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Can You Cook Frozen Battered Fish In An Air Fryer?

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Frozen battered fish is a favorite in many households since it is not only delicious but also a quick lunch or dinner fix.

You can serve it with some French fries, mashed, baked, or roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, corn on the cob, or simply make a delicious fish fillet sandwich with tartar sauce.

When you think of frozen battered fish, you naturally gravitate towards frying it since it has always been the most popular way to cook it.

However, with people becoming more health-conscious and looking for ways to retain the food’s natural nutrients, a majority of them have shifted towards air frying.

When compared to deep frying, air frying is much healthier and allows you to cut calories by 80% to 90%. It reduces the amount of fat by limiting the use of oil and potentially harmful compounds in the food.

Some of the best foods to make in an air fryer include French fries, chicken nuggets, doughnuts, small pizzas, and the works. But what about frozen battered fish?

Can you cook frozen battered fish in an air fryer? Yes, you can cook it in an air fryer and it will come out perfectly crispy and delicious. However, to make sure it is cooked through on the inside and is safe to eat, you need to do it correctly.

Read on to find out how to cook frozen battered fish in an air fryer and how it tastes compared to other cooking methods:

How To Cook Frozen Battered Fish In An Air Fryer

You can cook all types of frozen fish in an air fryer at home, whether it is battered or breaded. The results are great and can give deep-fried fish a serious run for its money.

To cook frozen battered fish in an air fryer, here’s what you need to do:

  • Set the air fryer temperature to 400°F and preheat it for 5 minutes. 
  • Do not thaw the fish and keep it frozen until you are ready to put it in the air fryer.
  • Line the frozen fish in a single layer and cook for a few minutes, depending on the type of fish you are using. (Also keep in mind that frozen battered fish is often partially cooked so the total cooking time will depend on that as well).
  • Halfway through, spray a little olive oil on the fish and add a teaspoon of lemon juice if you want.
  • Flip the fish so that both sides brown and crisp evenly. This is not a necessary step but is recommended.
  • When the air fryer beeps, check if the fish is crispy and golden and enjoy it with your favorite sides and condiments.

Frozen battered fish works great in an air fryer since the thick batter gives a crisp similar to that of deep-fried battered fish. 

Any food with a wet batter must not be placed in an air fryer because without a proper amount of oil the batter won’t cook, resulting in wet batter everywhere and fish that won’t be crispy at all.

The little spritz of olive oil at halftime can considerably improve the crunch of your air-fried frozen battered fish and will prevent it from getting dry.

Also, a bit of lemon juice will add the required moisture and flavor, especially if you are using a type of fish that tends to get dry.

Avoid using very thick fillets if you want them to be crispy and opt for thinner fish fillets instead. Although, you will have to reduce the cooking time.

Also, make sure to never overcrowd the air fryer basket since spacing out the fish allows it to get crispy from all sides.

How Long Should You Cook Frozen Battered Fish In An Air Fryer?

The cooking time varies between different types of fish, such as frozen haddock which is particularly thick and takes longer to cook, and frozen battered cod that takes hardly a few minutes.

You can compare the cooking time of frozen battered fish to frozen chicken breasts, with a smaller piece taking less time and a larger chicken breast taking relatively longer.

If you are air frying frozen haddock, the cooking time will be around 16 minutes because it is thicker than other frozen fish and you need to ensure that it is cooked through.

When working with cod, you won’t have to worry about not being able to cook it through since it is much thinner. On average, frozen battered cod would require 8 minutes in the air fryer.

Frozen battered tilapia or other white fish fillets are amazing in the air fryer, have a better crisp than cod, and require an average cooking time of around 12 minutes.

The best way to tell if your frozen battered fish is cooked is to test it using a fork by putting it at an angle at the thickest part of the fish and twisting it gently.

If the meat flakes easily and doesn’t have a translucent raw appearance, it means that it is done.

You may also check its internal temperature using a thermometer that should show 145°F when it is ready.

Once the fish is done and it has a golden crispy coating, carefully remove it from the air fryer and place it on a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving.

Air Frying Frozen Battered Fish Vs Other Methods

Deep frying and baking are two of the most common cooking methods for frozen battered fish. 

However, cooking frozen fish in the oven often leaves it very dry and lacking in moisture, and while deep-fried fish is absolutely delicious and difficult to compete with, it has some real downsides.

Deep frying adds unnecessary calories to the fish and sometimes detracts from its original flavor, depending on your choice of the frying oil.

Air frying frozen fish is the best of both worlds since it leaves the fish tasting delicious and moist while retaining all of its essential nutrients. Not to mention, it doesn’t leave a big mess to clean as with deep-frying.

You can deep-fry frozen battered fish to a perfect golden-brown crisp by ensuring the correct oil temperature and the total time it is fried for. Use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil, which should be 350°F.

Fry it for 5-7 minutes until it has a crisp coating and is cooked through. Make sure to reheat the oil before adding in any additional fish fillets.

Once done, transfer the fish onto a cooling rack and use a few paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

To bake frozen battered fish in a conventional oven, you need to preheat it to 425°F and place the frozen fish on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Let it cook for 20-22 minutes until it is crisp. Make sure to flip the fish halfway for the best results.

Can You Cook Frozen Breaded Fish In An Air Fryer?

Batter and breading are different things that both add an extra layer to the fish. A batter is generally made using some sort of flour, such as all-purpose flour, rice flour, or cornstarch, with a liquid or binding agent such as eggs or baking powder.

Breading, on the other hand, refers to multiple layers on the fish, starting with flour to make sure the fish’s surface is dry and rough. The next layer is a liquid binder, such as eggs or some kind of dairy product, that will adhere to it properly.

The final layer consists of something that would give the fish some texture, including breadcrumbs, crackers, or breakfast cereal.

Like frozen battered fish, frozen breaded fish can also be easily cooked in an air fryer. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
  • Line the frozen breaded fish on the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  • If your frozen fish already contains a significant amount of oil, you can skip spraying it with some more. If not, use a little cooking spray according to your requirement.
  • Put the tray on the top rack of the air fryer and let the fish cook for a total of 12 minutes at 350°F.
  • At about halfway through, flip the fillets so that they get evenly crisp on both sides and put the tray back on the top rack.
  • When the timer goes off, check the fish’s internal temperature using a thermometer. If it is 145°F, the fish is ready and perfectly cooked.
  • Serve it with your choice of sides and some yummy tartar sauce.

How Long Does Air Fried Battered Fish Last?

Air-fried battered fish, or any type of cooked fish, lasts a maximum of 3 days in the refrigerator. You need to be extremely careful about safely storing cooked fish so that it can be reheated later.

Keep in mind the “best-before” date when cooking prepackaged frozen battered fish, after which you have around 2-3 days to safely consume it.

Contrary to popular belief, you can also freeze the cooked fish to prolong its storage time. Once cooked and properly cooled, you can put your fish in the freezer in airtight containers where it will be good for up to 2 months.

Related Questions

Now that you know all about air frying frozen battered fish and how to ensure it stays crispy and delicious, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have:

Can you cook freshly battered fish in an air fryer?

Freshly battered fish cooks to a perfect crisp when fried in oil. However, in an air fryer where there is nothing to set the wet batter, it will only drip and create a mess.

If you want to cook fresh fish in an air fryer, it is best to use breading made of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, instead of a batter. Breaded fish will cook perfectly in an air fryer, regardless of whether it is fresh or frozen.

Can you pan fry frozen battered fish?

Yes, just like you can air fry, deep fry, and bake frozen battered fish, you can also pan fry it until it becomes perfectly brown on both sides.

Take a heavy-based skillet (it doesn’t necessarily have to be non-stick) and heat it before adding in some oil.

Line the frozen fish fillets in the pan, leaving enough space in between them. You will notice that the fish will initially stick to the surface of the pan unless you have a lot of oil and are shallow frying it instead of pan-frying.

Cook them for around 10 minutes and then flip them over. The trick here is to not move the fish until it naturally releases from the pan.

Depending on the thickness of the fish, it will be cooked within a few minutes, after which you can serve it as per your liking.

Can you microwave frozen battered or breaded fish?

Yes, you can microwave frozen battered or breaded fish if you cannot find alternative ways of cooking it; however, it may affect its texture and crispiness.

Frozen battered or breaded fish is typically pre-cooked to some extent, so it shouldn’t be a problem using the microwave to fully cook them.

All you have to do is line a microwave-safe plate with parchment paper and arrange the frozen fish fillets on top, making sure there is enough space between each fillet.

Next, heat the frozen fish on a high setting for a couple of minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is. Make sure to flip the fish halfway so that it gets evenly cooked from both sides. 

Take it out once it is done and let it cool, making sure the internal temperature of the fish is 165°F before serving.

While microwaving frozen battered or breaded fish is a fast and convenient way of cooking with an easy clean-up process, you will have to make peace with the loss of texture that comes with it.

You won’t get the crispiness like in other cooking methods such as frying and baking.

Also, they won’t look nearly as good as their fried and baked counterparts, and there is a considerable margin of error with the technique.

How to reheat air-fried battered fish?

You can reheat air-fried battered fish using several different methods, however, since fish has a shorter cooking time as compared to other meats, you have to be careful when reheating it so that you don’t overcook it.

Some of the best ways include air frying, deep frying, shallow frying, grilling, using a toaster oven, steaming it, baking it in the oven, and lastly, using a microwave.

To reheat battered fish in an air fryer, load it in the air fryer basket, spray a little bit of olive oil, cook on medium heat, and serve.

The total cook time for reheating fish in an air fryer is much less, in fact, it may take less than 6 minutes. Just make sure to flip the fish so that it is not soggy and both sides are equally crispy.

The ideal temperature to start reheating the fish is 320°F, which you will have to eventually increase to 360°F to make it crispy again.

Alternatively, you can use any of the above methods, with frying and baking being the methods of choice for many.

You get to retain the crispness of the fish using the frying method, although you have to deal with the excess oil that comes with double-frying it.

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