These air fryer Crispy Fish Nuggets are not the frozen fish sticks of your youth. They are breaded with a low carb, gluten free breading, seasoning with lemon pepper, air-fried until perfectly crispy and then served with a deliciously savory tartar sauce recipe. Best of all, they only have 5 ingredients and can be made in under 30 minutes.
- Cod - I use a wild-caught cod for these crispy fish nuggets. Halibut and haddock are also great options. (More keto seafood recipes)
- Coconut flour - This is used to help coat the fish in order to help the breading stay on. You can omit it if you have a coconut allergy, but just know that the breading might not stay on as well. (More nut free keto recipes)
- Eggs - The eggs in this recipe are to make an egg wash to dredge the fish in and help bind together and hold on the breading.
- Lemon pepper seasoning - This is to add a little extra flavor to the fish. You can omit it or just use salt and pepper. Sprinkling the cod nuggets with a little dill is also delicious.
Step by step instructions
STEP 1 - Preheat the air fryer or convection oven to 400°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet or the tray of your air fryer with spray avocado oil. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to grease the baking sheet with a little avocado oil. (If you are using an air fryer with a basket, spray both sides of the breaded fish nuggets before putting them into the basket.) Pat the cod fillets dry and season with the lemon pepper seasoning. Cut into 1 ½ inch chunks.
STEP 2 - Set up 3 shallow bowls. Add the coconut flour to the first bowl, eggs and water to the second bowl, and the breading to the third bowl. Use a fork to whisk the eggs and water together.
STEP 3 - Coat a piece of cod in the coconut flour, then dredge it in the egg wash, then coat it in the breading mixture. Repeat this process with all of the cod pieces. Place the breaded cod on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using the cooking spray, lightly spray the tops of the nuggets.
STEP 4 - Bake at 400°F, on the middle rack for 10 to 12 minutes (if using a convection oven). Cook on broil for an additional 2 minutes or until they are crispy and golden brown. If you are using an air fryer with a basket, gently place the breaded nuggets into the basket and cook for 10 minutes. If you are using a toaster oven, air fryer combo, place the breaded cod on the air fryer tray and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Alternate Cooking Methods
- Oven Baked - For a crispy oven-baked fish recipe, preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper with cooking spray or grease. Lay the low carb fish nuggets across the prepared baking sheet. Spray the top with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes or until crispy and cooked through. For extra crispiness, you can hit it on broil for a couple minutes to finish.
- Skillet Fried - To skillet fry these crispy fish nuggets, simply heat about ½ inch of your favorite high-temp cooking oil over medium-hight heat and fry the nuggets, flipping only once, until they are golden brown and cooked through.
- Deep Fried - fill a dutch oven with enough oil to cover the nuggets. Place a deep frying thermometer in the oil and heat it over medium-high heat until it has reached a temperature of 360°F. Gently drop the breaded cod pieces into the oil and cook, turning occasionally until they are golden brown and crispy.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Make ahead - You can save time by preparing the Nut Free Keto Breading and the Garlic Dill Tartar Sauce the night before. You can even pre-make the crispy fish nuggets and store them in the freezer. Then when you are ready to cook them, simply add 5 minutes onto the cooling time.
- Storage - Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
- Reheating - I recommend reheating these crispy fish nuggets in the oven to maintain crispiness.
- Spice it up - To add a nice hint of smoky flavor or a hint of sweet pepper flavor to these air fryer fish nuggets, add a pinch of smoked or sweet paprika to the breading.
- Dill pickle brined - In my book Craveable Keto, I have a Dill Pickled Brined Keto Fish and Chip recipe. To make a variation of this, skip the lemon pepper seasoning and marinate your cod in dill pickle juice over night before making.
- Make it a big dill - omit the seasonings from the keto breading and add a little finely chopped dill instead.
Frequently asked questions
If you have a convection or true convection setting on your own, this is essentially the same as having a huge air fryer. An air-fryer is not actually frying food. It is cooking the food with convection baking. However, because air fryers are much smaller than ovens, they can cook the same amount of food in a shorter time. This is the air-fryer I have.
My favorite fish for making keto fish and chips is cod or halibut. Haddock and pollock are also good options. Any thick, flaky white fish will work. I get all my sustainable, wild-caught seafood here.
There are a couple of different options here. You can substitute the crushed pork rinds for blanched almond flour to make almond flour fish nuggets. Alternately, you can use a mix of equal parts of parmesan cheese, almond flour, and golden flaxseed.
Some healthy fats that are good for high-heat cooking are coconut oil, tallow, ghee, avocado oil, and olive oil.
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