This Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia Recipe is super easy to make and comes together in under 20 minutes. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and very flavorful.
In case you are looking for more delicious fish recipes, then here are some more for you – Fish Fingers, Crispy Fish Tacos With Cabbage Slaw, Honey Garlic Fish, and Spicy Fish Fry.
About Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia
Flaky and moist, this Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia is one of the easiest and most flavorful dishes you can make for dinner.
This tilapia recipe is spicy, tangy, and garlicky and comes together in under 20 minutes using simple ingredients.
Don’t let the word spicy intimidate you! The spice is not over powering, and you have full control over the spice level. You can adjust it to your heat tolerance.
You just have to mix a handful of ingredients in a bowl, pour them over the fish fillets, pop the tray in the oven and your dinner is ready. Yes, It is that easy!
This lemon garlic oven-baked tilapia is a healthy and quick meal that you can make for your weekday dinners or just serve as a side dish with your weekend brunch. You can even grill it on a pan, instead of baking it.
Not only is this recipe super simple to make, but it is also low-carb, gluten-free, and keto-friendly. It is 250 calories per serving, with only 12 g of fat.
Here are some more of my favorite easy tilapia recipes that you may like to try
Air Fryer Frozen Tilapia
Tilapia Fish Fillets – This recipe is prepared with boneless tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen). You can also use tilapia steaks or tilapia loins instead of fillets. The time of cooking will be slightly more in this case.
You can replace tilapia with any other firm white fish (snapper, grouper, cod, hallibut, pollock, etc) if you wish to. Adjust cooking time for the steak’s or fillet’s size.
I like to use Tilapia because it’s not super expensive, does not taste super fishy and I get frozen fillets easily.
For The Marinade – To marinate the fish, you will need lemon juice, unsalted butter, garlic, hot paprika (or use Kashmiri red chili powder), salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Use fresh garlic, as it adds the most flavor and complements the butter really well.
You can substitute butter with extra virgin olive oil if you want a healthier or dairy-free alternative.
If unsalted butter is not aailable, use salted butter but use lesser salt in the marinade.
You can adjust the amount of lemon juice and paprika as per your taste.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best taste.
Parsley – Finally garnish it with some fresh parsley. You can also use fresh cilantro leaves instead.
You can replace the seasoning with creole seasoing, taco seasoning, lemon pepper, or Italian seasoning.
You can also add some grated parmesan cheese to the marinade.
Health Benefits Of Tilapia Fish
Tilapia is a low-fat, low-calorie fish that is rich in protein.
It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
Tilapia also contains several vitamins and minerals, including selenium, potassium and phosphorus.
Side Effects of Eating Tilapia
Eating fish that has not been raised in a clean environment has many side effects and the same goes for tilapia. Therefore, it is important to choose tilapia that has been raised in a clean environment and is free from harmful chemicals.
Tilapia may also contain harmful chemicals such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals can build up in the body and may cause health problems.
Eating large amounts of tilapia raised in an unhealthy environment may increase the risk of mercury poisoning. Mercury is a toxic metal that can damage the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women and young children are especially vulnerable to mercury poisoning. Therefore, it is important to limit your intake of tilapia if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some people may be allergic to tilapia. If you experience any allergic reaction after eating tilapia, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, seek medical attention immediately.
How To Make Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Rinse 8 oz (250 g) of tilapia fillets with water and pat them dry using a paper towel.
Line the tilapia fillets on a 9×13-inch baking tray.
Note – if using frozen fillets, thaw them before using them.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon hot paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
in a small mixing bowl.
Pour the marinade evenly over the Tilapia fillets.
Arrange 3-4 slices of lemon over the fish.
Keep the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is white, opaque, flaky and fork-tender.
Remove the tray from the oven and garnish the baked tilapia fish with pepper flakes, lemon slices, and chopped parsley (or cilantro), and serve hot.
Pro Tips By Neha
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
Make sure to dry the fillets after rinsing them. You can dab them with a kitchen towel to take out the extra water.
Try to use same-size fish fillets for uniform cooking.
Do not overcook the fillets, they will turn a little chewy if overcooked.
There is no need to flip the fillets while cooking.
You can try swapping the butter with coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
This recipe can be made with chicken as well. The cooking time will me more though.
Increase or decrease the amount of hot paprika to suit your taste. You can totally skip it too if not fond of spicy food.
You can swap tilapia with any white fish to make this recipe.
If you don’t like spicy, you can replace hot paprika with regular paprika.
You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice if you like it tangier.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have access to fish that has been caught, cleaned, and sold in under 48 hours, then you can use the fresh fish.
I like to use frozen because in most cases, it is processed and frozen almost immediately after it’s caught and is as good as the ones sold at the counter. Plus you can just pull a bag, defrost and it’s ready to cook. No need to preplan the shopping.
Put your frozen tilapia, still in its packaging or in a plastic bag, in a big bowl and cover it with slightly cold water. Ice-cold water won’t defrost the fish quickly enough but warm or hot water will mess with the fish’s texture. If the fish is bobbing around, use a weighted bowl to keep it submerged so that all parts defrost at the same rate.
When the tilapia is farmed properly it is quite healthy. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and is a rich source of protein. Read the label about the fishing practices, fish feed, etc before buying the fish.
The fillets of tilapia may vary in size and hence baking time slightly varies for everyone.
I bake the fish until the flesh turns white, opaque, and flaky, which happens usually between 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
If you have a candy thermometer, you can check the internal temperature of fish and it should be 145 degrees F (62 degrees C).
Do check your fish filets after 12 minutes and if the flesh doesn’t look white and flaky, keep it in the oven for some more time. Do not over-bake the fish otherwise, it will become too dry and chewy.
This is a great recipe for BBQ. You can wrap the fillets individually in aluminum foil with some marinade on top and pop the foil packets in the BBQ for 15-20 minutes.
Flip it once midway to make sure the fish is cooked from all sides. If you are going outdoors for a BBQ, these packets are very easy to carry along.
Butter gives a very delicious taste to this dish but if you are on a healthy regime, you can very well replace it with extra virgin olive oil or any other oil of your choice. The taste will be very different but I can assure you it will still be delicious.
My favorite way to serve this baked tilapia is over instant pot basmati rice, instant pot brown rice, or instant pot quinoa. Some roasted green beans, cherry tomatoes, brussel sprouts, roasted zucchini, or roasted broccoli on the side and you have a healthy dinner ready in no time.
A delicious pasta, spaghetti or rice pilaf on the side is a good option.
Instant pot garlic mashed potatoes, are also a great side to serve with it.
You can also make tacos using this baked tilapia fillet recipe.
For a healthy meal, just serve this oven-baked tilapia along with a refreshing salad like this cucumber avocado salad or strawberry walnut salad.
Once the baked fish cools down properly, you can store it in an airtight container for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
To freeze, arrange the filets in a single layer on a tray and freeze until frozen solid. then transfer the fillets in a zip lock back. Remove as much air as possible before sealing and freeze for up to a month.
To reheat, just pop the bowl in the microwave for a minute or pop the tray back in the oven for 5 minutes at 200 degrees F.
Thaw the fish if it’s frozen before reheating.
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Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia Recipe
- 8 ounce tilapia fillets (250 g)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon hot paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder. Use regular paprika for non spicy.)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lemon (cut into thin slices)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- Rinse 8 oz (250 g) of tilapia fillets with water and pat them dry using a paper towel.
- Line the tilapia fillets on a 9×13-inch baking tray.
- Note – if using frozen fillets, thaw them before using them.
- Stir together lemon juice, butter, garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper in a small mixing bowl.
- Pour the marinade evenly over the Tilapia fillets.
- Arrange 3-4 slices of lemon over the fish.
- Keep the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is white, opaque, flaky and fork-tender.
- Remove the tray from the oven and garnish the baked tilapia fish with pepper flakes, lemon slices, and chopped parsley (or cilantro), and serve hot.
I made this and it was so good!! Thanks for this delicious recipe!!
This looks delicious! I would like to make this ahead of time for quick lunches. After this is baked, does it freeze well?
Yes, you can freeze it. I have included the direction in the post. Have a look. Thanks
Angela W Broyles
This was a hit at my house! Two thumbs up from the family!
Thank you for the delicious recipe! I paired it with some fresh green beans out the field and it was very good . 🙂
Is heating oven to 180 for bakina a correct temp???..seems low to me?? Please advise.
Hi Patricia. It’s 180 Degree C. Same as 350 Degree F.
Great recipe! I decreased the lemon juice a bit and added capers. Perfectly cooked at 7 minutes.
I’m totally going to add capers! I’m so glad i always read comments before cooking!
This was a big WIN at our house and my family LOVED IT. I love how easy it was and your directions were spot on.
Can you use frozen tilapia, or is this for fresh?
Yes you can use frozen tilapia. Just thaw it before using.
Can I use Halibut instead
Yes sure, you can.
Are you supposed to melt the
Yes Shelly, I will mention it in the post. Thanks
Hi! I just discovered your lovely recipe. Can I use regular butter instead of unsalted? I ran out…Many thanks and continued success!
Yes, sure you can. Add salt as per your taste.
Could I cook the fish and sauce together in a skillet vs baking it?
Yes sure, you can do.
Made this tonight.. it had great flavor.. I tripled the recipe bc I had more fish and I used chrushed red pepper flakes instead of the chili powder
Can you substitute olive oil for butter? If not, do you have an alternate to butter for use in this recipe? I am excited to try but can’t use butter. Thanks
Yes sure. You can do that.
This was wonderful! It’s the first time I’ve ever baked fish and not had my house overwhelmed by fish smell! While it was baking, it just smelled of fragrant garlic (I doubled it) and mine cooked through right at 10 minutes.
I had a half a pint of grape tomatoes that were starting to go & needed to use them up. I sliced them in halves and sprinkled them all around the pan before baking. They cooked perfectly and added such a wonderful flavor! I also mixed cilantro with my parsley because I had some chopped. Mmmmmm!
I served mine with some curried couscous. It cooks in 5 minutes and is very light like the Tilapia.
Thank you for so much for the recipe and thank you everyone else for adding their own suggestions. I always read through the comment section first out of curiosity 🙂
Wow Holly. Your take on this recipe sounds fabulous 🙂
So delicious. I made this with a cauliflower mash and it paired so well.
Could I use lime wedges instead of lemon? Is regular chili powder the same as red chili powder?
Yes sure, you can.
Love it! The i didn’t have butter so I subbed extra virgin olive oil. The sauce was delicious. I had a little sample before pouring it over the tilapia and it could be used as a tangy salad dressing with a kick! Simple and delicious. Thank you!
if your making it from frozen should I defrost first. Is overnight okay to defrost
You can defrost it overnight in refrigerator or on counter for a few hours.
I just thawed out 2 Tilapia fillets and will follow your receipe exactly. Will let you know how it comes out. My wife is not a big fish fan so we will see what happens. Thank you CB
I subbed the butter for coconut oil (since I didn’t have any butter) and it turned out super delicious!
I just made this recipe and it was a hit. I added shrimp to mine and was enough with fish for 3 to 4 people. Next time I am going to add cherry tomatoes like the lady above. will make again.
Perfect except for the sliced lemons… The sliced lemons give too strong of a flavor. The little bit of lemon juice in the recipe is good enough. I love the spice from the chili powder to combat the tangy lemon. And who doesnt love garlic ????. I baked on 450 for 8 mins.
You can skip adding it next time.
Great recipe! Kept the Tilapia from getting too dry. We’re thinking it’s a keeper. 👍🏻
The recipe came out great! I served it with grilled vegetables and Quinoa:)
Sounds delish. I’m making tonight. Undecided about using butter or olive oil. We’ll see. Thanks for sharing this
Butter Butter 🙂 But honestly it tastes great with both, so feel free to use whatever you fancy.
I really want to try this recipe for tomorrow’s dinner but I can’t use butter bc my daughter is allergic to diary. Can I substitute with extra virgin olive oil- or other oil, and get the same results? Thanks!
Yes sure, you can.
I had made this last night and already added to my favorites! Simply yet delish recipe. I substituted butter with evoo since my daughter is allergic to diary, but it still came out great! I paired it with herb and roasted garlic couscous and green beans. Everyone was happy at the dinner table! 🤗
I’ll be making this for the 2nd time tonight. It was delicious and we loved it the first time! Tonight, I’ll serve it with rice and salad. Thanks so much!
If I want to meal prep this, how long would the baked tilapia be good for? (how many days)
It will be good for 3 days in the refrigerator.
my family adored the recipe! Thx for the wonderful recipe! I put it at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 mins and it seems to cook well. Just something I noted!
Great recipe! My husband and I are eating healthier than we have in the past. He has always liked fried fish. I purchased tilapia filets and found this recipe on Pinterest. We both loved this baked fish. It will become a staple for us. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve never reviewed recipes before, but I had to for this one. Decided to meal prep this one and SO glad I did. It was absolutely delicious! My husband took one bite and showed me his arm, he was covered in chills hahahaah! Talk about soul food! Soo good! Sent it to several friends to try. It’s a must. Soo delicious!
I loved it! So easy. I will be adding this to my all-time favorite recipe box.
I know this is a simple recipe but I have to say it was simply delicious! Easy, fast and I had everything in the house to make it. I used the chili powder instead of paprika as it says ok to substitute. I served it with steamed broccoli and rice. Poured that delicious juice from the pan over the rice. I will be making this recipe again.👍
This was delicious and easy to prepare. Even easier to eat!! Thank you!
The flavor of this recipe is delicious. I used smoked paparika instead of hot.
What a delicious dish…we loved it…we always enjoyed lemon and butter on our fish…but the hot paprika made this really special…thanks for sharing your recipe…
Tonight was my 1st time ever making fish. I used this recipe and I’m soooooo glad that I did.
It was delicious and super easy.
I will definitely be making this again.
Very tasty fish indeed and used smoked paprika that wasn’t hot but compensated with a bit of red chilies. The paprika really made it stand out. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely recipe, Neha!
Hi! I made this recipe, but I didn’t have any paprika so I used chili lime and it turned out really good. We aren’t real spicy people and it gave it just enough kick to be yummy. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions!!!
Lynette aka breezermom
I love fish, lemon and garlic…..and have been known to make things a little too spicy for most people. So this recipe was a winner for me. I did use amberjack instead of tilapia because it just looked better at the fish market. But they taste very similar, amberjack has just a bit whiter flake and has larger filets than tilapia. Delicious!