Pan-Seared Tilapia


Learn how to cook tilapia with this easy, 15-minute recipe for pan-seared tilapia that's delicious and full of flavor. This simple method of cooking fish fillets is great for a weeknight meal. Serve with fresh veggies.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
4 fillets

If you're looking for an easy weeknight dinner that comes together quickly, we've got you covered with this top-rated tilapia recipe. This pan-seared tilapia couldn't be simpler to make in just 15 minutes.

high angle looking at a plate of pan seared tilapia garnished with lemon and lime slices
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

What Is Tilapia?

Tilapia is a freshwater white fish with a pleasantly flaky texture and mild flavor. It's one of the most popular types of fish in the United States because it's inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to prepare.

Tilapia Seasoning

There are plenty of delicious ways to season tilapia, but we're partial to the flavors found in this recipe: salt, pepper, lemon juice, flat-leaf parsley, and fresh thyme. If you want to spice things up a bit, try adding garlic and/or cayenne pepper.

How to Cook Tilapia

Pan-Seared Tilapia

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated pan-seared tilapia:

Season the tilapia on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish, then press each filet into the flour and shake off any excess. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sear tilapia on both sides until it flakes easily with a fork. Brush the filets with melted butter, remove from the skillet, drizzle with lemon juice, and garnish with herbs.

How Long to Cook Tilapia?

Tilapia cooks relatively quickly on the stove — this recipe will be ready in about eight minutes (four minutes of cooking on each side).

What to Serve With Tilapia

Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli

This pan-seared tilapia has a mild flavor, so it's easy to pair with just about anything. In need of a little inspiration? Try one of these simple side dishes to serve with tilapia:

Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli
Oven-Roasted Asparagus
Oven-Roasted Potatoes
Gourmet Mushroom Risotto
Classic Restaurant Caesar Salad

Explore our entire collection of Side Dish Recipes.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"My family LOVED IT," raves Angel Black. "It was my first time making this and I wanted to do something different. I did add the old bay and also some onion powder and garlic salt. It was delicious. I made it with baked sweet potato and broccoli. Will definitely make this again. Awesome recipe!!!"

"Fast, easy, and tasty way to prepare fish," according to Allrecipes Allstar Tammy Lynn. "I'll use this method again. Of course you can season it however you want: I used seasoned salt and black pepper on the fish. Instead of melting the butter and brushing it on, I just put it in the pan toward the end of the cooking time and let the butter get on both sides."

"My family absolutely loved this dish," says Mikarhine. "I added paprika, cayenne, and Parmesan cheese to the flour and it was simply amazing. This will be a regular dish in our home. So fast and so simple, can't go wrong."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 4 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or to taste (Optional)

  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or to taste (Optional)


  1. Rinse tilapia fillets in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper.

  2. Place flour in a shallow dish. Gently press each fillet into the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook tilapia fillets in the hot oil, in batches if necessary, until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 4 minutes per side.

  4. Brush the melted butter onto the tilapia fillets in the last minute before removing from the skillet.

  5. Drizzle fillets with lemon juice and garnish with parsley and thyme.

    high angle looking at a plate of pan seared tilapia garnished with lemon and lime slices
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

249 Calories
11g Fat
12g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 249
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 51mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 474mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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