honey lime tilapia (df)

by emily on August 17, 2011

in mains--seafood,recipes

Honey Lime Tilapia I One Lovely Life Michael and I talk all the time about how being married and eating together has changed the foods we eat.

For instance, I didn’t eat much in the way of potatoes, hardly ever bought red meat, and had NEVER cooked steak of any kind before we were married. Now, potatoes find their way into our menu once every week or two and one of my favorite meals we’ve discovered together is a sort of steak stir-fry.

Michael, on the other hand, never really ever ate fish. Not that he didn’t like fish, he just never really ate it. Now, he really likes tilapia and shrimp (he can’t get enough of our cajun fish sandwiches and shrimp po’boys).

Because I love fish so much, and I’m always looking to expand our seafood recipe repertoire, I hunted down this REALLY easy method for cooking tilapia. After eating this for dinner, Michael said it was the best fish he’d ever eaten. Woo hoo!

Honey Lime Tilapia I One Lovely Life Now, I know it looks like fried fish. It isn’t. In fact, all the ingredients required for this dish are pretty healthy and straightforward. I even used whole wheat pastry flour for dredging the fish! Also, I found that it was a great balance of flavor and not too sweet. I loved the combination of lime and honey.

One of the beauties of fish is that it cooks very quickly. With only a little bit of preparation beforehand, this meal comes together in about 10 minutes. Seriously. You did read that right. 10 minutos, dear reader.

I tried an experiment with the recipe, which originally called for marinating the fish about an hour ahead of time. I wondered if it would work to marinate it longer than that, so we cooked half the fish one night after about an hour of marinating time, and waited 24 hours to cook up the rest for dinner the next night. I couldn’t tell any difference in texture, and the flavor was, if anything, better.

Because of that, you could easily mix up the marinade, pour it in a zip-top bag with the fish fillets and keep it in your freezer until you’re ready to eat it. You just pull it out of the freezer, pop it into the refrigerator for the day, and by dinner time, all you have to do is dredge it and cook it up. Easy-peasy!

As for what to serve it with, we tried it with a simple squeeze of lime juice, and it was delicious. Or, you could certainly serve it with some peach salsa. I loved it!

Honey Lime Tilapia I One Lovely Life

5.0 from 30 reviews

Honey Lime Tilapia
Serves: 4
For the fish and marinade:
  • 4 (4-5oz) tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
For dredging and cooking:
  • ½c flour (I tried both white flour and whole wheat pastry flour with good results)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Assemble marinade by combining lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or shallow container with a lid. Add fish and marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours*.
  2. When ready to cook, combine flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Remove each fish fillet from the marinade and dredge lightly with the flour on both sides (just a light, light coating).
  3. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook fillets 2 at a time for 3-4 minutes per side or until opaque and browned (this works best if you don’t disturb the fish much while letting it cook).
  4. Serve with lime wedges or peach salsa.
*If you want to plan this meal in advance, you can prepare the fish and marinade in a large freezer bag and keep it in the freezer. Move frozen fish and marinade to the refrigerator the morning you plan to serve the fish and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. It will marinate while it thaws!

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

Kay September 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Spectacular! Thank you. I’m very popular tonight thanks to your recipe!


Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen September 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Making this right now! :)


Amanda October 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Just made this, and it was AMAZING! Easy to make, and some of the best fish I’ve ever had!


Safia October 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

How cute is your site!! :) I am attempting this fish tonight, wish me luck! Thank you for posting this great recipe!


Teresa G October 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I made this tonight and this was HANDS DOWN the BEST FISH RECIPE EVER!!!! I couldn’t believe how good this was. Mine marinaded for about 6 hours and it was really sweet (I think any longer and it would have been too sweet). We are Paleo, so I used a mix of coconut and almond flour and sautéed in butter. YUMMMY!!! I will make this many, many more times!


Rita November 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

What side item would you recommend?


emily November 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Rita – we love fruit or fruit salad and bread, but you could keep the theme going and serve it with beans and rice. Best of luck!


Sunshine December 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the awesome recipe! I had everything on hand except flour. I had whole wheat bread crumbs but it didn’t seem to stick to the fish well. Aside from that, the taste was amazing! Full of flavor & I only marinated it for 1 hour. It was a last minute dinner idea I whipped up so I’m sure if I have flour the bedtime around it will be better & also I will marinate it longer. I will most definitely make this again!


Sarah Hawkins January 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Just made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I made white rice and a green salad to go with it. My kids (read: picky eaters) even liked it!


McKenzie January 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

This fish is amazing! I just made it for my husband and he loves it! I’m usually not the best of cooks, but this was both easy and delicous! Thanks!


lovetocook January 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I have 100% whole wheat flour but it doesn’t say pastry flour. Is it the s
ame thing.


emily January 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Lovetocook – It’s not the same thing, sorry! Pastry flour is more fine and has less protein in it. I’d just use white flour.


Meghan January 29, 2013 at 7:49 am

Tilapia used to be my favorite fish, but divorced it for salmon :( Lately I haven’t been liking Tilapia too much, so I am super stoked to try out this recipe. I’m going to emit the flour part, but I plan on marinating the suckers for a long time ;) Thank you!!


Cass February 10, 2013 at 10:58 am

Delicious! Just made it for lunch :)


Jennifer March 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Delicious! I’m making it again for the second time in two weeks! We like to serve it with spaghetti squash (we put a little butter and brown sugar in the spaghetti squash). A very healthy and low carb meal. Thanks!


Sheila March 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thank you. The recipe is pretty basic with nice flavor. A do over for sure. I added more lime zest and used 1/2 and 1/2 butter and oil to fry. Served with an Asian type salad and dinner was a hit.


Emma Mead March 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I’ve made this recipe 3 times, once with just the marinade and twice with the flour coating. Usually serve it on a bed of quinoa. YUM! Thank you for sharing this!


Stephanie March 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Would I get the same results if I baked it? Should I omit the flour if I do? Recipe sounds great but I don’t have a non stick pan to use and I’m afraid it will stick to my skillet (cast iron). Thanks.


emily March 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Stephanie – I don’t think the results would be the same if you baked it, as far as the crispy coating is concerned. You could probably get delicious results from the marinade, but I wouldn’t attempt the flour coating if you don’t plan on cooking it in your pan on the stovetop. Love to know how it turns out!


Ashley April 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm

My boyfriend abd I are making this now but we dont have any type of flower so we are using breadcrumbs


Melissa May 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thanks for the great recipe! I’m assuming I could throw them in the oven with the same result..?


Melissa May 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

Oops…just saw the comment/reply above. Will try without the flour mixture. Thx! :)


Diane June 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

This was yummy! We had it with quiona and salad.


Teri June 12, 2013 at 4:27 am

Very yummy! Thank you for an amazing tilapia recipe. Made it without the flour (no wheat or dairy here) dredging in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.


diane June 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

dinner tonight


Aliz July 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I just marinated everything and am going to let it sit in the fridge for about two hours.
Can’t wait to cook and serve and EAT tonight :)
thank you


Alexandrah July 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Made this for dinner tonight and I am so happy I did. My fiance and I are not big fish eaters but this we both absolutely loved! Thank you for posting it!


EllenL July 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

This recipe was in my “to try” folder for ages. I finally made it this past weekend – marvelous!!
Easy and quick to prepare, too. Thanks for another winner!


Jessica August 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I made this for me any by hubby, and we both absolutely loved it! I added mango salsa on top for a little kick, and it was the perfect pairing. Thanks for this amazing recipe!


Alan R. September 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Excellent, eating it now! I made extra marinade to splash on top, and a nice pineapple rice for the side dish. Delicious! This goes into my recipe stash!


emily September 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Yum! Pineapple rice sounds AMAZING!


Alan R. September 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

It was pretty good. I’ll leave the recipe right here in the comments section for you to put up if you’d like:

Pineapple Thyme Fried Rice.
1 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 cup crushed or finely diced pineapple
1 cup pineapple juice
Juice of 1 small lime
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
2 tablespoons oil (Olive or Canola works best)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter.

Heat Oil in skillet on high until near very hot and add rice. Stir rice constantly until it takes on an opaque milky quality (Or you can brown it if you like).
Mix pineapple, juices, water and thyme and add to mixture. Cook on medium until rice is tender and all moister is gone. Mix in brown sugar and butter and stir well. Let set 2-5 minutes and serve.
Sorry it my recipe formulation lingo leaves something to be desired. Never had to write a recipe for anyone other than myself.


emily September 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Yum! I can’t wait to try it!


Alan R. September 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I just tried the honey lime marinade as a dressing on a salad with mixed greens, garlic pepper sauteed shrimp, sliced avocado and sliced toasted almonds. It worked so well! This honey lime dressing is fast becoming my favorite thing to put on anything and everything! It works with chicken, it works with white fish, it works with shrimps!
Thanks so much for posting it, I’m never gonna stop cooking this stuff!

Alan R. September 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Also, forgot to leave a rating.

Not a very good cook April 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Hi, I have some questions about the rice. Do you drain the pineapple before you add it to the rice? Can you use that juice as your “1 cup pineapple juice” or do you recommend buying the juice separately? This sounds delish and I can’t wait to try it.


emily April 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Oh, no worries! I use the pineapple juice that comes with the pineapple. You can drain the pineapple, but save the juice (I set a colander over a liquid measuring cup). Hope that helps!

DyMond January 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I’m eating this now and I must say I absolutely love it! I marinated the tilapia over night and added a few dashes of tobasco after it was cooked. It was amazing!


emily January 5, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Yum! I’ll have to try Tabasco the next time around!


natasha January 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I must have done something wrong… I just made this for dinner, and it just doesn’t taste at all like I expected it to. I didn’t marinate for a full hour… I only had about 40 minutes. Maybe that’s it?


emily January 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Natasha – Hmm… I’m sorry it didn’t turn out how you expected. I’m not sure what you were expecting. What was the trouble? Were you hoping for something sweeter? tangier? More lime-y? I’d be happy to try to help troubleshoot, if you like.


Phil January 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Thank you for this recipe. I have been a bbq, meat and potato’s kind of guy my entire life. The only fish I ever ate or cooked usually has been beer battered and fried. That being said I just turned 49, so I have been hoping to eat and cook for my wife and son in a more healthy manner. I typed in the best tilapia recipe in google and thank God I did. Found this site and this wonderful recipe. Just served to the fam today. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!


Jenn January 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Thanks for the recipe! Husband and kid approved :)


emily January 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Yay! I’m so glad you liked it!


Amanda H February 13, 2014 at 5:51 am

Let me preface with the fact that I was not a fish fan. My husband and I wanted to eat healthier and fish is something that should obviously be a regular on our menu. I found this super easy recipe and I love honey so I gave it a shot. Not ten minutes after I sat down, every single plate was completely cleared! I have two super picky toddlers and I actually had to stop them from eating too much of this. Thank you for the recipe and being that extra little step I needed on my way to eating healthier. Can’t wait to try to try the other recipes.


emily February 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

Amanda – I’m SO glad to hear it! Thank you for telling me. Yay! Hope you find many more toddler-approved favorites!


Kendra February 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I made this today. I made a few changes and it turned out fantastic! I omitted the garlic powder (onion/garlic allergy in my house), used agave instead of honey, and used rice flour to make it gluten free. I will definitely make this again.


Karla Buist February 26, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I added the extra marinade on top of the fish while cooking and it was fantastic! If your going to do frozen filets, Costco is the way to go!


Jamie Lynn February 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I am NOT a fish fan. I cannot stand the smell, let alone attempt to eat it. HOWEVER!! I have been eating much healthier and losing weight the last few months and I’ve been eating chicken every way to Thursday so now I’m trying to venture out and try new things. I know fish is supposed to be great for you. I hunted around and found tilapia is probably the mildest tasting fish, and read multiple times that it will take on the flavor of any marinade you put it in. That said, this is the first recipe I’ve found that actually sounds good (I’m PICKY as heck with food!!). I’m going grocery shopping either tomorrow or Sunday and I’ll be getting some tilapia and I plan on making this dish with it. Wish me luck and I will have to check in again to let you know if I actually like it :) Thanks for the recipe!!


Cassandra March 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Making now with a blueberry salsa to top it off! Can’t wait to try it. I’m hoping it will help me like fish, I didn’t grow up eating fish but want to start. Thanks!


Cassandra March 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm

It’s was amazing! My husband is already talking about using this marinade on everything.


emily March 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Cassandra – Blueberry Salsa sounds yummy! I’m so glad you liked the fish. Thank you for letting me know how it went!!!


Diane March 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

Trying this today!


Angela April 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Hi Emily! I just came to say this is one of our favorite recipes in our house, I have made it SO many times since you posted it. We never get tired of tilapia with this awesome recipe. Thank you!


emily April 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Oh, Angela, THANK YOU for this sweet comment today. I needed it. So glad you enjoy it! It’s one of our favorites.


Shawn Dietzer April 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

This is one of my favorite tilapia recipes of all time! It combines two of my favorite things, honey and limes! I would love to be able to share this one on my website!


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