Air Fryer Walleye is a healthy alternative to butter-fried preparations with a clever low-carb crust that offers a satisfying crunch with every bite.
Walleye is prized in the land of 10,000 lakes - it’s light, mild-flavored, delightfully flaky, and not too fussy to prepare. It’s a lovely fillet that is best prepared simply, like by sauteeing in butter. Or coated in cracker crumbs and fried in butter.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the fried in butter route, Air Fryer Walleye is THE way to go. You can opt for a cracker crumb coating of your choosing, or do like I did and use pork rinds.
Why pork rinds?
Pork rinds are salty, delicious, and low-carb. Since pork rinds are plenty salty on their own, you probably won’t need to add salt. You can also use flavored pork rinds or add a few seasonings to punch up the flavor. I kept it simple and added garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
My Air Fryer Set-Up (well, one of them!)
My air fryer setup may differ from yours, so let me tell you what I’m rocking. I picked up one of these 8-quart Instant Pots on a Black Friday sale a couple of years ago:
I am Team Instant Pot and use it several times a month. Air fryers piqued my interest at the time of my Instant Pot purchase but I didn’t want to add another appliance to my kitchen collection.
Of course, now you can buy 8-quart Instant pots with air fryer lids (which I hear work great).
At the time of this writing, I could not find an Instant Pot brand air fryer lid sold by itself for an 8-quart model.
Not wanting to purchase another Instant Pot, I went on the hunt for a compatible lid for my 8-quart model. After reading rave reviews, I purchased this Air Fryer Lid:
I highly recommend this Air Fryer Lid (AND there's a $30 off coupon available!) if you find yourself in the same boat as I was a few months ago. This lid fits both 6- and 8-quart Instant Pots. It also comes with a deep basket, steam rack, tongs, and silicone pad (aka countertop saver).
My favorite thing about it, other than its ability to fry foods, of course, is that you can see through the lid. This is a feature I have yet to see in other air fryers. I love having the ability to check on my food without having to interrupt the cooking cycle.
When cooking, I put the fryer basket on the steaming rack to elevate it closer to the lid.
My OTHER Air Fryer Setup
The Treasure Truck got me. I saw this Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Smart XL Air Fry Oven discounted on Amazon's Treasure Truck and had to have it. It's been worth every penny. The cooking instructions are the same for the Air Fryer Walleye recipe here; the only thing that's different is I let the Ninja Air Fryer preheat first.
One of the first things I made in it was this Pork Enchilada Hot Dish and I have to say, the broiler function is money.
How do you prepare Air Fryer Walleye?
Preparing this Air Fryer Walleye is super quick and easy. Crush some pork rinds - plan on using a 3-ounce bag for 4 good-sized fish fillets. I add the pork rinds to a gallon bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Then I add whatever seasonings I’m feeling to the crushed pork rinds, shake to combine, add pour onto a plate. An egg is necessary to get the coating to stick. So after whipping up a large egg, you’re ready to coat that walleye.
Dip each fillet in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Dredge each fillet in the crushed pork rinds and you’re ready to air fry!
Fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Flip halfway through, if desired, though not necessary. I don’t usually bother flipping as I don’t want to risk disturbing the coating.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges.
Or one of these fantastic condiments:
Air Fryer Walleye
- Crush the pork rinds into crumbs. I pour them into a gallon bag and roll over them with a rolling pin until nice and crumbly.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder to the gallon bag of pork rind crumbs and shake to combine. Pour the pork rind crumbs onto a plate.
- Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk until the white and yolk are combined.
- Dip a walleye fillet into the whisked eggs, making sure both sides get coated. Let the excess egg drip off.
- Dredge the walleye fillet in pork rind crumbs, making sure to completely coat on both sides.
- Spray a bit of cooking spray on the rack in your air fryer to ensure the fillets don’t stick.
- Put the walleye fillets on the air fryer rack (IMPORTANT, read notes*). Repeat with the remaining fillets.
- Fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for around 10 minutes. You can flip halfway through cooking, if desired, though I found I didn't need to.
- Serve with lemon wedges.