This lemon garlic baked tilapia is super easy to make and comes together in under 20 minutes. It’s low carb, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and very flavorful. Here is how to make it.
About This Recipe
Flaky and moist lemon garlic baked tilapia recipe is one of the easiest and most flavorful dishes you can make for dinner. It is spicy, tangy, and garlicky and this tilapia recipe comes together in under 20 minutes using simple ingredients.
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. This tilapia recipe is 250 calories per serving, with only 12 g of fat.
This Baked Tilapia Recipe is,
- Spicy + Lemony
- Easy to make
- Keto-friendly + Gluten Free
- Perfect for Quick meals
To cook this easy oven baked tilapia, you will need –
Fish Fillets – This recipe is prepared with Tilapia fillets. But if you don’t get access to the same, feel free to use any other white fish. I like to use Tilapia because it’s not super expensive, does not taste super fishy and I get frozen fillets easily.
Marination – For the marinade, you will need lemon juice, unsalted butter, garlic, hot paprika (or use Kashmiri red chili powder), salt, and black pepper. Use fresh garlic, as it adds the most flavor and complements the butter really well. You can adjust the amount of lemon juice and paprika as per your taste.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best taste. You can even substitute butter with extra virgin olive oil if you want a healthy alternative.
Parsley – Finally garnish it with some fresh parsley. You can even use fresh cilantro leaves instead.
How to cook Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia?
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Wash 4-5 medium-sized 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.
Stir together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon hot paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder), ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper in a small mixing bowl.
Pour the marinade over the Tilapia fillets. Arrange 3-4 slices of lemon over the fish.
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is flaky and fork-tender. Garnish with pepper flakes, lemon slices, and chopped parsley or cilantro, and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have access to fish that has been caught, cleaned, and sold 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 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 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 temperature of the inside of the 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 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 the 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. The taste will be very different but I can assure you it will be delicious.
Pro Tips By Neha
Make sure to dry the fillets after washing them. You can dab them with a kitchen towel to take out the extra water.
Do not overcook the fillets, they will turn a little chewy if overcooked.
You can try swapping the butter with coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
This recipe can be made with chicken as well.
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.
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, roasted zucchini, or roasted broccoli on the side and you have a filling meal ready in no time.
Instant pot garlic mashed potatoes is also a great side to serve with it.
You can also make tacos using this baked tilapia fillet recipe. Even a delicious pasta or spaghetti on the side is a good option.
Once it cools down properly, you can store baked tilapia in an air-tight 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.
Reheat it in an oven until nice and warm before serving again. 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 for reheating the fish.
Thaw the fish if it’s frozen before re heating.
Mexican Style – To make Mexican style Tilapia, arrange the fillets on a baking tray.
In a pan over the stovetop, heat light olive oil on medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and chopped garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add sliced tomatoes and cook for another minute. Now add salt, paprika powder, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Add olives and capers and some brine from the capers. Spread this mixture over the fish fillets and bake until the fish is cooked.
Parmesan Crusted – I have a detailed recipe to make Parmesan Crusted Tilapia here. Do check it out.
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Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia Recipe
- 4-6 medium sized (1½ – 2 lb) tilapia fillets
- 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.)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lemon (cut into thin slices)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Wash 4-5 medium-sized 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.
- Stir together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon hot paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder), ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper in a small mixing bowl.
- Pour the marinade over the Tilapia fillets. Arrange 3-4 slices of lemon over the fish.
- Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is flaky and fork-tender. Garnish with pepper flakes, lemon slices, and chopped parsley or cilantro, and serve hot.