Homemade air fryer fish nuggets using cod, tilapia or salmon turns out great! With a light breading they’re tender on the inside but crispy on the outside. Fish bites may be our favorite new dinner creation.
These air fryer fish nuggets were kinda’ an experiment but they were so yummy I thought I’d share! Bite size pieces perfect for little fingers and full of protein for the win. Just one more air fryer recipe on The Typical Mom blog. (originally published 4/21, affiliate links present)
Ninja Foodi Fish Nuggets
If you’re looking for an easy Ninja Foodi recipe you’re in luck. Using the air crisp function on that machine, and our directions, you’ll love this meal too. Use your favorite fillets cut into bite size pieces and your favorite seasoning, even your kiddos will want seconds.
Now we’ve made a lot of air fryer fish lately. We just can’t get enough of it. From air fryer salmon to air fryer fish sticks and more, we’re just obsessed with seafood. High in protein and low in fat it is something on our menu each week.
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Salmon Nuggets Air Fryer
You can use any type of fish you like really. Yes you could cube this and just sprinkle with seasonings with no breading. It would be delish as well but when you have frozen chicken nuggets lovers at home, they love a bit of crisp.
Battered Cod Bites in Air Fryer
I just used flour and egg as a coating for this. You could alternatively use a bagged fish breading mix of sorts and go that direction too. I’m sure the timing would be the same as ours using that on the outside.
Is Air Fryer Good for Fish?
Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets
Let’s talk about the type of fish you use. I chose cod because it was on sale really, and I knew it was somewhat firm. That is important but there are several other varieties that would work just as well, like catfish.
The seasonings I just threw together. Of course you can swap out what you love more but Old Bay is my go to really. I personally like to add flavor but tone down on the salt. You can always add more of that when it is served.
You can throw this into an air fryer fish tacos when you’re done too if you want. Wrapped inside a small flour tortilla with some white sauce and cabbage it will fill lots of tummies, not cost a lot and tastes amazing as well.
Cod Nuggets in Air Fryer
Of course you can make homemade chicken nuggets, but the “other meat” is fantastic too. This is the size I cut my fillets into. Of course the thickness will vary from the middle pieces to the end. Make sure they’re just all the same size so they cook evenly.
Then it is time to dunk, coat, and put into a preheated air fryer. MAKE sure you spray the basket with non stick spray first though! These will definitely stick with the flour coating and you don’t want any to fall off.
I learned that the hard way on the first round because I totally forgot to do it, after that they just slid right out.
Air Fryer Fish Pieces
This is what I found to be the best method to add the most seasoning but not overdo it. I lightly sprinkled the walleye fish pieces with salt and pepper, then dunked into the flour, then the egg, and the flour again.
This does take a bit of time so just make it an assembly line on your countertop. Even your kids can help with this whole process. Yes it will be messy but if you integrate them in the process they are more likely to try it at the end.
Can you cook nuggets in air fryer?
Yes! The key is placing your fish bites or air fryer popcorn chicken into a single layer. This is important. Not only do you not want them sticking together but you need the hot air to touch it all the way around.
Every piece will get crispy browned that way during every round this way.
How long do fish fingers take in an air fryer?
If you chose to slice these into longer pieces like frozen chicken tenders they would take a bit longer. I wouldn’t increase time by more than a minute or so though. I would use more bite size pieces though just to ensure the texture is the same all the way through.
How Long to Cook Fish Nuggets in Air Fryer
Here are quick step by step directions but there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post as well:
- Cube deboned fish into bite size pieces. Blot dry with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle all of them with salt and pepper to season.
- In a shallow bowl mix together flour, salt, pepper, Old Bay and garlic powder. (or just use bagged fish breading mix) In another bowl whisk eggs.
- One at a time dip fish pieces into flour mixture, then dip into egg (allow excess to drip off), then coat again with flour mixture again.
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Spray air fryer basket with olive oil spray.
- Put coated pieces inside basket in one layer without overlapping. Spray top of fish bites with olive oil spray so flour is moist.
- Close basket once full and cook for 8 minutes total, flipping halfway through the total cook time.
- Spray olive oil spray on top of pieces again when flipped over.
Remove fried fish, taste, sprinkle more salt and pepper on if desired and enjoy with tartar sauce.
Crispy Fish Bites Air Fryer
If you have a Foodi you could do this same method but make air fryer fish and chips with french fries on the bottom! Air frying is a game changer when you’re a busy family who’s meal planning for a group.
Like I said before, if your pieces are quite thick your timing may be closer to 10-12 minutes versus my 8. I would check after 8 though and break one piece open to check. Air fryer oysters are about the same time, sometimes we make both for a seafood dinner.
This is what ours looked like. Any longer and it wouldn’t still be moist and flaky inside. Serve with tartar or white sauce for fish and enjoy.A printable recipe for this is below which includes nutritional information as well.
Remember that olive oil spray is your friend on all air fryer fish recipes. Next you should try air fryer catfish too and go from there. A little spray will get the outside crispy yet keeping the inside nice and tender.
The best fish to use for homemade fish nuggets is a white fish that is firm and flaky like cod, tilapia, or halibut. I have even used thick cuts of salmon breaded and air fry like we did here.
1. Fish fillets cut into bite-size chunks
2. Breadcrumbs or Panko
3. Whisked eggs
4. Salt and Pepper and/or other seasonings like Old Bay to add flavor
1. Add different seasonings to the breadcrumb mixture to change the flavor of the fish nuggets.
2. You can use Panko breadcrumbs for a lighter coating which you can find in gluten free as well.
You can serve the fish nuggets with a variety of dipping sauces, such as tartar sauce, ketchup, or ranch dressing.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Air Fryer Fish Nuggets
- Cube deboned fish into bite size pieces. Lightly sprinkle pieces with salt and pepper. (you can coat using a bagged fish breading mixture if you want or mix flour and seasonings together like I did below)
- In a shallow bowl mix together flour, salt, pepper, Old Bay and garlic powder.
- In another bowl whisk eggs.
- One at a time coat fish piece in flour mixture, then dip and coat with egg (allow excess to drip off), and then coat again with flour mixture.
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray basket with olive oil spray and put coated pieces inside in one layer without overlapping. Spray top of fish bites with olive oil spray so flour is moist.
- Close basket once full and cook for 8 minutes total. Flip pieces over after minute 4 and spray olive oil spray on top of pieces again.
- Remove, taste, sprinkle more salt and pepper on if desired and enjoy with tartar sauce.