If there is one thing more enjoyable than reeling in some fresh crappies, it’s got to be cooking your catch! Crappies are widely viewed as one of the best game fish in the US for a reason – they are just as fun to eat and they are to catch!
The great taste of crappie cannot be overstated. Soft, succulent, and not too overpowering, its one of the most delicious freshwater species out there. As a result of their awesome taste, countless mouth-watering recipes and cooking methods have emerged over the years, with one of the most popular being fried crappie fillets
Of course, deep frying your crappie isn’t the healthiest way to cook your fish, while it can leave quite a mess – not to mention leaving quite the smell when your done cooking! If you’re looking for a healthier way to cook your crappie fillets, then there is a piece of cookware that offers a nice alternative to traditional deep frying – an air fryer.
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is a relatively new piece of cooking hardware that aims to offer the great taste of deep-fried food without the excessive use of cooking oils. Instead of frying your food in submerged oil, an air fryer uses a small amount of oil combined with circulating warm air to cook the food.
Because circulating air utilises a cooking method known as convection, the food is cooked quickly but evenly, while the addition of a small amount of cooking oil provides a deliciously crisp finish like you get with traditional deep frying.
So, you get the lovely crispy texture of fried food but without using anywhere near the same amount of oil! Air fryers are essentially a small convection oven that combine with oil to offer a healthy alternative to deep fried foods.
And yes – you can cook your favorite fried crappie recipes in an air fryer!
How to Cook Crappie in an Air Fryer
Cooking food in an air fryer is very straight-forward and you can use any of your favorite crappie recipes with this cooking method.
To begin, you’ll need however many crappie fillets you want to cook. Fresh crappie always offers a better taste but you can easily use any frozen fillets you have on hand – just make sure to defrost them the night before in the refrigerator.
There are a few ways in which you can prepare the crappie fillets prior to air frying. For instance, you can either coat the fillets with about ¼ of olive oil and then combine with your preferred bread crumb mixture. Another option is to combine ¼ vegetable oil with the breadcrumb mix, then coat your fillets.
Either method works, all you need to do is ensure there is about ¼ cup of oil to combine with the warm air. It can be done on top of the crappie fillets or with the breadcrumb mix – try each one to see what you like.
As for the breadcrumb mix – use whatever you like making! This can be store bought premix or your favorite homemade mix.
Add your preferred spice seasoning (e.g. onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt & pepper etc.) to the breadcrumbs, and coat directly onto the filets – you can use a beaten egg to help coat the breadcrumbs better if needed.
After this, simply preheat your air fryer to 390F and cook for about 15 minutes, turning the fillets halfway through cooking. Once finished, garnish with fresh lemon and enjoy!