay the fish in the basket. Brush the fish with olive oil and spread the spice blend over top generously and gently press into the fish. Spritz the top of the fish with oil to keep the spices from drying out when air frying. (step 1)

Air fry for about 8-10 minutes or until it easily flakes. Use a spatula to remove the fish. It will easily break apart into pieces for the tacos. I try to slice it long and thin, or at least the best I can. Some pieces are all over the place in size. We just want that spicy, delicious flavor! (step 2)

Tilapia in air fryer with spices before and then after air fried.

While the fish is cooking, toss together all of the ingredients for the cilantro lime slaw. A touch of sugar is optional but I like the subtle sweetness it adds. You could also use honey.

Assemble the tacos and add the slaw and any of your favorite taco toppings. You know I still have to add cheese to the tacos I serve to the family, but I am happy just with the fish and slaw.

Cilantro lime slaw ingredients in glass mixing bowl.

Notes and Tips:

  • If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake the fish for these tacos. Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and flaky. For best results, bake on parchment paper.
  • Thicker fish will take longer to air fry. The tilapia I used here was just over half an inch in it’s thickest spot. You are looking for a 145°F internal temperature. This will be easier to test in a thicker fish filet. Add a couple extra minutes on at a time until fish is cooked through.
  • Once the fish is in the air fryer basket, don’t turn or flip it. It is more likely to fall apart. You can lay parchment down in your air fryer basket if preferred.
  • For best results, don’t overlap the fish in the air fryer. If it touches slightly, that is okay. My air fryer is pretty small–I have done this in batches, but that’s not ideal. Not sure what size you need? Check this out.
  • Swap smoked paprika for the regular paprika in these air fryer fish tacos for a delicious smokiness. It’s a great way to switch things up.
Overhead view of tacos on plate with slaw.

Check out these other Air Fryer recipes:

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4.99 from 124 votes

Air Fryer Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

These Air Fryer Fish Tacos are ready start to finish in about 15 minutes. Toss a simple Cilantro Lime Slaw together while the fish air fries and you will have the perfect taco dinner. Use your favorite white fish: tilapia, mahi mahi, cod, etc. A weeknight dinner that is so simple and one that everyone will love!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For the Fish:

For the Cilantro Lime Slaw:

  • c cole slaw mix
  • 3 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • c chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp sugar, optional
  • ¼ sea salt, more or less to taste
  • ¼ tsp cracked pepper

For Taco Assembly:

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Instructions 

  • Spray the air fryer basket with oil. In a small bowl, mix the spices, salt and pepper well to combine.
  • Pat fish dry and then lay it in the air fryer basket. Brush with olive oil. Generously cover the fish with the spice rub and gently press it into the fish. Spritz over top of the fish with oil to help it all hold to the fish and stay moist.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Heat the fish for about 8-10 minutes or until opaque and easily flakes. Internal temperature should reach 145°F.
  • While the fish cooks, toss together the ingredients for the cilantro lime slaw. Adjust the salt to taste or add more lime juice as desired.
  • When fish is cooked, remove from the air fryer basket. Cut into small pieces and add to tortillas and top with slaw. Add an extra squeeze of lime. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • To reheat, air fry the fish for about 2-4 minutes until hot.

Video

Notes

  • If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake the fish for these tacos. Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and flaky. For best results, bake on parchment paper.
  • Thicker fish will take longer to air fry. The tilapia I used here was just over half an inch in it’s thickest spot. You are looking for a 145°F internal temperature. This will be easier to test in a thicker fish filet. Add a couple extra minutes on at a time until fish is cooked through.
  • Once the fish is in the air fryer basket, don’t turn or flip it. It is more likely to fall apart. You can lay parchment down in your air fryer basket if preferred.

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 488mg, Potassium: 636mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 421IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




125 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    5 stars
    I have Chillean Sea Bass to cook. Would that work in this recipe?

    1. Lorie says:

      Hi! Yes, you should be fine to use that!

      1. Beth Cooper says:

        5 stars
        It turned out fantastic with the Chillean Sea Bass! My husband couldn’t stop talking about how good it was and my teen said it was better than anything we could get at a restaurant. This will go into our regular rotation. Thank you!!

        1. Lorie says:

          So amazing to hear this Beth! I make these fish tacos every other week and we love them soooo much too!

  2. Kathy B says:

    5 stars
    Excellent. I followed recipe, made no changes. Will definitely make again. Next time I will try the suggestion of smoked paprika

    1. Lorie says:

      Yep, the smoked paprika is a great way to kick things up a bit. Thanks Kathy!

  3. Megan Olson says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times and now a regular in our meal rotation! So good and so quick to throw together! Thanks!

    1. Lorie says:

      Yay! These are a regular occurrence in our house too!

  4. Karen says:

    What if I didn’t want to use the chill powder? Could I leave it out all together?

    1. Lorie says:

      Hi! Sorry for the delay–the flavor would surely be different but you should still be ok. If you are not a fan of chili powder, then just omit it!

  5. Mimi says:

    5 stars
    Mad this tonight and it was soooo delicious!! Added a bit of fresh mint and dill to the slaw. The fish was perfectly flavored and my husband cleaned his plate!

    1. Lorie says:

      Yum yum yum! All those fresh herbs for the win!!

  6. Franca Khawaja says:

    The fish recipe was amazing but the coleslaw was not very good. I ended up adding with the recipe that I usually use and it was a big hit. The fish I used was haddock and shrimp. It was so good.

    1. Lorie says:

      Sorry to hear the slaw wasn’t your fave—glad it all worked out in the end at least! Thanks!

  7. Sherry Henderson says:

    Love it

    1. Lorie says:

      Yay!!

  8. Faith Halliday says:

    To goood

    1. Lorie says:

      Love to hear it!!