Crispy textures and wild Alaskan fish look fine together, don’t you think? If you’re the enthusiastic owner of an air fryer, you can satiate your craving for this culinary match-made-in-heaven with a fraction of the oil you’d normally use to make some of your favorite crispy fish dishes. Whether you’re cooking wild Alaskan salmon or any of the meaty species of white fish caught off the coast, we’ve got some air fryer inspiration here that will let you indulge in a healthier, lighter version of your fried favorites, and beyond.
Here are some of our favorite air fryer ideas to explore, as well as a few recipes to adapt to your liking:
A Lighter Fish and Chips
Mild and flaky wild Alaskan pollock or cod are classic choices for fish and chips, even in an air fryer when they’re not getting dunked into a vat of hot oil. You won’t want to batter your fillets of white fish if you’re putting them in an air fryer; wet batters, like a beer or tempura batter, are not compatible with this appliance.
Instead, most air fried fish and chips recipes will call for a crispy, breaded adaptation of the recipe. Simply cut your fillet of choice into strips or bite-sized nuggets — our quick cuts will save you some time here — then dredge in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. Check out Food Network’s guide on how to dredge anything for a crash course on how to do this.
A Shortcut to Tacos
Switch up those breadcrumbs to panko and you’ve got something extra crispy to load into your taco shells or tortillas. This basic air-fried fish taco recipe from Cuisinart is a good place to start if you’re a first-timer; cod, rockfish, and pollock are all classic fish to use, but we’re not going to stop you if you opt to use wild salmon.
Quick and Easy Fish Cakes
Made fresh or from leftovers, fish cakes are ridiculously easy to make and versatile. They’re a filling meal on their own, a tasty protein to serve on top of a big bowl of greens, or a hot afternoon snack to complement a cold bottle of beer. They’re the perfect size to pop into the air fryer, and if you’re just making a few, you won’t have to deal with the long wait for a full-sized oven to preheat. These cod cakes from The New York Times are a classic rendition of a fish cake made from a white fillet, while this Food and Wine Magazine recipe for wild salmon cakes has a savory East Asian flair. To adapt any conventional pan-fried fish cake recipe, simply set your air fryers to anywhere between 350 and 400 degrees F to get things perfectly crisped.
Air Fryer Salmon Jerky
By putting your air fryer on a low setting, you can use it just like a dehydrator. The appliance’s dry, warm steady circulation of air will turn your strips of wild Alaskan salmon into delectable jerky in a matter of hours. Start with this recipe from Eat This, Not That! for something sweet and zesty. As you get closer to the estimated cook time, check on the salmon to make sure it’s not getting overcooked; you want it to be dried through yet still chewy, not crunchy. One tip in making this: You want to cut your fillets into strips when they are nearly defrosted, as a completely thawed fillet will be practically impossible to slice through unless you’ve got a razor sharp kitchen knife.
Air Fried Egg Rolls
Using an air fryer to make egg rolls is a super simple way to make a crunchy snack or easy appetizer. The only difference is that you’ll be brushing them with oil or giving them a spritz of cooking spray rather than letting them soak in a pot of grease. Egg rolls are foolproof: You can fill them with just about anything — think seafood! — that you think will taste good encased in a crispy outer shell. You can reference this recipe for air fryer egg rolls from Simply Recipes if you need an idea of timing and temperature settings.