Garlic Butter Baked Tilapia Recipe

Garlic butter baked tilapia is great for when you want lots of flavor without a lot of work. Make this recipe for dinner in less than 30 minutes!

I have several other fish recipes that use the same garlic butter sauce like my Simple Garlic Butter Salmon RecipeGarlic Butter Cod, and Garlic Butter Rainbow Trout in Foil.

cooked tilapia fillets with garlic butter sauce in a white baking dish

I love fish especially salmon and tilapia. They go with everything, like in my Easy Chopped Salmon Salad. I love tilapia because it’s such a versatile fish because it’s neutral in flavor, which means it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. For this recipe, the tilapia is cooked in a simple and delicious garlic butter sauce made with a few simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

What’s great about this sauce is that it can be used for just about any protein you want to make.


  • Tilapia fillets – Use either fresh or frozen. Be sure to completely thaw frozen fillets in the refrigerator before using in this recipe.
  • Fresh parsley – I prefer using fresh parsley but if you only have dried herbs, you can use that. Feel free to swap for fresh basil instead.
  • Garlic – I love freshly minced garlic. You can use garlic powder if needed.
  • Unsalted butter – For paleo or Whole30, use ghee instead. Any vegan butter alternative will work as well.
  • Lemon juice – I recommend using fresh lemon juice and not bottled.
  • Spices: onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper

To quickly thaw frozen tilapia fillets for this recipe, you can submerge the fillets in cold water for 30 minutes until the fish is no longer frozen. Be sure to pat dry the fillets if there is moisture on it. This helps the seasoning and garlic butter stick onto the fillets better.

What does tilapia taste like?

Tilapia is a very mild and flakey white fish so it doesn’t have a fishy taste to it. Due to how mild it is, it takes on flavour really well, like the garlic butter that I use here.

Is tilapia healthy?

Just like salmon, tilapia is protein-packed and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. I would call this a healthy fish to enjoy!

How to make garlic butter baked tilapia

This garlic butter tilapia recipe couldn’t be any simpler – just bake the fish in a homemade butter sauce until done!

While there is a little bit of prep work, the tilapia only takes about 10 minutes to bake.

side by side photos of ingredients for garlic butter sauce separated and mixed together

Mix together butter sauce

  1. Melt the butter or ghee, mince the garlic, and chop the fresh parsley.
  2. Next, combine them in a small bowl with the onion powder, paprika, and lemon juice.
  3. Whisk until well combined, then set aside.

rectangle baking dish on a counter with tilapia fillets covered in salt and pepper

Season the fish

  1. Grease a baking dish and lay the tilapia fillets inside in a single layer.
  2. Then, season the fish well with salt and pepper.

white fish covered in garlic butter sauce inside a baking dish

Bake and serve

  1. Next, pour the garlic butter sauce evenly over the top of the fish.
  2. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the fish is done. It will be an opaque white color instead of translucent and will flake easily with a fork.
  3. Serve immediately with your sides of choice and enjoy!

close up of garlic butter baked tilapia

What to serve with baked tilapia

Because this garlic butter tilapia recipe has such simple, classic flavors, the side dish options are endless! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Recipe notes

  • Storage – Leftover fish can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Store in an airtight container or wrapped in foil.
  • Reheating – Heat fish in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through.
  • Greasing the pan – Using a nonstick cooking spray is the easiest option, but if you don’t have any you can brush the pan with a thin coat of olive oil instead.
  • Broil – You can broil the tilapia at the end if desired to give the tops a more golden finish.

Storage Tips

  • Leftovers — Transfer leftover tilapia to an airtight glass container and keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or, portion them out into meal prep containers to have for lunches throughout the week.
  • Freezer — You can freeze cooked tilapia by placing completely cooled tilapia in an airtight freezer-friendly container or freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • Reheating —  You can heat the leftover tilapia in the microwave. Add a splash of water if you’re worried it will dry out. You can also reheat this on the stovetop. Add some olive oil to a hot pan and add the tilapia to it. Cook until heated through.

Other fish recipes to try

There’s no reason simple dishes can’t be delicious. However, if you want something a little more complex, try one of these other recipes:

  • Dijon Mustard Salmon: Dijon mustard salmon is quick, easy, and full of flavor. Make this recipe tonight for a meal that goes from oven to table in just 15 minutes and it only requires few ingredients.
  • Easy Grilled Fish Tacos: This grilled fish taco comes together so quickly and is the perfect summertime meal!
  • Cajun Salmon with Strawberry Salsa: This Cajun Salmon with Strawberry Salsa is a perfect summer lunch or light dinner to enjoy during the week. It’s easy to make, gluten-free, Whole30, and paleo-friendly.
  • Pomegranate Glazed Salmon: The easiest 4-Ingredient Pomegranate Glazed Salmon you will ever make. It only requires 4-ingredient and the glaze has no added sugar, but has a delicious tangy flavor!
  • Salmon Chopped Salad Recipe: This Salmon Chopped Salad recipe is quick and easy to make, packed with protein, healthy fats and it’s flavoured with lemon vinaigrette.
cooked tilapia fillets with garlic butter sauce in a white baking dish

Garlic Butter Baked Tilapia

Garlic butter baked tilapia is great for when you want lots of flavor without a lot of work. Make this recipe for dinner in less than 30 minutes!
3.74 from 41 votes


  • ¼ cup unsalted melted butter - use ghee for paleo and whole30
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 fillets of tilapia
  • Salt and black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray*. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, parsley, onion powder, paprika, garlic and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Season tilapia with salt and pepper, to taste and place onto the prepared baking dish.
  • Pour the butter mixture over the tilapia fillets.
  • Place into oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until tilapia flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with rice, cauliflower rice, mashed potato, mashed cauliflower or roasted veggies.


*If you don’t have cooking spray, use a cooking brush and olive oil.
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Serving: 1/4, Calories: 193kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 194mg, Potassium: 32mg

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overhead view of 4 pieces of fish in white baking sheet