Lemon Garlic Tilapia – Barefoot in the kitchen

Fried tilapia with a lemon garlic marinade is honestly the easiest and one of the best fish I’ve ever made.

Tilapia with rice and asparagus on a blue plate

Grilled tilapia

The garlic and lemon marinade was absolutely perfect for the tilapia. I can well imagine using this marinade again and again for a wide variety of meats.

I was inspired to grill tilapia after seeing this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I’m so glad I tried the broiler because it worked out perfectly. This recipe is sure to be a keeper.

How to grill tilapia

The tilapia is done cooking when it falls apart with a fork and is opaque or white. Keep in mind that the fish will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven, so make sure you remove it a minute or two early.

For those of us in the Midwest, tilapia is a great way to change up mealtimes and enjoy seafood in a more budget-friendly way. Tilapia is a freshwater farmed fish that is high in protein and low in saturated fat.

I found it super easy to make and it tastes amazing with a simple marinade and cooks in under 10 minutes, sometimes under 5 minutes. Fast and flavorful, I think we can all agree on the awesomeness of this combination.

Tilapia on tray lined with foil

How long to grill tilapia

Frying has become my favorite way to cook fish. It only lasts a few minutes and (as long as I watch it closely!) it almost always ends well. If the grill intimidates you, did you know you can grill with the oven door open? You may need to add a minute, but it still works beautifully.

Depending on the size of your tilapia fillets, grilling will take very little time for this recipe. I’ve found the sweet spot to be around 4-7 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the fillets.

Tilapia with marinade

Tilapia marinade


  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • Garlic
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • tilapia
Fried tilapia with asparagus and rice on a blue plate

Seafood dishes

I really should create more fish dishes as it is one of my favorite ingredients. I love how much flavor you can add to a dish and that seafood cooks up quickly.

Glazed Salmon with Spicy Broccoli is one of my new favorite ways to cook and serve fish. Salmon topped with a tangy, sweet and slightly tangy glaze goes great with fresh broccoli.

This creamy smoked salmon soup with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, wine and a hint of bacon. Thyme and dill combine with the smoked salmon to create a memorably rich and flavorful chowder. If you like smoked salmon, you’ll love this chowder.

Elegant enough for a fancy occasion and quick enough to serve up any night of the week, this seared scallops recipe could become your new favorite way to eat seafood.

Shrimp, Peppers, and Pineapple in Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce over Rice is a sweet, tangy, delicious shrimp and pepper stir-fry.

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Servings: 4

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Place the tilapia in a ziploc bag or airtight container. Add lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Turn the fish a few times to cover all the pieces. Seal well and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

  • When ready to cook the fish, turn on the grill oven (high setting if you have that option) and place the fish on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  • Grill for 3-7 minutes* depending on the size and thickness of your fish.

* Depending on the size of the fillets, 1 pound of tilapia can be 2-3 pieces or 8 pieces. Adjust the cooking time accordingly! 5-6 ounce fillets require 5-7 minutes under the grill. 1-2 ounce fillets are ready in about 3 minutes. Don’t walk away while they’re in the oven.
The tilapia is done cooking when it falls apart with a fork and is opaque or white. Keep in mind that it will continue cooking when you take it out of the oven, so make sure you take it out a minute or two early.

Calories: 144kcal · Carbohydrates: 1G · Protein: 23G · Fat: 5G · Saturated Fatty Acids: 1G · Polyunsaturated fat: 1G · Monounsaturated fatty acids: 3G · Cholesterol: 57mg · Sodium: 641mg · Potassium: 362mg · Fiber: 0.2G · Sugar: 0.3G · Vitamin A: 6ie · Vitamin C: 5mg · Calcium: 18mg · Iron: 1mg

{originally posted 6/8/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/14/23}

Tilapia with asparagus on a blue plate

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