Easy Baked Tilapia Recipe

If you're looking for a dinner that's light, flavorful, and refreshing, then the easy baked tilapia is a no-brainer. As the title of the recipe suggests, this fish is super easy to make and it comes complete with a lemon garlic sauce that adds an abundance of flavor. Tilapia is a great fish to work with in the kitchen since it's easily found in most grocery stores. It's also super affordable, unlike some other types of fish.

Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn came up with this wonderful recipe and there's a whole lot to love about it. "I love that this comes together in less than 20 minutes and all of the ingredients are likely already in your kitchen," McGlinn shares. "Sometimes, I want something delicious and healthy, but don't want to spend time prepping and cooking it!" 

As for her inspiration behind this recipe? The flavors! "I often mask fish with strong chile flavors, cream sauces, or wine reductions — this recipe is inspired by simplicity, highlighting the flaky texture of the tilapia and focusing on bright, summery lemon and melty butter," McGlinn shares. Simple, summery, and buttery? Sounds pretty good to us.

Gather the ingredients for easy baked tilapia

For this simple recipe, you'll need tilapia, butter, lemon, garlic, salt, black pepper, crushed chili flakes, and parsley. That's really it!

Add sauce to the tilapia

First things first, get the oven preheating to 400 F. Next, add the melted butter, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to a small bowl, and whisk to combine — this is the buttery, garlicky sauce for the fish. "The sauce is bright and buttery and of course emphasizes garlic," McGlinn shares. "It's tangy without being sour, thanks to the butter, and is bursting with garlicky goodness."

Next, place the tilapia fillets on a baking sheet and pour the sauce over the top. Try to get an even amount of sauce on each one. "The sauce compliments tilapia because tilapia is a very flaky, neutral flavored fish," McGlinn shares.

Bake the tilapia

Pop the baking sheet into the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes. Once the fish is flaky, that means it's done. If you are unsure whether or no the fish is ready to come out of the oven, McGlinn shares two surefire ways to make sure the tilapia has finished cooking. ​​"One is breaking a piece of the fish with a fork: tilapia will flake away easily, meaning it is done," McGlinn explains. "Another good way — and my preferred way — is checking the temperature. I insert a thermometer sideways into the thickest part of the fish and check for an internal temperature of 145 [F]."

Serve your garlicky fish and enjoy

After you remove the tilapia from the oven, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and chili flakes. If you're looking for lighter fare, the fish is excellent on its own. However, if you want to make it a complete meal, McGlinn gives a few additional serving suggestions. "I served mine with rice and arugula salad for a light summer dinner," McGlinn shares. "This is so versatile, though: you can serve with crispy potatoes and broccoli, mashed potatoes and spinach, or even in pasta."

Anything left? McGlinn says you can keep for leftovers. "You can reheat in the oven, but it's just as easy to reheat in the microwave for a minute or so," she shares. "The only risk is the fish drying out; I squeeze a little extra lemon juice on top to avoid that."

Easy Baked Tilapia Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
If you're looking for a dinner that's light, flavorful, and refreshing, then the easy baked tilapia is a no-brainer.
Prep Time
Cook Time
tilapia on a plate
Total time: 17 minutes
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • red pepper flakes, for topping
  • parsley, for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine the melted butter, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the sauce evenly over each tilapia filet, brushing to coat.
  4. Place the fish in the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until flaky.
  5. To serve, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.
Calories per Serving 227
Total Fat 13.6 g
Saturated Fat 8.0 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 88.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 0.3 g
Sodium 336.1 mg
Protein 23.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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