Quick & Easy Tilapia

Tonight was one of those nights.  You know what I’m talking about.  You get home, exhausted from the day, and the family is looking at you with those eyes that say, “So, what’s for dinner?” While there are times I’d like to direct them to the canned soup, they know that no matter how tired I am, cooking is my way of relaxing.  Of course, that glass of red wine always helps, too! That’s hubby’s job.  Make sure Mom has wine, and she’ll cook us up something good!  So tonight had to be something I could put together quickly. Tilapia is my go-to quick meal.   Honestly, with a little “do-ahead” preparation, you can put a really nice meal on the table in no time.  Tonight we had Pan Seared Tilapia w/Lemon Parsley Butter Sauce, a green salad and a fresh fruit salad.

I love to keep different flavored butters in my freezer.  They are great on just about anything, from meat to pasta.  Just take it out of the freezer, cut off what you need, zap in the microwave, drizzle over your food, and voila! you have an instant gourmet meal.  I like to garnish with freshly chopped tomatoes and maybe some fresh parsley from my garden.

Pan Seared Tilapia w/Lemon Parsley Butter Sauce

Pan Seared Tilapia w/Lemon Parsley Butter Sauce

Seared Tilapia with Lemon Parsley Butter Sauce

Printable Recipe


4 pieces tilapia

2 T olive oil

salt & pepper to taste


Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Lightly salt and pepper fish and add to skillet.  Saute until lightly browned on first side, 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown on second side about 2 minutes more until flaky.  Tilapia is a thin fish and cooks quickly, so keep an eye on it. Place on plate, drizzle with melted butter sauce, and garnish with sliced lemon, chopped tomatoes & fresh parsley if desired.


**Great for topping chicken, fish or beef!

For each butter: Bring butter to room temperature. Combine all ingredients (can pulse in a food processor). Form into log shape in plastic wrap, (tightening the ends as if it were a sausage) and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Lemon Ginger Butter

6 T butter, 
2 T fresh lemon juice, warmed slightly, 
2 T minced fresh ginger, 
2 T snipped fresh chives

Lemon Parsley Caper Butter

1 stick butter, 
2 t finely grated lemon zest, 
2 T fresh lemon juice, 
3 T finely chopped fresh parsley, 
2 T capers, drained, 
salt & pepper

Chile Lime Butter

½ stick butter, 
1 T finely chopped shallot, 
1 t finely grated fresh lime zest, 
2 t fresh lime juice, 
1 t fresh Thai or serrano chile, minced

Red Pepper Butter (courtesy of friend Diane Baum—GREAT on Steak!)

1 C butter, 
¾ C chopped red bell pepper, 
¾ to 1½ t ground red pepper, 
2¼ t seasoned salt

Chipotle Cilantro Butter

½ C butter, 
½ C chopped fresh cilantro, 
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), minced, plus 1 T adobo sauce; or to taste 
2 t fresh lime juice, 
¼ t kosher salt, 
¼ t freshly ground black pepper


4 Responses

  1. We love tilapia. Thanks for the ideas!

  2. This looks wonderful -flavorful, fresh and quick! Can’t wait to try it. Have you ever tried Ina Garten’s “Easy Sole Meuniere”? It is similar, but relies on a browned butter lemon sauce. Very simple and delicious, and wonder of wonders, our grocery store has actually had Dover sole recently.

  3. Your blog is so lovely, Liz! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  4. Salmon is our quick go-to meal. For some reason, Chris isn’t a huge fan of tilapia. I’m want to try it again though, with a new herb butter, and see if I can’t change his mind. What do you use the chile lime butter on? Fish? We are staying home this weekend and I’m making a couple butter rolls! We just made tabouli, trying to use some of the mass amounts of parsley in our garden. You saw how out of control it has gotten! I like the new template better! 😉

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