Baked Lemon Basil Tilapia is a delicious flakey tilapia dish made with butter, basil, and lemon.
There’s something very satisfying about a flakey piece of fish for us. Each time I serve it, I tend to dress the table up a bit more than usual. Maybe it’s because fish is normally something I’d order while on vacation or out at a nice restaurant so it has a distinct feeling to it when having it whether at home or not. Fish doesn’t however have to be difficult to make to be delicious.
Fish might seem a bit intimidating if you are not used to preparing it yourself. But the truth is, it is one of the easiest meat dishes to prepare. I find simple fresh ingredients is all it takes to flavor it as it is very delicate to work with and absorbs the flavors well. For this Baked Lemon Basil Tilapia, there is really is no prep work involved other than making sure the fish is defrosted if using frozen. With this in mind, this dish is wonderful to serve for fuss free entertaining. The recipe can be doubled so long as your baking dish is large enough to hold it all.
Why I Love This Recipe
We have fish often in our house. I got through a lot of salmon and other white fish so much so that I have resorted to keeping good quality frozen cuts stocked in the freezer. If you can find good quality fish in the freezer section at a local club store, it’s wise to invest in the large quantities often sold there. Which is exactly what I do to keep it on hand.
I love this recipe in particular because it makes such a delicious flakey white fish from doing almost nothing as far as cooking goes. Nothing more than placing fish in a baking dish and then mixing up the sauce for it to cook it. So not only is this a delicious fish recipe, it is one of the easiest ways to prepare it.
What You Will Need To Make It
4 (4oz) tilapia filets
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
cracked black pepper
Make sure the tilapia filets are defrosted before starting if using frozen filets. To defrost quicker, place filets in a bowl of cool water. When ready, salt and pepper the tilapia filets. Lay them out in a nonstick baking dish.
Chop the basil finely and mince the garlic. In a small bowl combine the chopped basil and garlic. Add the zest of one lemon and its juice.
Melt the butter and pour it into the bowl. Mix well.
Pour the contents over the tilapia filets. Slice the second lemon and place it on top of the filets.
Bake at 425℉ for 16 to 20 minutes. Or until the filets flake with a fork. Serve immediately.
- If using frozen tilapia filets, be sure to defrost them before preparing. To defrost quickly, set your filet packets in a bowl of cool water.
- Cooking times may vary from oven to oven. Make sure to check the tilapia at the 15-minute point. The fish is done when it flakes with a fork.
- I use fresh herbs for this recipe however, you can use dried ones if that is what you have on hand. Just be sure to adjust the amount since dried herbs are stronger than fresh.
- This recipe can be doubled. Just ensure to use a baking dish that has room and adjust the cooking time if the fish is overlapping. It may take a few minutes longer.
I like keeping things simple when making a dish like Baked Lemon Basil Tilapia. So I usually serve with a vegetable and plain white rice with butter. Here are some other great ways to serve this dish.
- Serve with a baked potato and green salad.
- This Baked Lemon Basil Tilapia is great alongside these Crispy Oven Fries and coleslaw for a seaside-style meal at home.
- Tilapia pairs well with white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Leftover fish is great for next-day fish tacos. Simply fry up the corn tortillas, and reheat the fish. Add shredded cabbage, salsa or other favorite taco toppings.
If using bottled lemon juice, how much would be needed for this recipe?
If using a bottle of lemon juice over fresh lemon, you will want to put about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. I normally get about 3 to 4 tbsp of juice from a lemon.
Can I use dried basil for this recipe?
Absolutely! I would use about 2 tbsp of dried basil in place of the half cup of fresh that the recipe calls for. As a general rule, you would use three parts fresh for every one part of dried herbs.
What size baking dish works for this?
I use my 9 x 12 baking dish for this but a 9 x 13 would work fine too.
Can I make this ahead?
You can put the sauce together and leave it separately in a bowl in the fridge until ready to bake. Or you can bake up the dish and then reheat it later as well. It is best to have it fresh from the oven. However, I do reheat the leftover fish the next day from the fridge and find it tastes great when I do this.
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- 4 (4 oz) Tilapia filets
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 chopped fresh basil
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- 3 garlic cloves
- sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- Make sure the tilapia filets are defrosted before starting if using frozen filets. To defrost quicker, place filets in a bowl of cool water.
- When ready, salt and pepper the tilapia filets. Lay them out in a nonstick baking dish.
- Chop the basil finely and mince the garlic. In a small bowl combine the chopped basil and garlic.
- Add the zest of one lemon and its juice.
- Melt the butter and pour it into the bowl. Mix well.
- Pour the contents over the tilapia filets. Slice the second lemon and place it on top of the filets.
- Bake at 425℉ for 16 to 20 minutes. Or until the filets flake with a fork.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 273mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g
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