Air fryer halibut that is fast enough to cook for a weeknight dinner but beautiful enough to wow your friends! Vibrant and flavorful citrus salsa with fresh basil adds a burst of flavor and color to your halibut.
You are going to love having this air fry halibut in your back pocket for weeknight dinners and for when you need something for special occasions. It is pretty enough for guests but easy enough for even the most beginner cooks.
The air fryer will literally do all of the heavy lifting for you, making a juicy flakey halibut quickly, while you prep the ingredients for the show-stopping grapefruit and citrus salsa.
Why you will love this recipe
- Gluten-free and dairy free- This entire dish is a healthy lean and clean fish recipe! You can even use it in a paleo, and whole30 diet plan.
- Seasonal ingredients- Both halibut and citrus are winter foods making it the perfect seasonal dish.
- Beginner friendly- Cooking fish can be intimidating for new cooks. But this recipe is so easy even someone brand new to cooking or using an air fryer can make a delicious beautiful meal.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Halibut–Any other firm white fish will make a good substitute for halibut such as cod, lingcod, tilapia, or hake. You can also use frozen if fresh is hard to find!
- Blood Oranges– Because of their inherent sweetness, navel oranges work well if you can’t find blood oranges but the color of blood oranges are difficult to replicate! You can also just use extra cara cara oranges.
- Cara Cara Oranges– I love the pink hue of Cara Cara oranges but if they aren’t available, just use extra blood oranges, tangelos, minneolas or navel oranges.
- Grapefruit– Ruby grapefruit is my favorite for this citrus salsa, but a pommelo makes a delicious and less bitter stand in.
- Jalapeno– Jalapeno is the most readily available hot pepper and isn’t overly spicy making it a great addition to this salsa. You could also use an anaheim, serrano or fresno pepper instead. If spice isn’t your thing, make sure you scrape the seeds out first since that’s where most of the heat is found.
- Shallot– I love shallots for their delicate flavor but red onion is the perfect substitute in a pinch.
- Basil– Using basil is a fun floral twist on traditional salsa but cilantro makes a great alternative if that’s what you have on hand.
Step by step instructions for Air Fryer Halibut with Citrus Salsa
- Brush your halibut filets lightly with avocado, olive oil, or olive oil spray and scatter the spice blend over the top.
2. Once preheated air fryer is hot, place in the cook basket and cook for 6-8 minutes.
3. The cook time depends heavily on the height and thickness of your filets so you just have to keep a watchful eye.
4. Add all of your prepped salsa ingredients to a bowl except for basil.
5. Gently stir it all together in a small mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve and then add the fresh basil in at the last moment before serving.
6. Top your halibut with fresh grapefruit and citrus salsa. Serve warm.
How do I know when the halibut is done cooking?
When halibut is raw, it has a pinkish, translucent hue to it. As it cooks, that translucency turns opaque so that it’s consistently white throughout. A fork should be able to flake the fish filet easily and the color should be uniform.
A tender fish like halibut can dry out easily so it’s super important to check it early and often so that you don’t overcook it. The thickness of the fish filet will determine the cooking time.
You can either try flaking it with a fork to check for doneness, or if you want to preserve the filets for presentation, you can use a meat thermometer. For medium doneness, aim for a 130-135 degree internal temp.
Make sure that when the filet is cooked through, you don’t let it sit inside the air fryer with it turned off. The residual heat will dry it out. Move the halibut from the fry basket to a plate as soon as it’s reached your preferred doneness.
Can I use frozen halibut filets?
Yes! No need to defrost the halibut first. Season the frozen filets with olive oil and the spice blend as normal and heat the air fryer to 390.
The frozen filets will take 12-14 minutes of cooking time in the air fryer depending on the thickness of the filets.
If I don’t have an air fryer, how can I cook this halibut?
If you don’t have the equipment to make this air fryer fish recipe, you can keep all the steps the same, but cook the halibut on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filets.
What should I serve with this meal?
A few ideas to serve with this meal are:
- Flavorful Air Fryer Diced Potatoes
- Rice, or a side of asparagus, green beans with lemon zest or this Lemon Rosemary Broccoli
- Don't overlap- Be sure to keep space in between each filet in the air fryer so you leave enough room to circulate.
- Wait on the basil- Stir the basil in the salsa right before serving.
- Remove immediately - Be sure to remove the halibut from the air fryer after it is finished cooking. Leaving it in there, even when it is not on will dry out the fish by continuing to cook it.
- Finely dice- Finely dice your jalapeno, garlic and shallot so that you don’t get a large chunk of those when you take a bite.