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Pan Seared Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

  • Author: Katherine | Love In My Oven
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


This pan seared tilapia with lemon butter sauce is one of the best tilapia recipes! Serve this pan fried whole tilapia with roasted potatoes for an easy dinner win!


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 34 large tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (~1 large lemon)
  • optional: parsley, roasted potatoes to serve


  1. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. One side at a time, coat the tilapia fillets in the flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1/4 cup of the butter. Once the butter is melted and beginning to sizzle, add the tilapia fillets side by side in the skillet. Cook the fish for about 5-6 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 5-6 minutes on the other side, or until it flakes easily with a fork*.
  3. When the fish is cooked, remove it to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Add the remaining butter to the skillet, and once the butter starts sizzling use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits, and squeeze the lemon juice into the pan. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat. Plate the fish (and any potatoes or rice you may have cooked) and drizzle the lemon butter sauce all over the dish. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately!

Leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the fridge, for 1-2 days.


*If you can’t fish all of the fillets in the skillet at once, cook the fish in batches. You may need to add a bit more butter to the skillet before the second batch.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: best tilapia recipes // lemon butter tilapia // pan fried whole tilapia

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