This easy fish dish is on the table in about 10 minutes!

Blackened tilapia is seasoned with a homemade blackened seasoning and panfried for a quick weeknight meal.

plated Blackened Tilapia with rice

What is Blackened Fish?

On a recent trip I was able to enjoy the most amazing blackened fish created for us by a chef in a hotel in New Orleans. Blackened fish was shared by Chef Paul Prudhomme (in New Orleans), and it is well-loved for good reason – it’s very simple and delicious.

This recipe uses tilapia, but any white fish will work.  I use a simple DIY blackened seasoning and rub it over the outside of the fish. It’s then panfried until cooked and browned on the outside, the perfect blackened fish!

How to Blacken Fish

Blackening fish means brushing fish with butter and rubbing it with a blackened seasoning mixture.  The fish is then usually fried in a cast iron pan (but you can make blackened tilapia in the oven as well).

Because of the butter and seasonings, the outside of the fish will turn a dark “blackened” color while keeping it fork tender and flaky inside.

Uncooked tilapia with lemon slices on baking sheet ready to go into oven

What is Blackened Seasoning?

Blackened Seasoning is a spice mix that creates a delicious crust on fish, chicken, or other meats.  The ingredients can vary from restaurant to restaurant and chef to chef. 

My recipe contains oregano, paprika, and garlic/onion powder. Other optional additions are thyme, smoked paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat.

Bowl of seasoning mix for blakened tilapia

Holly’s Tips

  • Blackened seasoning can be replaced with cajun seasoning if desired.
  • Use vegetable oil or canola oil, as it has a higher smoke point than olive oil.
  • Double or triple the spice mixture for future recipes.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice overtop if desired.
Cooked Blackened Tilapia in baking dish

More Fish Recipes You’ll Love

Did you enjoy this recipe for Blackened Tilapia? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!

close up of Blackened Tilapia
5 from 49 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Blackened Tilapia

Tender flaky tilapia fillets coated with blackened seasoning and pan-fried. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Cast Iron Skillet with white background
1 Cast Iron Skillet For stovetop method
a rimmed baking pan
1 Baking Sheet For oven method
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Ingredients  

  • 4 tilapia fillets or other white fish
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Blackened Seasoning

  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar optional
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Combine seasonings & brown sugar in a small bowl.
  • Rub both sides of the fish with the seasoning mix.
  • Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Once hot, add the seasoned fish and a few of the lemon slices and cook 3 minutes per side or just until opaque (do not overcook).
  • Serve with remaining lemon.

Notes

To Cook in the Oven
  1. Turn the broiler onto high and place oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Line rimmed baking pan with foil if desired.
  2. Add the tilapia fillets and a few lemon slices. Broil for 3 minutes. Flip fish and additional 3-4 minutes until tender and flaky. Do not overcook.
  3. Serve with remaining lemon.
5 from 49 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 265 | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 426mg | Potassium: 592mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Seasonings
Cuisine American

dish of Blackened Tilapia with writing
plated Blackened Tilapia with writing
close up of Blackened Tilapia with writing
Blackened Tilapia in the dish and plated with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I eliminated the black pepper (I can’t digest it) and subbed with cayenne pepper. Excellent. First time I tried using sugar in my blacking mix and found it somewhat balanced the stronger spices. Not sure if I will add it again but overall this was extremely tasty.5 stars

  2. As a dietetics student who loves to cook, this recipe was a hit! I always challenge myself to find recipes that are nutritious and delicious. My picky boyfriend also loved this one. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  3. This tilapia dish is absolutely delicious! I also love that I already had all the ingredients on hand!
    This will become a regular at our home. Thank you so much!5 stars

  4. This is my go to tilapia recipe. Fast, seasonings on hand. Reheats nicely in the air fryer too.
    I serve with steamed broccoli.
    Thank you for sharing!5 stars

    1. Hi Matthew, once cooked it should last in the fridge 2-3 days. If prepping in advance I would recommend prepping the seasoning separately and then rubbing it on the fish before cooking as directed in the recipe.

  5. Sooo yummy!! The perfect amount of “spice”. I made a tartar sauce with some mayo, relish, salt, pep, and lemon juice. So good! I will definitely be making this again.5 stars

  6. Love this recipe! It’s now a staple in our house & all 5 of my kids love it. I don’t usually add the brown sugar & I triple the spices to really coat the fish thoroughly. I serve it with calabacitas & spanish rice, healthy & delicious!5 stars

  7. I doubled the recipe because I was making eight fillets. On the two largest, I only dusted one side, and the rest both. I thought my husband might not like the spiciness! Instead, He said it was terrific and ate two more portions that were dusted on both sides!! :) He said, “we can have this again anytime!!” so I guess it will go into the rotation. Thanks for a great recipe.5 stars

    1. This post contains no stories or personal information. I have included info only related to the recipe and ingredients as cooks of all levels enjoy this site.

      In the future, there is a jump to recipe button at the top of each post that will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that helps. Enjoy!

    2. That was very unkind to post, Bob. I didn’t want to read your RUDE comment, only comments about the recipe, but here it is… So please stop with the unnecessary comments. Nobody cares.

      P.S. – the recipe was delicious!!!5 stars

  8. Loved this. I can’t believe how good it turned out. Used cooking spray instead of butter. We’re going to try this with fish tacos next. Then I may try it with chicken.5 stars

  9. I made this on yesterday and it was delicious. I also added some blackened seasoning which gave the fish a spicy kick. I will be making this again.5 stars