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Lemon butter tilapia fillets on a plate
Lemon Butter Tilapia
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins

This Lemon Butter Tilapia recipe takes tilapia to the next level. First the fish is pan seared to golden perfection then drenched in a garlicky lemony buttery insanely good lemon butter sauce. The perfect meal to enjoy with a wide array of side dishes.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Western
Keyword: Lemon Butter Tilapia
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 262 kcal
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets (3-4 fillets)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika regular paprika is fine too
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon Butter Sauce
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed from about half a lemon
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  1. Pat tilapia fillets dry with paper towels.

  2. In a small bowl mix together the half teaspoon of salt, quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.

  3. Rub the seasonings evenly on both sides of the fish.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet or other skillet on medium heat. If you don't have a 12 inch skillet, use a smaller skillet and only add 1 tablespoon of the oil to cook 2 fillets at once.

    Add the seasoned fish fillets to the skillet. Let them cook on one side for 3-4 minutes until golden brown then flip them to the other side and let them cook for another 3-4 minutes.

  5. Transfer the fish to a serving platter.

Make the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. Add the butter to a light colored skillet (I used a stainless steel skillet) placed on medium heat. Let the butter melt then cook until it reaches a light brown color.

  2. Turn the heat down to low. Add the grated garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

  3. Remove the skillet from heat then add the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine.

  1. Pour the lemon butter sauce over the cooked fish fillets, garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Spicy: Add some red pepper flakes to the lemon butter sauce and a little cayenne pepper to the seasoning for the fish.