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Baked Tilapia in Oven

Here’s my simple and healthy baked tilapia in the oven recipe! I made this recipe all in one pan for easy clean up so you can have time enjoying your family instead of cleaning dishes.

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baked tilapia in oven with lemon and garlic

Oven Baked Tilapia

This tilapia recipe came out from being lazy at dinner one night. We had some fish in the fridge we needed to use, but I just did not feel like cooking much.

I put everything all in one pan so the only thing you need to chop is a lemon and some garlic (which I use my garlic chopper and toss it in the dishwasher afterward).

And, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not flavorful. The fillets bake in homemade garlic butter, lemon, and herb mixture that really packs a punch.

If you like a good seafood dinner, try my air fryer tilapia, shrimp scampi, and air fryer mahi mahi recipes.

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Why You’ll Love This Baked Tilapia Recipe

  • Easy and quick
  • Flakey and tender
  • Full of herby, buttery flavor
  • Perfect for busy weeknights
  • The easiest way to cook fish
ingredients needed to make tilapia in oven

Ingredients for Oven Baked Tilapia

  • Tilapia Fillets
  • Butter – unsalted
  • Lemon – juice and zest
  • Garlic – minced
  • Salt
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Parsley – garnish

How to Bake Tilapia in Oven

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Add the butter, lemon juice, zest, and minced garlic to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Place it in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Once the butter is melted, remove the baking dish from the oven.

STEP TWO: Lay the tilapia on top of the lemon and garlic butter. Season one side with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Flip and season the other side. Add sliced lemon on top.

adding raw tilapia filets to a baking dish with butter and lemon

STEP THREE: Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the fillets are white and tender yet still a little bit firm. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

How long to bake tilapia

Bake tilapia at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to pull out of the oven when the fillets are no longer opaque, and the texture is nice and flakey. 

oven baked tilapia with butter and lemon slices

Tilapia in Oven Recipe Variations

  • Herb-crusted: Mix some fresh herbs — like parsley, thyme, and dill — with breadcrumbs. Coat the fish in the mixture before baking to add flavor and texture!
  • Mediterranean-style: Use olive oil instead of butter and incorporate extras such as chopped tomatoes, capers, black olives, and feta cheese into the baking dish for a fun Mediterranean twist.
  • Italian-style: Add a layer of pesto sauce over the tilapia fillets before baking. Top with sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese for a basil-infused variation.
  • Cajun: This one is for my spice lovers! Rub some Cajun seasoning on both sides of the tilapia for a unique and flavorful kick. 

Tips for Making Baked Tilapia in Oven

  • Choose the freshest fish you can find. You don’t need a lot to make this baked tilapia recipe, so the quality of your ingredients really matters. This is even more true when it comes to cooking fish! Opt for fillets that are firm, moist, and odorless — they should not smell fishy.
  • Melt the butter directly in the baking dish while your oven is heating. Don’t waste extra dishes by using your microwave. Also, the butter will melt fairly quickly as the oven starts to heat, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
  • Watch for flakiness. Your tilapia will be baked and ready to enjoy after about 10-12 minutes but keep in mind that all ovens are different. The actual cooking time will also depend on the thickness of your tilapia fillets. Start checking after about 10 minutes. Use a fork to test the texture — they can be pulled out of the oven when they turn flakey.
tilapia filets with butter and spices

What to Serve With This Tilapia in Oven

Because I like to make dinner a breeze on nights I make this dish, I make vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini or asparagus and carrots. White rice or roasted potatoes, garlic bread, and a big garden salad also make an easy full meal!

If you have any leftovers, I love to use them a filling for tacos, burritos, or a fish sandwich!

How to Store Leftover Oven Baked Tilapia

To store leftover baked tilapia, let it cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3-4 days, or freeze it for 2-3 months.

How to reheat Baked Tilapia in Oven

To reheat baked tilapia in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees F and place the fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover it loosely with foil to keep it from drying out, then heat for 10-15 or until warmed through.

drizzling garlic butter over tender tilapia fish

Tilapia Recipe Baked FAQs

Should I rinse tilapia before cooking?

No, you should not rinse tilapia before cooking. In fact, you should never rinse fish, as you risk turning your sink into a breeding ground for germs.

If it has scales, you can go ahead and remove those; otherwise, you don’t need to rinse.

What temperature does Tilapia need to be cooked at?

To ensure it’s safe to eat, tilapia should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F in the oven will do the trick, but also use an Instant-Read thermometer to check.

serving a tilapia fillet on a white plate

Is fresh or frozen Tilapia best for this Baked Tilapia Recipe?

Fresh tilapia is best for this tilapia recipe! It will give you a much better flavor and texture than frozen food. That said, I’ve used frozen fish in a crunch. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before baking for the best results!

Can you overcook Tilapia?

Yes, tilapia can be overcooked. If you leave it in the oven for too long, it will become dry and tough. Keep a close eye on the cooking time—tilapia is relatively delicate and cooks quickly. Start checking on it after the 10-minute mark to prevent overcooking.

baked tilapia in oven with lemon and garlic

Tilapia in Oven Recipe

Samantha Erb
Make this delicious baked tilapia recipe! It's seasoned with garlic butter and just the right touch of lemon to make a super tasty, easy dinner.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 140 kcal


  • 4 – 6 ounces tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon 1/2 juiced and zested, 1/2 sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • parsley to garnish


  • Place the butter, lemon juice, zest and minced garlic into a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Put the baking dish in the oven and begin to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Allow the butter and lemon juice to combine as the butter melts. Once the butter is melted, remove it from the oven.
  • Lay the tilapia into the lemon, garlic butter and season one side of the tilapia with salt, pepper and red pepper. Flip the tilapia over and season the other side.
  • Add the sliced lemon on top of the fillets.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the fillets is white, tender and still somewhat firm. When a fork goes through it, it will have a flaky texture. Garnish with fresh parsley.


Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 310mgPotassium: 136mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 398IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.4mg
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About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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