This air fryer mackerel fillets recipe is simple and delicious. Similar to salmon, mackerel is flavorful and is enhanced with bright lemon juice and a touch of cumin and garlic powder. Air fried until the skin gets crispy and the flesh is tender and juicy, these mackerel fillets make a great lunch or dinner, ready in under 15 minutes.
One of the easiest ways to make mackerel is in the air fryer. It’s great for making crispy fried fish and it’s a healthier alternative to deep-frying and easier than grilling. There’s no extra grease and minimal prep and clean-up required. The skin gets beautifully crispy and you end up with a delicious and tasty meal in no time.
How to make air fryer mackerel
If you have frozen mackerel fillets, thaw them first. You can do that by leaving it in the fridge overnight or by placing fillets on the counter for few hours. Same process applies to whole fish as well if you don’t have fillets.
Rinse fillets with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. I like to season mackerel very lightly because it’s already has big flavor on its own.
Lightly sprinkle fillets with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add a pinch of cumin (optionally). Get a lemon and slice it in even pieces.
Lay bottom of air fryer basket with lemon slices and place mackerel fillets on top. It will prevent fish from sticking to the bottom and also will add some lemon flavor to the fillet.
Air fry for about 6-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Cooking time depends on the thickness of fillets. There is a chance you will need to increase or decrease air frying time. To be sure always check the internal temperature of the fish using an instant fish thermometer. It should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for a fully cooked fish.
Is mackerel a good fish to eat
It is often compared to tuna when it’s canned, and salmon when it’s fresh, but mackerel has its own distinct flavors and texture. This fish is highly nutritious, super easy to cook, and perfect with your favorite sides.
Mackerel is a saltwater fish that belongs to the Scombridae family. It has a bright greenish-blue hue with striking silver bellies. Spanish Mackerel is a favorite variety but there are also King, Atlantic, and Blue mackerel widely available. Mackerel has a rich flavor, is high in fat, and packed with protein. It also has high nutritional value, featuring large amounts of selenium, vitamin B12, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
This healthy fish not only tastes great but is widely available in your local grocery stores or fish markets. It’s a very budget-friendly fish compared to other types of fish and it’s very easy to cook. It can be easily filleted and works well with a variety of cooking styles. Making mackerel a great choice for a weeknight family dinner or a quick lunch.
Mackerel is known to be high in mercury but not all species have the same amount. Some species of mackerel are high in healthy fats and low in mercury, such as the Atlantic and Atka mackerel from Alaska. But the King, Spanish, and Gulf mackerel from the Western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico are known to be high in mercury.
Air fryer mackerel is slightly sweet and not overly salty in taste and has a firm, but tender texture. This fish is bold in flavor and oily, with a darkish-colored flesh. Fresh mackerel tastes similar to salmon, and canned mackerel is milder in flavor and tastes similar to tuna.
Mackerel can have a reputation for being a greasy, strong, “fishy” tasting fish, but its distinct flavor pairs well with a variety of seasonings and cooking methods.
Absolutely! The mackerel’s skin is very thin and can be eaten. The skin has extra flavor and gets nice and crispy when fried or grilled. But if you prefer to not eat it, simply remove the skin by gently rubbing it off. Make sure to remove and discard any fins and scales.
The bones should be removed before eating. Mackerel fillets will have fewer bones than the whole fish. If you see any bones in your fillets they can be easily removed by using a sharp-pointed knife or a pair of fish tweezers.
This depends on the recipe, but in most cases, you don’t have to thaw the fish before cooking it in the air fryer. Fresh or thawed fish will give a better taste and texture when fried, and frozen fish might need to cook for a few extra minutes. Overall do whichever is most convenient for you and your family.
Your fish is fully cooked when the thickest part of the fish is firm and juicy, and the flesh looks white and opaque. This fish cooks quickly – ready in under 15 minutes, and its tender texture can be ruined with overcooking, which can cause it to become dry, tough, and almost chewy.
The best side dish for fish dinner is a nice healthy salad. Use arugula or romaine lettuce or spinach and mix it with cherry tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Drizzle with olive oil and its ready. For more filling option make a bowl of rice or roast baby potatoes.
Store air fryer mackerel leftovers in the fridge in the air tight container for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend keeping it in the fridge for longer because fish usually goes bad quickly. Reheat in the air fryer for 2 minutes at 400 degrees or in the microwave for 1 minute.
More fish recipes
- Tilefish recipe
- Air fryer frozen tilapia
- Oven baked rockfish
- Air fryer frozen fish fillets
- Fluke ceviche recipe
- Steamed rock crab
- Baked skate
- Air fryer orange roughy
- How to roast poblano peppers in air fryer
For this mackerel in air fryer recipe i used really tiny mackerel fillets because that was all i had. Please increase cooking time for bigger fillets and enjoy your air fryer fish dinner in less than 15 minutes.
If you have any questions, please use the comment section below. And please rate the recipe if you made it.
- 2 mackerel fillets or whole
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lemon
- pinch of cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Rinse fish with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt pepper, cumin and garlic powder.
- Slice lemon and place on the bottom of air fryer basket. Add seasoned fish on top and cook for 6-10 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket.
- Do not overcook the fish. Mackerel has lots of fat and don't get dry easily but its still possible.
- The fish is naturally salty so watch how much salt you put on.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 21g