Extra-Crispy Air Fryer Fish and Chips

published Aug 15, 2021
Air Fryer Fish

Fish and chips aka the epitome of the pub-food experience.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 55 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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air fryer fish and chips wrapped in newsprint, with sauces and a drink next to them
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Styling: Kristina Vanni

For me, fish and chips has always been the epitome of the pub-food experience. The crispy deep-fried fish, some well-seasoned french fries, and, of course, a bottle of malt vinegar for splashing over every bite. However, for me, this meal is definitely more of a once-in-a-while indulgence. But the air fryer is about to change all that: With a rapid circulation of air around the food, air fryers have the magical ability to make food extremely crisp, much like deep-frying, but without the oil. Now, fish and chips don’t have to be saved for special occasions.

Here I used the traditional cod fish and coated it first in a seasoned flour dredge, followed by an egg wash, and finally panko breadcrumbs. After about 12 minutes in the air fryer, the result is perfectly cooked fish with a crunchy coating that is sure to satisfy that pub-food craving. Served along with some thick-cut steak fries, also prepared in the air fryer (from frozen), dinner is ready in under 30 minutes. A squeeze of lemon, a dash of malt vinegar, or even a quick homemade tartar sauce all finish off the dish nicely. It’s especially fun to serve it in a newspaper cone to make mealtime an even more exciting experience!

Can You Fry Battered Fish in an Air Fryer?

This recipe calls for an easy breadcrumb coating to create the crispy exterior. It’s easy and pretty much foolproof. That said, it is also possible to prepare battered fish in an air fryer. It’s just very important to allow any excess batter to drip off the fish before placing it in the air fryer to avoid any burning on the bottom of the appliance.

Does Fish Need to Be Thawed Before Air Frying?

Since this fish is prepared with a crispy coating, it is best to thaw the fillets before air frying so it can better adhere to the fish. However, if you are air frying just a basic seasoned fish fillet, it is possible to cook it from the frozen state. Cooking times will depend on the thickness of your fish. Start by air frying for 12 minutes and then add 2-minute intervals until cooked through.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Styling: Kristina Vanni

Are Air Fryers Good for Fish?

When you’re craving fried fish, air fryers are great. The fish cooks quickly and the breaded coating will crisp up just like fish that was made in a deep fryer.

Air Fryer Fish

Fish and chips aka the epitome of the pub-food experience.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 55 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the fish and french fries:

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 pound

    frozen steak fries

  • 1 1/2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons

    water

  • 4

    (6-ounce) skinless cod fillets

  • Malt vinegar and lemon wedges, for serving

For the tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon

    sweet pickle relish

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

Make fish and french fries:

  1. Heat air fryer to 400°F for 10 minutes. Coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Working in batches if needed, place 1 pound frozen steak fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry for 6 minutes. Flip the fries and air fry until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes more. (Final cook time will depend on your air fryer's capacity and the thickness of your fries.)

  2. Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a shallow dish and stir to combine. Place 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a second shallow dish and stir to combine. In a third shallow dish, lightly whisk together 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons water.

  3. When the fries are ready, transfer to a serving bowl and season with kosher salt. Tent the bowl loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Reduce the air fryer temperature to 375°F.

  4. Halve 4 cod fillets lengthwise into 2 long strips. (There will be a total of 8 pieces.) Working with one stirp at a time, dredge in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture and let any excess drip off. Dredge in the panko mixture, pressing it in to adhere. Place on a baking sheet or plate.

  5. Working in batches if needed, place the fish in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through, about 12 minutes total. The thicker parts of the cod fillet will take longer to cook than the thinner parts toward the tail of the fish, so you may need to cook thicker pieces longer. Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce.

Make the tartar sauce:

  1. Place 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon relish, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. To serve, place 2 pieces of fish and some steak fries on a plate or arrange inside a newspaper cone. Serve with lemon wedges, malt vinegar, and the tartar sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover fish and chips can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. They can be reheated and re-crisped in the air fryer. Heat the air fryer to 350°F for 10 minutes then reheat fish until warmed through, about 5 minutes.