No one can resist these Air Fryer Fish Tacos featuring mouth-watering fish fillets coated in a lively mix of Cajun spices. They’re especially delicious topped with tasty Cilantro Lime Slaw and drizzled with Chipotle Aioli (recipes included).
Life is too short for bland food, and they say variety is the spice of life. Well, I say spice is the variety of life! Food with a little or a lot of heat is delicious and if you like spice as much as I do you will love my Spicy Pinto Bean Soup or this fiery Spicy Pineapple Margarita.
Blackened Air Fryer Fish Tacos
I don’t know about you but I am never not craving tacos. I believe that they are the perfect food. You eat them with your hands and customize them according to your liking. Even better, you can eat one or as many as you like depending on your hunger level. I have never met anyone that doesn’t like tacos.
Fair warning! You’ll need to double this fish taco recipe because these tasty, blackened fish tacos are out of this world. This easy air fryer recipe makes enough for four people to have two healthy-sized tacos each.
Please don’t be alarmed at the lengthy fish tacos recipe, it’s one of those magic air fryer recipes that comes together in minutes. You can easily mix up the Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli as the fish cooks. Then, when the piping hot fish comes out of the air fryer basket, pile it all on flour or corn tortillas and its dinner time!
What Does Blackened Mean?
‘Blackened’ is a relatively recent culinary term for a food that has been brushed with butter and coated in a mixture of blackening spices. The food is then cooked in a heavy pan until it is just on the edge of burning. This Cajun cooking technique was popularized in the early 1980’s by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme.
The application of butter and spices to fish, chicken, steak and even tofu is not new. However, the sheer amount and combination of spices in a blackening spice mix is one hallmark of this technique. The other is the use of butter.
Butter is essential to any blackening recipe and here’s why. During cooking, the milk solids in the butter coating begin to caramelize (like when you make brown butter). They fuse with the charred spices to create a dark coating surrounding the protein. As you can imagine, the browned butter lends a sweet and nutty flavour to the final dish.
There’s a common misconception that blackened foods are inherently spicy. This is not necessarily true, unless the spice mix contains a large amount of dried pepper or cayenne powder. When you make your own blackening seasoning, you can customize it to have as much heat as you want.
Blackening seasoning is slightly spicy, but not hot with big bold flavours from an array of lively spices. If you like flavourful food with a little bit of heat, this is the technique for you.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Fish Tacos
This lengthy list of ingredients is a compilation of four recipes. All the recipes are packed with flavours that assemble into one amazing final dish. However, feel free to make the air fryer fish tacos and add your own toppings if you prefer.
Blackened Fish Tacos
- Fish Fillets
- Blackening Seasoning
Originally, Chef Paul used the blackening technique on Redfish, however this fish may be difficult to source. Feel free to substitute any flaky, medium firm, mild flavoured fish like catfish, tilapia, flounder, mahi mahi, basa, or cod for the Redfish. You can even use the same technique to make air fryer chicken tacos!
Butter is necessary for the blackening technique. In this case, you cannot substitute olive oil in its place.
Feel free to use flour or corn tortillas for your tacos.
Cilantro Lime Slaw
The best thing about this Cilantro Lime Slaw is that it comes together very quickly when you use a bag of coleslaw mix. Feel free to chop your own cabbage and vegetables instead. As you make the salad dressing, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Jalapeños bring a mild heat to the coleslaw, but you can leave them out if you prefer.
- Ground Cumin
- Garlic Powder
- Chili Powder
- Coleslaw Mix
This is a quick aioli you can drizzle all over the air fryer fish tacos. It uses the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers. I find I never use the whole can of chipotle peppers, so I freeze them in small portions to reduce waste. It’s a handy trick and I’m always glad to have these frozen portions for whenever a recipe calls for chipotle peppers or adobo.
- Adobo Sauce
How to Make Blackening Seasoning
To make Blackening Seasoning, mix 1 Tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
NOTE: This mixture of spices is only one way to make this lively seasoning mix. Feel free to customize it to suit your own flavour preferences.
How to Make Air Fryer Tacos
Let’s start with the toppings! To make the Chipotle Aioli, simply combine all of the listed ingredients together in a small bowl.
Next, make the Cilantro Lime Slaw by combining the mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the coleslaw, cilantro, and jalapeno together in a bowl, then pour the mayonnaise dressing over the coleslaw and toss to coat.
Cook the Fish
Prepare the fish by brushing the butter all over the fish fillets with a pastry brush. Liberally sprinkle the Cajon Cajun seasoning over each fillet until they are well coated. Press the seasoning into the fillets so it stays on.
Preheat air fryer to 400 F the spray the hot air fryer basket with cooking spray. Carefully lay the fillets inside the air fryer basket. To avoid overcrowding the basket, you may need to cook the fish in batches.
Cook the fish at 400 F for 3 minutes then flip the fillets over and cook for another 3 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
Heat the tortillas in a pan until lightly blackened, then tear the fish apart and place in the tortillas. Top the tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw, Chipotle Aioli, and fresh salsa. Serve with a lime wedge.
If you make this Blackened Air Fryer Fish Tacos recipe please, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 1 lb catfish, tilapia, cod, or lake trout
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup Cajun blackening seasoning
- 8 - 8 inch tortillas
- fresh salsa (optional)
- lime wedges for serving
CILANTRO LIME SLAW
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 - 14 oz. bag coleslaw mix
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno; seeded and chopped
FOR THE CHIPOTLE AIOLI
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Make the Chipotle Aioli by combining all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Mix up the Cilantro Lime Slaw by combining the mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the coleslaw, cilantro and jalapeno together in a bowl, then pour the mayonnaise dressing over the coleslaw and toss to coat.
FOR THE FISH
- Use a pastry brush to brush the butter all over the fish fillets then coat them in the Cajun seasoning*. Press it into the fillet so it stays on.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray then carefully lay the fillets inside. Do not over crowd the basket, you may need to cook the fish in batches.
- Cook at 400 F for 3 minutes then flip the fillets over and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Heat the tortillas in a pan until lightly blackened, then tear the fish apart and place in the tortillas. Top the tacos with slaw, aioli and fresh salsa. Serve with a lime wedge.
*CAJUN BLACKENING SEASONING - Mix together 1 Tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1175Total Fat: 72gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 50gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 6074mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 57g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.