Oven baked tilapia is a delicious and affordable meal that brings fresh tasting fish to the table in a simple and tasty way.
You’re going to love being able to make your own seafood dinners with this awesome meal idea. Serve it up with some steamed or oven roasted veggies and a side of wild rice or mashed potatoes and you’re in for a wonderful meal that has everyone asking for seconds.
Baking tilapia is always an easy way to get dinner on the table with little to no effort. The fish fillets come frozen in the grocery store or you can buy them fresh from your grocery’s deli. You can make baked tilapia from frozen or use fresh and it will turn out the same either way.
If you’re wondering how long to bake tilapia at 400 degrees F, then know that it only takes about 20 minutes. So while the oven is preheating prep your fishy fillets and while they bake, make a few side dishes as desired. By the time that the fish is done, everything else could be too. Start to finish should take about 30 minutes (including the preheating and prepping). Perfect for a faster dinner that won’t keep you on your feet all night!
Baked Tilapia Recipe Ingredients
- Tilapia fillets: As I stated earlier, you can use fresh or frozen and both can be found at your local grocery store.
- Salt: This helps to season the fish and draw out a little moisture helping them to cook perfectly.
- Pepper: Adding a little black pepper will give our fish a nice savory flavor.
- Butter: Butter goes incredibly well with fish because the rich fatty flavors work well with the light flaky meats.
- Parsley: Fresh minced parsley will make your fish look well garnished and help to give a fresh taste at the end.
- Lemon: Adding a little lemon juice over the top of the fish will help to give a nice acidity and freshness so that the flavor of the tilapia is well balanced.
How to Bake Tilapia Fillets
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray it well with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
- Place your tilapia fillets down on the sheet tray.
- Season well with salt and pepper.
- Place one tablespoon of butter on the top of each fillet.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the center of the fish reaches 165 degrees F. Fresh fish may cook a little faster. The skin will flake with a fork when done.
- Once finished, squeeze a little lemon juice over the tops of the fish and garnish with some fresh chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.
Should I bake fish covered or uncovered?
You can cook your fish fillets, either way, depending on your preferences as both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, cooking your fish while it is covered will help to reduce the cooking time by steaming the fish to completion but it will leave you will a paler fish.
Cooking the fish uncovered will help you to get a nice golden color on top which adds to the texture but it may take a few minutes longer to cook using this method.
How Long to Bake Tilapia
The amount of time needed to cook your tilapia will depend on a few things including whether or not it is frozen and the overall size of the fish. If you have a thick fillet or it is frozen, it will take longer than a thinner thawed fillet.
When cooking at 400 degrees F, a rough estimate is that it usually takes about 20 minutes to cook a frozen tilapia fillet while it takes about 12-15 minutes for a thawed one. You will know that your fish has finished cooking when you can easily flake the meat with a fork.
How to Store and Reheat Oven Baked Tilapia
What is the best way to store Baked Tilapia? Can it be frozen?
After your fish has cooled, place it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.
For longer storage, you can freeze it for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Just thaw and reheat again before eating. Enjoy!
How long does Oven Baked Tilapia last in the fridge?
Freshly cooked fish is only good for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge when kept well covered and sealed in an airtight container. Any longer than that and the fish may spoil.
How to reheat baked tilapia
You want to go low and slow to reheat fish so that it doesn’t dry out. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F and add your fish to a baking sheet with a splash of water. Cover the dish with some aluminum foil to help hold the moisture in. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 125-130 degrees F.
Oven Baked Tilapia FAQs and Tips
Tilapia is actually pretty good for you! It’s low calorie and high in protein and nutrients making it a great fish for serving up for dinner. It’s also very low in mercury unlike other fish so you can eat more of it too.
You can cook your fish at 350 degrees F, 375F, 400F, or even 425F depending on the recipe that you are following. Each temperature will have a shorter or longer time based on what is happening in the recipe. My recipe uses 400 degrees F and has you cooking the fish for about 20 minutes so that it’s perfectly browned and cooked throughout.
Your tilapia will be safe to consume when the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. This is usually when the meat can be flaked with a fork and when the fish meat no longer looks opaque but instead looks solid and white.
Unless otherwise directed by the recipe you do not have to thaw the tilapia before use. In this recipe, we go ahead and use it while it is still frozen making it much more convenient for prepping our meal and reducing the amount of time needed to prep dinner.
Despite its bad reputation tilapia is actually a really good fish to eat. While the only wild tilapia in the world are over by Africa and the ones you buy from the store are farm-raised to be food, there’s actually not a lot of bad things to say about these fish.
They’re a great source of omega 3’s, protein, vitamins, and minerals and they’re usually one of the more affordable fish options in your grocery store. Omega 3’s are healthy fats your body cannot make on its own so getting them from other sources is always great and when you compare the price of tilapia to salmon (another fish with high omega 3’s) it’s pretty easy to see how you can fit more tilapia into the food budget.
Another great thing about tilapia is that it’s got a naturally mild flavor so it holds on well to any flavor profile that you want whether it be citrus, garlic, spicy, or plain and simple, meaning it’s incredibly versatile for any occasion or meal.
Make Any of These Sides While Baking Tilapia
Baked tilapia goes well with just about anything. Mashed potatoes, oven roasted red potatoes, oven roasted broccoli, green beans, scalloped potatoes, or any rice side dishes are always an easy option too. Tilapia doesn’t have a strong fishy flavor so it can go great with just about anything.
If you’re looking for another amazing fish recipe, try this Air Fryer Salmon from Evolving Table.
Oven Baked Tilapia
- 4-6 tilapia fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 6 tablespoons butter one for each fillet
- 2 tablespoons parsley minced, fresh
- 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Line sheet tray with parchment or spray with cooking spary.
- Place the tilapia fillets on the sheet tray.
- Season them wtih salt and pepper.
- Place a tablespoon of butter on each fillet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the center reaches 165ºF.
- Once finished, squeeze the fresh lemon over the tops and sprinkle with chopped parsley.