These simple instructions for How to Air Fry Cod Fillets result in classic white fish portions with a crispy exterior and juicy interior. Simply seasoned but as versatile as you want to make it, this is the new top cooking method for delicious fish cookery.
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Like most of the other fish and seafood that I’ve experimented with cooking in the air fryer, cod fillets were a resounding success. (I say most not all because the less said about the tuna steaks the better!) Like haddock fillets which cook in exactly the same time, these cod fillets cooked up with beautifully crispy skin and deliciously juicy flesh.
As with my air fryer salmon fillet, sea bream fillets, scallops and whole plaice instructions, I have kept the cooking and seasoning of the cod extremely simple. Just brushed with butter and sprinkled with crushed sea salt flakes. Served like this it is delicious or you can switch things up and use a flavoured rub, paste or sauce to match the cuisine you’re cooking.
How to Serve
I prefer to serve cod fillets fresh out of the air fryer – nice and hot.
I’ve written throughout this post about getting a nice crispy skin on the fillet but I personally don’t enjoy eating the skin. I do always cook with the skin on however as the fillet will otherwise fall apart!
As for what to serve cod with, the options are endless. Keep it classic with a squeeze of lemon or a simple lemon butter sauce, boiled new potatoes and steamed green veg,
Cod is readily available here in the UK. It has a nice big flake and a mild flavour. The flavour is very similar to haddock although the flakes are smaller. Either would actually work with these cooking instructions.
Cod fillets are often pre-cut and pre-packed. You can buy it this way straight off the shelf – either fresh or frozen. It is much less likely that you’ll find yourself with a whole cod to deal with but if you do, you can fillet it yourself or ideally, ask a fishmonger to do it for you.
Good quality fresh fish shouldn’t smell – this is how you know that it is good to cook.
I’ve used butter in these instructions because of its low smoking point, flavour and ease. The butter helps the cod skin to crisp in the short cooking time.
I’ve kept these instructions for air fryer cod fillets very simple using just butter and a little extra salt. You can use any other seasonings you like but you should make sure that it has a salty element whether that’s sea salt, soy sauce or similar.
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free Air Fryer Cod Fillets: Replace the butter with a dairy free block butter, olive or vegetable oil to make this recipe dairy free.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long To Air Fry Cod Fillets
The exact time that a cod fillet will take to air fry will depend on the size. As the cooking time is very quick and the fish is generally very thin.
My 150g fillets (which are pretty standard for a supermarket prepack) cooked perfectly in 9 minutes. But you may need to increase this for larger or thicker fillets or decrease for smaller or thinner fillets.
How to Air Fry Cod Fillets From Frozen
Both cod and haddock fillets only take a tiny bit longer to cook from frozen as they do from fresh. I’ve included the cooking instructions in the recipe card below.
When cooking from frozen, more liquid can be released during cooking. To avoid this I recommend rinsing the fillets under some cold water to remove any surface frost. Dry the fillets really well then butter and season as usual.
Check the cooking halfway. If there looks to be a lot of surface moisture you can use some folded kitchen paper to mop any of that off. Just be careful not to catch your hands on the hot parts of the fryer – use tongs if needed.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
I would highly recommend only cooking the cod fillets just before you plan on serving and eating them. And try not to cook more than you are truly likely to eat.
If needed you can store any leftovers well covered in the fridge.
I mostly prefer to reheat in the microwave as this keeps the flesh lovely and moist. A minute or two will be enough, add a drop of water and cover the dish before heating. To reheat in the air fryer you should allow around 3 minutes at 200c/390f.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
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What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve since bought this version to use for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I used for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked also has a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls. I’ve now actually retired by Actifry in favour of having my two basket type fryers.
Mini Oven Air Fryers
These usually have a glass door, shelves and overall are really quite large. You can cook quite a decent quantity of food in them so are best if regularly cooking for multiple people. They often come with extra features like a rotisserie spit or kebab skewers.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is often necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori models have a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c/400f for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c/390f because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c/450f and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which many people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different. And there are occasionally exceptions to the rule.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although most come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
When I do want to collect the juices, I mostly use some foil, or occasionally a foil tray which can be washed and reused.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry Cod Fillets
- 2 Cod Fillets - roughly 150g each
- 2 tsp Salted Butter - see notes
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes - see notes
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, Start this setting now.
- Melt 2 tsp Salted Butter in a small bowl. I do this in the microwave but you could use a small heatproof bowl in the air fryer if you like. The preheat setting will likely do the trick.
- Thoroughly dry 2 Cod Fillets. Use your fingers to check for any rogue bones and remove them if you find any.
- Use a pastry brush to coat the flesh side of the fillets with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle over half of the ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes. Crush them between your fingers as your sprinkle for a thinner even coverage.
- Place the fillets into the air fryer basket skin side up and butter side down. Leave a little space between each fillet so the air can circulate.
- Repeat the buttering and salting on the top of the skin. Be careful not to catch your hands on the side of the hot basket. If you are using a non basket air fryer, you can do this beforehand.
- Cook for 9 minutes at 200c/390f. There is no need to turn the fillets.
- Be careful removing the fillets from the fryer as they will be delicate. Serve hot straight away.
To Air Fry From Frozen
- Cook for 10 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Butter – You can use an oil instead of butter but I do find that butter helps the fish skin crisp a little more and adds a nice flavour.
- Salt/Seasoning – You can use any seasoning mix or sauce instead of just salt but make sure that salt is included in the mix. You can also add a little citrus juice. If you use a sauce with a high sugar content, you may want to brush this on halfway through cooking so it doesn’t catch and burn.
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can easily fit 2 fillets in the basket at a time. This gives plenty of room to allow air to circulate – I could probably squeeze in one more if I really needed.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.