Cooking Tilapia

Woman cooking in kitchen and child watching intently

We always want to exercise caution when it comes to cooking meats and seafood. With land protein, it’s easy to tell when it’s cooked, since it turns from pink to brown. When it comes to seafood, it’s not always about coloration, but more about texture. Keep these simple tips in mind and you won’t have to worry about over cooking or under cooking your tilapia.

How To Tell If It’s Done

Fresh tilapia has a pinkish hue to its flesh and it is slightly translucent when it’s raw. When it’s cooked, it will turn white and opaque. To check if the fish is completely cooked through, insert a fork at an angle at the thickest part of the meat and twist gently. If it flakes, it’s done. Still in doubt? Use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat. 140° - 145°F is the ideal cooked temperature.


Different recipes may require different cook times and temperatures. On average, the best way to bake tilapia fillets is at 425°F for about 12 minutes.


Drizzle one to two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Heat the oil to medium-high and place the tilapia fillet in the pan. You can cook the fillet for 5 minutes on one side until it turns golden brown and then flip it over to cook for an additional 3 minutes.


If your fish fillets are an inch thick or less, you can place them right above the heat source on your grill. If you have something thicker or the whole fish, place it off to the side so that it cooks slower and more consistently. A general rule for grilling is 4 to 5 minutes per ½ an inch of thickness, and 8 to 10 minutes for each inch of thickness.


Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook food since there is no need for additional fats or oils. There are different types of steamers, ranging from bamboo steamers to rice cookers; it’s best to check the instructions of your steamer for specifics. A general rule for steaming tilapia is about 10 to 12 minutes.


Place enough water in a pan to submerge the tilapia fillets and bring to a simmer. Submerge the fillets and cook for about 8 minutes or until it’s done.