Golden brown with crispy edges, this air fryer snapper with cauliflower recipe is an easy-to-make high-protein weeknight meal. I've cooked this recipe with both yellowtail and mutton snapper and it comes out perfectly every time.
Air Fryer Snapper with Cauliflower is healthy and perfect for an easy weeknight meal. It is low-carb, gluten-free, and ready in 20 minutes.
An Air Fryer Is a Great Time Saver
I got a brand new Instant Air Fryer for my birthday this year and I'm excited to share this healthy fish dinner with you.
This is a really easy recipe made with a handful of ingredients and there's only one pot to clean when you're done cooking! Easy cleanup is my favorite phrase.
In the oven, this would take about 25 minutes to make and another 10 minutes for the oven to heat up.
In the air fryer, it takes 3 minutes to pre-heat and then 10 minutes or less to cook almost anything! This whole meal took under 20 minutes to make.
What You Need to Air Fry Fish and Veggies
- Fresh or frozen thin white fillets of fish. Any thin white fish filet will work. I am using yellowtail, but you can also use red snapper, mutton snapper, mangrove or mango snapper, flounder, trout, hogfish, grouper, and cod.)
- Cauliflower (you can also use broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.)
- Olive Oil
- Old Bay seasoning (you can use blackening, Creole, lemon pepper, or simply salt and pepper.
- Unsalted butter
- Salt and black pepper
How To Make Air Fryer Roasted Cauliflower
For the cauliflower. I trimmed off the leaves and cut the head into little pieces.
I tossed the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl with olive oil, salt, and some Old Bay seasoning. The Old Bay is also on the fish and the two go well together.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
- Mix cauliflower with oil, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning.
- Scatter in air fryer basket. The cauliflower is going to shrink a bit as it cooks so it can be a little crowded, but keep them in a single layer so they get crispy.
- Roast at 390 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Mine roasted in 8 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the fish.
How To Air Fry Fish Fillets
- Defrost the fish. Place it in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to thaw, if frozen. When the fish is defrosted, rinse under old running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Keep the fish refrigerated until you're ready to use it.
- Season with salt and pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and dot with cubes of butter.
- Air fry at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
- Garnish with chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro.
Should I Put Parchment Paper in The Air Fryer?
Fish can fall apart easily while you're cooking it. When air frying fish, the chances of making it to the plate in one piece increase dramatically when there is a piece of parchment paper below it.
I cooked this fish on a folded-up piece of parchment paper so I could lift the paper out when the fish finished cooking. If you use a sheet of folded paper, make sure the corners of the paper are held down with the food so they aren't flapping around inside the machine.
You could try Air Fryer sheets. The sheets of parchment paper are manufactured to the specific dimensions of your air fryer so they fit right in the basket.
Air fryer sheets are available on Amazon.
How to Air Fry Mutton Snapper
A few days after I cooked the yellowtail, shown above, I went to the fish store and got a fresh fillet of mutton snapper. Mutton snapper is thicker than yellowtail and it's sweet. When you get the opportunity, you must try it!
It's not always available, so I took two pounds. One pound went in the freezer and I cooked the second pound in my air fryer, just like the yellowtail.
Because mutton snapper is a thicker filet than yellowtail, it was cooked through in 10 minutes. The yellowtail was cooked for 8 minutes.
To save leftovers, place the cauliflower and fish in an airtight container. It will keep for two days in the refrigerator.
Air-Fryer Snapper with Cauliflower is an easy high-protein weeknight meal. This dish is low in carbs, gluten-free, and tastes great!
Avoid Overcrowding There's only so much you can put in an air fryer basket so keep your food in a single layer. If the basket is crowded, the food inside will steam instead of crisp. The crispy bits are the best part!
Seasoning The snapper is seasoned with salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. Unsalted butter is dotted on the top of the fish before closing the air fryer door to keep the fish moist while cooking.
Low-Sodium recommendation If you're on a low-sodium diet, use Mrs. Dash's original flavor on both sides of the fish and skip the salt.
Timing My air fryer cooks thin fish fillets in 8-10 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no need to flip the fish while it is cooking.
Substitutions You can substitute any thin white fish for the yellowtail. Try red snapper, mutton snapper, mangrove or mango snapper, flounder, trout, hogfish, grouper, or cod.
If you have a thicker piece of fish, you'll need to cook it for an extra few minutes.
If you're visiting us in the Keys or South Florida, make sure to get fresh yellowtail or mutton snapper at any of our restaurants. They are both light, sweet fish and best of all, fresh.
For a great side dish, you can make Lemon Asparagus Rice. The recipe is straightforward and you can substitute quinoa or your favorite seed or grain for the white rice.
No, there's no need to flip the fish. You risk it falling apart. There is air circulating around the machine so flipping isn't necessary.
A small head of cauliflower cut into small pieces cooks for about 10 minutes.
Yes, cauliflower crisps in the air fryer the same way it does in the oven.
Mutton snapper is somewhat firm and sweet. It is a prized species of the warm Florida waters.
Air Fryer Snapper with Cauliflower
- 1 pound thin white fish fillets, defrosted
- 1 head cauliflower trimmed and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning divided
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- black pepper
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
- Trim the cauliflower and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Add olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and a big pinch of Old Bay to a large mixing bowl; whisk.
- Add cauliflower and toss with tongs.
- Pour the cauliflower into your air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes, without over-crowding the basket.
- Remove the cauliflower and set aside.
FOR THE FISH
- Wash and pat dry the fish with paper towels.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and dot with cubes of butter.
- Air fry at 390 degrees F for 6-10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
- Serve cauliflower with fish. Garnish with chopped herbs such as parsley, basil, or cilantro.
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