How to Bake Tilapia
Even a single minute can make a difference when you're cooking tilapia. To best estimate the minimum cooking time, be sure to weigh dressed fish or use a ruler to measure the thickness of fillets and steaks before cooking. Using this method, you can easily calculate how long to bake tilapia at 350 degrees F, or 450 degrees F. Properly cooked fish is opaque, flakes when tested with a fork, and readily comes away from the bones; the juices should be a milky white. You can follow these guidelines for just about any type of fish, including tilapia. Be sure to use our instructions to figure out how long to cook fish in the oven.
- Be sure to thaw your tilapia if frozen. Place in a single layer in a greased shallow baking pan. For fillets, tuck under any thin edges. Brush with olive oil or melted butter.
- For fresh or thawed fillets and steaks: Bake, uncovered, in a 450 degree F oven for 4 to 6 minutes per each ½-inch of thickness.
- For dressed tilapia: Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 6 to 9 minutes per 8 ounces.
Get the recipe: Lemon Baked Fish with Dill Panko Topping
How to Make Baked Tilapia Veracruz
Tilapia Veracruz, here we come! If you want to try a hearty baked tilapia recipe, this dish is for you. Once you've mastered the basics of baking tilapia, use this recipe to kick it up a notch by cooking your fish fillets alongside green olives, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs. This decadent dinner is less than an hour away!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
4 fresh or frozen tilapia fillets, 4 ounces each
4 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Chili powder (optional)
Snipped cilantro (optional)
- Thaw fish, if frozen. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet cook tomatoes in olive oil over medium heat about 6 minutes or until softened and skins begin to split. Add garlic; cook and stir about 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in olives, raisins, capers, and oregano. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- Season tilapia with salt and pepper and place on top of vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with chili powder and snipped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.
Get the recipe: Baked Tilapia Veracruz
How to Flake Fish with a Fork
Whether you're baking, grilling, frying, or sautéing, you want to guarantee your fish is cooked perfectly for diving in with your knife and fork. Here's how to tell if your fish is completely cooked:
- When fish reaches the proper cooking temperature, it becomes opaque and flakes. To tell if your fish is done, poke the tines of a fork into the thickest portion of the fish at a 45-degree angle, then gently twist the fork and pull up some of the fish.
- Undercooked fish resists flaking and is translucent. If your fish is undercooked when you test it, just continue heating it until it's done. But remember, fish cooks quickly, so be careful not to overcook it.
How to Broil Tilapia
If you're looking to spice up your baked tilapia recipes, there are plenty of other ways to cook this tasty fish for dinner! For a super quick and easy cooking method, follow these instructions to broil fish:
- Preheat broiler. Place fish on greased unheated rack of a broiler pan. For fillets, tuck under any thin edges. Brush with olive oil or melted butter.
- For fresh or thawed fillets and steaks: Broil 4 inches from the heat for 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness. If fish is 1 inch or more thick, turn once halfway through broiling time.
Get the recipe: Ginger Tilapia
How to Grill Tilapia Fillets
Don't let a sunny day slip through your fingers! Take advantage of nice weather (and give your oven a break) by whipping up a grilled tilapia recipe:
- For direct-grilling: Thaw tilapia fillets if frozen and rinse; pat dry. Place fillets in a well-greased grill basket. For a charcoal grill, place fish on the grill rack directly over medium coals. Grill, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness of the fillet or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Turn once halfway through grilling (For a gas grill, preheat grill and reduce heat to medium. Place fish on the grill rack over heat. Cover the grill). If desired, brush with olive oil or melted butter after turning.
- For indirect-grilling: Thaw tilapia fillets, if frozen, and rinse; pat dry. Place fillets in a well-greased grill basket. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place fillets on grill rack over the drip pan. Cover and grill for 7 to 9 minutes per ½-inch thickness or until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Turn once halfway through grilling if desired (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust heat for indirect cooking). If desired, brush with olive oil or melted butter halfway through grilling.