Blackened Tilapia

Blackened Tilapia

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 fillets
Yields: 4 servings

When you want to make blackened fish for dinner, it's important to start with the best blackening seasoning. This homemade version combines a bunch of amazing spices. Don't be surprised if you are tempted to double the amounts and save some for the next time you crave blackened fish. In addition, if you store the seasoning mixture in an airtight container it makes for a great gift.

This version of blackened tilapia is baked in the oven instead of searing on the stovetop. This means dinner is ready in 20 minutes and cleanup is a breeze. You also won't have to worry about turning on the oven vent or opening a window from the smoke that results from searing on the stovetop. While the tilapia is baking, there's just enough time to make a homemade tartar sauce to serve with the fish.

To plate, serve the blackened tilapia over a bed of white rice, then sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the fish for a burst of color. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the fillets just before taking that first perfect bite.


  • For the Blackening Spice Mixture:
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • For the Tilapia:
  • 4 (5-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the Tartar Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • For Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • Lemon wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.

    Blackened Tilapia ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. To prepare the blackening spice mixture, in a small bowl stir together the paprika, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried thyme.

    Blackening seasoning ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. Brush both sides of the tilapia fillets with the olive oil.

    Tilapia brushed with oil
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Cover the fillets with the blackening seasoning on both sides and press to adhere.

    Blackened Tilapia before baking
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

    Blackened Tilapia ready to go in the oven
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the tartar sauce. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, lemon juice, capers, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Tartar sauce ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. The fish is done when it is nicely browned and flakes with a fork.

    Blackened Tilapia and tartar sauce
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce. Enjoy!