Blackened Tilapia is a wonderful dinner, or you can use it for some great fish tacos. While it is bursting with spicy goodness, it is adjustable to your heat tolerance. An easy and quick recipe that is much healthier than frying.
Editor note: Originally published August 3, 2012. Republished March 4, 2018. This has always been a top ten recipe on the site and is frequently my top Pinterest recipe. But it is time for some re-editing of the text and photos.
I have wanted to do an oven baked blackened tilapia for a while. I had 5 or 6 recipes saved in my file with one over a year old. I looked at Paula Deen but lots of thyme and no pepper. It just didn’t seem right to me. I ended up with an Aaron MaCorgo Jr (Food Networks “Big Daddy”) recipe. This man can cook and is a joy to watch, highly recommended.
The big change was going from fry pan to oven. This was not that hard. Just spice it up and cook with a little oil including a light spray of Pam, so the top is not dry.
I only made a few changes to the seasoning. I use Spanish paprika instead of smoked. I just like the taste better. I cut the cayenne pepper a little. It was just right for my wife and me. The whole teaspoon would have been way too much for me.
Do you want grilled version? Try my Grilled Blackened Tilapia
Wonderful. Spice it up to your desire. Just give it a try.
The 10-Minute Rule for Cooking Fish
So, can you do this with a different fish? Yep. Here are some guidelines for cooking fish.
Originally published in the “Canadian Fish Cook Book” 1959 from Canadian Department of Fisheries, the 10-minute rule is not perfect, but it is very good. It works for any cooking method – frying, baking and sautéing.
- Measure the fish at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it after stuffing or rolling and then time it accordingly.
- Cook fish 10 minutes per inch, turning it halfway through the cooking time. For example, a one-inch fish steak should be cooked 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. Pieces of fish less than 1/2-inch thick do not need to be turned over.
- Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time if you are cooking the fish in foil, or if the fish is cooked in a sauce.
- Double the cooking time for frozen fish that has not been defrosted.
Let’s thank our Canadian neighbors.
Notes on Oven Baked Blackened Tilapia
The seasoning would go well with other fish or chicken.
My tilapia was frozen and ended up being very large fillets. I cooked them for 10 minutes, and they were just right. Thinner fillets probably need a minute or two less.
I was oven baking but did not want dry, so I use some oil on the tray and even sprayed the top with some oil in the form of PAM. I find frying fish in a pan a “pain.” You have to do multiple batches, keep it warm in the oven and stand there all the time. And the mess, oh the mess, oven baking is just so much easier.
I did an easy tartar sauce that went well with this. This is included in the recipe to use if you wish.
Lastly the heat. I use a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper here. This was a 7/10 hot. I suspect most people will want 1/4 teaspoon. I have done this with 1/4 teaspoon, and it is the expected 3-4/10 heat level.
Combine 3 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon onion powder, one teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon dry thyme, one teaspoon dry oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. This makes more than you need and save it for another cooking. The cayenne heat level will be 9/10 at 1 teaspoon, 7/10 at 1/2 teaspoon and 3-4/10 at 1/4 teaspoon.
Preheat oven to 425 convection. Line a sheet pan with foil and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Brush it over the foil in an area that will have fish.
Rinse and pat dry 1 pound of tilapia.
Brush the tilapia with olive oil.
Cover the fillets with the spices and rub it in (both sides). You will only need about 1/2 of the spice mix you made.
Place on the oiled pan and give the fish a light spray of PAM. Place in the preheated oven.
If you want a homemade tartar sauce, combine 1/3 cup mayo, 2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. Mix well.
Cook until nicely brown and flaky. This is about 10 minutes for big fillets and a minute or two less for small to medium fillet.
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Originally Published August 3, 2012
Last Updated March 4, 2018