Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia

4.24 from 535 votes

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.

Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia served on a plate.
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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 overpowering, and you have full control over the spice level. You can adjust it to your heat tolerance.

Mix a handful of ingredients in a bowl, pour them over the fish fillets, and pop the tray in the oven until your dinner is ready. Yes, It is that easy!

This lemon garlic oven-baked tilapia is a healthy and quick meal you can make for your weekday dinners or serve as a side dish for 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. You can easily double or triple it too.

Here are some more of my favorite easy tilapia recipes that you may like to try

If you are looking for more delicious fish recipes, here are some more for you

Ingredients

Lemon garlic baked tilapia ingredients 1
Lemon garlic baked tilapia ingredients 2

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 cooking time will be slightly longer in this case.

You can replace tilapia with any other firm white fish (snapper, grouper, cod, halibut, pollock, etc.) if you wish to. Adjust cooking time for the steaks or fillets’ size.

I like to use Tilapia because it’s not expensive, does not taste 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, which adds flavor and complements the butter well.

You can substitute butter with extra virgin olive oil for a healthier or dairy-free alternative.

If unsalted butter is unavailable, use salted butter with less salt in the marinade.

You can adjust the amount of lemon juice and paprika 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.

Replace the seasoning with creole seasoning, taco seasoning, lemon pepper, or Italian seasoning for a taste change.

You can also add some grated parmesan cheese to the marinade.

How To Make Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia

Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°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.

Tilapia fillets arranged on a baking tray.

Stir together

  • 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.

Lemon juice, butter, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper added to a bowl.
Mixed well.

Pour the marinade evenly over the Tilapia fillets.

Arrange 3-4 slices of lemon over the fish.

marinade poured over tilapia fillets and lemon slices arranged over it.

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.

Baked lemon garlic tilapia.

Remove the tray from the oven. Garnish the baked tilapia fish with pepper flakes, lemon slices, and chopped parsley (or cilantro), and serve hot.

Ready spicy lemon garlic baked tilapia garnished with parsley.

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 remove the extra water.

Try to use same-size fish fillets for uniform cooking.

Do not overcook the fillets; they will turn 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 be more, though.

Increase or decrease the amount of hot paprika to suit your taste. You can skip it, too, if you dislike 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.

If you like the fish tangier, use lime juice instead of lemon juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use fresh tilapia or frozen tilapia?

If you can access fish caught, cleaned, and sold in under 48 hours, 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 pull a bag and defrost it, and it’s ready to cook; there’s no need to preplan the shopping.

How to defrost tilapia?

Put your frozen tilapia, still in its packaging or 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 submerge it so that all parts defrost at the same rate.

Is tilapia healthy?

When the tilapia is farmed properly it is quite healthy. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and a rich protein source. Before buying the fish, read the label about the fishing practices, fish feed, etc.

How long does it take to bake tilapia?

The tilapia fillets may vary in size, so baking time slightly varies for everyone.

I bake the fish until the flesh turns white, opaque, and flaky, usually between 15-20 minutes at 360°F (180°C).

If you have a candy thermometer, you can check the internal temperature of fish, and it should be 145°F (62°C).

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.

How to make a baked tilapia recipe in foil?

This is a great recipe for BBQ. You can wrap the fillets individually in aluminum foil with some marinade and pop the foil packets in the BBQ for 15-20 minutes.

Flip it once midway to ensure the fish is cooked from all sides. If you are going outdoors for a BBQ, these packets are easy to carry.

How to make spicy baked tilapia without butter?

Butter gives a very delicious taste to this dish, but if you are on a healthy regime, you can replace it with extra virgin olive oil or any other oil you choose. The taste will be very different, but I assure you it will still be delicious.

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to serve this baked tilapia is with Instant Pot Basmati Rice, Brown Rice, or Quinoa. Some roasted green beans, cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, roasted zucchini, or roasted broccoli on the side, and you have a healthy dinner ready in no time.

You can also serve it with delicious pasta, spaghetti, or rice pilaf.

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, serve this oven-baked tilapia and a refreshing salad like this Cucumber Avocado Salad or Strawberry Walnut Salad.

Storage Suggestions

Once the baked fish cools down properly, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

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, pop the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute or pop the tray back in the oven for 10 minutes at 200°F.

Thaw the fish if it’s frozen before reheating.

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This oven-baked 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.
4.24 from 535 votes

Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia Recipe

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.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces tilapia fillets (250 g)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed 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
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 360℉ (180℃).
  • Rinse 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.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

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 remove the extra water.
Try to use same-size fish fillets for uniform cooking.
Do not overcook the fillets; they will turn chewy if overcooked.
There is no need to flip the fillets while cooking.
You can try swapping the butter with coconut, olive, etc.
This recipe can be made with chicken as well. The cooking time will be more, though.
Increase or decrease the amount of hot paprika to suit your taste. You can skip it, too, if you dislike 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 519mg, Potassium: 315mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 587IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg
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4.24 from 535 votes (497 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




74 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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!

  2. 5 stars
    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!!!

  3. 5 stars
    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!

  4. 5 stars
    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.
    Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    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…

  6. 5 stars
    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.👍