Honey Lime Tilapia (df)

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Honey Lime Tilapia – Crispy pan-fried tilapia with a sweet honey lime marinade. This tasty recipe is 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

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Honey Lime Tilapia

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4.9 from 51 reviews

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x



For the fish and marinade:

  • 4 (4-5oz) tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For dredging and cooking:

  • 1/2c flour (I tried both white flour and whole wheat pastry flour with good results)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 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!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main dish, seafood
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

This Honey Lime Tilapia is so good it converts kids and fish haters alike. It's our favorite!


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  1. 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!

      1. 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.

          1. 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!

        1. 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.

          1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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