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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4.74 from 655 votes


Light, nutritious tilapia fillets are seasoned with garlic, butter, and lemon and baked to perfection.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 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
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  • 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.




Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

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  1. Donna says:

    I made this for a week night dinner and it was fabulous! Beautiful blend of flavors. I highly recommend you try it! 😋

  2. Revoj says:

    Do you put on a lid while baking or just leave it open? Sorry, new to cooking in general. Thanks in advance.

    1. Katerina says:

      Yes, you bake it uncovered. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Marie says:

    Trying it today

  4. Ruthie Nesci says:

    Love it! Making it weekly!

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s fantastic to hear! I’m so glad you love it! Enjoy your weekly treat! Thank YOU! 🙂

  5. Rhonda Mapp says:

    Tried this tilapia last night for dinner and it was delicious! Even my very picky husband enjoyed it and that’s saying something coming from him. Look forward to trying your other recipes!

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the tilapia! It’s always great when a picky eater gives their approval. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you enjoy the other recipes just as much! 🙂

  6. Valerie says:

    Love this recipe. Cooking it for my son and his family soon. Hope they like it.

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m sure they’ll love it! Enjoy cooking for your son and his family, and thank you for sharing your plans! 🙂

  7. Lucy says:

    We loved everything about this recipe! Lucy

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Lucy! Thank you for sharing your feedback. 😊

  8. Happy Lady says:

    Absolutely amazing! I’ve made this twice now and both times it came out perfect. There are only two of us so I used two large pieces of tilapia and made the sauce as printed. I’ve since passed this recipe on to friends and the two people that made it agreed, it was the best they had ever had. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you loved the recipe! It’s fantastic that it turned out perfect both times and that your friends enjoyed it too. Thanks for spreading the word and for your kind words! 🙂

  9. Tessa says:

    Could I use tilapia loins instead of fillets?

    1. Katerina says:

      Sure. But they may take up to 15 minutes to cook through because they are thicker than a fillet.

  10. Wendy says:

    Great recipe
    Thank you

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂