This air fryer sole with lemon and garlic recipe is an easy and nearly foolproof way to cook a flaky, tender and moist whole fish in only 30 minutes. It is a simple but enticing seafood dish that is sure to please!
Want an impressive restaurant-quality dish that requires minimal effort? This air fryer sole recipe uses only a handful of ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish. So although cooking and presenting a whole fish might seem elaborate, it is actually super easy!
We season the fish inside and out with a combination of lemon and minced garlic to really enhance the sweet, buttery flavor. Then place in the fryer basket and let the magic happen. One of the (many!) things we love about air frying is the near guarantee that fish will come out perfectly flaky and crisp every time.
Serve the fish whole with fresh chopped herbs for a delicious and memorable main dish!
Whole sole. Fresh fish is best, but frozen and thawed whole fish will also work well.
Olive oil. High quality will have the richest flavor.
Lemon. Use both the zest and juice for the most bright citrus flavor.
Garlic. Minced and combined with the lemon for a bold, tasty seafood marinade.
Salt and pepper. Pinch of each, to taste.
Nonstick cooking spray. Choose a high-heat spray oil like avocado, canola, or olive oil. Do not use Pam nonstick spray in air fryers.
Optional garnishes. Our favorites are fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
How to make air fryer sole recipe
First things first, start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, so everything’s clean before you start handling your food.
Then, take your whole sole fish and rinse it under cold water. It’s a good idea to rinse both the outside and the inside of the fish. After you’ve rinsed it, use paper towels to pat the fish dry. Make sure it’s fully dry – that way, the oil and seasoning will stick to it better.
Now, you’re going to make a super tasty mix to season your fish. In a small bowl, combine some olive oil, the zest of a lemon, a good squeeze of lemon juice, and some minced garlic. Stir it all together until everything’s mixed up nicely.
Take your lemon-garlic mix and use it to season your fish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper all over the fish – on the outside, and even on the inside. Then, rub the lemon-garlic mix all over the fish, making sure it gets a good coating. If you’ve got some time, let the fish sit in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes after you’ve seasoned it. This gives the flavors some time to soak into the fish.
While your fish is chilling in the fridge, you can get your air fryer ready. Turn it on and set it to preheat to 400°F. Before you put your fish in, spray the air fryer basket with some non-stick cooking spray. This stops the fish from sticking to the basket and makes it easier to get it out when it’s done.
Once your air fryer’s heated up, take your fish out of the fridge and put it in the basket. If your fish is too big to fit, you might need to fold the tail end so it fits in the basket.
Next, close up your air fryer and let it do its thing. The fish needs to cook for about 12-16 minutes. The exact time might vary depending on how big or thick your fish is, and how your air fryer works. You’ll know it’s done when the fish’s internal temperature is 145°F. If you don’t have a food thermometer, you can tell the fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
When the fish is done, it’s time to get it out of the air fryer. Be careful here – you don’t want to break your beautifully cooked fish. Use a spatula to carefully lift the fish out of the basket.
And voila! You’ve successfully air-fried a whole sole. Enjoy your tasty and healthy meal!
Sole fillets. Make this easy air fryer recipe with individual skin-on sole fillets instead of the whole fish. Season both sides of the fillets and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Spices. Change the flavor profile by using your favorite spice blends. Try this recipe with Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, lemon pepper, or Italian seasoning.
Fresh herbs. Garnish the fish with your choice of chopped herbs to add a pop of fresh flavor. We use parsley here but cilantro, basil, and dill are all great options!
Other fish. Substitute sole with other similar white fishes. Flounder, pollock, and cod are also delicious and easy to air fry.
Frequently asked questions
Sole are saltwater white fish, and are members of the flounder family.
These fish are high in healthy fatty acids and protein, and low in calories and “bad” fats. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Sole is typically considered a fine dining dish because of its delectable taste and delicate texture. Most sole is sourced overseas from Europe, and is expensive to import.
Yes, the air fryer is a terrific method to cook sole! These appliances dial-in to a precise temperature and circulate air evenly all around the whole sole. Plus, you only use a very small amount of oil in cooking, so it is also a healthy choice.
Sole meat is lightly sweet and firm. The vibrant lemon garlic seasoning and the fish’s delicate flavor compliment each other beautifully!
To cook fish with slightly less mess, I suggest lining the bottom of the air fryer basket with a square of parchment paper. Just be sure to not add the paper until after the appliance has preheated and the fish is ready to place on top. Otherwise the paper will blow around and can catch on the heating element.
Sole goes from opaque to white and flakes easily with a fork when properly cooked. The skin will be lightly crisp, but not blackened. If the meat is not flaky or seems underdone simply air fry for another few minutes.
Pro recipe tips
- Quality of Fish: Always try to use the freshest fish you can find. It should have a pleasant, sea-like smell, and its eyes should be bright and clear, not cloudy.
- Seasoning: When you make the lemon-garlic mixture, really take the time to mix it well. Also, ensure you get as much of the mixture as possible on the fish, both inside and out. This will help all the flavors to permeate the fish.
- Marination Time: If possible, let the fish marinate for at least 15-30 minutes. This allows the flavors to penetrate the fish more deeply.
- Checking Doneness: Use a food thermometer to check if the fish is done. The internal temperature should reach 145°F. If you don’t have a food thermometer, another way to check is to see if the flesh flakes easily when prodded with a fork.
- Careful Handling: Be gentle when removing the fish from the air fryer. The fish will be tender and may break apart easily. Using a spatula can help you keep the fish intact.
I am not a big fan of complicated side dishes for the fish, i like to keep it simple and easy:
- Steamed Rice: A classic companion to any dish, especially fish. The soft, fluffy grains are perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce or juices from the sole, adding an extra layer of flavor.
- Mashed Potatoes: Rich and creamy, these provide a comforting and hearty balance to the lean and delicate flavors of the sole. You can add a bit of butter and cream for extra smoothness. Great with air fried sole!
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes: The natural sweetness of these potatoes, cut into wedges or cubes and roasted until perfectly tender, provides a great contrast to the savory fish. A drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting enhances their flavor.
- Buttered Corn on the Cob: Sweet and juicy, these golden yellow kernels are simply delicious. Lightly brushed with butter and a pinch of salt, corn on the cob adds a bit of fun and summery flavor to your meal.
- Steamed Broccoli: Vibrant green, healthy, and crunchy, broccoli is simply steamed and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. This veggie side dish adds a nice texture contrast to the delicate, flaky sole.
- Any salad like green garden salad, Caesar salad or my delicious Turkish red cabbage salad, so good with this air fryer sole recipe!
Refrigerating: Transfer the sole to an airtight container or tightly seal it in a plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store it in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 3 days.
Freezing: If you need to store it for longer, you can freeze it. For best results, place the cooled fish in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
Try to remove as much air as possible from the bag or container to prevent freezer burn. Label it with the date so you remember when it was stored. It’s best to consume frozen fish within 2 months for optimum quality.
Reheating: When you’re ready to eat, if it’s frozen, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. You can reheat the sole in the oven or back in the air fryer until it’s warmed through. Be careful not to overcook it during reheating, as it can become dry.
More seafood recipes
- Hake recipe (easy baked hake loin with tomatoes and kalamata olives)
- Air fryer frozen tuna steaks (simple recipe with 5 star tips and instructions)
- Baked swordfish (delicious swordfish steaks baked to perfection!)
- Triggerfish recipe
- Cobia ceviche
- Baked corvina recipe
- Grouper fingers
- Air fryer jerk salmon
Hope you will like this air fryer sole recipe as much as we do. Please rate the recipe if you made it and leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.
- 1 whole sole (about 1 lb, cleaned and gutted)
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Non-stick cooking spray
- lemon slices
- Rinse the sole, pat it dry, then season it with a mix of olive oil, lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Leave it in the fridge for a bit if you can (30 minutes will be good)1
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and spray its basket with non-stick spray. Put the fish in and cook for around 15 minutes or until it's done. Take it out with a spatula.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 380mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 10g