Blackened Tilapia


5 from 10 votes
Jump to RecipeJump to Video

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

This blackened tilapia recipe is perfectly seasoned and grilled to perfection. It’s ultra flavorful and cooks in just 10 minutes.

Craving more blackened protein? Try my blackened chicken, blackened shrimp, and blackened salmon next.

blackened tilapia.

I adore cooking with tilapia, as it’s a mild-flavored fish that benefits from the generous use of different spices, especially my homemade blackened seasoning! 

The tilapia fillets first are first seasoned using a mix of aromatic spices and then seared in a hot pan until they are crispy on both sides and have their signature blackened look. 

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make blackened tilapia
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More healthy seafood dinners
  8. Blackened Tilapia (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Quick and easy.  From prep to plate, you can have this fish on the table in just 10 minutes!
  • Few ingredients. To cook this versatile protein, you need only a few spices, olive oil, butter, and a few tilapia fillets. 
  • So much flavor. You get a mix of sweet, spicy, tangy, and smoky flavors in one.
  • Healthy. Tilapia is a classic white fish with very little fat and tons of protein.
  • Family friendly. My family loves that it doesn’t have a fishy taste whatsoever.

★★★★★ REVIEW 

“Delicious!! Seasoning is perfect and one of our favorites!”Billy

Ingredients needed

  • Tilapia. You can use both skin-on and skinless fillets. I prefer skinless fillets because I don’t usually eat the skin anyway.
  • Blackening spices. The spice mix used for this blackened fish recipe includes onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, smoked paprika, and dried thyme. 
  • Salt. To taste. 
  • Olive oil. To sear the fish fillets. Any neutral oil works, like vegetable oil.

How to make blackened tilapia

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 – Mix all spices in a small bowl.

blackened seasoning mix.

Step 2- Season the tilapia fillets with the spice mixture generously. Ensure both sides are covered.

seasoned tilapia fillets.

Step 3 – Sear it. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the fish and cook it for 5 minutes per side until it’s crispy on both sides.

blackened fish.

What to serve with blackened fish

Use the tilapia as the main protein source at dinner, and add some potatoes and vegetables to complete the meal. Here are some ideas:

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Use frozen tilapia fillets. You don’t have to use fresh tilapia fillets. Simply thaw the frozen fillets in the fridge overnight. Then, pat them dry with paper towels and cook them using the blackening technique. 
  • You’ll know the fish is fully cooked once it flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in color.
  • Dip the uncooked fillets in melted butter. Doing this is a great way to help all the spices stick to the fish. 
  • Oven bake them. If you prefer oven-baking your fish, you can easily do that with this recipe. Heat the oven to 200C/400F and bake the seasoned tilapia fillets for 10 to 12 minutes. 
  • Air fry them. Similar to my air fryer tilapia, simply place the seasoned fillets in the air fryer basket and cook for 10 minutes at 200C/400F, flipping once.
  • Make blackened fish tacos by serving the fish in soft tortillas with cabbage slaw and avocado.

Storage instructions

To store: Transfer leftovers into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. 

To reheat: Heat up the leftover fish in a covered skillet over medium heat or in the oven at 180C/350F until warm.

tilapia blackened.

Frequently asked questions

Is this gluten-free?

Yes, blackened tilapia is gluten-free and suitable for celiacs. My only suggestion is to avoid using a pre-made blackened seasoning as they can contain anti-caking agents which can contain gluten.

More healthy seafood dinners

blackened tilapia recipe.

Blackened Tilapia

5 from 10 votes
This blackened tilapia recipe is perfectly seasoned and grilled to perfection. It's ultra-flavorful and cooks in just 10 minutes. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 11 minutes



  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 fillets tilapia 4-6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and dried thyme until combined.
  • Rub the spice mix over each fillet of fish.
  • Add the oil to a large cast iron skillet and cook the fish for 5 minutes, before flipping and cooking for another 5 minutes. 
  • Once the fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in the center, it's ready to servr.


TO STORE: Transfer leftover tilapia into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. 
TO REHEAT: Heat up the leftover fish in a covered skillet over medium heat or in the oven at 180C/350F until warm.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 35gFat: 10gSodium: 673mgPotassium: 574mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 576IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 1g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published February 2023, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

You May Also Like

5 from 10 votes (7 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


    1. Hi! I am new to cooking fish . Would love to make this but don’t know what temperature to cook it in the cast iron pan. Can you help me please? Thank you!