How to Saute Tilapia

by Serena Styles

Saute in a large, flat-bottomed skillet for best results.

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Sautéing is a cooking method that uses intense heat and a small amount of oil to cook foods. Sautéed food has a crispy, browned exterior and retains interior moisture. Sautéing tilapia seals in the fish’s natural flavor and keeps the meat tender. If you are eating tilapia for its nutritional benefits, look for wild-caught tilapia, rather than farm-raised. According to Science Daily, farm-raised tilapia contains low amounts of beneficial nutrients and an unhealthy, high amount of fat. Sauté tilapia with a serving of vegetables, not only to complete the meal, but to infuse the meat with a fresh flavor.

Pour the olive oil into the skillet, and place it over medium heat.

Add the chopped vegetables, and stir them for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are tender yet crisp. Slide the veggies to one side of the skillet.

Rub the seasonings over all sides of the tilapia fillets, and place them into the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high.

Allow the tilapia fillets to cook for 5 minutes per side or until they begin to turn golden brown. When the tilapia is fully cooked it will turn an opaque white and flake easily when picked at with a fork. While the tilapia cooks, stir the vegetables occasionally to keep them from burning.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and serve the sautéed tilapia with the vegetables on the side or on top.


  • If you have a different type of oil you prefer, use it instead, but be sure it can withstand medium heat or higher without smoking.

    Alternatively, use 16-oz. of chopped tilapia, tossed with the seasonings. Stir it frequently over the course of 8 minutes.

    Refrigerate leftover tilapia immediately, and consume it within 48 hours.

    If you choose to forgo the chopped vegetables, add a pinch of seasonings to the oil before sautéing the tilapia.


  • Science Daily: Tilapia
  • "Tilapia"; Isidro Jaramillo Sanint; 2008
  • "Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking"; Mark Bittman; 1999

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images