Tilapia With Cilantro-Lemon Butter

November 15, 2009 by Ali

“Looks like we made it…. Look how far we’ve come now baby…!”

Ok, I’m actually not a big country music fan, but wahoo!!! Made it through seven days in a row of yummy, affordable recipes on the blog for Cheap Eats Week! And have had a delightful, and delicious time in the process. :) It’s always so fun to see how — with a little creativity, and a little prior planning — healthy and satisfying meals really can be made on a dime.

To finish off the week, I leave you with one of my favorite fish recipes that always gets rave reviews. I used a few (tiny, as you can see!) tilapia filets that I had in the freezer, but you can definitely substitute in whatever light, white fish you’d prefer. The highlight of this recipe is without a doubt the cilantro-lemon butter. It’s super-easy to prepare, but tastes absolutely wonderful. And for whatever reason, people always absolutely l-o-v-e the presentation of fish served with this colorful butter melting on top.

The other fun bonus is that the butter and seasoning blend can easily be prepared in advance. So if you’re entertaining, or just looking for a speedy dinner to prepare, you can literally prepare this recipe in under 10 minutes. A definite classic in my home — enjoy!! :)

Tilapia With Cilantro-Lemon Butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 filets


  • Fish Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Cilantro-Lemon Butter Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, quartered


To make the butter, simply combine the first five "cilantro-lime butter" ingredients together in a bowl and use a spoon to stir/mash until blended. Store in refrigerator if not used immediately.

To prepare fish, combine first four "fish ingredients"; sprinkle over both sides of fish and then lightly coat fish with cooking spray. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place fish on a serving platter and top with a dollop of cilantro-lemon butter. Serve with a lemon wedge, to be squeezed on top of the fish.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

(c) 2013 Gimme Some Oven. All rights reserved.

Ali’s Tip:

Be sure that your cilantro-lime butter is not too cold when you serve this recipe. Otherwise, it may not melt quickly enough. So especially if you have prepared the butter in advance, let it come to room temperature before placing on top of the fish!

filed in Entrees, Seafood

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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8 thoughts on “Tilapia With Cilantro-Lemon Butter

  1. Thanks Ali! My fianc√© is an official cilantro-junkie now :) I made this dish on Valentine’s day, and served it with your recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and onions (I used a red onion) and my home-made glazed carrots to give it that pinkish lovey-dovey flair for this day. He loved everything and now loves me even more! Thanks so much for sharing!

    - Odiah

  2. Sounds wonderful! Looks really pretty too! :)

    - sheila @ Elements

  3. Wow! I absolutely loved this one! I think I’ll use a little less cilantro next time but boy was it tasty! YUM :)

    - Wendy

  4. Have you tried using pimenton in place of paparika? I buy mine at the farmers market. It is like a super-smoky paparika and honestly goes great by itself on tilapia with a little olive oil thrown on first. I first fell in love with it when I saw this article on the NYT website:

    - Dalton

    • Hi Dalton!

      Thanks so much for the suggestion — YUM!! I actually hadn’t yet heard of pimenton, but it sounds right up my alley. Will look for some the next time I’m at the spice market — very fun! :)


      - ali

  5. The butter looks delicious with the tilapia! thanks for sharing :)

    - Karine

  6. when making the butter do you put the whole lemon in there or do you just use the juice from it? this dish sounds great! can’t wait to make it!

    - Jenn

  7. i loved your cheap eats series! thanks for posting, and i’ll definitely be trying these recipes out!

    - yum!