Bursting with great flavor, this grilled lemon butter tilapia is flaky and tender. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions for a great meal.
Oh so simple and way up there on the health-o-meter, the taste-o-meter, and the I-really-should-do-this-more-o-meter. This is destined to by one of your go-to recipes.
There is something classic about any fish with butter, lemon, and garlic. It is just what I would say is the traditional taste. Let's do that on a grill to add a little char, and you have a wonderful healthy main dish.
My wife loved it, and so did I.
Tilapia is frequently referred to as "the chicken of fish" due to its mild taste and ease of mass production on farms.
Scientifically, tilapia is a genus, and there are hundreds of different species of tilapia. There are also some similar related species that are generally also referred to as tilapia although technically not quite right.
Tilapia is native freshwater fish from Africa and the Middle East but been distributed around the world. They’re farmed almost everywhere since they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are very hardy.
On a final note, some internet "health sites" have been attacking tilapia as unhealthy using misleading headlines like "worse than bacon" but the facts still support tilapia as a good source of low-fat protein.
❄️Fresh vs. Frozen Tilapia
Fresh or thawed frozen either should be fine here. But I don't have a great source of fresh.
A one-pound package of frozen tilapia had six medium fillets that I had moved from the freezer to the frig the night before.
This recipe uses a hot grill preheated on high. Preheat a griddle or grill pan also. You may also use a grill basket as long as you can flip the fish.
The fish is thin, and this is one of the few recipes I do with the grill lid open.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat grill on high with a griddle or grill safe pan in place. Oil well.
Pat dry fillets.
In a small bowl, put butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Microwave for 10 seconds and mix well.
Brush both sides of the fillets with the butter mixture. Do this quickly before the solution firms up.
Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
Grill for about 4 minutes per side with an open lid. Serve hot off the grill.
Grilled Lemon Butter Tilapia
- 1 lb Tilapia fillets - 6 medium fillets
- 2 teaspoon butter
- 2 teaspoon ReaLemon or about the juice of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- Preheat grill on high with griddle or grill safe pan in place. Oil well.
- Pat dry fillets.
- In a small bowl, put 2 teaspoons butter, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Microwave for 10 seconds and mix well.
- Brush both sides of the fillets with the butter mixture. Do this quickly before the solution firms up.
- Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Grill for about 4 minutes per side with an open lid.
- Serve hot off grill.
My Private Notes
- Any grill pan, griddle, or even a grill basket will work as long as you can flip the fish.
- Preheat a griddle or grill pan with the grill on high. A grill basket does not need to be preheated.
- If frozen, the tilapia needs to be completely thawed. Just moving the frozen tilapia from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight will do.
- This is one of the few recipes that I grill with an open lid
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published August 17, 2010. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.