Lemon Butter Tilapia is flaky, tender, and incredibly flavorful. This is an easy and fast tilapia recipe using fresh or frozen tilapia coated with lemon, butter, and garlic. Make it in the oven or on your grill with a griddle.
Lemon or lemon juice
Pantry ingredients—garlic powder, vegetable oil, salt, and black pepper
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Featured comment from Corey:
"I've made this incredibly easy and delicious fish twice in the past 2 weeks, with plans to make it again this weekend."
A quick and easy oven-baked or grilled tilapia recipe done in well under 30 minutes. Follow these easy step-by-step photo instructions for a great meal using fresh or frozen tilapia.
The classic taste of lemon butter with garlic, then adding some char from the grill, makes the taste unique. Or you can bake it in the oven.
👨🍳How to Cook Lemon Butter Tilapia
- For Oven Baking: Preheat oven to 400°
- For Grilling: Preheat the grill on high with a griddle or grill-safe pan in place. Apply a liberal coat of vegetable oil.
- Mix well with butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder and microwave for 10 seconds.
- Pat dry fillets, and brush both sides of the fillets with the butter mixture. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until an internal temperature of 145° or grill for about 4 minutes per side on a griddle or grill pan with an open lid.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
When is tilapia done and safe to eat?
An internal temperature of 145° is the minimum safe temperature. It is flakey at that point.
♨️Should I grill or use the oven
To oven bake, preheat the oven to 400°—it needs to be fully preheated before baking.
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.
🍴How to serve tilapia
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices before serving. Serve with lemon juice or tartar sauce.
Serve with Fresh Spinach Salad or hot side dishes like Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Mixed Vegetables, or Green Beans with Almonds. Starches, like Baked Rice, low-fat biscuits, scalloped potatoes, or cornmeal biscuits are also good additions.
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.
Yes, other fish, like cod, can be used. Cooking time varies by the thickness of the fish.
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.
🐟 About Tilapia
Tilapia is frequently called "the chicken of fish" due to its mild taste and ease of mass production on farms. And tilapia is a good source of low-fat protein.
Tilapia is a 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.
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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
- 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.