Cast Iron Tilapia

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Cast Iron Tilapia is an easy weeknight meal and healthy to boot. Use a blackened seasoning, cook the fish in a cast iron skillet, and then serve it with a variety of side dishes. Dinner is ready in just minutes!

Make my Easy Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema for another delicious tilapia recipe!

Side view of two pieces of blackened tilapia in a skillet.

Blackened Tilapia

Since we try to eat fish once at least once a week, I’m always on the hunt for new recipes. We rotate between Baked Asian Salmon in Foil, Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Pan Seared Sea Bass, and anything blackened – like this blackened tilapia.

My pantry is always stocked with spice blends or seasonings to make them. It’s KEY to flavor which is why I keep pre-made jars of the following. Give these a try and watch your food come to life!

Why This Recipe Works

  • SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE – This recipe is especially simple if you keep a jar of the blackened seasoning on hand. The fish takes only minutes to cook in the skillet as well.
  • FULL OF FLAVOR – Like I mentioned, the seasoning (along with some oil) adds SO much flavor.
  • HEALTHY – Tilapia is low in calories, high in omega-3s, and high in protein and calcium.
Closeup on some flaked tilapia in a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients Used:

  • Tilapia
  • Olive Oil
  • Blackened Seasoning

How to make Cast Iron Tilapia:

Step 1
Mix the seasoning blend. In a bowl, combine the seasonings – the paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt.

The photo below is a large-batch jar. You’ll only need a few tablespoons of it for this recipe.

A jar of blackened seasoning on a tray.

Step 2
Prep the fish. Pat dry the tilapia with some clean paper towel. Place on a baking sheet or a plate.

Step 3
Add oil and seasoning. Drizzle a little oil on both sides of the fish and rub in with your hands. Then add the seasoning blend to both sides as well.

Step 4
Cook fish. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a light coating of oil and then add two pieces of fish. Sear on one side for a couple of minutes and then flip and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Continue with the remaining two pieces of fish.

Side view of some blackened tilapia in a skillet.

What is Tilapia?

Tilapia is a very mild white fish that’s farm-raised in freshwater. It’s low price point and mild flavor makes it a great start to cooking fish without breaking the bank. Since it’s normally farm-raised, it also has a lower mercury level than most fish.

How can you tell if tilapia is done?

Tilapia cooks rather quickly, especially on a hot skillet. It will lose its translucence and will turn white.

To test for doneness, simply use a fork and insert into the thickest part of the fish. If it flakes easily, it’s ready to eat. But if it feels dense when you test with a fork, it’s probably not quite done. Let the tilapia go for another minute or so and test again.

You can also use a digital thermometer to test. A good rule of thumb is to cook the fish to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees but I personally prefer the fork test.

What to serve with Cast Iron Tilapia

In addition to the green beans pictured below, I’ve got lots of ideas for what to serve with this fish!

Overhead shutoff a piece of cast iron tilapia with green beans.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

Side view of two pieces of cast iron tilapia.

Cast Iron Tilapia

Cast Iron Tilapia is an easy weeknight meal and healthy to boot. Use a blackened seasoning, cook the fish in a cast iron skillet, and then serve it with a variety of side dishes. Dinner is ready in just minutes!
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 275kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. tilapia – about four large filets
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil

For the blackened seasoning:

  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the seasoning blend. In a bowl, combine the seasonings – the paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt.
  • Prep the fish. Pat dry the tilapia with some clean paper towel. Place on a baking sheet or a plate.
  • Add oil and seasoning. Drizzle a little oil on both sides of the fish and rub in with your hands. Then add the seasoning blend to both sides as well.
  • Cook fish. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a light coating of oil and then add two pieces of fish. Sear on one side for a couple of minutes and then flip and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Continue with the remaining two pieces of fish.

Notes

How can you tell if tilapia is done?

Tilapia cooks rather quickly, especially on a hot skillet. It will lose its translucence and will turn white.
To test for doneness, simply use a fork and insert into the thickest part of the fish. If it flakes easily, it’s ready to eat. But if it feels dense when you test with a fork, it’s probably not quite done. Let the tilapia go for another minute or so and test again.
You can also use a digital thermometer to test. A good rule of thumb is to cook the fish to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 682mg | Potassium: 631mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 2080IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

12 Comments

  1. Jackie Thill says:

    Made this for dinner for my husband and I tonight. While we were eating, my husband said three times, “This fish is really good!” So I’ll be making it again soon. Such an easy recipe and SO tasty. If you’re trying to add more fish to your diet this is the recipe for you!

  2. Christine Craft says:

    I made this recipe tonight and it was a hit. The seasoning was perfect!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Christine! I’m so happy you enjoyed the fish. Thanks for your feedback!

      1. Is the calorie amount listed for all four pieces or just one?

        1. Suebee Homemaker says:

          The calories are per serving (not all four).

  3. Miriam Kleiman says:

    Thank you so much! This was absolutely delicious!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Miriam! Thanks for your feedback! 🙂

  4. Danalea Warrick says:

    I used this seasoning on shrimp tonight. It was wonderful!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Great idea, Danalea! I need to try that. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      You’re very welcome, Karly!

  5. Awesome recipe that turns out every time! I love it when healthy and amazing come together!

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