Crusted with a light Panko batter, air fried tilapia is a better-for-you fried fish recipe that’s lower in carbs and fat but packed full of protein. Served over a bed of coconut rice and topped with zingy mango salsa, it’s a complete meal full of flavor!

A bowl of coconut rice with air fried tilapia and mango salsa.

Why You’ll Love Air Fried Tilapia

If you haven’t jumped on the air fryer bandwagon yet, this is your sign. Seriously, they’re extremely popular for good reason! After all, not only are they super fast but also great for turning all your favorite fried foods into slightly healthier meals. This air fried tilapia is no different! It’s: 

  • High-protein
  • Light, crunchy, and crispy
  • Ready in just 15 minutes
  • Perfect served over rice, in tortillas, and more! 

What Is Tilapia? 

Tilapia is a white, freshwater fish that is high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat. Fairly mild in flavor, it’s used in a wide variety of recipes and can be baked, fried, grilled, or even cooked in the skillet! 

spices to create the breading for air fried tilapia

Air Fried Tilapia Ingredients

For this recipe, we created the lightest air fried tilapia you’ll ever taste, but we didn’t stop there! We paired it with a refreshing mango salsa and fluffy coconut rice for a satisfying meal that tastes great. Here’s everything you’ll need: 


  • Tilapia – Fresh tilapia filets form the base of this dish. 
  • Breading – To create a light coating we used a combination of Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and all-purpose flour. However, if needed, feel free to swap out any breadcrumbs you prefer. 
  • Seasonings – For a slightly spicy, savory flavor we included chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. 

Mango Salsa

  • Mango – Full of vitamin C, fresh mango is unbelievably decadent and sweet.
  • Veggies – A blend of tomato, red onion, cucumber, and jalapeño create a nice crunch and slightly spicy, refreshing flavor.
  • Avocado – A great source of healthy fats, the creaminess of diced avocado balances out the texture of the rest of the ingredients, creating the perfect balance of taste and texture. 
  • Seasonings – Fresh pepper, a dash of lemon juice, and cilantro help elevate the natural ingredients. 

Coconut Rice

  • Rice – For the best results, we recommend using either short-grain white rice or Jasmine rice. 
  • Coconut Milk – Absorbed by the rice, coconut milk adds the creamiest texture. 
  • Water – Water helps dilute the coconut milk so that it does not completely overpower the rice. 
  • Salt – Just a dash of salt is the secret to creating the tastiest, fluffiest rice you’ll ever make. 

How to Make Air Fried Tilapia with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

Just as with the ingredient list, we’ve broken down this recipe into three components to help you create a complete meal. Feel free to make them all, or pick what you need! 

Air Fried Tilapia

  1. Combine the seasonings. 
  2. Add the flour and half of the Panko to a small bowl. 
  3. In a second bowl, combine the rest of the Panko, Parmesan, and seasonings
  4. Whisk the eggs in a third bowl. 
  5. Dip the tilapia in the bowl with eggs, then the flour, and back into the eggs. Finish by coating it with the Panko and Parmesan mixture. 
  6. Air fry at 375° Fahrenheit for 14-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.  

Mango Salsa

  1. Chop the produce. 
  2. Add the ingredients to a bowl, and mix to combine. 
  3. Top with lemon juice and seasonings. 

Coconut Rice

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil
  2. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes
  3. Fluff with a fork, and serve! 

Air Fryer Tips

Using an air fryer for the first time can be intimidating, but don’t worry! It’s really easy. Take a look at a few of our top tips to ensure your tilapia comes out incredible every time. 

Don’t Overcrowd the Air Fryer. You’ll want to make sure that none of your fish is overlapping in the basket. If needed, you may need to air fry it in batches! 

Use a Meat Thermometer. Depending on the size of your tilapia, the cooking times may vary. To ensure you don’t under or overcook your fish, use a meat thermometer to check that it reaches an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit. 

Use Cooking Spray or Parchment Paper. This will help prevent your tilapia from sticking to the air fryer basket and makes for easy clean-up! 

03/13/2024 10:24 pm GMT
overhead image of ingredients for mango salsa in a bowl

Can I Use Frozen Tilapia? 

We prefer to use fresh, but frozen tilapia will work, too. Just be sure to let it thaw first! Otherwise, it won’t cook evenly. 

Storage and Reheating 

If you want to make this meal ahead of time, we recommend storing all of the ingredients separately. Kept in an airtight container, air fried tilapia will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the fridge. 

Meanwhile, mango salsa will keep for up to 1-2 days, and coconut rice can be stored for up to 5 days

Reheating: The best way to reheat your air fried tilapia is to place it back in the air fryer for about 3 minutes or until the desired temperature is reached. Or, you could warm it in a skillet on the stove, if you prefer.

a white plate with a bed of coconut rice, air fried tilapia, and fresh mango salsa

More Air Fryer Recipes You Won’t Want to Miss

a plate full of tilapia and mango salsa over a bed of rice.

Air Fried Tilapia with Mango Salsa

5 from 4 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Served over a bed of coconut rice, this air fried tilapia with mango salsa is a healthy dinner the whole family will love!


Air Fried Tilapia

  • 2 Tablespoons chilli powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • 4 Tilapia pieces

Mango Salsa

  • 1 small diced fresh mango
  • 1 medium diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced english cucumber
  • 1 seeded and chopped jalapeño
  • 1 medium diced ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of half a lemon or lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Coconut Rice

  • 2 cups rinsed short grain or jasmine rice
  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt


  • In a small bowl mix the seasonings, and set aside.
    2 Tablespoons chilli powder, 1 Tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • In a shallow bowl add flour and half of the seasoning mixture. In another bowl add the panko, parmesan cheese, and the rest of the seasonings. In a third shallow bowl, add the whisked eggs.
    1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 eggs whisked
  • Dip the tilapia into the egg, then into the flour, then back into the egg, then coat with the panko and parmesan. 
    4 Tilapia pieces
  • Air fry at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-15 minutes, making sure to flip halfway through.

Mango Salsa

  • Add all the diced ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice, and adjust the seasonings to taste.
    1 small diced fresh mango, 1 medium diced tomato, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/2 cup diced english cucumber, 1 seeded and chopped jalapeño, 1 medium diced ripe avocado, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, juice of half a lemon or lime, 1/2 teaspoon salt

Coconut Rice

  • In a large pot , add rice, coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
    2 cups rinsed short grain or jasmine rice, 14 ounces canned coconut milk, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons sea salt


  • Place a serving of the cooked rice on a plate, add a piece of the air fried tilapia, and top with the mango salsa! Garnish with a lemon or lime and some fresh cilantro.



Cod can be substituted for tilapia. 
Peach can be substituted for mango. 
Oven Option: Bake the tilapia at 400° F for 14-16 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

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Serving: 1serving | Calories: 935kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 216mg | Sodium: 3210mg | Potassium: 1504mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2612IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 294mg | Iron: 7mg

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

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

5 from 4 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Really excellent, the salsa is super fresh and goes perfectly with the rice and fish. A new family favourite I think. Even my brother, who doesn’t typically enjoy seafood, loved this dish. I’m from Australia and we can’t really get fresh talapia here, but deep sea trevally is a good substitute

  2. This looks so good! Fellow Minnesotan mom here – where do you ladies buy your fish for a dish like this? I am in the twin cities, always cautious buying seafood here in the landlocked Midwest 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I made this receipt 3 days ago. It was delish. I loved how all the flavors just combined perfectly!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for dinner the other night and am making it again tonight. My husband and I loved it! The salsa was so refreshing and the breading on the fish was so crispy. Absolutely loved it and is a new favorite dish !

  5. 5 stars
    Loved how easy it was to make. I really enjoyed the mango salad/fish combo, the flavor of the mango salad was awesome with the fried fish.

  6. I made this last night and it was amazing!! I tweaked the relish a little, did radishes in stead of cucumber and omitted the avocado. Used lime juice and a little olive oil. Don’t have an air fryer so I just fried in a little oil in a skillet. The coconut milk I had was evaporated and it turned out yummy!!!! Will definitely make it again!!