How To Cook Tilapia

If you like a fish with a very light flavor, you may want to learn how to cook Tilapia. While some chefs dislike Tilapia due to its lack of "fishiness", others see it as the perfect blank page to build recipes on. Tilapia isn't good raw, and is too fragile for grilling, but frying, steaming, baking and boiling are all methods you can try.  When first learning how to cook Tilapia, however, frying is probably the simplest, as it is easy to manage the cooking time.  

You will need:

  • de-boned Tilapia filets
  • non-stick skillet
  • vegetable oil
  • spatula
  • fork
  • salt (optional)
  • pepper (optional)
  • fish seasoning (optional)
  • bowl (optional)
  • marinade (optional)


  1. Rinse the Tilapia.  This will improve the flavor and cooking of the fish.
  2. Marinade the Tilapia.  This step is optional. If you choose to marinade it will bring more flavor to the dish. You can purchase ready-made marinade or find a recipe you like. Just make sure it's specifically for fish. Soak the filets  covered in the marinade (in a bowl) for about half an hour.
  3. Oil your skillet. About a tablespoon should cover the bottom of your pan.
  4. Heat your skillet.  This step is simple but important. You want your skillet hot before you cook your fish.
  5. Season your Tilapia or remove from marinade.  If you didn't marinade your Tilapia, now is the time to add some seasonings.
  6. Cook your Tilapia in the hot skillet.  This will take about four to six minutes. Turn the filets at least once with a spatula.  Resist the urge to over-flip, as it will break up your fish. Test an end of the thickest filet with a fork . When it crumbles, and the fish is opaque, it's done.
  7. Cool the Tilapia. Remove your skillet from the heat and let your filets rest for a couple of minutes.
  8. Squeeze on lemon juice.  This is optional, but it will will add a nice punch of flavor, especially if you didn't marinade.
  9. Serve and enjoy! Time to dig in!

Once you've learned this basic method of cooking Tilapia, you can branch out and experiment. There are many recipes to be tried, or you can create your own. Most of all, have fun cooking!

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