Grilled tilapia is tender, flaky goodness with a hint of char. Grilling enhances the fish’s natural flavor while retaining moisture for an outstanding result.
Grilled tilapia is an easy, healthy, and delicious main. The mild, flaky fish easily pairs with various herbs and spices, plus it cooks quickly, making it a go-to on busy days when you don’t have a lot of time. A simple marinade is one of my favorite ways to prepare the fish. An acid, salt, an herb or two, and a bolder spice are all you need for a delicious dish you’ll want to eat again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Grilled Tilapia
- Healthy – Tilapia is a low-calorie, low-fat, and high-protein fish rich in essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, choline, niacin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
- Delicious – Grilled tilapia has a slightly smokey flavor and lightly charred exterior, contrasting beautifully with its tender and juicy interior.
- Quick – Preparation takes a little over 30 minutes (mostly inactive), and cook time is less than 10. Yes, 10 minutes!
- Affordable – Tilapia is a great seafood option for those who want mild, flakey fish without the high price tag. It is cheaper than other fish because tilapia is simpler to raise. They mature quickly and eat a primarily plant-based diet.
Grilled Tilapia Ingredients Notes
- Tilapia: Fresh tilapia fillets are best. When buying tilapia fillets, look for firm, moist flesh (not slimy) with no dry spots. The fillets should also have no foul, fishy odor. Frozen tilapia is an option since it is more readily available, but freezing impacts the fish’s delicate texture. You can also use other white fish, such as cod or haddock.
- Vegetable oil: Grilling involves high heat, so you need to use an oil with a high smoke point. If you’re not a fan of vegetable oil, use canola or avocado oil.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice adds acidity and brightness to the fish.
- Dried herbs: Oregano brings a sharp, almost pepper-like pungency, while dried parsley adds nice color and mild bitterness to contrast the acidity and smokiness of the marinade.
- Paprika: Smoked paprika adds smokiness and vibrant red color to the fish.
- Salt and pepper: Simple seasonings enhance the flavor of the fish.
A complete ingredients list with amounts is in the recipe card below!
How to Make Grilled Tilapia
- Marinate the fish: Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and half of the seasonings in a bowl and pour this over the fish. Let the fish marinate for 30-45 minutes to give the flavors time to permeate.
- Preheat the grill: Prepare your grill for high-heat cooking. To prevent sticking, lightly brush the grill grates with oil or grab a grill mat. Tilapia is rather delicate.
- Grill the fish: Remove the fillets from the marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Once done, sprinkle the fillets with the remaining seasonings and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until the fish is opaque and easily flakes with a fork.
- Serve: Plate the grilled tilapia with your favorite side dish, garnish as desired, and enjoy.
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
Clean your grill grates – Clean grates ensure tasty food and prevent sticking. The last thing you want is a transfer of flavors of food previously cooked on the grill.
Use a grill basket – If you don’t have or dislike grill mats, you can always use a grill basket. They are pretty inexpensive and intended for grilling delicate foods like fish without the risk of sticking.
Add more spices – Experiment with other spices, like cumin, chili powder, or coriander, to add more flavor to the fish.
Try different marinades – You can use different marinades, such as spicy lemon garlic or honey lime if you’re craving a hint of sweetness.
What to Serve with Grilled Tilapia
Grilled tilapia is a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides. Throw vegetables on the grill as the fish cooks to make a quick side, whip up a little rice, a grilled corn salad, or prepare a quick salsa or pico de gallo to serve on top of each fillet. Potatoes also go well with tilapia.
Storage and Freezer Tips
Grilled tilapia is best stored in the refrigerator instead of the freezer. For proper storage, first, cool the grilled fillets to room temperature. Do not leave fish or other cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour when temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the fish is at room temperature, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
How to Reheat
To reheat grilled tilapia, avoid the microwave if possible since it is easy to overcook fish in the microwave. Instead, preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, add the fish to a lightly greased baking dish, follow with a splash of water, and place into the oven to reheat for 10-15 minutes.
- 1 ½ pounds tilapia fillets
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley, divided
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
- Place the tilapia fillets in a shallow bowl in a single layer.
- Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and half of the seasonings together to make the marinade.
- Pour the marinade over the fish, cover the bowl, and marinate for 30-45 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the marinade, pat dry, and sprinkle with the remaining seasonings.
- Prepare a grill or grill pan for high-heat cooking and oil the grates to prevent sticking. You may have to use a grill mat if the grill grates are too far apart.
- Grill the tilapia for 4 minutes or until the fish starts to pull away from the grates.
- Flip and cook for another 4 minutes. The fish is done when it easily flakes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 1155mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 45g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
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