Baked Tilapia with Garlic-Herb Brown Butter

by Amy on 9 April 2014

Baked Garlic-Brown Butter FishDespite the fact that I grew up in Boston, the home of lots + lots of great seafood, I’ve never been a huge seafood fan. In fact, until this past February, I had never cooked fish AT ALL. That’s right, not a single time. My husband is a huge seafood lover, so I set myself a little goal – to learn to cook + enjoy fish. We’ve had some ups + downs in my foray into fish-cooking. There was a blackened tilapia, which was really good. But there was a ginger-soy tilapia that was really bad. And then there was this, my favorite of all the fish recipes so far – Baked Fish with Garlic-Herb Brown Butter.

Y’all, this is SO delicious. For the past month, I’ve made this every Friday evening for my husband + I, as it feels fancy enough to be a celebratory Friday night dinner, but is still quick + simple after a busy day + week. The fish is buttery, fork-tender + packed with tons of amazing bright flavor. I use very mild white fish like swai or tilapia, and the light sweetness of the fish pairs beautifully with the robust sauce. So, if you’re looking for a new, simple seafood recipe, give this a try!

Baked Garlic-Brown Butter Fish

Baked Fish With Garlic-Herb Brown Butter

serves 2-4, adapted from Food


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
4 swai or tilapia fillets, about 4 ounces each (or substitute any mild, white, flaky fish)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).

In small frying pan over medium heat, combine the butter, garlic, salt, paprika, lemon pepper, + Old Bay seasoning. Cook until butter begins to brown slightly, garlic turns golden, + seasonings are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Brush a little of the herb-butter mixture in the bottom of the aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, then place fish fillets on the buttered area. Brush top of each fillet with an equal portion of the butter mixture. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until fish is opaque, cooked through, and flakes easily with a fork.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 danielle April 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

I love fish but we don’t make it enough. This sounds so simple and delicious.

2 Alexandra April 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

One of the major reasons I’ve avoided cooking seafood at home is the stink. Our open floorplan means that the sofa cushions three rooms over will stink like fish for days after dinner. :( Boo. Love that this recipe is baked, though, as that helps massively with the smell! Looks delicious and vibrant, too. Saving it for future forays into fish cooking!

3 amy April 9, 2014 at 11:03 am

Alex, I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but I am SO weirdly sensitive to fish smells, too. Even scallops, which I love, I rarely cook, because they leave a scallop-y smell in the house for a few days afterwards, which I hate. That being said, the tilapia I’ve cooked has no fishy taste whatsoever, and very little fishy smell, if any. And the swai has ZERO fishy taste or smell, I promise. I need to have you over for a fish lunch or dinner next week to prove it to you!

4 Leah | So, How's It Taste? April 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Ooo, going to have to make this one! I love tilapia but I get in a rut serving it the same way. This sounds fab!

5 Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health April 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

i hardly cook fish besides baking salmon every now and then. i love the flavors in this one.

6 Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes April 10, 2014 at 12:18 am

Wow this looks like a wonderful dish!! I haven’t made fish in the longest time.

7 Choc Chip Uru April 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm

The special butter in this dish would definitely just make it, looks utterly wonderful!
The colour is stunning!

Choc Chip Uru

8 Sammie April 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

This tilapia dish looks absolutely fabulous! I love fishhhhh!!

9 Kumar's Kitchen April 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm

that plate full of deliciousness is calling us to try some….baked tilapia looks amazing…perfect with that lovely golden crust…and along with a garlicky good butter…some roasted broccoli and warm couscous…..bliss and comfort in every bite,thanks so much for the inspiration :-)

10 Adri April 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm

What a lovely dish. I bet this is delicious – and i’m not much of a fish eater!

11 Jed Gray (sportsglutton) April 12, 2014 at 8:07 am

Tilaplia isn’t necessarily our thing, but there is absolutely nothing wrong about browned butter and your seasonings to make this fish delish!

12 amy April 12, 2014 at 8:47 am

Thanks, Jed! And it would really be great with any flaky, mild white fish if tilapia isn’t your thang. =)

13 sarah k @ the pajama chef April 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

ben loves tilapia so i should definitely make this for him soon!

14 Amber / Caleigh's Kitchen April 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

I love Tilapia! Looks great!

15 Kelly April 17, 2014 at 4:18 am

I love the flavors in this dish. We love fish especially tilapia and salmon and I am always looking for new ways to make them so I can’t wait to give this one a try – it looks great :)

16 Amy (Savory Moments) April 17, 2014 at 5:35 am

Good for you for trying new things in your cooking! Now you’ll be trying all kinds of fish/seafood dishes.

17 Becca from It's Yummi! April 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm

oh my YUM! There’s not much healthier than baked fish, and OH that browned butter sings sweet songs to me! :)

18 Jess @ whatjessicabakednext April 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

This looks amazing! Love the sound of garlic brown butter sauce- very luxurious!

19 Sam @ Sugar Spun Run April 29, 2014 at 10:52 am

I’ve been trying to experiment with cooking fish more often because I basically never do, this is a recipe I will have to try, I love that it involves brown butter! :)

20 Kirsten June 8, 2014 at 8:05 am

We eat a fair amount of swai, and it never occurred to me to put Old Bay on it. Love Old Bay! Last weekend I was with my family of origin, while my brothers and I were helping to pack up our folks’ for a move, and we chowed down on steamed spiced crabs and shrimp–I love licking Old Bay off my fingers!
This looks delicious.

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