Baked Tilapia

Baked Tilapia
Arthur Kwiatkowski / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
343 Calories
16g Fat
15g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 343
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 249mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 51mg 257%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 801mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tilapia is a mild white fish with thin fillets that cook quickly, making it ideal for a weeknight main dish. It cooks evenly in the oven and is totally hands-off—no need to flip the fish on the stovetop—freeing you up to make any side dishes.

The straightforward preparation and quick baking time make this tilapia recipe perfect for a busy evening. Tilapia is a lean fish, low in calories and high in protein, and tends to be one of the cheapest seafood options out there. You can find it fresh at the seafood counter or frozen. Either will work for this recipe, just defrost the frozen fish overnight in the fridge before baking.

Scale this recipe up or down to make the perfect amount for your family. You can add a little more flavor with minced garlic or switch the parsley for another herb. Baked tilapia makes a fabulous meal with steamed rice or a baked potato. Brussels sprouts or broccoli are fabulous with fish, but any steamed vegetable or salad would make a good side.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium green onions

  • 2 small lemons, divided

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 4 (5-ounce) tilapia fillets

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C / Gas 6). Butter a shallow 2-quart to a 3-quart baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. Slice the green onions. Set aside the dark green slices from the top of the onions for garnish.

  3. Zest 1 of the lemons and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice into a small bowl.

  4. Combine the lemon zest and juice with the softened butter, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and the white and light green pieces of green onion.

  5. Slice the other lemon into rounds.

  6. Place the tilapia fillets in the prepared baking dish, folding any thin ends under as needed to keep them uniform in thickness.

  7. Spread the butter mixture over the fish fillets. Lay the lemon rounds on top.

  8. Bake the tilapia fillets, uncovered, for about 12 to 15 minutes, or just until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque all the way through.

  9. Garnish with the sliced dark green onion tops and serve.

How to Store

Leftover baked tilapia will keep for about 2 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tips

  • Tilapia should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 F (63 C), or until the flesh is opaque and it flakes easily with a fork. Don't over-bake tilapia since it can easily dry out.
  • Small individual baking dishes are convenient because they go from the oven to the table and they make a nice presentation.

Recipe Variations

  • Make this recipe dairy-free by using vegan butter or olive oil.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of finely minced fresh garlic to the butter mixture, or about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Omit the green onions and add another herb to the lemon butter mixture. Fresh chopped dill or fresh thyme are both good with fish.
  • Replace the parsley with fresh chervil or use about 1/2 teaspoon of dried chervil.
  • Add a little spice with a sprinkle of smoked paprika or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of capers over the fish before baking.

Is Baked Tilapia Healthy?

Tilapia is a lean white fish that's low in calories and high in protein. While it's also a good source of omega-3s, it's lower in the beneficial fatty acid than fish like salmon and is also high in omega-6 fatty acids which can increase inflammation. If eaten in moderation, tilapia is a good low-fat source of protein and baking is a healthy way to enjoy the fish.

Is Tilapia High in Mercury?

The vast majority of tilapia sold at the supermarket is farmed in closed tanks, making it relatively low in mercury since it is not as exposed to water pollution as other species. Look for tilapia that is farmed using environmentally-friendly conditions for the best fish.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acidsBiomed Pharmacother. 2002;56(8):365-379. doi:10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6