Making frozen fish fillets in the air fryer is a game changer. You can get crispy, perfectly cooked fish that can be used as a shortcut in a variety of recipes, without deep frying the fish or making it from scratch. Frozen breaded fish fillets can be cooked in less than 15 minutes in the air fryer.
Air fryer frozen fish fillets, with a squeeze of lemon juice and tartar sauce on the side, can be paired with french fries, steak fries, sweet potato fries, or tater tots for a fish and chips meal, or you can use them in fish sandwiches.
Another great way to use the fish is to make fish tacos, which is my favorite way to eat them. With coleslaw, jalapeno or sriracha mayo, and a squeeze of lime, it’s so tasty! I give you details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
I really like making Trader Joe’s frozen cod fillets in the air fryer because I can make them without a lot of oil. Some other Trader Joe’s frozen food air fryer recipes include samosas, falafel, and empanadas.
If you’re looking for other fish recipes, check out my Instant Pot Indian fish curry made with frozen or fresh cod, Thai fish curry, and Instant Pot shrimp recipes.
The Best Frozen Air Fryer Frozen Foods
Tips for Success
For this frozen fish fillet air fryer recipe, I definitely recommend that you preheat the air fryer. My Cosori has a preheat button that allows me to preheat the air fryer before putting in the food. The fish becomes nice and crispy.
Keep the fish frozen until you’re ready to cook them.
Don’t crowd the air fryer basket – place the fish fillets in a single layer and leave a little bit of space between the fish to allow the hot circulating air to reach all the pieces. If you need to make more, air fry frozen fish fillets in multiple batches.
Every air fryer will vary. The first time you make frozen fish in the air fryer, monitor and check on it 2 minutes before the cooking time is up. Adjust the recipe as needed in the future. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145 degrees F.
Also, the Trader Joe’s fish fillets are made from fresh cod and the pieces will vary in size. Keep an eye on any noticeably smaller pieces.
I feel the best way to eat Trader Joe’s frozen fish is in fish tacos. I use corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are my favorite, while the rest of my family likes flour tortillas. I like to buy street taco sized tortillas. See the recipe card for how I assemble my fish tacos.
I don’t oil the basket or the fish and find they’re crispy and don’t stick, but you can spray a bit of oil if you want the fish fillets to be extra crispy. Use olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil. I prefer to use avocado oil due to the high smoke point. And I avoid canned cooking spray.
It could be your brand of air fryer or fish. I have no issues with sticking, but if you find that the fish fillets are sticking, you can use some spray oil or line the basket with a piece of parchment paper or some aluminum foil. Poke a few holes in the parchment or foil to allow air to circulate, or purchase perforated parchment rounds or squares.
This recipe was tested with Trader Joe’s breaded cod fillets. But there are many brands that sell similar white fish fillets. Van de Kamps, Gortons, Mrs. Paul’s, and generic grocery store brands are a few common ones. You should be able to use the same cooking times, but do keep an eye on the fish fillets to make sure they’re not overcooking or burning.
To make air fryer fish sticks or Trader Joe’s fish nuggets, increase the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and air fry for less time, about 9 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cook time.
Yes, for best results you should turn the frozen fish halfway through cooking. But be careful, because the fish is very delicate. Rather than tongs, use a nonstick spatula to turn the fish.
Use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the fish. It should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. You want the fish to be flaky, cooked through, but not overcooked and tough. If the fish is undercooked when the cooking time is up, turn it over and add an additional 2 minutes to the cooking time.
If you want more crispy fish, increase the temperature to 400 degrees at the end, and air fry with 2 minutes of cook time.
It’s best to cook only the quantity you’re going to eat because reheating the breaded fish will probably cause it to be overcooked. But if you have to, reheat at 350 degrees F for 2 to 3 minutes.
Yes, you can use the same timing and temperature for air frying the fish with the Instant Pot air fryer lid, Duo Crisp or Pro Crisp. You can air fry the frozen fish in a Ninja Foodi too.
How to cook frozen fish fillets in air fryer
- Keep fish frozen until ready to use
- Preheat air fryer
- Place fish in the air fryer basket
- Air fry fish till golden brown, turning halfway through
- Transfer the air fried fish fillets to a serving platter
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce
See the recipe card below on how to air fry fish from frozen
Air Fryer Frozen Fish Fillets
For Air Frying
- 1 package frozen fish fillets or however many will fit in the basket without overcrowding *
For Fish Tacos
- 1 cup cabbage thinly sliced (or prepared coleslaw mix)
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 Tbsp pickled red onions
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic minced
- 1/8 tsp salt , or to taste
- jalapeno pepper finely chopped (to taste), or hot sauce
- corn tortillas or flour tortillas
- fresh lime wedges
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat the air fryer for 4 minutes at 380 degrees F.
- Add the frozen fish to the air fryer basket and make sure they're evenly spread out and in one layer.
- Close the air fryer and air fry for 12 to 13 minutes at 380 °F
- At the halfway mark, open the lid and use a spatula to turn the fish, taking care not to break up the delicate fish. Close the lid and continue cooking.
- When the cooking time is up, open the air fryer and check to make sure the fish is cooked to your liking. If it's not crisp enough, increase the temperature to 400 degrees and air fry for another 2 minutes, if desired.
For Fish Tacos
- Make the slaw: combine the cabbage, cilantro, pickled red onions, and set aside.
- Make the jalapeno mayo: combine sour cream, mayo, lime juice, garlic, salt, and jalapeno or hot sauce, until smooth
- Cut the fish into smaller pieces, if needed, so they fit on the tortilla.
- Warm the tortillas and assemble the tacos: add fish and coleslaw mix, and drizzle jalapeno mayo and fresh lime juice to taste.
- * Trader Joe’s breaded cod fillets were used in this air fryer recipe. Nutrition facts are for Trader Joe breaded cod fillets, without accompaniments.
- Every air fryer is different. Check on the fish 2 minutes before time is up.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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