Crispy Air Fryer Fish Cakes Recipe

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These easy Air Fryer Fish Cakes are savory and lightly sweet on the inside, and crispy on the outside! They’re made with tender white fish, fresh cilantro, and sweet chili sauce, and cook up sizzlingly perfect in the air fryer.

five air fryer fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices and a dipping sauce set on the side.

Quick & Easy Air Fryer Fish Cakes

As you all know, I am a huge fan of all things seafood. From calamari to tilapia, salmon to shellfish, the amazing flavors and nutrition in seafood just make me happy!

Sometimes, I channel that love into making the perfect lobster, or some awesome fish and chips. Other times, it’s a simple recipe like these beautiful fish cakes made quick and easy in the air fryer!

My secret ingredient for making the best fish cakes is sweet chili sauce. That’s right! As much as I love Old Bay and other classic seasonings, I find that the gentle tangy kick of sweet chili sauce goes amazingly in a white fish cake, adding tons of flavor and a little bit of moisture to the golden-brown, crispy patties. 

These super easy fish cakes make a fantastic appetizer, with any dipping sauce that you like. You could also use them to make seafood burgers or sliders, on sweet rolls or buns, with a little bit of lettuce and tomato. Yum. 🤤

hand holding up a bitten into fish cake

What You’ll Need

Since these air fryer fish cakes get so much flavor from the sweet chili sauce, mayonnaise, and cilantro, there’s no need to chop up onions or mince garlic here. That makes this recipe extra easy!

  • White Fish Fillets: Cod fillets work nicely in fish cakes, but any white fish fillets are fine.
  • Panko: Pork rind panko are my go-to, and keeps the dish low-carb, but regular panko can be used as well. 
  • Cilantro: Finely chopped fresh cilantro adds a much-needed fresh, zingy herbal note. Don’t like cilantro? No problem! Chives, parsley, or dill are good options, too!
  • Sweet Chili Sauce: This ingredient makes fish cakes so amazingly delicious! Just a little spicy with a lovely tangy sweetness, it’s the perfect partner for savory white fish.
  • Mayonnaise: To help bind the mixture, add a dollop of your favorite mayonnaise.
  • Egg: One whole egg also helps the patties hold their shape, and adds texture and richness.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lime Wedges: For serving.
white fish chunks set in a food processor.

How to Make Air Fryer Fish Cakes

It is super simple to pull this easy recipe together! Keep in mind that it makes four patties, so if you’d like leftovers or want to feed a bigger group, double the recipe and budget enough time to cook two batches.

  1. Prep the Air Fryer and Basket. Before you start making the fish cakes, preheat the Air Fryer to 400˚F, and grease the basket with non-aerosol cooking oil spray.
  2. Make the Fish Cake Patties. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chopped white fish, the Panko crumbs, the cilantro, chili sauce, mayonnaise, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together until well incorporated. Divide and shape the mixture into four patties or cakes. 
  3. Air-Fry the Patties. Place the patties in the air fryer basket, and spritz them with the cooking spray. Place the basket in the air fryer, and cook them for 5 minutes. Then flip over the fish cakes, grease with cooking spray again, and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes.
  4. Enjoy! When the fish cakes are golden-brown on both sides, remove them from the air fryer basket, and serve the fish cakes warm, with lime wedges.
four raw fish cakes in an air fryer basket

Tips for Success

Substituting fish? Concerned about sogginess? Never fear—here are my top three tips for making the best fish cakes ever! These helpful hints will ensure a crispy, satisfying result. Bon appetit!

  • Use Firm Fish: While any white fish roll will work, it’s best to avoid very delicate or flaky fish like whiting and flounder. A sturdy fish cooks up better in a fish cake without smushing or falling apart.
  • Substitute Salmon: If you don’t have fish fillets, you can also make this recipe with canned salmon. Just make sure you pick out the larger bones and the skin.
  • Avoid Soggy Fish Cakes: If the mixture seems wet once you have mixed it together, try adding extra panko to soak up some of the liquid. A soggy mixture will make the cooked fish cakes soggy, as well.
five fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices and a dipping sauce set on the side.

What Goes with Fish Cakes?

I like to serve these easy fish cakes as an appetizer with a simple aioli, cocktail sauce, or more sweet chili sauce for dipping. However, to make them a meal, try serving them with one (or more, or all!) of these tasty sides!

  • Sweet Potato Wedges: These addictively delicious Sweet Potato Wedges are crispy on the outside, steamy on the inside, and perfectly seasoned with garlic and herbs.
  • Cucumber Salad: The delicate Asian-inspired crunch of Sesame Cucumber Salad goes beautifully with the sweet chili notes in these fresh hot fish cakes.
  • Broccolini: The perfect skillet side dish, bright green Easy Garlic Broccolini turns out crisp-tender, with a light lemon twist.

How to Store and Reheat Fish Leftovers

  • To refrigerate, store leftover fish cakes in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, place fish cakes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake at 400˚F until heated through. You could also briefly air-fry at 400˚F until heated through.
close up shot of air fryer fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices.

Can You Freeze These?

  • Yes, you can freeze fish cakes! I recommend freezing them uncooked, and then frying them on the day you plan to eat them.
  • To freeze them, place the shaped patties on a parchment-lined tray or cookie sheet, and place in the freezer until they are frozen solid. Then, stack in airtight containers, with parchment or wax paper between the patties to prevent sticking.
  • Freeze for up to 4 months.
  • Don’t thaw before frying! Just increase the frying time to 6 or 7 minutes per side.

ENJOY!

5 from 7 votes
five air fryer fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices and a dipping sauce set on the side.
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Air Fryer Fish Cakes

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Crispy and golden-brown, these easy Air Fryer Fish Cakes are savory and lightly sweet on the inside, made with tender white fish, fresh cilantro, and sweet chili sauce.
Course: Appetizer, Appetizer / Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 176

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cod fillets, or any other white fish, coarsely chopped
  • cup pork rind panko crumbs, you can also use regular breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat air fryer to 400˚F.
  • Grease the basket of the air fryer with non-aerosol cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the chopped fish to a food processor and process until crumbly. (see notes below)
  • In a bowl combine the crumbled fish, pork rind crumbs, cilantro, chili sauce, mayo, egg, salt, and pepper; stir until well incorporated.
  • Shape the mixture into four patties.
  • Place the patties in the air fryer basket and coat them with cooking spray.
  • Cook for 5 minutes; flip over the fish cakes, spray with cooking spray, and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from air fryer basket.
  • Serve fish cakes with lime wedges.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a food processor, chop the fish until finely minced.
  • NET CARBS: 3g
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Fish Cakes
Amount Per Serving (4 ounces)
Calories 176 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 422mg18%
Potassium 371mg11%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 114IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keywords: air fryer for fish, cod fillets, fish patties, seafood appetizer

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16 Responses
  1. Beth

    If I could give this more than five stars, I would! I’m going to make a batch of these for dinner and pair them with some tartar sauce.

  2. Betsy

    Wonderfully delicious! Even my kids loved them! They had to have cocktail sauce, though! Lol. Super easy. Great dinner!!

  3. Kristyn

    Everything about these makes me so hungry!! They make a delicious meal or appetizer. Love the crisp crust & how tasty they are!

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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