This Trader Joe’s breaded tilapia air fryer recipe is a no-fail way to cook fish fillets to crispy perfection without oil. Here I share the easy steps for air frying frozen fish in under 15 minutes, so you can enjoy a convenient and delicious tilapia dinner in a snap!
I like to spread my grocery shopping out among several different stores… Places like Costco are great for bulk, while Whole Foods is my preference for more high-end items.
For foods that are unique and exciting – but still convenient and reliable – I seriously LOVE Trader Joe’s products. And by far this Trader Joe’s panko breaded tilapia air fryer recipe is the best way to cook a classic TJ favorite!
Air frying the breaded tilapia fillets from frozen makes them perfectly crunchy on the outside, and flaky and flavorful inside. Plus, using frozen fish means there is basically no prep work!
Place the pieces directly into the basket without thawing them first, and air fry for less than 15 minutes. The pieces fry up crisp and tasty without any cooking oil – so all you get is delectable fish flavor, and no oily mess from deep frying.
Follow my simple steps below to turn a handy freezer section staple into a delicious fish dinner! Perfect for any night of the week, you can serve crispy and flaky pieces of air fried tilapia as an entree with your favorite veggies and starchy side dishes. Use them to make hearty breaded fish tacos, sandwiches, wraps, or however you like to enjoy panko breaded tilapia fillets from Trader Joe’s.
How to make Trader Joe’s breaded tilapia in air fryer
Cooking Trader Joe’s Breaded Tilapia in an air fryer can be a quick and delicious way to prepare a meal. Below are my step by step instructions:
- Before you start, preheat your air fryer to 350°F. This is an important step as it helps cook the tilapia evenly. Preheating usually takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on your air fryer model.
- While the air fryer is preheating, take the Trader Joe’s Breaded Tilapia out of the packaging. If the tilapia is frozen, there’s no need to thaw it as the air fryer can cook it directly from frozen, maintaining its texture and flavor.
- Once preheated, open the air fryer basket and place the tilapia fillets inside. Be sure to arrange them in a single layer to ensure even cooking. Avoid overlapping or stacking the fillets as this can lead to uneven cooking.
- Cook the tilapia at 350°F for about 12 minutes. The precise time can vary slightly depending on the thickness of the fillets and your specific air fryer model.
- Halfway through the cooking time, at around the 6-minute mark, pause the air fryer and carefully flip each tilapia fillet. Use a pair of tongs or a spatula for flipping to avoid breaking the delicate breading. Flipping is essential for achieving an even crisp on both sides.
- After the total cooking time of 12 minutes, check the tilapia. The ideal outcome is a golden-brown crust on the outside and a flaky, thoroughly cooked interior. If needed, you can cook for an additional 1-2 minutes for extra crispiness.
- Once cooked, let the tilapia sit in the air fryer for a minute before removing. This brief resting period allows the juices to settle and the crust to achieve its final texture.
Serve the tilapia hot, straight from the air fryer. It pairs well with a variety of sides such as a fresh salad, steamed vegetables, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Storage and reheating
To store leftover Trader Joe’s Breaded Tilapia, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. For reheating, preheat your oven or air fryer to 350°F and heat the tilapia for about 3-5 minutes, or until it’s thoroughly warmed and the breading is crisp again. Avoid microwaving as it can make the breading soggy.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, for the price you really cannot beat frozen fish from Trader Joe’s. I have always been happy with the quality and simplicity of ingredients. The breading is light and the tilapia is mild (i.e. no strong “fishy” taste). This makes the fillets ideal for including in other recipes where other components have bright flavors… Like tacos with a vibrant slaw, or po’boy sandwiches with a tangy remoulade sauce.
Nope! There is no need to defrost the fish fillets before cooking. In fact, most air fryer-friendly foods are best cooked from frozen. The super cold outside holds up great to the high heat and helps the insides not become overcooked. This lets the inside and outside cook perfectly together!
Yes, flip the breaded fillets once halfway through cooking. This helps to ensure that the tilapia gets crunchy on all sides.
I prefer the great crunch and ease of cooking in an air fryer. However, the fillets will also be tasty baked in the oven.
To bake breaded tilapia, and place the frozen fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degreese for 20 minutes, flipping once about midway through cook time.
This is totally a personally preference. Breaded fish pieces have been coated in dry crushed breadcrumbs. Battered fish, on the other hand, includes dredging fillets in a wet flour-based batter and quickly frying. Either method results in crispy fish, but battered fillets are thicker and less delicate.
No, it is not a good idea to cook wet battered foods in the air fryer. Things that are batter-dipped are best cooked in deep fry oil so they get nice and crunchy… But in the air fryer, the batter will just drip off of the food before the outside is able to crisp up.
Absolutely! This quick and easy recipe is great for air frying nearly any breaded frozen fish fillets without oil.
More Trader Joe’s recipes
- Trader Joe’s bool kogi air fryer
- Trader Joe’s spring rolls air fryer
- Trader Joe’s salmon pinwheels air fryer
- Trader Joe’s Carne Asada air fryer
- Trader Joe’s shawarma chicken thighs air fryer
- Trader Joe’s breaded chicken air fryer
Hope you will like this air fryer Trader Joe’s breaded tilapia recipe as much as we do. Rate the recipe if you made it and leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.
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- 2 Trader Joe's breaded tilapia fillets
- dipping sauce
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees for 3 minutes.
- Place frozen tilapia fillets in the air fryer basket (i always use paper air fryer liners for an easy clean up) and cook for 12 minutes, flip once.
Storage and reheating: To store leftover Trader Joe's Breaded Tilapia, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. For reheating, preheat your oven or air fryer to 350°F and heat the tilapia for about 3-5 minutes, or until it's thoroughly warmed and the breading is crisp again. Avoid microwaving as it can make the breading soggy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320