Garlic Butter Oven Baked Tilapia

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Need a fresh, tasty dinner that comes together real fast? Then you’ll love my easy Garlic Butter Oven Baked Tilapia. Seasoned with a classic blend of lemon, garlic, melted butter, and paprika, this simple dinner really hits the spot! And, it’s all done in just 20 minutes. 

tilapia fillet topped with herbs and lemon slices


There are so many great recipes for baked fish out there, but I really love this one because, it doesn’t require any mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, parmesan, or other toppings. All you need is lemon, garlic, and butter. Super simple, low carb, gluten free, Keto-friendly, AND flavorFUL. Even picky eaters love this tasty fish fillet recipe.

BUT, if you’re looking for a rich and creamy fish recipe, you have to try my Skillet Tilapia with Creamy Lemon Sauce. 😋 


In general, if you have access to fish that has been freshly caught, cleaned, and put up for sale within about 48 hours, then that’s your absolute best bet for quality. Other than that, the likelihood is that any fish you buy has been frozen at some point in order to keep it fresh for transport.

Frozen fish is also processed and frozen quickly after the catch. So you can feel confident that the fish in the freezer case is, in most cases, just as good as the fish at the counter, and maybe even better!

overhead shot of baked tilapia in baking dish topped with garlic and lemon slices


While wild-caught fish is generally thought to be the healthiest, many food experts say that properly farmed fish is very healthy, and that includes tilapia! Tilapia is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and is a good source of protein.

However, some sources of tilapia are better than others, so be sure to check out the source’s reputation, standards, and the kind of feed they use for their fish.


  • Tilapia Fillets: This recipe uses four medium-sized fillets.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dried Thyme, Dried Oregano, and Ground Paprika: Use regular paprika, not hot or smoked paprika.
  • Butter: You’ll need 4 tablespoons, melted.
  • Fresh Garlic: Mince the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest: You’ll need two tablespoons of juice and ¼ teaspoon of zest.
  • Lemon Slices, Red Pepper Flakes, and Chopped Parsley: For garnish.

pouring melted butter over fish fillets


  1. Prepare the Tilapia Fillets. Season tilapia with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and oregano; arrange fish in a 9×13 baking dish. In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest; pour over tilapia.
  2. Bake the Fillets. Bake tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes and is fork-tender.
  3. Serve! Garnish with pepper flakes, parsley, and lemon slices and enjoy!

white baking dish with raw tilapia fillets in garlic butter sauce


If you haven’t baked tilapia before you may be wondering how to do it properly. Here are a few quick tips for the best baked tilapia:

  • Like most fish fillets, tilapia cooks up pretty quickly! You’ll want to check on it as soon as it’s been in the oven for 10 minutes, or even sooner if your oven runs hot.
  • The fillets are done when they flake easily with a fork (but aren’t dry).
  • If you’re using a meat thermometer, insert it sideways into the thickest part of the fillet. The temperature should be 145°F.

overhead shot of baked tilapia in baking dish topped with garlic and lemon slices


close up shot of baked tilapia in garlic butter sauce


  • To refrigerate, store cooled leftover fillets in an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, place leftover fillets in a single layer on a baking sheet or platter. Freeze until frozen solid. Then transfer the frozen fillets into freezer bags and push out as much air as possible before sealing. The fillets will keep in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.
  • To reheat, first thaw the fish (if frozen). Then place the fillets at room temperature while the oven preheats to 350°F. Arrange the fillets in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until heated through. The fish’s texture may be less moist after storing and reheating.

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4.97 from 33 votes
tilapia fillet topped with herbs and lemon slices


5 6 5
WW Freestyle: 5
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time20 mins
Light, nutritious tilapia fillets are seasoned with garlic, butter, and lemon and baked to perfection.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 279


  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds, for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Lemon slices, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Season tilapia with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and oregano; arrange fish in a 9x13 baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest; pour over tilapia.
  • Bake tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes and is fork-tender.
  • Garnish with pepper flakes, parsley, and lemon slices. Serve.


Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 115mg38%
Sodium 190mg8%
Potassium 563mg16%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 473IU9%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Keywords: baked tilapia, cooking tilapia, how to cook tilapia, seafood dinner, tilapia in oven

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84 Responses
  1. Lori

    Made this last night and kids and hubby loved it. I omitted the garnishes and the red pepper flakes. Added more garlic cause garlic is life! I couldn’t believe my picky eater said she loved it- she’s 7 and she told me she gave it a thumbs up and 10 out of 11 stars lol! Definitely adding this to the regular rotation!

  2. Monisha

    Absolutely delicious!

    Was never a fan of fish till I tried this – now its one of my favorite recipes !

    Thank you !

    The last few times added some vegan Parmesan on top and it was divine!

  3. Theresa

    I never liked tilapia until this recipe. I have made it at least 4x now and my husband and I love it. We prefer “meatier” fish like halibut or cod but the cost can be prohibitive. This is my go to recipe to incorporate fish in our meal rotation, Thank you so much for this recipe.

  4. Ingrid Rinaudo

    So very good. The spice combination was great, gives the mild fish a little bit of
    “zing” . I put the red pepper flakes on the table so everyone can add it if they want. Will make again and again.

      1. Laurie Dominy

        I made this dish this evening. It was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly. I felt like I was eating out at a really fancy restaurant.


    Very delicious! Easy to prepare, outstanding result. I served it with steamed broccoli and rice pilaf. Scrumptious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      Toward the bottom of the post, there’s a recipe box/card with all the ingredients listed, plus the directions and nutritional analysis. You can either scroll down to get to the recipe card or, at the very top of the post click on “Jump to Recipe” and that will automatically scroll you down to the recipe card.

  6. Joanne G.

    Can I prepare this the night before and leave in refrigerator until I’m ready to bake it the next night for dinner?

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      My advice would be to prepare the fish the night before, but make the butter sauce right before you are ready to bake.

  7. Nancie

    Amazing that something this simple could be so tasty! I did have to run out and buy a lemon, but it was worth it! This will be my go-to fish recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us

  8. Flora

    A-Mazing! I love when a recipe actually turns out as good as it looks on the photos. It’s about 50/50 these days. So easy and soooo flavorful! Will definitely make this again, saved!

  9. Ali C.

    Just wanted to say, I threw together this recipe quite haphazardly – and it was utterly delicious!

    I had a large frozen filet that I didn’t even bother defrosting; just dropped it into an 8×8 glass baking dish (only size that fits in our countertop electric oven) with some olive oil, seasoned & sauced, covered with foil and baked maybe 20 mins at 400; perfectly tender and cooked through.

    I subbed in lime juice and omitted lemon slices (for lack of lemon), cayenne for paprika, eyeballed the garlic from a jar of pre-minced, and added some lemon pepper and a splash of maple syrup. Served w/ sautéed broccoli & spruced up instant mashed potatoes – and I’m making this again tonight!! THANK YOU 👍

    1. Y


      Thank you! I was scrolling thru the comments hoping someone mentioned if defrosting is necessary. I’d rather not 😃

      Im going to try the original recipe today but I love that you posted your variation created based on what you had on hand. I will be trying it in the future. I love recipes that you can tweak to your own needs or tastes.

      Thanks for sharing!

  10. Rebecca L Pixley

    Made this tonight and followed the recipe. Great! Very flavorful. Additionally, I was very appreciative of the tip to temp the fish to 145 degrees. This will be saved into my “Favorites” folder.

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      You want to bake it at 400˚F for about 10 to 12 minutes. There’s a recipe card toward the bottom of the post and there you will find all the information you need to make this recipe.

  11. Luajean

    This lemon garlic baked tilapia was absolutely delicious! I made the recipe exactly as written. It had flavor and the fish was perfectly flaky and tender. I served it over rice and garnished as suggested. It made a beautiful presentation. This recipe is a keeper!

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      Yes, you can use this recipe with cod, grouper, bass, or any other quick cooking white fish fillets.

      1. Oneisha Ledoux

        Really good, although I think I’ve added too much red pepper flakes as a garnish and the dish had a bite to it.

  12. Mary Beth Ruesch

    Absolutely delicious made exactly as you described. Definitely will make again and I’m passing the recipe along.

  13. Jay

    If I have limes at home instead of lemons that I’m trying to use up, what would be the difference in the recipe?

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      The difference would be the taste. Limes and lemons do not taste the same. You can try it with limes, but grab some lemons, instead, if you can. 😊

    1. Katerina Petrovska

      You’d only have to increase the cooking time to maybe couple more minutes. Just check the fillets at the suggested cooking time, to see if they flake, and if not, give it a minute or two longer.

  14. TJ Burnside Clapp

    So good! We’re trying to cut back on saturated fat so we only used half the butter, and it still came out absolutely delicious. Thanks so much! We will definitely serve this one again.

  15. Bill Murray

    Well it is unanimous. 4 out of 4 loved this recipe. So quick and simple but oh so Delicious. Paired it with Spanish rice. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing recipe recipe.

  16. Meg

    It was a hit tonight with my kids!
    Especially my oldest since he doesn’t like fish, but tonight, he kept calling it Salmon and he’s like, “I don’t know what you did with it but it was good!” And he ate the whole fish with rice. That’s my biggest picky eater so coming from him, saved my day! Thank you!
    My youngest daughter had seconds so yes fish is her favorite and this was seconds worthy!

  17. Jacque Hooper

    Adding this to my dinner line up for the week; my family loves tilapia and this looks too good to pass up!

  18. Sara Welch

    Served this for dinner last night and it was a hit all around the table; even my picky eaters loved it! Delicious!

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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