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Crispy Tilapia

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

Ever been in that space where you are getting into the car at the end of the day, don't want to order out, would like to cook a quick meal, but don't have any inspiration?

Well, if you have a grocery store on your way back from work this crispy tilapia filet and accompanying suggestions may be the answer for those moments! This is a super easy well balanced, flavor-packed, gluten and guilt free meal.

Stop by and get a pack to unfrozen tilapia filets and some spices to flavor the fish. I'm partial to the spice combination mentioned here but I have also used ready made spice packets like taco or cajun seasoning if I wanted to give the recipe a twist. For sides, a simple salad like the Kid Proof Garden Salad can never go wrong. That in itself is a great dinner. Crispy tilapia and salad!

Depending on time and preference, if you wanted to add another side because you have teenagers at home with bigger appetites, you can go so many different ways. For this meal, I pick up a packed rice pilaf from the grocery store and jazzed it up with fried onions and scallions.

A second option, with the salad and fish is the Crispy Baked Potatoes "Just Right".

A third option is to combines the veggies and potatoes and go with the Saag Aloo (Spinach & Potatoes)

Start with prepping the tilapia filets. The main idea is to get them to room temperature and patted dry before anything else can happen. So if they are frozen, then I can suggest two ways to unthaw. Either take them out the night before and leave in refrigerator. If that did cannot happen, then fill a container big enough to immerse the tilapia filets in room temperature water. That will help the fish unthaw naturally in 2-3 hrs.

I don't like to microwave fish to unthaw. So if you don't have the time to unthaw the fish naturally, I'm just going to say skip the fish plan for that night and go with something else. Just being honest because that's what I do.

Once the filets are at room temperature, wash and pat dry. Make a mix of the spices and sprinkle over the filets. Use the ready made spices if that's the option you are going with. Let sit for about 15 minutes.

While the fish is marinating in the spices, make a mix of the flour/corn flour and baking soda. The corn flour is the preferred and gluten free option but regular flour will do in a pinch. Warm about 2 tablespoons of water in the microwave for about 15 seconds, pour and make a flour, baking soda mix. Pour half this mix on one side of the fish, and brush with a cooking brush and repeat on both sides. While the fish sits in this mix for a few minutes get a pan on the stove, preferably a cast iron pan. Heat on high and then add some oil and the fish.

The trick to easily work with the fish is to saute on high heat for a couple of minutes and then reduce the heat to medium. A minute before flipping, cover the filets. This creates a layer of steam and allows the fish to easily come of the pan.

I, of course, forgot to use this strategy here but hope to update the photos soon using that strategy.

Once the fish is cooked on the second side, move from pan and place on a cookie wire. This allows for the fish to rest without making the crust moist from steam when placed on a tray or plate.

This fish is good even if it is not piping hot so you have about 15 to 20 minutes after getting the fish off the pan to finish up the other sides before sitting down.

To reheat the fish, if I have the option, I will put it in a toaster over to keep the crispiness of the crust. If I pack for lunch, it's great to be heated up in the microwave. I know some folks feel very uncomfortable heating up fish at work...this is a whole another conversation 😬

4 servings


  • 2 Tilapia filets, frozen or fresh

  • 3/4 turmeric powder*

  • 3/4 chili powder (or to taste)*

  • 3/4 fenugreek powder*

  • 3/4 garlic powder*

  • salt*

  • pepper*

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon corn flour/flour

  • 2 tablespoon warm water

  • oil

*Substitute all these spices for a taco mix or cajun spice mix if you want to put a Mexican or Cajun twist to this dish.


  1. Start with room temperature tilapia filets and pat dry (Check out the blog for suggestions about unthawing frozen filets)

  2. Sprinkle spice mix and coat both sides of the fish. Let sit for 15 minutes or more.

  3. Make the flour, baking soda and water paste.

  4. Pour over the fish and coat both sides with a kitchen brush.

  5. Heat a pan (cast iron is better if you have one) on high and add oil. After adding the fish, wait for 10 seconds and turn eat to medium.

  6. Cook the fish for a total for 20 minutes. 10 minutes on each side. (Read suggestion in blog about a "cleaner" way to flip the fish)

  7. Remove from pan and put on a cookie wire

  8. Serve with whatever sides you decided!!

Please email me at if anything is unclear or if you have any questions. If you try this recipe and it works for you or made modifications, please leave a comment to let the community know.


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