This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my disclosure policy.

Using an air fryer and Cajun spices is the best way to cook up this tender fish! This air fryer cajun garlic butter tilapia is so easy and delicious, it’s sure to become a new favorite lunch!

If you haven’t already, you’ve got to try cooking up fish fillets in your air fryer. It keeps them soft and tender on the inside with the perfect golden crust! Air fryer parmesan cod, brown sugar salmon, and crab cakes are all knockout seafood recipes you need to make right now!

Cooked Cajun tilapia in the basket of an air fryer.

Easy Air Fryer Cajun Tilapia Recipe

Tilapia is easily one of my favorite types of fish to cook with. It’s so mild and tender, and absorbs the flavor of whatever seasonings you cook it with! Kick your lunch up a notch with this super easy recipe loaded with all of the flavors you crave! Garlic butter and Cajun seasonings turn an ordinary tilapia fillet into an absolute dream! It’s so golden, flavorful, and flaky! I assure you, you’ll love every bite!

But seriously, this tilapia is a winner. It only takes 10 minutes to make from start to finish! The savory glaze whisks up in seconds and then it’s off to the air fryer to let it work its magic. This recipe has been a life-changer for busy days. A tasty, healthy meal in minutes with no hassle! Need more air fryer inspo? Find all of my favorite recipes here!

Everything You Need for Cajun Garlic Butter Tilapia

It only takes a handful of simple ingredients to make this amazing air fryer tilapia! Combined, they create something that rivals even the best seafood restaurants! You’re going to love how it turns out. Measurements for each ingredient can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  • Tilapia Fillets: With a mild fish flavor and tender texture, this is the star of the show! If possible, use fresh tilapia. Frozen tilapia can alter its amazing natural texture.
  • Salt and Pepper: This is the foundation of your tilapia’s seasoning. Add to taste!

Cajun Garlic Butter Sauce

  • Butter: Honestly, nothing makes a marinade great like some rich and creamy butter!
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil helps to keep your fish nice and flaky while creating a crispy outer layer. It adds a great flavor and helps the seasonings stick, too!
  • Minced Garlic: You can’t go wrong with garlic! Add in a few cloves worth for that perfect savory flavor.
  • Cajun Seasoning: To be honest, you probably have all of the spices in your cabinet, so try making this at home! This way, you can customize your own blend to your liking, whether you like it more spicy, savory, or somewhere in the middle. Find my full recipe here.

Let’s Air Fry This Fish!

Making your cajun garlic butter tilapia is a piece of cake. Skip the frozen meal and make this instead! You’ll love how fresh and delicious it is.

  1. Season: First, salt and pepper the tilapia fillets.
  2. Whisk Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, garlic and cajun seasoning. Then, spread evenly over the fish.
  3. Air Fry: Place the fish in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 290 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Next, flip the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes more or until flaky and opaque. Enjoy!
Process shots of seasoning tilapia and cooking in air fryer.

Air Fryer Tilapia Tips and Tricks

These are a few things to keep in mind when cooking your air fryer Cajun garlic butter tilapia. They are super easy fixes but can take your fish from good to great!

  • Is It Fresh? Your raw tilapia should have a very mild fish smell. If it has a strong, ammonia-like odor, it likely has spoiled and should not be used. A dull color and slimy layer over the fish are also indications it’s no longer fresh.
  • Thaw Frozen Tilapia: If using frozen tilapia, be sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight before use. If you cook your tilapia straight from the freezer, it may cook unevenly.
  • Cook a Single Layer: It’s important not to overcrowd your air fryer when cooking your tilapia. Only cook a single layer at a time so the air is able to circulate and cook your fish all the way through.
  • Making Sure It’s Done: You’ll know your fish is cooked through when it’s completely opaque. Cooking times may vary slightly if you’re using thicker tilapia fillets. Additionally, you can use a thermometer to check and see if your fish has an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

What to Serve With Air Fryer Tilapia

Because I want the amazing flavors of this tilapia to shine through, I like to serve sides that aren’t too overpowering and will complement it nicely. Vegetable dishes are always my go-to! Here are a few quick and easy side dishes to help you complete your meal. I know you’ll love these combinations as much as I do!

Cooked air fryer tilapia with lemon garnish on a white plate.

Storing Leftovers

Although best served fresh, here’s how to store your tilapia to keep it tasting as delicious as possible!

  • In the Refrigerator: In an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, your fish will stay good for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: The quickest way to reheat your Cajun garlic butter tilapia is in the air fryer for about 3 minutes at 350 degrees. You can also reheat it over medium heat on the stove with a little melted butter in the pan.
Breaking off a piece of a tilapia fillet with a fork.

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It

Air Fryer Tilapia

5 from 2 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Using an air fryer and Cajun spices is the best way to cook up this tender fish! This air fryer cajun garlic butter tilapia is so easy and delicious, it's sure to become a new favorite lunch!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 tilapia


Cajun Garlic Butter Sauce:


  • Salt and Pepper the tilapia fillets.

To make the Cajun Garlic Butter Sauce

  • In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, garlic and cajun seasoning. Spread evenly over the fish.
  • Place the fish in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 290 degrees for 5 minutes. Flip the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes more or until flaky and opaque.



Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 23gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 162mgPotassium: 395mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1217IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes!
(Plus weekly recipe updates)

About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

More Ideas

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I followed the recipe exactly and it was done (internal temp of 145 F), but not browned. I think next time I will increase the heat from 290 to 350. Great flavor. thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this so may times! My husband loves it! It comes out perfect every time. Thanks for the great recipe!