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The cooked whole fish in the air fryer basket.

Air Fryer Whole Fish

You are in for a real treat with this easy but impressive recipe. This air fryer whole fish is so full of flavor with the most perfect crispy skin, and it's so effortless to make!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fried whole fish, how to cook a whole fish, seasoned whole fish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 300kcal
Author Tanya


  • 1 whole fish about 1 lb, scaled and gutted (red snapper, sea bass, tilapia)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 thyme leaves
  • ½ lemon sliced


  • Rub oil over fish and season with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder on the outside and inside.
  • Place garlic cloves, thyme leaves, and lemon slices inside of fish
  • Place fish in the air fryer basket and cook on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-16 minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches at least 145F and the inside of the fish is flaky.


  • Pat the fish dry before seasoning it. This helps remove excess moisture that can cause the fish to steam and become mushy.
  • You can “score” the fish if you prefer, by cutting diagonal lines in the skin before you season it. I tend to skip this step on thinner fish. 
  • Have fun with the seasonings and herbs. Rosemary and dill are great additions, or add some red chili flakes for a bit of a kick.
  • Use a high heat oil like canola or vegetable.
  • For crispier skin, cook the fish longer, for around 16 minutes.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 701mg | Potassium: 763mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg