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Broiled Tilapia: Quick, Nutritous, and Kid Approved

Categories: Cooking, Food


Let me just come right out and say it.  I am not a huge fan of fish.  I never make it.  Ever.  But after listening to friends go on and on about how much they, and more importantly their children, love tilapia, I had no choice but to try it out on some unsuspecting soulsmy family.   And I will tell you right here… my children ATE FISH.  Not only that, they LOVED it.  Who woulda thought? 



I bought my fillets flash frozen in a bag. You can also buy them fresh if you desire. In an effort to save money by staying out of the store I usually freeze my meat anyway. I rarely buy food and prepare it the same day. Because I am a delicate flower and cannot be expected to both shop for the food and cook it on the same day.

Also, this bag said the tilapia was Treasures from the Sea.  How could I pass that up?

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt*
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  • tilapia5

    * I did not have any fresh lemons.  Nope this jar I keep on my  counter is purely decorative, yet it deceives me time and time again when I am at the grocery store into thinking that I really DO have lemons at home. 

    **Who has this spice in their kitchen?  Not me.  I left the celery salt out and the tilapia was perfectly delicious. 

    This is a quick recipe.  Fish does not take long to cook at all, so if you are making a side dish you might want that to be almost done before you put your fish into the broiler.

    Step One:

    Turn your oven on to the BROIL setting. Make sure that you adjust the racks inside your oven. You want the fish to be a few inches away from the broiling burner.

    Step Two:

    Line the bottom of your broiling pan with tinfoil.  Trust me, it is so much easier to clean up this way.  You will thank me for this little extra step later. You are welcome in advance.

    Step Three:


    Arrange the fillets in a single layer on your broiling pan.

    Step Four:

    Mix together all of the other ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

    If you have anything you need to attend to, go do it now. You will not be leaving your fish again until it is served. Don’t worry this only takes a few minutes. Seriously, I hardly had anytime to take any photos.

    Step Five:

    Place fish in the oven. Broil for 2-3 minutes. I usually aim for 2 minutes because by the time I find my potholder and get it out of oven, an additional minute has passed.

    Step Six:

    Flip the filets over and return them to the broiler for another 2-3 minutes.

    Step Seven:

    Remove from oven. Cover the fish with the Parmesan cheese mixture you have already prepared.


    You could spread the coating on more neatly if you desire.

    Step Eight:

    Return the fish to the oven and broil for an additional 2 minutes, or until the coating has become slightly brown. You don’t want to overcook the fish. It should flake easily with your fork.


    Doesn’t that look delicious?
    Miles says that it does not.

    This is the child who heard that it was fish and threw himself down on the floor, crossed his arms and yelled, “I DO NOT WIKE FISH!” So then I told him that it wasn’t fish…it was Treasure from the Sea. Then he gobbled it up. And I was thankful for small white lies. Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Treasure from the Sea. God is a parent; He forgives me.

    And you will too once you eat this.

    Fish, it’s what’s for dinner.

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    32 comments so far...

    • so what would you serve as a side dish with this…

      Chris says: I served rice and asparagus.

      s.lange  |  November 9th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    • If you have a native Chicagoan in your house, then you have celery salt in your pantry. They put it on their hotdogs that they bought at the Jewel.

      Rayne of Terror  |  November 9th, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    • I have been making this recipe for quite some time now - with this same brand of tilapia (from sam’s club) and we love it! Very yummy. I also am a delicate who must defrost everything before I can cook it. Wish it were not so, but I cannot be expected to go to the grocery store every day in order to feed the heathens!

      Lisa  |  November 9th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    • BTW I think my original recipe had breadcrumbs in it—I used to love to make it with Panko—but you can omit it, as you did, or add a little cornmeal for crunch if you need to stay gluten-free.

      Mir  |  November 9th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    • My son devours anything that has parmesan cheese on it so I will give this a go!

      And you totally weren’t lying, I mean it said “Treasure form the Sea” right there on the bag! ;)

      Thanks for this recipe!!

      Sarah, Ohana Mama  |  November 9th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    • Will trade you this yummy tilapia receipe for another - crush some Dorito nacho cheese chips up very finely - coat tilapia filets and put under broiler. I originally bought the filets at the grocery store with this coating on them, but figured I usually have 1/2 bags of Doritos stuffed in the pantry and could do this recipe a lot cheaper. I always have tilapia in my freezer - makes a quick and easy supper.

      Chris says: This is a brilliant way to use up all those stale chips left behind in the bag.

      cheryl  |  November 9th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    • YUM i am not a big fish person either, and i have no idea what to do with it when i occasionally get the motivation to make it… i am very excited to try this!!

      Kate  |  November 9th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    • We loooooove Tilapia.
      And I have celery salt in the house, always.

      I either make this:

      OR, we dip the defrosted filets in beaten eggs and then into seasoned breadcrumbs, and fry them - and serve that with homemade tartar sauce. Mmmmmm…!!

      Chris says: That is the exact recipe I use!

      Sadie  |  November 9th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    • Since I have the only known child in the world who orders the Tilapia at any restaurant, even if they serve chicken fingers and pizza, I’m going to have to give this home version a try! She’ll be thrilled.

      BeeBelle  |  November 9th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    • I cook a LOT of fish, we love it - but I am learning to like tilapia, as we all (but for dh) thinks it has an odd taste - and I have even soaked it in buttermilk which is s’posed to take away that taste…it does not! I will try this recipe for certain, as we keep buying it - as I am certain one of these days I will come to love it. ;-)

      Yep -sneaky often works… when I serve fish to my 9yo, he LOVES it because he thinks it is chicken, we haven’t clued him in yet…

      elik  |  November 9th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    • Funny enough, last Friday I went and bought salmon to make sushi (don’t be too impressed…I cut it into little pieces and throw it on top of sushi rice, toast some sesame seeds, mix enough wasabi and soy to clear my sinus and call it good) and the fish guy* asked me how I was cooking it. I said, I really don’t care for cooked salmon that I would be eating it raw. He pulled out a jar of mayonnaise and a tub of coarsely grated Parmesan cheese and said…easy as pie…slather the tops with mayo, add a little lemon pepper, push as much Parmesan into the mayo as the mayo will hold and BAKE it at 350 for about 30 min. He claimed it would make a cooked salmon lover out of me.

      I may just have to try this (one version or another). Probably with tilapia first.

      *fish guy= the guy who dug through the back and found me a lovely piece of fresh Norwegian salmon that hadn’t touched any other fish and then carefully skinned it for me. I LOVE upscale markets.

      Carolyn  |  November 9th, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    • MMmmmmm. That looks so easy and good. Will put it on the list of must eats in the next couple of weeks.

      Johna  |  November 9th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    • You crack me up!!

      Talapia, I love, the family loves!!!

      It’s Miles reaction and your response! You are the fairy godmother of mothers!!


      elismsue  |  November 9th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    • ha ha i lie to my kids and tell them its chicken….

      tiffany  |  November 10th, 2009 at 12:16 am

    • I but that exact brand all the time and my 3 year old and 5 year old can’t get enough of it. They also love Nemo, so thankfully they haven’t put two and two together!

      Ali  |  November 10th, 2009 at 1:39 am

    • I’m willing to bet that even *I* could make this. Right?

      Wade hopes the answer yes.

      Susan  |  November 10th, 2009 at 2:48 am

    • Celery salt is the main ingredient in caeser rimmer spice. So just toss some of that in, and congratulate yourself on being doubly prepared.

      Amy  |  November 10th, 2009 at 3:01 am

    • Rayne is right. My husband is from Chicago and he puts celery salt on everything. Comes from the vienna red hots tradition, right? (thank god we can’t find that flourescent green relish on the East coast). More than once I’ve pulled the celery salt from the spice cabinet, thinking it was cinnamon sugar. Yuck. But I digress.

      THANK YOU Chris. for this recipe. I hate to cook fish, and the hubs usually grills tilapia (teriyaki, or ginger….also good). (It’s true - if the kids and I like it, it really is a miracle fish) So, now it looks like I may actually be able to cook it myself. And have a use for that bottle of celery salt.. Wonder how the tilapia would taste if I used the cinnamon sugar?

      Ann  |  November 10th, 2009 at 3:11 am

    • Did you know that tilapia is the bottom feeder of the fish species? That’s why it’s so cheap. Ask any mexican.

      Julie  |  November 10th, 2009 at 3:19 am

    • My 6-year-old begs for this dish! My husband has always been a fish eater, so I make it for them. Alas, even with the delicious coating, tilapia still has a very “fishy” taste to me, so I eat a snack dinner when I serve this.

      The best part for us is that it keeps well in the fridge. My son will eat it as leftovers as happily as he ate it fresh.

      Lisa C.  |  November 10th, 2009 at 4:40 am

    • i have celery salt in my cupboard - sent dh out for ‘celeriac’ last year and this is what he came back with, otherwise i can safely say i never have had and never would be likely to have this in my cupboard! onion powder however i do not have.

      i think i might try this although tilapia might not work, haven’t seen it in the shops over here so maybe i’ll have to substitute with other white fish.

      i too had a child who would never ever ever eat fish, she now does but i have a different one who won’t eat fish instead, although she is having ‘pork burgers’ for dinner this evening which contain that wonderful ‘pork’ that comes from the sea, tuna.

      ema  |  November 10th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    • Looks yummy! I don’t eat fish, either, but I’d like to try this!

      Did you defrost the fish before you cooked it?

      Desiree  |  November 10th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    • Funny - we had tilapia last night. I bread and bake mine and serve it w/a spicy salsa on the side and my 5, 8 and 10 yr old love love love it. This looks like a nice alternative too. Thanks

      maria  |  November 10th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    • I am assuming the Mayo is real mayo? Think miracle whip would work?

      Brandi  |  November 10th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    • I, too, tell my twins that fish is chicken. I also tell them that the ice cream truck that circles the neighbourhood endlessly in the summer sells vegetables. No doubt they’ll be in therapy over that one.

      Keep up the great work, Chris. I will use your “chicken” recipe later this week!

      Leanne Shirtliffe (  |  November 10th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    • I seriously love how easy this is. All things that I have in the house and next to no time to fix. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe.

      Beemer  |  November 10th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    • My child is still suspicious of fish that looks like fish (she wants them formed into dippable sticks) but this one might get tried anyway.

      Mich  |  November 11th, 2009 at 12:42 am

    • Well, I do wike fish, so I am going to try this.

      Rhi  |  November 11th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    • I’m with Elik down there. . .we love fish, but tilapia? Yuck! If you rarely eat fish (and I don’t know if that’s true, you said you rarely *cook* fish but I have no idea if you order it at restaurants), then you need to be let in on a little secret: while tilapia has become quite the rage as of late (it *is* cheap, I will give it that), I think it has one of the worst flavors of all fish. So if you liked this tilapia recipe, you should try making the same thing but with halibut or cod, or even catfish. Any of those have waaaaay better flavor than tilapia. Halibut is fairly pricey, but cod is not so much, and it’s actually my favorite. Down with tilapia! Why have you become such a trend?

      Kara  |  November 12th, 2009 at 4:49 am

    • Hmmm. Fish from a bag. But it is Treasures from the Sea, so I guess it must be OK.

      Rayne of Terror–”The Jewel”–HAHAHA!

      No matter what form of meat/fish/chicken I cook for dinner, the kids always say, “Can I have some more chicken?” It’s always chicken to them.

      I don’t know what this says about my cooking.

      E. Peevie  |  November 12th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    • This was yummy, Chris! Thanks. I had a lot of the sauce left-over and put it over tortellini for dinner the next night– very good as well.

      Jacquie  |  November 20th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    • Are you supposed to let the fish thaw before you cook it? Thanks! Sounds yummy.

      Chris says: Nope!

      Erica  |  May 5th, 2010 at 4:04 am