Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro

I happen to really, really love fish (do you?). But sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out what to do with it. Since it’s usually more expensive than other meats, it’s risky, man, risky! I don’t want to ruin it with a bad recipe and then end up crying over the loss of good fish and spent money. That’s why I fall back on the few tried-and-true fish recipes I have and rarely branch out.

A MKC reader-friend of mine (that’s the official term for all of you who have become email buddies with me through the years!), Danielle, alerted me to this tilapia recipe that was roaming through Pinterest. With all the rave reviews, I felt the risk was low, and let me tell you, it is a winner. I was dying over it’s tastiness when I made it the first time last summer. The flavors are crazy good: fresh cilantro, kickin’ jalapeno, toasty sesame oil and several others. We eat this about once a month and it continues to be a family favorite. Tilapia is a great fish to cook with if you aren’t a huge fish fan (and even if you are!). It has a mild taste and takes on a myriad of flavors delightfully well.

Literally taking 15 minutes from start to finish, this just might be the quickest meal in my repertoire, and trust me, I’m not complaining about that. Our favorite way to serve it is with baked brown rice (which takes the quick points down a bit), fresh fruit and steamed broccoli or asparagus.

Healthy, tasty and fast as can be…who can argue with that?

Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro

One Year Ago: Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Two Years Ago: Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls
Three Years Ago: Teriyaki Meatballs
Four Years Ago: Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro

Yield: Serves 4-6

Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro


  • 4-6 tilapia fillets (about 2 pounds)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger (from about a 2-inch piece that has been peeled)
  • 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup white wine or fish stock or chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions for garnish
  • Extra cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Pat the tilapia fillets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the fish in a glass or ceramic baking dish.
  2. Place the jalapenos, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, wine or stock, sesame oil and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse or process until blended. I prefer this finely processed but you can really leave it as coarsely or finely chopped as you like. Pour the sauce over the fish. Rub the sauce into the fish lightly.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through (it's ok if it is slightly gelatinous still). Using a spatula, scoop the fish out of the pan and place on a plate or platter. Drizzle some of the sauce over the top and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: all over Pinterest originally from The Kitchn

41 Responses to Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro

  1. Natalie says:

    This was awesome!! I was nervous it would be spicy, but it wasn’t. My kids were skeptical because of the green mystery sauce all over the fish, but after one bite, everyone inhaled their plates. Definitely a hit for the family and much healthier than the mayo/parmesan combo I usually plop on tilapia. THANK YOU!!!

  2. Lynn says:

    This was so easy, and super delicious! We are growing serrano peppers in our garden, so I used those and loved having something we actually grew in our dish. Loved how fast it was to prep and cook. I used the leftovers with your mango salsa from the shrimp and mango salsa lettuce wraps. Added a splash of soy sauce to the mango salsa, chopped the fish, added some rice, and it was like a whole new meal with half the work.

  3. Angela says:

    I made this for dinner last night. It had some strong flavors… good, but it might be a while before I make it again, which I WILL do because the husband liked it. I guess I’m a bit of a wuss. And it was pretty salty. I would eliminate the light salting of the fish before it gets covered in sauce. Not a disappointment, though. Definitely worth eating.

  4. robyn says:

    has anyone tried this on salmon? <3

  5. Jocy says:

    I made this today, without the jalapeΓ±os, and I just have to say this dish is Delicious! Thank you so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  6. Caroline says:

    thanks for this great recipe, Mel! My husband bought a HUGE bag of frozen tilapia and if it wasn’t for this, we would never have made it through! I’m not a big tilapia fan but this sauce was fantastic over and over and over again. Heck, I might even buy more fish! πŸ™‚

  7. […] 2. Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro […]

  8. Maureen says:

    Hi Mel,

    Looking over the healthy recipes today and would like to try this one — my family loves fish. I’ve discovered though, that I am one of those people who eat cilantro and taste soap. (I kept wondering why our local Mexican restaurant’s guacamole had more than a hint of Palmolive and yet remained so popular…) Since I have no clue what the true flavor of cilantro is, I have no idea what would make a good substitute for it. Usually I just leave it out, but it is a pretty substantial ingredient here. Would you have a recommendation for a substitute? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Maureen – to be honest, in this recipe, I’m not sure there is a great substitute since cilantro is so prominent. You could try subbing it with parsley but I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure if it would affect the overall flavor good or bad. Good luck if you try it!

  9. Sarah says:

    This is delicious! We’ve been trying to eat more fish, but I don’t love it and never looked forward to the nights fish was on the schedule–until I made this! It was a huge hit with my entire family, and so quick! I’ve made quite a few of your recipes this month and am a huge fan; every one has been delicious!!

  10. Jenny says:

    I have a question: with the jalapeno peppers in this, is it spicy?

  11. Stacey says:

    *standing ovation* (!!!) DELICIOUS

  12. Stephanie says:

    We had this for dinner tonight and it was SO yummy! And I easily had it on the table in 30 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Ella says:

    I tried this recipe tonight and was pretty disappointed. I enjoy your blog and several recipes I have tried have been very good (buttermilk banana bread, sweet and sour chicken, just to name a couple). But, this recipe is not up to par and I would not label it a “quick” meal either.

  14. my hubby LOVES fish! those pictures looks so good. i will be making this for him for sure! and me. πŸ™‚

  15. Army of 7 says:

    Thank you for all your hard work Mel! I made this for dinner tonight & it was awesome! Simple & delish! I had everything on hand, which was ever better. When I told my 4 yr old daughter we were having fish for dinner she said “Ew, please take the head off mine” & she had seconds. Thanks again!

  16. Julie P says:

    Love your blog and recipes, Mel, but if you’d ever consider putting entire posts in the RSS feed I’d be thankful. Will prob unsubscribe and just bookmark the blog for awhile with the truncated feed.

  17. Deb says:

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delish! Really loved the sauce. Gave great flavor to the fish. I kinda combined two of your recipes for a side – the baked brown rice and the orange cashew rice. I used brown jasmine rice and added some orange juice, orange zest and sesame oil to the baked brown rice recipe. SO good πŸ™‚

  18. Dana says:

    This was just as you said, super easy and very good! The flavors were bright and fresh. My hubby ended up working late so I turned into a “salad” just for me. I put some fresh spinach on the plate with the hot fish and sauce over it, wilting it just a bit, with a squeeze of lime, YUM!

  19. heidi says:

    I made this last night and it was really good. I didn’t have jalepenos on hand so i used a can of green chilis with great results!

  20. Sarah says:

    Had this tonight and it was a huge hit. We sided it with a coconut cilantro rice asparagus and oranges. Yummy! Thanks again – I’ve never ever made a bad recipe here. Thank you. My family thinks I’ve become some sort of gourmet maven even when I tell them that I don’t make anything without explicit directions. But I’ll take the compliment anyway.

  21. Andrea says:

    Thanks, I need fish recipes too. I actually tried out a fish version of your Broiled Parmesan and Lemon Chicken that a reader commented she’d made with fish. It was DIVINE! And the first time I made it was the first time I’ve every tried cooking fish (that wasn’t already breaded any way πŸ™‚ ) Super fast and easy.

  22. Danielle H. says:

    I was just making my menu for the next couple of weeks, and you reminded me how much I love this! I knew you would too!

  23. Susan from WA says:

    We devoured this for dinner tonight, Mel. Very tasty and flavorful – thank you! We also snarfed down Ham Pasta Skillet for lunch, enjoyed your Lion’s Rolls yesterday, and made our Christmas goody plates entirely off your site. I know, it’s probably a disorder. πŸ™‚

  24. Erin says:

    Now that you live in the frozen north you have access to Walleye! You just need to make friends with a generous fisherman! Lots of people who fish frequently will be happy to share their catch with you since you can only have one limit of fish in your possession at once. Walleye is so good, it’s very mild and flakey.

  25. Shannon says:

    I don’t know about the pros and cons of tilapia other than that it is my all time favorite fish! I’m always looking for new recipes and this one looks like a winner! Can’t wait to try it. Picked up the ingredients today.

  26. heather j says:

    Sounds delish! Wondering though if this would be good with halibut? My husband went on a fishing trip this summer and returned with a TON of halibut and it needs eating.

  27. I am not a big fish eater. So I always struggle to find recipes. Love that this one is so quick. Thank you for posting!

  28. Jestine says:

    oh…and cheese πŸ˜‰

  29. Jestine says:

    The ginger intrigues me! We’ll have to give this s try, as I’m often have “cooker’s block” when it comes to tilapia. HOWEVER, I did recently have a simply alfredo pasta meal with tilapia in it (Cook tilapia in pan, add alfredo sauce {homemade obviously the route to go}, and stir until tilapia is broken up in the sauce. Put over fettucini noodles and done!) It was so delicious. You’ll have to try it soon when you’re in a stump

  30. Mel says:

    Patrick – shockingly in my frozen tundra and in my small town, I have access to some relatively good seafood via a small trading post in town. They carry everything from shrimp to tilapia to snow crab. It is a little pricey but since we only eat it a couple times a month (thanks to a rigorous grocery budget), it’s worth the splurge.

    Cheri, Erin and others – thanks for the articles! A great way for everyone to educate themselves and make the best choice they can.

  31. Terry A. says:

    I am like you, Mel – always preparing my fish the same way, whether it be tilapia, cod, walleye, or any other white fish that may be available. Thanks for sharing a new recipe to try!

  32. Jenna says:

    We love tilapia. Totally making this soon!

  33. Cheri says:

    Quoting the article [email protected] Small Things linked: “They report that a 3-ounce portion of catfish or tilapia contains 67 and 134 milligrams respectively of the bad fat (the same amount of 80 percent lean hamburger contains 34 milligrams, and bacon 191 milligrams). ”

    I feel better about eating hamburger now. But definitely need to kick the bacon. πŸ™‚

    On a side note, I think the recipes on this blog are delicious and am committed to trying as many as I can. Thank you!

  34. I just know this is delicious! Pinning πŸ™‚

  35. Patrick says:

    Tilapia is ok, but it does need a lot of help. I’m curious what you’re paying for it up there in the frozen tundra; it seems to have become fairly ubiquitous in frozen food cases all over the place.


    Here’s a different point of view from 2 Mayo Clinic nutritionists who are still eating tilapia. Both articles (from Cheri and from me) were published in 2008, fwiw.

    Thanks, Mel!

  37. Kim in MD says:

    The flavors in this fish dish sound delicious, Mel!

  38. Cheri says:

    Talapia is not a very healthy choice for fish. May make recipe with other type.

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