Our spicy blackened tilapia is big on flavor AND on ease! Cajun spices are caramelized as the tilapia bakes for a zesty and peppery blackened layer. It’s gluten-free (that’s right, no breading required!), easy to make, and a healthy dinner option that will be on the table in no time at all!
how to blacken fish
So, what exactly does blackened fish mean? No, it’s not burnt, but rather seasoned generously with a spice rub which cooks and caramelizes into the fish to create a crisp, blackened outer crust. Our blackened tilapia uses cajun spices that give the tilapia a delicious flavor we can’t get enough of! Blackening fish is simple– this recipe only requires a quick seasoning before the tilapia is pan-fried in oil.
what does tilapia taste like?
Our spicy blackened tilapia works so well because tilapia on its own has a very mild taste that pairs nicely with an assortment of flavors. If you’re new to preparing tilapia, you’ll be pleased to find that it’s an affordable fish that can be enjoyed in so many ways. Check out our Spicy Tilapia with Wild Rice or our Tex-Mex Fish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw for some yummy tilapia inspiration!
let’s make blackened tilapia
ingredients you will need
The ingredient list is short and sweet for this one and most of the items are spices you likely have on hand already! You will need:
- garlic powder
- tilapia fillets
- olive oil
We start by making the dry rub, mixing the spices together in a wide dish.
To prepare the tilapia for frying, follow these easy steps (but make sure to check out the full recipe at the bottom of this page!):
- Sprinkle on the seasoning: Pat the tilapia fillets dry with a paper towel and then sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of each piece, pressing it into the fillets.
- Fry the tilapia: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tilapia fillets (make sure not to overcrowd them) and cook each piece for 2-3 minutes per side.
tips for making spicy blackened tilapia
For the best blackened tilapia results, keep these easy tips in mind:
- Don’t overcrowd the tilapia fillets when they fry. If your pan is large enough, you can fit more than two fillets into the frying pan, but you want to make sure they have enough room to cook evenly and get a nice, crisp and blackened crust.
- Most tilapia fillets are really thin and cook quickly. Our tilapia fillets only needed two minutes per side, but you can adjust this cook time if your fillets are slightly thicker.
- Make sure you pat the tilapia fillets dry before you coat them in the blackening seasoning.
what to serve with blackened tilapia
Our spicy blackened tilapia pairs perfectly with a variety of different sides! Here are a few of our favorites (they’re also quick because this tilapia is done in less than 20 minutes!):
- Have our Instant Pot Basil Lime Rice going while you fry the tilapia for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
- Serve up some simple steamed green beans on the side for a healthy dinner! This post walks you through how to steam green beans.
- This Roasted Lemon-Chili Broccoli has lots of zip and zing, so naturally it’s a good match for our blackened tilapia!
Quick, healthy, and easy dinners are a favorite of ours, and this one is just what any busy weeknight needs!
If you make it let us know by tagging us on Instagram or leaving a comment/rating below!
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE
- Baked Wolffish Recipe: Have you ever tried wolffish? Our baked wolffish with a white wine lemon butter sauce is a flavorful dish that’s easy to make!
- Baked Fish and Chips: We coat these cod fillets in a golden bread crumb coating that crisps up perfectly in the oven! Our baked fish and chips are simple enough for weeknights but still feel like a special treat.
- Miso Teriyaki Black Cod: Thick fillets of black cod marinade in teriyaki and miso for a delectable combination of flavors! This dish is just as good (or better!) than any fine dining experience.
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For the blackened seasoning
- 5 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (a pinch more if you like it spicier)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
For the tilapia
- 4 (7 to 8-ounce) tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the seasoning mix
- Stir together the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper in a wide dish.
For the blackened tilapia
- Pat the tilapia fillets dry with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle the blackened seasoning on both sides of the tilapia, pressing it into the fillets.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the skillet is hot, add 2 tilapia fillets (if your skillet is large enough you can put them all in the skillet, just don't overcrowd them).
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side then transfer to a serving platter.
Most tilapia fillets are fairly thin and cook quickly. Our tilapia only needed 2 minutes per side. If you have slightly thicker fillets, cook them a bit longer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 612mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 38g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.