Tilapia is one of the least expensive fresh fish you can buy, and when you air fry tilapia, it’s convenient too! Here’s a meal that proves that even a simple weeknight dinner can be special. This air fryer tilapia recipe is served with a salty, savory garlic chive miso butter. Even ardent seafood haters may be won over by the mild flavor of tilapia.
Oh, tilapia. When it comes to fish, you’re definitely not one of my top contenders for a rich and flavorful pick. However, you gain points for being one of the most budget-friendly fresh seafood options available.
Tilapia is considered a white fish, not an oily fish like salmon or sardines. The benefit of white fish is that it’s an extremely lean protein (and low in calories). The disadvantage is that since it is so lean, you get much less of the good-for-you fatty acids than you do with oily fish.
Most of us in the U.S. are not getting anywhere near the recommended amount of seafood in our diets. If you avoid seafood because you don’t like the strong flavors, try tilapia. Better yet, try this air fried fish recipe, because it’s about as easy as you can get!
If you have a fat loss goal, you can easily compose a meal that fits the diabetes plate method using this air fry tilapia. With the diabetes plate (my favorite plate model for weight loss), your plate should be ¼ protein, ¼ starch, and ½ non-starchy veggies. Here I have the tilapia air fry, some wild rice, and a huge side salad with leafy greens.
Give the air fryer tilapia a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got a well-portioned plate here. Of course, I also have a little something extra for my foodie visitors.
The Deets on this Air Fryer Tilapia Recipe
You know by now that each of my air fryer recipes come with a special twist involved. For example, my air fryer carrots came with an Ottolenghi-inspired tahini and herb drizzle. The air fryer squash comes with browned butter and crispy sage leaves.
This air fried tilapia is no different! We’re going to take this ordinary fish and elevate it to something a little more extraordinary.
In this air fryer recipe, we are going to briefly air fry tilapia; it only takes 12 minutes. While it cooks, we’re going to mix up a quick compound butter with chives and miso. It sounds fancy, but compound butter is simply softened butter with stuff mixed into it.
In this case, the “stuff” is chopped garlic chives, a little white miso, and black pepper. You can substitute regular chives from the grocery store if you don’t have garlic chives. As for me, I have A LOT of garlic chives growing.
My plan is to continue to snip what I need from my plants until the end of the season when they blossom. At that point, I’ll use the edible flowers for garnishes and turn the rest of the chives into pesto. To make the pesto, I’ll simply swap out the carrot greens for garlic chives in my carrot leaves pesto recipe.
But I digress.
I’ll say upfront that throwing a tablespoon of butter on your fish is *not* the best move for weight loss. If you don’t want to entirely forego the butter, cut back to one teaspoon. The leftover compound butter would be great on steak, potatoes, other fish…
I mean, it’s butter. You probably don’t need me to tell you what to do with it. Haha
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Tilapia with Garlic Chive Miso Butter
- 1 lb. tilapia fillets (3 fillets)
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- cooking oil spray of choice
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 1½ tablespoons chopped garlic chives (can substitute regular fresh chives)
- ½ tablespoon white miso
- black pepper and fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Mist your air fryer racks with the cooking spray. Put your tilapia fillets on the racks and brush them with the olive oil.
- Air fry the tilapia at 400°F for 8 minutes. While the tilapia cooks, work on the compound butter.
- Mix the softened butter, miso, and garlic chives together. Refrigerate to let it firm up. (Don't miss the video if you need more visuals for this recipe!)
- After the 8 minutes of cooking are up, flip the fish and switch the position of the racks in the air fryer. Cook for 4 more minutes at 400°F. The fish will flake easily with a fork when it is done.
- To serve, put 1 tablespoon of your garlic chive miso butter on each fish fillet.
- Watch the butter melt...
- And spread it all around. (Ahhhhh.) Finish your fish with a sprinkle of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. If you serve the fish over wild rice, some of the butter will melt into the rice. Perfect!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The nutrition information for this recipe is for the tilapia and garlic chive miso butter only. As discussed above, skip the compound butter for a level 1 meal. Alternatively, cut back to one teaspoon of the butter per serving and save the leftover butter for other dishes. I added cooked wild rice (¼-cup dry per serving) to my meal and a large side salad. Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.
What are your favorite types of white fish? If you’re here for white fish recipes, have you checked out my cod recipe with strawberry kiwi mango salsa yet? It’s another easy and delicious summertime meal option!
On the other hand, if air frying is more your thing, don’t miss my other recipes for the air fryer. How about turning your ripe plantains into air fryer maduros? Or you could serve up some crispy mushrooms and cooling ranch dip with my air fryer mushrooms recipe.
If you try air frying tilapia, I’d love to hear about it! I hope that this recipe inspires you to try other air fryer fish recipes. Drop me a line on social media or leave a comment and rating below!