Frozen fish in air fryer with delicious flavor notes of lemon and garlic! You can have it ready in under 15 minutes, making it perfect for a meat free Monday night dinner.
Firm-fleshed white fish are often quite mild in flavor, compared to tuna or salmon, so we can afford to be somewhat adventurous with our flavor palate here. That’s where the strong, potent flavor combo of lemon and garlic is really useful. The Mediterranean-inspired flavor palate here really brings to mind sunny afternoons sipping wine and tucking in to a perfectly cooked slice of fish.
The lemony, buttery topping is truly delicious. The short air frying time also means your fish stays juicy, with no risk of it drying out. If you’re a fish fan, be sure to check out this recipe.
You only need a few key ingredients to enjoy this awesome frozen fish in air fryer.
- Unsalted butter, particularly creamy yellow European style butter.
- Fresh lemon juice: always squeeze the juice out of the lemon yourself. It tastes better and doesn’t require much effort at all.
- Minced garlic: we recommend mincing the garlic yourself if possible, but you can use prepackaged garlic too.
- Salt: Adjust the volume of salt to your liking.
- Lemon pepper: for aroma, not for spice.
- Paprika: for an attractive red color as well as some tasty flavors.
- Capers: for a salty burst of flavor to complement the buttery fish flesh.
- Frozen white fish fillets: about 1-inch thick. Use frozen.
How to Make Frozen Fish In Air Fryer
Want to know how to air fry frozen fish? Look no further!
- First, you’ll mix up your butter, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, lemon pepper and salt . Once these are well combined, stir in your capers.
- Place the frozen fish fillets in your air fryer basket and pour this mixture over the fish.
- Air fry your fish until it is cooked through, which should take about 12-15 minutes at 390° F| 198 °C.
It’s easy for a lean white fish to dry out. By basting it with a tasty sauce halfway through cooking, and air frying it until just right, we guarantee a tender, juicy, succulent fish. This recipe and method actually works very well for pretty much any frozen white fish, too. The thickness of the fish is a major factor here. One inch should be enough. White, mild, low fat fish are easy to overcook, so take care not to dry out your fish.
Lemon Garlic Cod FAQs
It’s totally OK to use frozen fish in this recipe. In fact, many seafood restaurants that are far away from the ocean will typically use at least some frozen ingredients in their food.
You do not need to defrost your frozen fish prior to air frying. You just need to air fry them frozen! In fact, the additional moisture clinging to the fish when they enter the air fryer while still frozen will help prevent the fish from drying out.
Another tip for using frozen fillets is to change the fat for your sauce. Butter will typically harden upon contact with a cold surface, and soften against a hot once. That’s where the saying “a hot knife through butter” comes from. You can use olive oil rather than butter when cooking with frozen fish as the olive oil won’t harden upon contact with your frozen fish.
We highly recommend that you use an instant read thermometer. Your fish will be cooked through at an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
You can also check your fish for doneness using the fork method. Use a fork to gently flake the top of one of your fillets. When the fish is done, the flesh will be opaque, and will be easy to separate using the fork. Undercooked fish will be somewhat translucent and resist the pressure of the fork.
You don’t need to cover your fish as we aren’t air frying it for long enough to evaporate much of the moisture inside the fish. You can air fry it uncovered.
Variations and Substitutions
While you should always try the recipe as written the first time, you can make a few substitutions if you feel like it.
For example, you can substitute olive oil instead of butter. You can also try using a teaspoon of garlic powder rather than the minced garlic we recommend, although this will somewhat diminish the garlic’s flavor. You could also try adding onion powder or oregano, or substitute the paprika in this recipe for smoked paprika to give the dish a smoky flavor.
We recommend serving this dish with a simple, fresh accompaniment. Generously top the fillet with your buttery sauce to make sure there’s plenty of flavor on the plate. You should also serve your fish fillets atop something that can absorb the sauce, like Instant Pot Jasmine Rice or Cauliflower Rice.
- You can store your leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container. They will keep for about three days, but you really should be careful when storing fish. Fish will turn quite easily after cooking.
- Avoid freezing your cooked fish, especially if you have cooked your meal from a frozen fillet. Fish does not respond well to being frozen twice.
- To serve your leftovers, gently reheat the fish so as not to dry it out. It’s best to reheat fish in the microwave, covered, at about 50% power, or under a relatively low heat in the oven.
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