How to Cook Tilapia from Frozen

March 3, 2019   16 Comments

Do you know how to cook tilapia from frozen? Would you want to?

How to Cook Tilapia from Frozen

Tilapia is the fourth most-consumed seafood in the USA (behind shrimp, tuna, and salmon) but I have avoided it after the first time I tried it. Years ago, I brought home tilapia and sauteed it with some butter and it tasted like dirt.

I can tell you that I didn’t want to repeat the experience so I haven’t bought it for a long time. But, since I read about food for a living, I caught an article that said new farming techniques have improved the quality of the flavor.

Since then, I created this pan fried recipe and a baked tilapia from frozen recipe.

Also, farmed tilapia is a best choice from Seafood Watch supported by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I like my fish to be sustainable.

The best choice is tilapia from Canada, Ecuador, Peru, & USA. Good alternatives include tilapia from Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico & Taiwan. Seafood Watch says to avoid tilapia sourced from China.

Tilapia costs much less per pound than your average fish so I decided to give it another go.

This bag from Costco was about $8 per pound and the fish was from Indonesia. I love how they freeze the fish in small quantities so I can cook or thaw just want I want.

I like to cook my fish from frozen like my how to cook frozen salmon without thawing in the oven post and my how to cook salmon from frozen post because I always forget to take it out of the freezer.

Call me forgetful!

The good news is that if you remember to thaw your tilapia - this recipe also works.

First, you rinse off a layer of ice with warm water and then salt the fillets on both sides.

Then, you heat some vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet up to very hot. It should be almost smoking because the fish will stick if you don’t cook it at a high enough heat. Trust me, I tried it and it was a mess (even in my non-stick pan).

Then you cook for 3 minutes a side and test to ensure it is done. I love how the high heat allows you to form a crunchy crust on the fish (almost like deep fried).

But, what about the taste? It was totally different!! It was sweet, fresh, and not very fishy. Tilapia is a great source of low fat protein and I now recommend it.

Have you tried to cook tilapia from frozen? How did you do it? What do you think of tilapia?

How to Cook Tilapia from Frozen Recipe

2.1 from 30 reviews

Makes 4 tilapia loins

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4 skinless, frozen tilapia loins (about 5 ounces each)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
lemon wedges for serving


Rinse tilapia under warm water to remove a thin layer of ice. Place on a cutting board and lightly salt both sides of the fish. Heat oil in a large non stick skillet until almost smoking. Add fish and tilt skillet to ensure oil is underneath the flllet. Cook for 3 minutes until golden brown and flip over. Cook for 3 minutes until second side is golden brown and the fish is 135 F.

Enjoy with lemon wedges.

/For one fillet of tilapia = 170 calories, 8.8 g fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 22.9 g protein, 0 g fiber, 131 mg sodium, 2 Freestyle SmartPts

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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I get some from Ingles called Regal Springs. They come from Mexico, Honduras & Indonesia. They are also frozen individually. We thaw them quickly in warm water, sprinkle McCormick’s Spicy Montreal Steak seasoning on them and grill. So good!

I have heard that it is best to avoid tilapia altogether because it is very high in Omega 6s rather than Omega 3s that are in abundance in salmon. I haven't eaten tilapia for years for this reason. I guess it's low in fat but it's not necessarily good for your heart health.

Can you do this with any frozen fish? I have some frozen cod and halibut filets. It seems like you could, but since you have a different method for salmon, I wasn’t sure. I’m sort of new to cooking fish, and I keep forgetting to take it out of the freezer

Better to avoid it. Most tilapia is now farm raised and fed corn and antibiotics just like large feed lot animals.

High in omega 6 - don’t buy the propaganda from some industry lobby group. Eat wild caught fish!

I just love it when others feel the need to tell us what and how to eat. I live in the Midwest, so finding wild caught fish is not likely to happen, and if you do find it, it is extremely expensive. Also, eating omega 6 foods occasionally will not kill you. Do not buy into the propaganda of some commenters.

Obviously, eating tilapia on an occasional basis is not going to kill you, but the problem is that Americans are eating too many Omega 6 fatty acids as opposed to Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are found in a large majority of the processed foods that American's eat. And, too high of a ratio of Omega 6s vs. Omega 3s contributes to inflammation which is the cause of many chronic diseases. I totally get that somebody living in the Midwest doesn't have access to a lot of fresh seafood. Eating tilapia from time to time isn't going to kill you, just like eating potato chips from time to time isn't going to kill you either. It's just not the healthiest fish you can eat. I live in Florida and we have access to a lot of fresh seafood, but I happen to purchase most of my seafood frozen from Costco. And right next to the frozen tilapia is the frozen salmon which is far healthier.

As others mentioned, eating farm raised fish isn’t going to kill you. However, there are so many other options. There are many types of frozen fish that are labeled wild caught. When you defrost them in the fridge, they’re as tasty as fresh fish. Just check the back of the package to make sure it says wild caught.

i will stick with dr weil;

Eating fish is good for you. But the type of fish matters – and this was true long before the alarming study about the potential drawbacks of tilapia was published in July 2008. I recommend consuming fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are plentiful in my favorite fish, wild Alaskan salmon, particularly sockeye salmon. Wild salmon from Alaska is also less likely to contain mercury and organic contaminants than other species. Almost as good is black cod, also known as sablefish, once an inexpensive fish that has lately become fashionable and rather pricey. Less expensive choices are sardines and herring, all of which provide omega-3s and are less likely to be contaminated with PCBs than larger carnivorous fish such as tuna.

If you haven’t caught up on the news about tilapia, here’s a recap: a study from researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that farm-raised tilapia, a very popular fish in the United States today, has very low levels of omega-3s and very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids (also found in seeds and nuts, and the oils extracted from them, such as cottonseed and soy oil). We get much more of these fats than we need – they’re found in most snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets. The body constructs hormones from omega-6s that tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.

The Wake Forest researchers said that the combination of fatty acids in tilapia could pose a danger for some patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases, all of which are linked to chronic inflammation. In fact, the investigators said that the fatty acid profile of tilapia is worse than that of 80-percent-lean hamburger, doughnuts and even bacon.

U.S. tilapia consumption was 1.5 million tons in 2003 and is expected to rise to 2.5 million tons by 2010, the researchers reported. After analyzing farmed tilapia from various commercial sources, they found that it contained less than a half a gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 100 grams of fish – similar to amounts found in flounder and swordfish. Farmed salmon and trout tested a little better, but still contained only dismal amounts.

So, is tilapia healthy? I would not characterize eating farmed tilapia as “dangerous,” but there are certainly better choices out there. If I were you, I would avoid tilapia and stick to the fish I recommend for their omega-3 content. Wild Alaskan salmon is much more expensive than many other types of fish – if you can’t afford it or can’t find it locally, canned salmon and sardines will give you omega-3s. I especially like canned wild sockeye salmon from Alaska.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

thanks George. I tried keto, not for me. It worked great for my daughter who in 9 months has lost 75lbs, but I am diabetic and pretty much wheel chair bound. My Aerobic exercise and walking days are over. But I need to lose weight, keep glucose levels in check.

I like to fact-check claims that seem a little off base, by going to university-based websites or even Snopes. Both Berkeley Wellness and Snopes debunk the idea that tilapia is bad for you because of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio. Yes, it does not have the good omegas that salmon has, but we need to be eating a variety of fish, and if you get it from a good source, it’s a good healthy choice.

A lady named Sue back in March 2019, commented that tilapia was not a healthy fish. I disagree with her. The following link shares all the information I need to know about tilapia. I say eat and enjoy and thank you for your share.

Bla bla bla... so sick of it. If I feel like eating som gd tilapia, I'm going to do it. If I feel like eating a f'ing donut, I'm going to. Who called in the food police, and who deputized YOU all to be food police.. get a life and EN- FCKNG-JOY your life.... You may get hit by a truck tomorrow.

I agree with you, Ann, but you really need to loosen up your panties a bit. Chill... :)

Agree 100% with Ann. Eat some gd tilapia and get rid of something much worse, like that Big Mac, coke, fries.

Plus, a 12 year old study? No way, so many things change even in one year. Remember when they thought smoking was ok? As long those lines, For that matter, we used to think that swallowing tapeworms made for ithe perfect diet plan or when the cocaine in Coca-Cola was a good source of energy?

Haha! I was just trying to find out how to cook the frozen tilapia that found its way into my Kroger Click List bag by accident. I’m thankful for my free tilapia :-) And, thank you to the helpful comment regarding a seasoning other than just salt and pepper!

Off to use vegetable oil to cook my free fish, along with some frozen rice from a bag, and fresh strawberries from Mexico. My three littles and my hubby will hopefully enjoy!

Hi LaWanda, I’m from the Midwest too!

Excellent recipe just in time as I had not thawed my tilapia for dinner. I get the whole thing about Omega 3 vs 6, but on the other hand, my husband and I do not eat processed food, so the amount of Omega 6 we eat is much less and I enjoy tilapia, Love trout, but in Arizona its hard to find, and eat cod and salmon but not with any enjoyment. So let me have my tilapia pl3ease!!!! Also I thought we were supposed to be reviewing the recipe, not the ingredients. This is an excellent easy reicpe and I added a sprinkle of panko on top for a little crunch and we enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for the recipe.


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