Crispy, pan fried tilapia are extremely flavorful, tasty and light. A family favorite, kid friendly quick recipe for those busy weeknight dinners.
Table of contents
Pan fried tilapia
We do not consume enough fish in my little family and this is one of my ongoing goals. This is probably because one of my kids does not like fish at all. Every time I make fish he just get a bite or two and that’s it. It is not easy to convince him to try fish.
This recipe though, is in every kitchen in the region. It is so simple and qualifies to be called a “no recipe” kind of recipe. I’ve made it countless of times and my other two kids are crazy about it. Yet could not convince my third one to eat it.
Until one day I squeezed a lot of lemon on one accidentally and poof, he liked it!. More lemon made him eat almost one full tilapia fillet which made me really happy.
Fried tilapia FAQs
What goes good with fried tilapia?
It is common for me to serve tilapia fillets with browned rice, fries and big bowl of green salad. A simple salad of greens, cucumber, tomatoes and red onion is a must for my kids with this type of fish.
Is fried tilapia healthy?
Fish are considered one of the healthiest foods on earth. Tilapia is a lean source of protein and provides lots of vitamins, minerals and rich in B12. Source. Concerns have been raised about farmed tilapia in China. I sometimes, can get a hold of wild caught tilapia and almost always find farmed tilapia from trusted locations such as USA and Canada. So just to be safe consuming tilapia, it is better to avoid the brands farmed in China.
Can you fry fish in vegetable oil?
I like using neutral oils such as vegetable and canola when frying tilapia. If you prefer to use olive oil then go for the light olive oil and not extra virgin.
How to make pan fried tilapia?
- In a deep bowl, combine marinade ingredients, garlic, salt, cumin, lemon juice and oil.
- Mix marinade well and taste to adjust to your taste.
- Add tilapia fillets and coat well, cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a skillet over medium high, heat oil to cover half the fillet. Dredge fish on both sides with flour and shake excess flour off.
- Pan fry each fillet on each side until it reaches the desired color, usually this takes about 6 minutes per side.
The ultimate guide to fried tilapia
- For a more kid friendly fried tilapia: my aunt make tilapia this way for her grandchildren. I’ve tried this recipe and it was well received by my kids. Anyways, she makes them exactly like fried chicken. meaning flour, eggs then bread crumbs.
- For an oven baked tilapia, I skipped breading and brushed each side with light olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes turning once in between.
- For pan seared fried tilapia, heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a skillet and fry fish for 3-4 minutes each side on medium-low. Watch out as fish can burn easily.
- For a low carb/ keto option, coat with almond flour generously. Heat two tablespoons of butter and fry on medium on both sides. Also watch out for the fish to burn. Do not skip dipping in eggs as this will cause the coat to fall off as you can see in the third photo below.
So which one to vote for? It depends greatly on your preference. My husband like the almond flour and the oven baked. For me I liked the almond flour and the pan seared more. So you see it is really a matter of personal preferences.
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Pan fried tilapia recipe
A very simple recipe for the best pan fried tilapia with the option to go low carb.
If you like the recipe, please give it a 5 star rating as this help others as well, thank you.
- 1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets.
- 1 teaspoon salt.
- 2 Tablespoon canola oil.
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
- 3 Large garlic cloves 1 teaspoons minced garlic.
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice of half Large lemon)
- 3/4 – 1 cup flour
- Oil for frying
In a deep bowl add garlic, oil, lemon juice , cumin and salt. Mix well.
Add fish fillets and toss to cover with marinade.
Cover and let it set for 30 minutes.
In a skillet over medium heat, fill the skillet with almost 1 inch frying oil.
Bread the fish both sides with flour and shake excess flour off.
Fry fillets in oil 5-8 minutes per side according to your liking.Note1
Serve garnished with lemon wedges.
Note1: Here are some other ways to fry/cook the tilapia, the one stated above is our favorite though.
1- Dip tilapia in flour then a beaten egg then bread crumbs and fry, it is still tastes very delicious especially for little kiddos who do not like fish as this way it makes it more like breaded chicken.
2- You can shallow fry the fish if you do not like deep frying. Just heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a skillet and fry fish for 3-4 minutes each side on medium-low. Watch out as fish can burn easily.
3- Skip the breeding altogether and brush each side with olive oil then broil for 15 minutes turning once in between.
4- Low carb recipe: Dip tilapia in a beaten egg then coat with almond flour generously. Heat two tablespoons of butter and fry on medium on both sides.