Lemon Garlic Butter Tilapia

Lemon zest, garlic and butter!

Lemon Garlic Butter Tilapia

This only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and could easily be prepped hours ahead, refrigerated and popped into the oven for dinner. (If you do, anticipate that the fish will take longer to cook since it will be cold).

This preparation method is so versatile that you can use any fish in the recipe. I made this recipe with Mahi Mahi as shown here with roasted dill carrots, roasted red and orange peppers and Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley.

Mahi Mahi, Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley, Roasted Carrots with Dill, Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers.

Make the fish in a beautiful ceramic dish and you can serve the fish oven to table.

This makes two generous servings.


3 Tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced (use a garlic press like this one on Amazon. It is lifechanging! 

Zest of 1 lemon (use a microplaner here on Amazon)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (use a lemon squeezer a good quality one will make a HUGE difference)

4 (5-6 ounce) thawed tilapia fillets (I use the Costco Tilapia Loins that come in 3 lb. frozen bags) or 20-24 ounces other fish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish, optional


Assemble all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray. Use a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the fish. Place the fish in the dish and season tilapia with salt and pepper, set aside.

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Place in the microwave and heat just to melt the butter. Stir the ingredients and spoon onto of the fish.

Place into oven, lay a piece of foil or parchment paper over the top and bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. This may be longer if the fish is cold or thicker. Use a meat thermometer so you know for sure.  Fish is food safe at 145 degrees. Many chefs find that it’s best enjoyed when it’s cooked to medium 125°. Remove the fish from the pan with a fish spatula, it is angled and will make it easier than another type of spatula.  Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.


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