This Parmesan-Crusted Air Fryer Halibut is so quick, flavorful, and easy to make. Ready in less than 20 minutes, this healthy weeknight dinner is made with lean halibut fillets, creamy Greek yogurt, parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon zest, and parsley.
A flavorful and healthy weeknight dinner that you can have on the table in just 20 minutes? It sounds too good to be true!
But, I'm here to tell you that it really is possible with this parmesan-crusted air fryer halibut recipe. Not only is it quick and easy to make, but it's also loaded with bold, fresh flavors.
Lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese give the fish a zesty, savory taste you'll soon be craving. Plus, the creamy Greek yogurt coating keeps the fish moist and tender while the air fryer makes quick work of crisping up the delicious parmesan-panko breading.
So, if you're looking for a new, healthy dinner recipe to try, keep reading to learn how to make this easy air fryer halibut.
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What is Halibut?
Halibut is a type of flatfish from the flounder family that can be found in both the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Firm and meaty in texture with a mild flavor, halibut is a flaky white fish that is popular in the United States.
If purchased from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery, halibut is an excellent choice for sustainable seafood. Just look for the blue MSC-certified sustainable label when buying halibut.
Nutritionally speaking, halibut is a wonderful source of lean protein. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, particularly selenium and B vitamins.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ready in 20 Minutes- The air fryer makes quick work of the halibut fish fillets, cooking them to perfection in just 5 minutes. All you have to do is coat the halibut in a creamy parmesan sauce and some breadcrumbs and you're on your way to a healthy and flavorful dinner.
- Easy to Make- If you can use a grater and mix ingredients together, you can make this recipe. After that, just let the air fryer do its thing. Easiest dinner ever.
- Flavorful- This easy parmesan-crusted halibut is made with a few simple, fresh ingredients that really help it shine. Garlic, lemon, parsley, and parmesan cheese pair beautifully with the mild flavor of halibut.
- Healthy- Halibut is an excellent source of protein and selenium. Even with the yogurt and breadcrumb coating, a serving of this parmesan-crusted air fryer halibut recipe is low in fat and carbohydrates. Pair it with your favorite vegetable and whole grain for a well-balanced dinner.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Halibut- Either fresh or frozen halibut can be used in this recipe. Fresh is preferred, but I often use frozen fish when I can't cook it the same day that I buy it. Or when the grocery store is out of fresh.
- Greek Yogurt- I like to use Greek yogurt as a coating because it gives the fish a creamy texture and slightly tangy flavor. Plus, yogurt adds moisture and is an easy way to layer additional flavors, such as garlic and lemon, into the dish.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- For an extra crispy coating, I love using panko breadcrumbs. They crisp up beautifully in the air fryer.
- Parmesan Cheese- Mixing freshly grated parmesan cheese in with the yogurt sauce and with the panko breadcrumbs adds so much flavor to the halibut. The cheese also gets nice and crispy from the air fryer.
- Lemon Zest- Lemon and fish taste so lovely together. I often use lemon zest when I really want to give the dish a punchy lemon flavor without adding too much liquid.
- Garlic- Grating the garlic on a microplane helps infuse the yogurt with lots of garlic flavor.
- Parsley- I love the fresh, clean flavor of parsley. It pairs perfectly with the other flavors in this dish.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Air Fryer- I love my Ninja Max XL 5.5-Quart Air Fryer, which is a basket-style air fryer. It does a fantastic job crisping up the parmesan breadcrumb coating on the halibut.
- Microplane- If you don't have a microplane in your kitchen toolbox, I highly recommend investing in one. They're relatively inexpensive and are so handy and versatile. I use mine all the time to zest citrus, grate garlic and ginger, and quickly add a little parmesan cheese to pasta dishes.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make this parmesan-crusted halibut in the air fryer.
Step 1: Brush the halibut with the yogurt mixture. Pat halibut fillets dry and set aside on a clean plate. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, grated garlic, lemon zest, kosher salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Brush the halibut generously on all sides with the yogurt mixture.
Step 2: Coat the halibut in breadcrumbs. Mix the panko breadcrumbs, remaining ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley together in a large mixing bowl. Place each fillet of halibut in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides.
Step 3: Cook the halibut. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 2 minutes. Once the air fryer basket is hot, spray it with cooking spray or brush it with olive oil. Place the halibut fillets inside the air fryer basket in a single layer (if your basket is on the smaller side, work in batches so the fish doesn't overlap). Cook the fish for 5-7 minutes (12-15 if frozen) or until the fish begins to appear flaky. Drizzle the fish with melted butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.
Quick Tip: Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fish if you're unsure about whether or not it is fully cooked. The ideal internal temperature for cooked halibut is 130-135°F.
Tips for Success
- Use fresh or frozen fish. I tested this recipe with both fresh and frozen halibut fillets. Both worked beautifully! You can either thaw the frozen fish prior to cooking it or cook it straight from frozen (about 12-15 minutes in the air fryer). While I generally prefer to use fresh fish, sometimes it isn't always possible. And frozen fish is super convenient.
- Use a meat thermometer. Unsure if your fish is fully cooked? A simple way to tell is by using a fork to check if the fish flakes easily. If you're still not confident, a meat thermometer comes in handy. The optimal internal temperature for flaky, moist halibut is 130-135°F.
- Make ahead. Short on time? While this dish is super quick and easy to make, you can make it even quicker by preparing the yogurt mixture up to 3 days ahead of time.
- Use freshly grated cheese. Pre-shredded parmesan cheese often comes with added ingredients such as cellulose and potato starch. Not only is freshly grated parmesan cheese free from added ingredients, but it also tastes fresher and more flavorful.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can customize this air fryer parmesan-crusted halibut to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Halibut- You can truly use just about any fish you'd like to in this recipe. However, some substitutes for halibut include flounder, cod, haddock, fluke, and sole.
- Greek Yogurt- Regular plain yogurt, sour cream, or even mayonnaise can be used in place of Greek yogurt.
- Parmesan Cheese- Try asiago cheese or pecorino romano cheese instead of parmesan. For a dairy-free alternative, use ground almonds, cashews, or nutritional yeast flakes.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- Crushed crackers, cereal, pretzels, or chips can all be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs. Low-carb alternatives include pork rinds, almond meal, or finely chopped nuts.
- Garlic- Replace one clove of garlic with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Lemon Zest- Use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in place of the lemon zest.
- Parsley- Swap the fresh parsley for 2 teaspoons of dried parsley. You can also experiment with other herbs such as basil, cilantro, celery leaves, or carrot leaves.
- Gluten-Free- For gluten-free parmesan-crusted halibut, use your favorite gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in place of the regular breadcrumbs. And always check each ingredient label to ensure all ingredients are gluten-free before using.
- Dairy-Free- Swap the Greek yogurt and parmesan cheese for their dairy-free counterparts. Additionally, check to make sure your breadcrumbs are dairy-free as many varieties contain milk or milk powder.
- Low-Carb- Use crushed pork rinds, almond meal, or finely chopped nuts in place of the breadcrumbs.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Halibut
Parmesan-crusted halibut makes a fantastic entrée for a wide variety of delicious side dishes. Here are a few of my favorite sides to serve with this crispy air fryer halibut.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- Herbed Potato Salad
- Air Fryer Fingerling Potatoes
- Mediterranean Ancient Grain Salad
- Caprese Orzo Pesto Salad
- Pesto Rigatoni
- Whole Grains (such as brown rice, farro, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta)
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Air Fryer Cherry Tomatoes
- Parmesan Potatoes and Broccoli
- Oven-Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Sautéed, Steamed, or Roasted Vegetables
- Spinach Caprese Salad
- Tomato Burrata Bruschetta
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
While it is possible to store leftover cooked halibut in the refrigerator and freezer, this air fryer fish is best eaten fresh. After storing, the fish is more likely to become dry and tough upon reheating.
- Refrigerator- According to the USDA, cooked fish can be stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store the fish in an airtight container or on a plate wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
- Freezer- Cooked fish, including halibut, can be safely stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend wrapping the individual fillets tightly in plastic wrap, then wrapping them again in aluminum foil. Then, store the wrapped fillets in a freezer-safe plastic bag with as much air removed as possible.
How to Reheat
If your fish is frozen, I recommend thawing it in the refrigerator the day before you plan to eat it. Otherwise, the fish will take too long to reheat from frozen, leading to dry halibut fillets.
- Air Fryer- Top each halibut fillet with a pat of butter and wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Place inside of an air fryer basket and heat for 5-7 minutes at 300°F. Air frying the halibut to reheat it could lead to dry fish.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 275°F. Place the fillets on a wire rack set inside of a rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is heated through. Using the oven is typically considered the best method for reheating halibut.
- Stovetop (Skillet)- Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the halibut fillets and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until fully heated through.
- Microwave- Place an individual halibut fillet on a microwave-safe plate and cover loosely with a damp paper towel. Heat on half-power (50% power) in 30 second intervals until heated through. The microwave can cause the fish (and your microwave) to take on a fishy smell so, I don't recommend this method unless you're really in a hurry.
There really isn't much to this air fried halibut recipe. However, if you want to get a jump start on preparation, mix the yogurt coating together up to 3 days before cooking the fish. I don't recommend mixing the breadcrumbs with the cheese and parsley until just before cooking to keep them as crispy as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! The air fryer gets the breading on the halibut beautifully crispy while leaving the inside perfectly flaky, tender, and moist.
Yes, frozen halibut can be cooked in the air fryer. In fact, I used frozen halibut fillets to test and create this recipe. Use thawed frozen halibut just as you would fresh halibut. If using frozen halibut straight from the freezer, cook the fillets for a few minutes longer.
Cooking air fryer halibut at 350°F allows you to cook it quickly without drying it out. For flaky, moist halibut, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F.
To make this recipe in the oven, simply preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the parmesan-crusted halibut fillets on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until it easily flakes with a fork. You can also sear the halibut in a skillet first (about 1-2 minutes per side), then transfer it to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes.
Nope, not at all! The air fryer does an excellent job of cooking the fish without filling the house with a fishy smell. And, of course, the fresher the fish, the less smell it will have.
More Seafood Recipes
Parmesan-Crusted Air Fryer Halibut
- 1 ½ pounds (4 6-ounce fillets) halibut fresh or frozen
- ½ cup low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic grated
- Zest from 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese divided
- ¾ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- Cooking spray or olive oil for air fryer
- Melted butter and lemon wedges for serving optional
- Pat halibut fillets dry and set aside on a clean plate. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, grated garlic, lemon zest, kosher salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Brush the halibut generously on all sides with the yogurt mixture.1 ½ pounds (4 6-ounce fillets) halibut, ½ cup low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, 1 clove garlic, Zest from 1 lemon, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- Mix the panko breadcrumbs, remaining ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley together in a large mixing bowl. Place each fillet of halibut in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides.¾ cup plain panko breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 2 minutes. Once the air fryer basket is hot, spray it with cooking spray or brush it with olive oil. Place the halibut fillets inside the air fryer basket in a single layer (if your basket is on the smaller side, work in batches so the fish doesn't overlap). Cook the fish for 5-7 minutes (12-15 if frozen) or until the fish begins to appear flaky. Drizzle the fish with melted butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.Cooking spray or olive oil, Melted butter and lemon wedges for serving
- Note: The internal temperature of cooked halibut is 130-135°F.
- Storage: Store leftover halibut in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.