What is Tilapia?

Tilapia is a mild-tasting, low calorie, white fish that's super easy to cook and inexpensive to boot. Its light and flaky texture lends itself especially well to certain types of preparation. Here are our tried and true, two favorite ways to cook tilapia.

Baked Tilapia in Foil Packets

For easy cleanup, we love to bake this fish in tin foil in the oven. The packets help keep moisture in the fish, cook it evenly, and result in a delicate finished dish. Since tilapia is such a mild fish, we prefer to ramp up the flavor with this parmesan-crusted variety. This recipe is so easy because you just "set it and forget it" when it's baking!

flat lay of ingredients : parmesan, tilapia, salt, paprika

What You'll Need

  • aluminum foil
  • cheese grater
  • measuring cups
  • baking sheet
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk

Ingredients

  • 2 tilapia fillets, thawed not frozen (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (Spanish-style)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika (Hungarian-style)
  • pinch of salt (we prefer pink Himalayan sea salt)
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
bright red paprika

Haskounek/Shutterstock

Instructions

Step #1: Get the oven ready

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step #2: Make your coating

Prepare the crust by combining the spices and cheese in the bowl, whisk until mixed.

Step #3: Dip the fish

Dredge the fish (both sides) in the mixture.

Step #4: Foil packets

Place tilapia on piece of aluminum foil on baking sheet. Wrap completely.

Step #5: Bake it up

Bake in oven until it flakes easily with a fork, about 14 minutes.

Step #6: Finale

Remove from packet, serve, and enjoy! This healthy dish would pair well with roasted veggies and rice.

Pan Sautéed Tilapia

Another great way to get the most out of tilapia is a simple pan sauté. This is more labor-intensive than baking but is still an easy method for cooking this dish. Butter and lemon are a classic flavor profile for fish, and pair especially well with tilapia. Bonus? This style of preparation is great for a weekday dinner since it only takes about 10 minutes!

tilapia fillets with lemon

What You'll Need

  • large non-stick skillet
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 2 tilapia fillets, thawed not frozen (about 6 oz.)
  • salt (we prefer pink Himalayan sea salt)
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh parsley

Instructions

Step #1: Prep the pan

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat.

Step #2: Season tilapia.

Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper.

Step #3: Sauté time

Cook the fish 3-4 minutes per side, until it flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat.

Step #4: Garnish

Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some capers for an extra dose of brine at the end. Sprinkle with a pinch of fresh flat leaf parsley.

Step #5: Eat up

Serve and enjoy! Tilapia cooked this way would complement some steamed vegetables and tri-colored quinoa.

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