Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (2023)

Welcome back everyone, and hope you are doing well! Here at Air Fryer Bro, we like a good experiment. Today is no different. I have seen people online asking whether an air fryer can fry battered food? Will wet batter work in an air fryer? Well, today we will do an experiment to look into this using battered fish! For those of you in a rush, here’s the short answer 🙂

Can an air fryer fry battered food? The short answer is no! An air fryer cooks with hot air, and it can’t solidify the wet batter fast enough to give the same result as an oil fryer. Your batter will have a strange gloopy texture to it, which is not good! A lot of the batter will also simply drip off your food! However, there are other techniques you can use to achieve a battered style of finish. Although, not exactly like what you would get in an oil fryer.

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (1)

Now for those who are more time rich, here’s the detailed answer!!

The Experiment

After hearing these questions online about air fryers and batter, I decided that I would take the plunge and do an experiment to find out whether wet batter works in an air fryer. And, alongside this, I tested a couple of other methods for battering (actually breading!) within the air fryer community.


“I am not a pro grade recipe or food blogger. The purpose of this article is to find out about batter and air fryers! I apologize in advance for the low budget and even blurry photos you may have to view during this process”

Air Fryer Bro

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Before I go into the 3 methods for the tests below, I want to explain what I used as the test subject. Some frozen cod fillets that my wife had picked up! I cut this cod into small pieces and used one for each different cooking method. Fair, right?

Also, I decided to conduct this test by cooking the fish at 200 degrees Celsius (or 392 Fahrenheit), as this would be the closest an air fryer could get to hot frying like in oil.

As my photos are all pretty bad quality (including terrible lighting), they will all be placed in the article in a rather small size 🙂 However, you can click on any of the images in this article to see full size! (if your eyes can take it!)

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (2)

Test 1: Traditional Wet Batter in the Air Fryer!

So, on to the first test. This is the traditional wet batter method that is close to my heart (as I am originally from England).

I made a simple batter using flour, water and milk (yeah I forgot the other seasoning!). I whisked all of this to a smooth batter that I would usually use when frying fish in hot oil.

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (3)
Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (4)

My small piece of cod was then put into the batter and then swiftly into the air fryer basket. Straight away, I could see this wasn’t the best idea. As the fish lay in the air fryer basket ready for blitzing, the wet batter was already starting to drip off!

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I pushed on with the test and blitzed the piece at 200 degrees celsius for 5 minutes! Upon inspection, I had one pale looking piece of fish, so I put it on for another 3 minutes with the hope of browning it up! Here is the end result!!

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (5)

Yeah, what we ended up with was a rather pale looking piece of air fried fish. Also, the wet batter had cooked in a strange way, resulting in a texture I can only describe as gloopy. It seems the batter wasn’t fully cooked but the fish was over done. The only thought I had to rectify this, was maybe by adding some oil into the traditional batter mixture. Maybe, that would help crisp it up somewhat! Maybe I can try this at a later date!

It was clear that the wet batter method was a failure in the air fryer. This is why I had lined up these two other methods to try. Although they are not technically using batter, these are the best alternatives you will find for air frying (in my humble opinion).

Test 2: Oil then Flour coating!

This was a method I had been introduced to by Urvashi Pitre whilst reviewing her air fryer cook book Every Day Easy Air Fryer. Whilst choosing recipes to try out from her cookbook, I decided to do a chicken wing recipe! In this recipe, Urvashi told us to first dip the chicken wings in vegetable oil and then into a flour mixture spiced with paprika, garlic powder and salt (yeah, she’s a pro and didn’t forget the seasoning like me!!)

This method had worked so well for the chicken wings, I thought to replicate it here for this test. As I didn’t have any vegetable oil in my house, I decided to use this olive and canola oil blend that my wife likes to use as her ‘everyday’ cooking oil.

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (6)

I got my flour mixture and oil ready in bowls and carefully dipped the fish piece in both (oil first), gently placing it in the air fryer there after, exactly as I remembered from Urvashi!

This time I only had to cook the fish for 200C for 5 minutes. It was clear from first inspection that we already had enough browning and crisping going on!

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Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (7)
Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (8)

This end result was much better. Hopefully you can see from my amateurish picture above the difference in the color and the crisp that I got from this method. And it tasted amazing. Not exactly like the batter on fish and chips, more like the breading on fried chicken (as you would expect from a flour based coating!). Sometimes, when cooking such flour coatings in an air fryer, you could get some ‘floury’ (is that even a word) and dry patches. Not at all with this method! Yum!

Test 3: Egg then Flour coating with a spritz of Oil at the End!

So, on to the final test. This time I was going with the more traditional way of flour coating when cooking. I made a simple egg dip and dipped the fish into this before going on to dip it into the same spiced flour mix as method 2. The final touch was to place the fish into the air fryer and spritz with some oil. I did this, as from my experience this really helps to crisp up this type of food in an air fryer.

I have an article on this you can read HERE. I used my trusty pump oil sprayer for this, which had regular olive oil in it. If you need such a oil sprayer, I have highlighted a good one in my recommended products page.

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (9)

I wanted to use the exact same flour mix, so that the taste test would only be based on the cooking method, rather than on the taste of different flour mixes!!

Again, I only needed to put this fish in for 200C for five minutes, as you can see from the end result below!! It had a real nice crisp to it already!

Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (10)
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Can an air fryer fry battered fish? [AND OTHER FOOD] – AirFryer Bro (11)

This end result was also excellent, as I had fully expected after tasting the result from test 2. The two methods are pretty similar! I would say that this method had a slight downside. It did have a few slightly dry and ‘floury’ parts that detracted a little from the taste. Nothing major, but that would be how I would separate this from test 2. Another win for flour breading over wet battering (in an air fryer anyway!!).

The Verdict?

From veggies to fish and even zucchini, people like to batter everything it seems! But will it work in an air fryer appliance?

It is pretty clear from test one that using a wet batter is pretty hopeless in an air fryer. The batter doesn’t have enough heat from an air fryer to properly crisp it and cook it through. Some people in the air fryer community talk about pan frying first, then finishing in the air fryer. To me, I would much rather use a pure air frying method (they don’t call me the Air Fryer Bro for nothing!). So, put that wet buttermilk batter away, its useless for an air fryer 🙂

However, all is not lost. Although wet batters are hopeless, a dry flour based batter worked a treat here. Not exactly the same as a traditional battered fish, but a great alternative all the same.

My favorite method when using the flour coating was the second one, where I dipped it in oil first. This gave the best end result, although only marginally. If you are more health conscious, I would imagine (please correct me if I am wrong) that the spritzing oil method would be healthier. So, I would use that one if you are more biased towards health. Especially if you do as I did and substitute the vegetable oil for something healthier.

Anything else I want to try? Well, this whole experiment has got me wondering if it would help to put a little cornstarch in my dry batter flour mix. Maybe this would give an even better result. In terms of spice, I would also love to try some different seasoning options in that flour mix. Maybe curry powder, paprika or even just some proper gourmet cracked black pepper!

I had fun doing this experiment, and I hope you weren’t too put off by my poor photos! I live in Hong Kong and have a really small and pretty dark kitchen. This, coupled with my mid range smart phone, is what gives me these results!

If you have differing views about batters, coating and air fryers; we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below. Although I love air fryers, I am no cooking genius 🙂

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why would you air fry battered food rather than deep fry?

Many people love battered food, but deep frying this type of food will use excess oil and up your calories some what… basic terms, it is unhealthy! By using the air fry cooking process instead, you you will use a fraction of the oil and therefore it is a healthier alternative.

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Can you put two different things in an air fryer at once? ›

Multiple dishes at once

With an air fryer, you can prepare multiple ingredients at the same time. The separator that some of them come with the appliance will enable you to divide the ingredients in the basket or pan and cook both foods at the same time.

Can you batter and fry in an air fryer? ›

Battered foods

If you'd like to add a little crispiness and get your food perfectly golden every time, coat it in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. That said, if a battered food is pre-fried and frozen, it's OK to put it in the air fryer.

Does air fryer work Battered Fish? ›

How long do you cook battered fish fillets in an Airfryer? Run the battered fish in air fryer for 12 minutes at 400F (205C). You don't need to oil the basket nor the fish because the mayonnaise has oil already. This has been tested with the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven TOA-60.

Can you cook frozen battered fish and chips together in air fryer? ›

It is incredibly easy to cook frozen fish and chips in the air fryer. You would simply add the frozen chips to the air fryer first. Then gently place the breaded fish over it. It makes it easy to cook both the fish and chips together at the same time.

Can food touch each other in air fryer? ›

It's okay to stack and shake certain foods, like French fries. But can you stack chicken in an air fryer? Although there are a few exceptions, you generally cannot stack chicken in an air fryer.

What is the best air fryer to cook multiple things at once? ›

Ninja Foodi Dual Zone: The best air fryer for cooking two things at once. Air fryers are great for low-fat dinners, but only being able to cook one part of your meal at a time isn't exactly ideal. That's why Ninja's Foodi Dual Zone fryer – with its two separate cooking baskets – is so unbeatable.

How do you keep batter from sticking to the air fryer? ›

Spray the Basket Lightly with Vegetable Oil Spray

The next protective measure you can take is an obvious one: spraying the basket lightly with vegetable oil spray. We recommend doing this with foods that are prone to sticking, including fried chicken, chicken Parmesan, and our better-than-boxed fish sticks.

Does air fried food taste like deep-fried food? ›

Air fryers create food that tastes fried without deep-frying it in oil, which can result in 70 to 80 percent fewer calories than deep-fried foods. Air-fried foods don't taste exactly like deep-fried foods, but they're similar. The outside has the familiar crunch, and the inside is softer.

Can you air fry in place of deep frying? ›

Air frying can be a healthier alternative to deep-fried foods as it uses a fraction of the oil that is used when deep frying. Air fryers use the combination of hot air and only about one to two tablespoons of oil to promote caramelization, whereas deep fryers require at least four to six cups.

Can you use Louisiana Fish Fry batter in air fryer? ›

Coat chicken, or protein of your choice, completely in Louisiana Fish Fry Air Fryer Seasoned Coating Mix. Shake off any excess coating to ensure an even coating. Place chicken, or protein of your choice, in your air fryer basket in a single layer. Air Fry at 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Can you air fry meat with batter? ›

Any food with a wet batter should not be placed in the air fryer. You also want to avoid putting food that has a wet batter, like corndogs or tempura shrimp, in air fryers.

How good are air fryers for fish? ›

Absolutely! The air fryer uses a fan to circulate hot air evenly around all sides of the coated fish fillets, cooking it quickly and with very little oil—just a spritz of cooking spray! This allows the fish to cook quickly and perfectly golden brown in just minutes, with no messy pot of hot oil!

Can you put frozen entrees and an air fryer? ›

Cooking frozen food in the air fryer is faster than using your oven plus no need to defrost or thawing before cooking.

Can you mix frozen food in an air fryer? ›

Yes you can. Every frozen food that we have tried to cook in the air fryer has been a success. We love cooking frozen food in the air fryer and the results are amazing. Think deep fried favourites but with the calories of baking them in the oven.

Can you overlap chips in air fryer? ›

Arranging them separated is the key to cooking chunky chips in the air fryer. Do not overlap the chips as they will not cook evenly. Flip them at half time! Remember to check every 5 minutes for doneness and flip crispy chunky potato fries at nearly half time.

Can you air fry burgers and fries together? ›

Leave cooked fries in air fryer basket and crumble cooked beef burgers over top. Scatter ½ cup (125 mL) cheese curds over beef. Set temperature to 375°F (190°C) and set time for 5 minutes. Cook poutine until hot and cheese is melted.

Can you cook a family meal in an air fryer? ›

You can absolutely cook an entire meal in the air fryer! Each of these recipes is written for 2 servings, and everything cooks together in the air fryer.

Does food move around in an air fryer? ›

An air fryer's moving air means light foods could float. “A common mistake I see, that I have done myself, is forgetting that things fly around in the air fryer,” says Anand Bhatt, author of Rock Star Recipes.

Can you cook raw chicken and fries together in air fryer? ›

Can I air fry raw chicken and fries at the same time? Yes, you can cook chicken and fries at the same time in the air fryer. The cooking time for the fries and chicken are similar enough that it would save you time to cook them together.

What's the first thing I should cook in my air fryer? ›

Whenever we test out a new air fryer, French fries are the very first recipe we make. Homemade French fries won't feel like so much of a chore with this machine and might actually become a regular occurance once you get the hang of it.

Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer? ›

Yes, you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer. explains that due to the air fryer's cooking process consisting of rushing hot air, your aluminum foil and the meal it's with will not be ruined by the air fryer.

Can you use Pam spray in an air fryer? ›

Never use aerosol spray cans in your air fryer. Aerosol spray cans (like Pam and similar brands) are known to cause chipping in many Air Fryer baskets. The aerosol cans have harsh agents that just don't mesh with the coating on most baskets. It's best to invest in a good quality oil mister or bottle.

Can you spray pam on air fryer basket? ›

I'll repeat it again: You should never spray your air fryer basket or racks with cooking spray. In fact, you should never spray any nonstick cookware with cooking spray.

What is the best thing to put on bottom of air fryer? ›

Lining your air fryer with parchment paper is the best way to keep your appliance clean and your food delicious. Nothing beats cooking with an air fryer to get you crispy, tender food with a fraction of the oil.

What I wish I knew before I get an air fryer? ›

7 Things You Should Know BEFORE Buying an Air Fryer
  • 1) It's loud.
  • 2) It smokes a lot.
  • 3) It only goes up to 400 degrees.
  • 4) You can't see the food.
  • 5) It won't do batter fried food.
  • 6) You still have to add oil.
  • 7) The inside is entirely coated with non-stick surfaces.
Feb 16, 2019

What is the disadvantage of air fryer? ›

The downside

Air-frying also produces high temperatures at a very rapid rate, thus making it extremely easy to burn food. And charred food may be carcinogenic. In addition, Cucuzza adds, because most devices cook 1 to 3 pounds of food at a time, it can be challenging to air-fry meals for a large family.

Why is air fried food not healthy? ›

Not only does air frying still run the risk of creating acrylamides, but polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines can result from all high-heat cooking with meat. These compounds have associations with cancer risk, according to the National Cancer Institute .

Can you air fry just about anything? ›

You can cook just about anything in an air fryer! Proteins like chicken, fish or pork, healthy vegetable side dishes, appetizers such as zucchini fries or chicken wings, and even desserts and baked goods. For some cooking inspiration, see my collection of my best air fryer recipes.

Does air fryer count as fried food? ›

Contrary to the name, air fryers don't technically fry food. It's a compact kitchen appliance that circulates hot air around the food to cook it and give it a crispy taste and browned color.

Can you deep fry with oil in an air fryer? ›

Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer? Yes, and you should be using oil in some capacity for almost 75% of what you cook. It can sound deceiving knowing an air fryer is so you don't have to deep fry foods then finding out you need oil to cook in it.

How to get fish crispy in air fryer? ›

Air fry at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Flip the filets after 5 minutes of cooking. Repeat with the remaining filets. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

Do you have to flip fish in air fryer? ›

Some fish can cook in as little as five minutes in an air fryer, so keep an eye on it! Don't forget to flip your fish halfway through the cooking process. Otherwise, you could end up with a filet that's burnt on one side and raw on the other.

What kind of breading do you use for air fryer? ›

Panko Breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs are a GAME CHANGER when you are making Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. Do NOT use regular breadcrumbs for this recipe. They just won't work. Panko breadcrumbs come from Japanese cuisine and they are much flakier and crispier than traditional breadcrumbs.

Can you fry eggs in air fryer? ›

Spray each ramekin or dish you will be using with olive oil spray. Crack an egg into each dish (one egg per dish). Place ramekins in the air fryer basket. Air fry the eggs for 5 minutes at 370°F.

Can you use flour coated meat in air fryer? ›

You bet! The flour coating gets amazingly crispy in the air fryer, so you get that satisfying crunch without the hassle of breadcrumbs. And the meat inside stays so wonderfully juicy and tender!

Why do you need to flip meat in air fryer? ›

To help food crisp, always turn, rotate or shake the contents in the air-fryer basket—just like flipping french fries, fish fillets or chicken tenders halfway through cooking in a traditional oven).

Is fish better in oven or air fryer? ›

Frozen fish fillets are better air fried than a regular oven because the hot circulating air makes the fish fillets crispy without having to oil them.

What is the best fish for the air fryer? ›

What Kind of Fish Can Be Cooked in the Air Fryer? This air fryer fish recipe works with any kind of fish fillets! Use cod, tilapia, catfish, pollock, hake, haddock, or even salmon.

Is air frying better than frying? ›

By most measures, air frying is healthier than frying in oil. It cuts calories by 70% to 80% and has a lot less fat. This cooking method might also cut down on some of the other harmful effects of oil frying.

Can you cook a frozen hamburger in an air fryer? ›

To make delicious frozen burgers in the air fryer, cook at 350° for 8-10 minutes. You may need to adjust the cook time depending on the size and thickness of your burger. It is best to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 160°.

Is it better to air fry frozen or thawed? ›

Air frying frozen foods is the best way to cook it for the best taste & texture. And no cooking method is as quick, easy and non-messy. Learn how to cook any frozen food in the air fryer *, and have it tasting great in no time!

Can you put Marie Callender's in an air fryer? ›

Yes, both the Marie Callender's brand and Banquet brand cooks up great in the air fryer. Other brands also can be cooked. What to serve with pot pie? The great thing about these delicious little pies is that they are a meal in themselves.

Can you air fry frozen battered fish or chicken? ›

Yes, you can cook many different types of frozen fish fillets in an air fryer. Whether you want to cook frozen breaded fish or frozen battered fish, they will become perfectly cooked in an air fryer. Air fryers are also great for cooking pork, chicken, and sausage, among other foods.

What happens if you air fry frozen meat? ›

As long as you have an air fryer, frozen steak is no problem. In fact, can be delicious. You can't always fire up the grill, but air frying can be a surprisingly simple way to prepare mouthwatering fresh steak. And some experts recommend cooking steak from frozen, as thawing can produce tougher meat.

Does air fryer food need to be single layer? ›

To get foods crispy and promote even cooking, food should always be in a single layer in the air fryer basket, not stacked or layered. You can cook in batches as needed. It's ok to pull the basket out to check on the progress of your food during the cooking cycle.

Can you air fry wings and fries together? ›

Lay wings on one side of the air fry tray in a single layer. Then lay another side with potatoes in a single layer as well. Then insert the air fry tray into the middle rack. Turn the oven to Air Fry Mode at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Can you air fry meat and vegetables together? ›

Can you cook meat and vegetables in the air fryer at the same time? It is possible to cook both the meat and vegetables at the same time as the air fryer. Air Fryer Glazed Chicken and Vegetables is made in the air fryer all in one dish in about 25 minutes.


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