Honey Lime Tilapia

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Honey Lime Tilapia with a crispy exterior and the most amazing honey lime flavor. Easy to make and a favorite for kids.

258 CAL 15g CARBS 8g FAT 32g PROTEIN
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The best recipe for tilapia with a crispy coating and tons of honey lime flavor. This easy Honey Lime Tilapia recipe is ready in less than 15 minutes, including prep, and will please even the pickiest eater.

Serve it with some Pineapple Colelsaw or Mango Salsa for a tropical meal that everyone will love.

I tend to think of tilapia as an "gateway fish." By that, I mean, I have noticed that many people who swear they hate all things fish end up trying tilapia and liking it. And then that kind of makes them think they'd like other fish, too. The next thing you know, they're visiting actual seafood specialty markets looking for that perfect cut of swordfish. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

But in all seriousness, every time I have made it for people who "don't really like fish" they go crazy. It also happens to be one of my all-time favorite fish recipes. While tilapia isn't going to win any awards in the looks category alone, all you really need to do is add a simple marinade and cook it up in no time flat.

In this particular recipe, I think that there's just something about the honey, lime, and crispy coating that not only tastes fabulous but keeps people (kids included) coming back for more. Don't be surprised if you end up putting this recipe on repeat.

Looking for more tasty tilapia ideas? Try this Lemon Pepper Tilapia or Blackened Tilapia.

Honey Lime Tilapia with a crispy coating and flavored with honey and lime zest on a plate with a fork.

Ways to Serve Honey Lime Tilapia

I bet you can guess they number-on way I serve this tilapia.

  • Tacos! (Was that your guess?) If so, you would be correct! This honey-lime tilapia is a delicious protein to add to your tacos. Pick your favorite tortilla and toppings and go to town.
  • In lettuce wraps. You can easily add this to bigger lettuces like bibb, green, or red leaf with a squeeze of lime, some hot sauce and maybe a few roasted chickpeas and some pickled onion or cabbage for additional texture.
  • As a sandwich — time to think inside the bun. Choose your favorite buns or bread slices and add the tilapia, then pile high with your other favorite ingredients. Dig in!
  • In a quesadilla — same idea as before but you'll want to make sure the tilapia stays inside the quesadilla. Add a mild cheese (and not too much of it) to help the tortillas stick together.
  • Layer this fish on top of a bed of greens with your other favorite veggies thrown in. Drizzle on some Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dressing and enjoy!
  • This tilapia would be great on top of white or brown rice, riced cauliflower, or quinoa. Again, add your toppings and drizzle with dressing or olive oil and some lime juice.

Side Dishes to Serve with Tilapia

  • Rice dishes make great side complements to fish like this tilapia.
  • Salads are always a big hit in my house. Then, you can serve the salad on the side or add the tilapia right on top for a one-dish meal.
  • Plain cheese quesadillas are a great side to any meal. Use low-fat cheese on low-carb tortillas if you choose.
  • Couscous is a great side as well. There are many delicious box mixes you can find next to the rice at your grocery store.
  • Grilled or steamed vegetables are a great way to add more nutrients to your fish dish.
  • Roast some of those adorable mini potatoes with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Try some high-fiber pasta with some halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and some lime vinaigrette on top. Toss and serve on the side.

Tilapia with honey and lime on a plate with a bowl of greens and a fork.

Leftover Ideas

Fish keeps in the fridge for a couple of days after cooking. I think you should reheat the leftover tilapia before adding it to anything, but that might just be me. I'm not too into eating fish cold. Be careful how long you heat it up in the microwave though. You'll want to just heat it through, otherwise, it will start to get rubbery.

  • Add leftover tilapia to a salad or next to any other veggie dish you might have leftover.
  • Make a fish panini. If you don't have a panini press, add butter or some olive oil to one side of a piece of hearty bread, add your fish and other toppings, another slice of bread (make sure your buttered sides face out) and then "press" down on the sandwich with another heavy skillet for a couple minutes. Flip, and do the same with the other side.
  • Tacos!
  • Fish cakes
  • Tostadas with your favorite beans and ingredients piled high on top.
  • Burrito those little fish pieces up. Yum.

Is farmed or wild tilapia better for you?

Truthfully, the tilapia you're buying is most likely farm-raised. There just isn't a need to fish for tilapia in the wild, as they are easy to farm and have been a commonly farmed fish for centuries. Some say back to Biblical times. There are 80 nations that farm tilapia. So, unless you are fishing for it yourself, you are purchasing farm-raised tilapia.

That being said, you shouldn't worry that it isn't wild-caught. The main concern with wild-caught fish like tuna, swordfish, shark, or mackerel is the levels of mercury that they contain. Tilapia (and other farm-raised fish) contain very little mercury and are perfectly safe to eat. In fact, tilapia is a healthy fish as it contains Omega-3 fatty acids (not as much as salmon, but enough to count), has a low fat content, and is a high protein source.

The Recipe
Tilapia with honey and lime cooked until crispy on a plate with a lime and fork.

Honey Lime Tilapia

Adapted from howsweeteats.com
258 CAL 15g CARBS 8g FAT 32g PROTEIN
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  • 24 oz tilapia filets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour

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Mix together 1 tbsp. olive oil, honey, lime juice, and garlic. Marinate the fish in this mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.


When ready to cook, remove the tilapia from the marinade and shake off any excess. Season with salt and pepper.


Mix the flour and lime zest together. Gently press the tilapia into the flour mixture.


Heat the remaining 1.5 tbsp. of olive oil of medium high heat. Add the tilapia and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until crispy on the outside with a flaky inside

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 258
Calories from Fat 87
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 85mg
Sodium 385mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 9g
Protein 32g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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