honey lime tilapia (df)

Honey Lime Tilapia – Good enough to convert any fish hater.

Honey Lime Tilapia // 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 // 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 // One Lovely Life

5.0 from 37 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


  1. Andrea says

    Awesome. I wanted tilapia tonight, but was growing weary of our favorite recipe (I make it once a week). This will be perfect cause I have all the ingredients! Thank you!

  2. Cookie says

    This dish looks so yummy.

    I wonder if you could bake it. The honey would caramelize in the oven from the natural sugars. Alternatively, maybe use a non-stick pan.

  3. says

    This looks so good, I have tilapia in my sink defrost and have no clue what to do with it. Thanks for the recipe, I will be trying this today.

  4. says

    The tilapia looks delious!! I will have to try this recipe. My hubby and I love fish, and he has been talking about buying some tilapia, so I’m going to give this recipe a try. Yummy! Also, you are so right about when we marry and how the different foods come into play. I cook and eat more German meals now, and he enjoys American meals. It is lots of fun trying new foods.

  5. Janet J. says

    I cooked this for dinner tonight. Simply delicious and it was as quick and easy as you described. This is a keeper! The lime juice was a perfect compliment. The green slices of lime looked cool and refreshing on the serving plate. I used whole wheat pastry flour and a small amount of olive oil. Not greasy at all.

  6. Gigi says

    Hi. I just tried your Honey Lime Tilapia. I did not have any Tilapia so I used what I had which was catfish. It was so good. Thank you for such a light and healthy recipe for fish.

    • Kat says

      I totally feel the same way. Been trying out some tilapia recipes to make myself like fish and so far only found one. But am excited to try this one too!!!

  7. Liz says

    This is a fantastic recipe! I made it for dinner tonight and my husband and I both loved it. I served it with roasted corn salsa and black beans and rice…very tasty and very simple! Thanks for the post!

  8. Nicki says

    Emily, this recipe is SO yummy! I made if for dinner tonight and adapted it into fish tacos. DELISH! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I’m sure you could bake it without losing any flavor, but I don’t think the texture would be the same. I’m not one for deep-frying, and these didn’t feel greasy or heavy at all, since you don’t use much oil in the pan for pan-frying.

  9. Allison says

    I made this tonight with the peach salsa and OMG! It was a total hit in my house. Even my picky eater husband loved it! Thank you so much :)

  10. kim says

    I made this for dinner tonight and I can’t believe how flavorful the fish was! I was a little skeptical at how few ingredients were in the marinade but this is one I will make again!

  11. says

    Great recipe! I made it with cod, and used butter in the pan instead of oil and it was delish. I also boiled up the marinade while the fish was cooking and poured it over to serve. The sweet taste of the honey and the sour taste of the lime were great together.

  12. Susan McAlinden says

    Thank you for the recipe! We are not “fish people”, and we are trying to be….and your recipe is VERY appreciated!

    This is an unusual question, but I would really appreciate an answer if you don’t mind. I found a blog that had 5 main course suggestions for a week, plus one dessert, plus one snack. The blog used to list the recipes on it’s blog, but now it links to other blogs. It picked your fish recipe to link to, and that’s how I found this fish recipe. I lost the website for that blog, and I wondered if you know it? I didn’t know if it linked to your blog without your knowing, or if you were aware that another blog linked to yours for the fish recipe.

    Thank you SO much for your response! It is OK to e-mail me!


    • says

      Susan, no worries! I’ll email you as well, but the blog is called Can I Get the Recipe. The post you’re talking about can be found here. They do a great job of giving lots of good ideas!

  13. Chelsea says

    I had some limes sitting on the counter, staring at me, begging me to do something great with them. I made these tilapia filets tonight (minus the honey, I have a thing about sweet and savory). Awesome! Thanks for posting!

  14. ash says

    i am eating this as i write this and the recipe is AMAZING !!! sooo good! i needed a new way to cook tilapia and this is it!

  15. says

    I can’t believe I have no limes on hand, but I need to cook my tilapia tonight! I do have a lemon, so I’m trying it with that…I’m pretty sure it will be almost as amazing! :)

    • says

      Amy–We often eat ours with refried black beans (Rosarita brand is our favorite). You can also pair it with a salad or a corn and black bean relish. Or sometimes we just go simple and serve it with fruit and fruit dip. Best of luck!

  16. Katie Dobbins says

    I made this tonight and added chili powder to the flour mixture. It added a little kick! Very good recipe! Kids and hubby gobbled it up!

  17. Shannon says

    This was so easy to put together & the flavors really blew me away. It was awesome. Takes a lot for fish to be a “wow” entree for me but this did exactly that. Will be on a regular rotation in my recipe box. Thanks so much!!!

  18. Felicia says

    AMAZING!!! I made this yesterday and tonight… I definitely agree that the 24 hour marinated fillet turned out so much better and had tons more flavor. I also have to remember from now on to only cook it on medium heat… my stove gets way too hot! :-p
    Absolutely delicious!!! Will be making this again and again (and again!)

  19. Cindy says

    All I can say is “WOW”! I really enjoyed the citrus-y sweetness of the marinade. I won’t do a single thing different the next time I make this. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  20. Vanessa says

    Made this for dinner and it was a hit! Both me and my boyfriend loved it! I’ll be making this again soon. Thank you!

  21. says

    I’m so going to try this. I reblogged and linked to your site about your recipe. Check out my blog to see what I paired it with! YUM!


  22. Heather Abernathy says

    For a gluten free version, substitute the flour with Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix…..it was super yummy!!!;-) What a great recipe, thanks for sharing!!

    • says

      Heather – Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve had lots of gluten-free readers hoping for a substitution like this. THANKS SO MUCH!

  23. Julie says

    This is a regular in our dinner rotation now! We use the marinade and grill the fish! So good! Thanks!

  24. Amanda says

    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for a while, and I finally got around to it tonight. My husband and I loved it! The flavor of the fish was fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Erin says

    I found your blog through Pinterest and just printed this off to make for tomorrow. I’ve never really liked fish, but my husband does. Though, recently I tried tilapia and fell in love with it. I can’t wait to try this recipe. We fix a lot of tex-mex type meals in our family, and my husband is on a gluten free diet. I’m going to try using brown rice flour instead of the regular flour for him, and pair it with a black bean, corn, and avacado quinoa recipe we’re wanting to try as well. :) Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  26. Alicia says

    I bought a package of 10 tilapia today at Costco. I went online and found this recipe. This was seriously easy to fix. I only marinated it for an hour, but the subtle lime and honey mixture was just right. It was a big hit with my husband and 13-yr-old son. Take care not to overcook the fish. It really only needs 3 1/2 minutes per side on a medium heat. I plan to marinate, then freeze the 6 filets that I did not cook today. My husband wants me to add this one to the lineup, and I agree. Yummy!

  27. Safia says

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

  28. says

    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!

  29. says

    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!

  30. McKenzie says

    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!

  31. says

    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!!

  32. Jennifer says

    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!

  33. Sheila says

    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.

  34. Emma Mead says

    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!

  35. Stephanie says

    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.

    • says

      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!

  36. Melissa says

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

  37. Teri says

    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.

  38. Aliz says

    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

  39. Alexandrah says

    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!

  40. EllenL says

    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!

  41. Jessica says

    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!

  42. Alan R. says

    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!

      • Alan R. says

        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.

          • Alan R. says

            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!

        • Not a very good cook says

          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.

          • says

            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!

  43. DyMond says

    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!

  44. natasha says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  45. Phil says

    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!

  46. Amanda H says

    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.

  47. Kendra says

    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.

  48. Karla Buist says

    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!

  49. Jamie Lynn says

    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!!

  50. Cassandra says

    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!

  51. Angela says

    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!

  52. says

    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!

  53. momfromaz says

    Best fish I have ever had. I printed this recipe off a year ago and have been making it since. Husband loves it too. I have also used cod.

  54. michele says

    This was DELICIOUS!! We had to make ours gluten free so we just used better batter flour for the coating. It was so good that even the kids had seconds. Thanks for a great recipe! Quick, Easy and Tasty!

  55. chelsea says

    Hi Emily, I found this recipe on Pinterest and was curious if you could replace the lime juice/zest with lemon? Another question was whenever I cook fish like this the breading usually falls off even if i don’t touch the fish while it’s cooking.

  56. nicole says

    I have never made Tilapia before. this was so delicious! great recipe! will add it to my favorites list !

  57. says

    Gotta tell you …this fish and peach salsa was AMAZING – a total hit with everyone in our family. In fact, I’m going to make another recipe of the marinade and get some more tilapia ready for another meal. Love the idea of freezing the fish in the marinade and pulling it out for a quick dinner (of course, you have to remember to defrost it). LOL.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  58. Stacey says

    I made this about a month ago and it was sooo delicious. It’s marinating in the fridge as we speak for dinner tonight.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful, delicious and simple recipe!

  59. Marnie says

    This marinade sounds delish, however, my husband is deathly allergic to all seafood. Would this work, as written, with boneless chicken breasts?

    • says

      Marnie – Sorry to hear that! The marinade and coating DO work on chicken. You will have to cook the chicken longer than you would fish, adding a few minutes to the cook time for each side. Hope that helps!

  60. Misty says

    I made this for supper tonight and my 5 and 6 year old girls loved it. Not to mention my man. He suggested that I make this way all the time. The girls love tilapia but we were getting burned out cooking it the same way all the time. Now I have another awesome recipe to break it up. Thank you so much.

  61. Beth Nielsen says

    Made this for dinner last night for myself, my husband and adult son (who seems to always drop by at dinner time!). Served it with Aglio e Olio as I couldn’t find peaches and we all absolutely loved it! I will surely make again and again! I’m a “seasoned” cook at 68 years old and humbly thank you for “teaching” me some new tricks!!!

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