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A plate with pan fried tilapia and two lemon wedges and herb garnish.
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5 from 11 votes

Pan Fried Tilapia

Ready in less than 30 minutes, this simple but tasty Pan Fried Tilapia is the easiest weeknight dinner. Made with pantry staples, this healthy and delicious pan seared tilapia recipe will be your new go-to dinner for busy nights.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time16 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Justin Coit


  • 4 4 oz tilapia fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • garnish with lemon juice and chopped parsley


  • Season tilapia fillets with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  • Place the flour onto a plate or shallow baking dish and then dredge each filet in the flour to lightly coat both sides of the fish. Shake off any excess flour from the filets.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the filets for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley.



  • If the fillets are damp, be sure to pat them dry before dredging them in flour so the flour can stick better.
  • Make sure to give the skillet time to heat up with the olive oil and butter. If the pan is not hot enough, the tilapia will not crisp up but instead absorb too much oil, making them soggy. 
  • You may need to add additional butter and olive oil when cooking in batches.
  • Tilapia cooks up quickly! Avoid overcooking, or the fish will be tough. The fillets should flake easily with a fork once cooked through. 
  • Allow the tilapia to rest a couple of minutes before serving to help the fillet retain moisture.
  • Avoid cooking this recipe in a cast-iron skillet. The fish is quite delicate, and a stainless-steel nonstick skillet makes it easier to flip.  
  • Add some cayenne pepper to the seasoning if you’d like to add a kick of heat to the fish.


Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 421IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2mg