This healthy air fryer halibut is slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Using the air fryer to cook fish is super quick and easy! Serve the air fryer halibut over arugula and wild rice. Top with the Creamy Parmesan Sauce. Because the halibut is low in calories and points, you can afford to dress it up a bit with a few tablespoons of Creamy Parmesan Sauce and still be on track!
Cooking fish can be intimidating
Cooking fish was intimidating at first for me. I didn’t grow up in a house where we ate fresh fish. My idea of fish was frozen fish sticks and tuna casserole on Fridays during Lent. For the longest time actually I thought I didn’t even like fish – that is until I actually had fresh fish. Even then I would only order it out at a restaurant as I was worried about how to cook it. The potential lasting fish smell in the kitchen was also a huge concern – enough to keep me from cooking it.
But after moving to the Pacific Northwest, and realizing we have an abundance of fresh fish, it was only a matter of time before I decided to try cooking it at home. And the bad fish smell in the air fryer and kitchen? Keep reading and you’ll see how to stop that.
Why use the air fryer to cook fish?
It’s healthy! Crispy fish in the air fryer without breading.
Normally I like to do grilled halibut on our Big Green Egg but if you don’t want to go to all of the work of getting the grill ready, the air fryer is a great way to cook fish without all of the oil. You can cook the fish in the air fryer with or without breading. But you can save a ton of calories without the breading and it still tastes great! If you decide to use breading, be sure and spray it with olive oil spray (paid link) before air frying it to get the maximum crispness. The picture below is my Breville Smart Oven Air (paid link). Not only is it an air fryer, but is a convection/toaster oven, a dehydrator, a roaster and even proofs bread!
How to get rid of the fish smell in your air fryer
One of my main concerns before first air frying fish was the smell. I was so worried about leaving a lasting fish smell in my Breville Smart Oven Air (paid link). We use that oven for everything besides air frying and I didn’t want all of the food to smell like fish. However, I learned this great little tip and a few more when doing a little research. This method also works to get rid of the new plastic smell in your air fryer as well.
- In a small oven safe dish (like glass custard cup), place 1 T. distilled vinegar and 1 T. lime juice. Mix well.
- Place dish in the air fryer basket or on the oven shelf.
- Set temperature to 400° and let it run for 3 minutes.
- Leave dish inside and let it sit for another 15 min. The lime and vinegar will coat the inside and absorb the fumes. Use a hot pad to remove dish.
- Clean the basket/shelf with soapy water and rinse. Wipe down the inside of the fryer with a damp cloth. Repeat if necessary.
Pacific Halibut Fish
Pacific halibut is one of the largest flat fish. They can be up to 9 feet in length and weigh up to 500 lbs. It’s the second largest flat fish in the world. Look how big this halibut fish is!
So why is halibut so expensive? Can I substitute another fish?
It’s the law of supply and demand. You would think a fish that big would be fairly inexpensive but the abundance of halibut has gone down, so the price has gone up. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find it for a decent price at Costco. If you can’t find halibut or it’s too expensive, you could also do this recipe for air fryer tilapia but you may need to adjust air frying time depending on the thickness of the fish.
What does halibut taste like?
Halibut is a mild white fish, slightly sweet tasting. It’s similar to tilapia. It’s flesh is thicker and firmer than cod. For a chart on other mild fish tastes and textures, check out this chart.
What is a good wine to pair with halibut?
Halibut pairs well with these wines: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.
How to cook halibut in the air fryer in pictures:
Preheat air fryer to 400°.
In a small bowl combine kosher salt (paid link), pepper and 2 garlic cloves.
Cut halibut into 6 oz pieces. Pat it dry with paper towels. Rub top of halibut with garlic mixture. Do this for all 4 pieces.
Place air fryer perforated liner (paid link) inside the basket. (I used two liners for this basket). Spray with olive oil spray (paid link). (If you don’t use the liner, then be sure to spray the basket a little more so the fish doesn’t stick). Place fish on the liner using a fish spatula (paid link).
Air fry fish pieces for about 5-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Use a thermometer (paid link) to check when fish is done or if it can be flaked with a fork. Temperature should be 130-135°.
How to make the Creamy Parmesan Sauce
Gather the ingredients.
Melt the butter. Add the minced garlic cloves. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
Slowly add in the wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook a few minutes.
Turn heat to low. Pour in the half and half and parmesan cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in lemon zest. Serve over the fish! It’s great over chicken too!.
Air Fryer Halibut with Parmesan Sauce
- 4 6 oz.halibut fillets boneless
- 4 garlic cloves divided
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- olive oil spray or olive oil
- 1 T. unsalted butter
- 1 T. flour
- 1/4 c. white wine
- 1/2 c. chicken stock
- 1/4 c. half and half
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 T. parmesan
- lemon zest to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 400°.
- In a small bowl combine kosher salt, pepper and 2 garlic cloves.
- Pat halibut dry with paper towels. This helps with the browning. Rub top of halibut (not the skin side) with garlic mixture. Do this for all 4 pieces.
- Place an air fryer perforated liner inside the basket. Spray with olive oil spray. (If you don't use the liner, then be sure to spray the basket a little more so the fish doesn't stick). Add fish to the basket using a fish spatula and spray again.
- Air fry fish pieces for about 5-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Use a thermometer to check when fish is done or if it can be flaked with a fork. Temperature should be 130-135°. Transfer the cooked fish with a fish spatula and cover with foil until ready to serve with the sauce.
Directions for the sauce:
- Place a pan over medium heat. Add in butter. When melted add 2 cloves garlic and the flour. Sauté for about 2 minutes, it will start to turn brown. Slowly add in the white wine and the chicken stock. Allow to cook and bring to boil for a few minutes.
- Turn down heat to low. Add in half and half, salt and pepper, parmesan and lemon zest. Simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Makes about 1 c. sauce.
- Place each piece of halibut on a plate, top with 2 T. sauce and more lemon zest if desired. Enjoy!