Baked or grilled lemon butter tilapia is flaky, tender, and incredibly flavorful. A healthy, quick dinner that fits low-fat, low-carb, and keto diets.
😊Why you will save this recipe
- The classic taste of lemon butter with garlic, then adding some char from the grill, makes the taste unique.
- A quick and easy oven-baked or grilled tilapia recipe done in well under 30 minutes. Just follow these easy step-by-step photo instructions for a great meal.
- Healthy and fits low-fat, low-carb, and keto diets.
- Uses fresh or frozen tilapia.
- Tilapia fillets - 6 medium fillets per pound
- Lemon juice
- Garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper
- Oil—vegetable oil
👨🍳How to make Lemon Butter Tilapia
- For Grilling: Preheat the grill on high with a griddle or grill-safe pan in place. Apply a liberal coat of vegetable oil.
- For Oven Baking: Preheat oven to 400°
- Combine butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder and microwave for 10 seconds—mix well.
- Pat dry fillets, and brush both sides of the fillets with the butter mixture. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Grill for about 4 minutes per side with an open lid or bake for 10-12 minutes until an internal temperature of 145°.
- Serve hot off the grill or out of the oven.
🐟 About Tilapia
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. Some similar related species are generally referred to as tilapia, although technically not entirely correct.
Tilapia is native freshwater fish from Africa and the Middle East but has been distributed worldwide. They’re farmed almost everywhere since they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are very hardy.
Finally, some internet "health sites" have been attacking tilapia as unhealthy using misleading headlines like "worse than bacon." However, the facts still support tilapia as a good source of low-fat protein.
♨️The Grill or Oven
On the grill, this recipe uses a hot grill with a griddle or grill pan preheated on high. A large grill basket may be used if you flip the fish. The fish is thin, and this is one of the few recipes to grill with the lid open.
If baking, preheat the oven to 400°—it needs to be fully preheated before baking.
Yes, it is an excellent source of low-fat protein.
Yes, other fish, like cod, can be used. Cooking time varies by the thickness of the fish.
An internal temperature of 145° is the minimum safe temperature. It is flakey at that point.
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices before serving. Serve with lemon juice or tartar sauce.
Serve with side dishes of vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or green beans. Starch, like rice or potatoes, is also a good addition.
You can use a seasoning of 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Bush the tilapia with melted butter and then apply the seasoning.
Store leftovers airtight in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or frozen for 2-3 months.
To reheat, a stovetop skillet or in the oven is preferred. Microwaves can affect the texture but can be used on half power.
Oven Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
If grilling, preheat the grill on high with an oiled griddle or grill-safe pan. If baking, preheat the oven to 400°.
Put butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds and mix well.
Pat dry fillets with a paper towel.
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 or bake for 10-12 minutes until an internal temperature of 145°. Serve hot.
Lemon Butter Tilapia—Grilled or Baked
- 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
- If grilling, preheat the grill on high with an oiled griddle or grill-safe pan. If baking, preheat the oven to 400°.
- Put butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds and mix well.
- Pat dry fillets with a paper towel.
- 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 or bake for 10-12 minutes until an internal temperature of 145°. Serve hot.
Your Own 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. For oven baking, preheat to 400° completely before baking.
- 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.
I've made this incredibly easy and delicious fish twice in the past 2 weeks, with plans to make it again this weekend. I spiked a couple of pieces with Cumin and flaked to meal prep myself Fish Taco Salads = HAPPY taste buds!! Even my pickiest of eaters -- my husband, loved it. Thanks for sharing another simple technique/recipe that is easy to tweak with other flavors!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
I always want to just do a basic recipe that is easy to adapt to your needs. If you want some kicked up fish tacos, try the grilled blackened tilapia.
Thanks for the note and rating. Glad it worked well for you.
Made this tonight! Amazing! Added cilantro!
Of course I know you would remove because I am really just talking to you.
They do not have 'free trials' of "things". Free trials of videos and access to meal plans. Nothing to sell.
Andreas E. is board certified in Sweden.
No one on that site tells them to fiddle with their insulin. If that changes it's done by their own doctor who has to do it to respond to their diabetes disease "numbers" changing as a result of low carb. (Not a diabetic myself so I don't know the name of those tests. I am hypercholesterolemic, not diabetic.)
The diet is not high-protein but high fat.
Even Joslin is advising their patients to low carb diets. And...
The original Banting diabetic treatment was no carb, before insulin was used.
But I just wanted to know if you had examined such diets. Thanks for responding.
I will be doing this several times in the coming month as I must use up the frozen fish in my freezer, but tell me:What's a Tilapia? I have Red Snapper, Halibut, cod and pink salmon. I have not seen TIlapia here.
Dan you may want to take this out REMOVED. See my reply. Dan
Let's address the tilapia first. It is a specific type of fish. It is a thin white fish, usually about 1/2 inch thick. While most fish will cook about the same manor, those you mentioned are thicker so although I suspect they can cook similar but just a little longer, I have not done those types.
On to the medical stuff, I have to remove it. Although the site is run by a doctor (Family doctor with no indication of board certification, not endocrinologist nor internist.) I don't have the time or expertise to evaluate the whole site. But in my prime, I read thousands of articles in medical journals per year so well read on this sort of thing. Their references are laughable medically speaking. This is just a low carb, high fat and protein diet like Adkins/South Beach. Nothing magic. Very well studied and thousands of articles out there.
For a site on the internet, they are giving advice on adjusting insulin etc that I and most doctors would consider unethical and down right dangerous. Those things should only be done by your doctor. There are a few vague call your doctor but then they give very specific medical advice. VERY BAD IDEA.
Next the diet. These sorts of diets can stress things like kidneys and livers and once damaged always damaged and at our age, many people have marginal renal function already. So no marked changes in diet without your doctor and a RD (Registered Dietitian) not a “nationalist” or other nice sounding terms.
And lastly, they want to promote the "we just want to help our patients" and no ads. Yet they seem to have "free trials" of things I suspect they want to sell. I don't buy the "we are just looking out for our patients" thing.
Final words. Let's be careful out there.
Thank you,, we will be trying ALL your perfect easy recipies!,
I love this blog!, ?
-sorry thought I rated 5 star but didn't see. Trying again.
Yuuuumy! Will make again for sure! Was the butter on 2 tsp - or 2 tbsp? I used 2T, so maybe made unhealthier version but sure was a hit at my house tonite! Added some fresh dill to the butter as I'm all about that dill this time of year especially. Thanks Dr Dan!!
That is t for teaspoon but more butter is never bad.
Thanks for the note and rating.
I really like the recipe and you mentioned sour cream biscuit, but I couldn't find therecipe for them, even by a search. Was that one removed?
Yep removed last fall. When I moved the site from Blogger to WordPress, I did some weeding to clean up the site. About 5 - 10 recipes just didn't do it for me. Try the Cheddar Bay Biscuits ( they are great but not very healthy. For healthy I have Zero Fat Biscuits (https://www.101cookingfortwo.com/zero-fat-biscuits/) which are much much better than the sour cream ones were.
Thanks for note and rating
This recipe was simple and delicious! My husband and I both enjoyed it (and I don't even like fish!).
Thanks... I try to do this one several times every grilling season
Welcome and thanks. I don't do the nutritional analysis very often but plan to do a lot more. The step by step with lots of pictures is what I want to be... cooking that is simple for the learner. Hence the 101 meaning a beginning course.
Hi Dr Dan, I stumbled upon your blog and thought it was a fantastic website!
I love how you show all the steps of your cooking, as well as how you show the amount of fats/ calories in the food you cook. :)
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes! I will definitely be coming to your website often! (It's on my favourite's bar!)