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How to Cook Tilapia in the Oven

Last updated on April 15th, 2024 at 04:56 pm

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How to cook Tilapia in the Oven [VIDEO]

Cooking tilapia in the oven is the most effortless way to cook it. With little preparation, you will end up with the most delicious and buttery dinner. Made with lemon, butter, garlic, and capers, this is a great and quick dish to put together for the whole family to enjoy. Bonus points that this easy recipe is low in carbs and high in protein, with a good amount of fat, which makes it Keto friendly.

Oven-Baked Tilapia Recipe

Over the past years, we have discovered the best way to cook tilapia, and that is with some lemon, butter, and capers. We enjoy cooking tilapia because it is a budget-friendly fish, and it is easy to prepare. Simply, drizzle with some butter sauce and some seasoning, then bake it, and have a hearty and delicious meal in less than 15 minutes.

If you have never tried tilapia before you really should. Especially making it at home tastes so much better. You can go with frozen tilapia, and simply thaw it before baking, or buy it fresh. Both versions work fine, but usually, the frozen version is cheaper.

This is one of my favorite fish recipes to make. Not only is it easy and quick to prepare, but it is a very flavorful and delicious dinner. Tilapia is pretty hearty and delicious on its own, but when you add some butter and lemon to it, you end up with the best fish meal ever.

If you are looking for a lighter version, that does not require butter we highly recommend you try our Oven Roasted version with olive oil. We love eating with some Crispy Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Crispy Roasted Baked Potatoes.

What is the best way to cook tilapia?

We love to prepare it two ways, either in the oven or pan-searing it.


  • Start by washing and pat drying the fillets.
  • Grease a baking pan with some olive oil.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together some butter, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and set aside.
  • Sprinkle the fish with some salt and pepper, and place it onto the baking pan.
  • Next, pour the butter mixture over it and bake for about 15 minutes until the fish flakes easily.


  • Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Next, place a large skillet over medium heat and add some olive oil. Then add the tilapia filets and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until flaky with a fork.
  • While cooking, prepare the butter mixture in a separate bowl.
  • Once the fish has cooked and is flaky, pour the butter mixture over it and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Squeeze some additional lemon juice before serving.

Whichever way you choose, it is guaranteed to result in a moist and tender meal. This is a super easy dinner to prepare, which has a delicate taste, buttery and flavorful.

Expert tip:

I will probably surprise you by saying this BUT try soaking tilapia in milk before cooking. Yes, you read that right, I said “MILK”. Now let me tell you why this is a great tip idea.

Soak the fish in milk for 20 minutes, the milk binds with the compounds that cause that fishy odor and basically gets rid of it. You are left with a sweet-smelling flesh with clean flavor.

Recipe Variations:

  • Spicier: This recipe is pretty versatile, make it spicier by mixing in some chili powder or Sriracha sauce.
  • Herbs: Also, you can add a variety of fresh herbs, I like rosemary, thyme, or oregano.
  • Mexican: Switch the lemon for lime, and add some cumin for a Mexican twist.
  • Orange: For a sweet and savory combo replace the lemon with oregano.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to cook tilapia in the oven?

We love baking it at 400 degrees F. It is the right temperature to cook it, and results in flaky and tender fish. Depending on the dish size, it should be ready in about 12-15 minutes. You can also broil it for the last minute to get a crispier outside texture.

Should I rinse tilapia before cooking?

To minimize the fishy odor, you may either rinse the tilapia fillets under cold running water or soak it in salted ice water for a few minutes.

What temperature is tilapia done baking?

The tilapia is done baking when the flesh turns white and you can easily flake it with a fork. A food thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the fish or fish fillet, should display at or above 145°F. Tilapia is considered safe to eat when properly cooked, but if consumed undercooked like other fish, it can pose a risk of food-borne illnesses.

More delicious fish recipes:


  • Refrigerate: Place the fist in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. It makes great leftovers that can be packed with some rice for lunch. Make sure to let the fish cool down before refrigerating. Keep in mind that the longer you store it, the tougher and dried it will get.
  • Freeze: I do NOT recommend freezing baked tilapia, it will get soggy when defrosted.
  • Reheat: It is preferred to consume it the day it was baked, however, leftovers can be easily reheated in the microwave. Keep in mind that the fish will be drier, add a tablespoon of water, and drizzle it with some butter or lemon juice before reheating. This way you will add some moisture and it will taste better.

How to Cook Tilapia in the Oven

  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time12 MIN
  • Servings 5 servings


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4-5 (6oz each) tilapia fillets fresh or thawed
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Sliced lemon
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Lightly drizzle with olive oil a 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, add melted butter, lemon juice, zest, minced garlic, pepper flakes, dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Wash the fish fillets, pat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Arrange them on the bottom of the prepared baking dish slightly overlapping.
  • Drizzle with the lemon butter mixture, top with capers and lemon slices.
  • Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

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Daniel Baley

Daniel Baley

Love this recipe use it often. I do however add Lawrys total seasoning. Serve with a side of rice so delicious.



This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I love adding lemon to any fish recipe and cooking it in the oven makes life so much easier!

Annemarie LeBlanc

Annemarie LeBlanc

This looks like a really delicious way to cook tilapia. I saved your recipe and will be preparing this for my family soon as I get the ingredients I need.

Ruth I

Ruth I

Yay for this recipe! I am on a low carb diet so I am excited to try this recipe. I am sure this is delicious!

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