How to Cook Frozen Tilapia

If you’re a seafood lover and searching for a versatile, healthy meal, frozen tilapia is a great option! It’s simple to create delicious, protein-packed dishes with this low-fat fish, whether it’s in the oven, Instant Pot, air fryer, or microwave. Tilapia, available year-round, is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and has significantly lower saturated fat levels compared to beef or chicken, making it a nutritious choice for your dinners.

Switching to frozen tilapia from fresh isn’t difficult, and you can still achieve that moist, fork-tender texture. In this guide, we’ll share essential techniques and tips for cooking frozen tilapia at various temperatures and using multiple methods. The result will be mouthwatering tilapia recipes that you and your family will adore.

pan fried tilapia

Key Takeaways

  • Cooking frozen tilapia is easy using methods like oven, Instant Pot, air fryer, or microwave.
  • Achieve tender and moist tilapia while retaining its nutritional benefits, such as omega-3 fatty acids and low saturated fat.
  • By following essential techniques and tips, you can enjoy versatile and delicious tilapia recipes any time of the year.

How Long to Bake Tilapia at 375

Baking tilapia at 375 degrees Fahrenheit is a quick and healthy dinner option. Regardless of whether your fish is frozen or defrosted, it will be ready in under 25 minutes. Tilapia is an affordable white fish, making it a popular choice for many seafood lovers. If you enjoy other types of fish, such as salmon, you might find tilapia to be a more budget-friendly alternative. To ensure perfect cooking, it’s important to check the internal temperature with a food or meat thermometer.

Costco Frozen Tilapia

As a Costco shopper, don’t miss out on excellent deals on frozen tilapia. Check their mailer for sale prices, as you might find them at astonishingly low costs. Purchase them in bulk during sales, and simply store the fish in freezer bags for convenient cooking later.

Cooking Frozen Tilapia

For a quick and delicious frozen tilapia recipe, feel free to cook it right from the freezer. Just remember that cooking times may vary depending on the size of the fillets. When working in a limited space without many appliances, you can even cook your frozen tilapia in a microwave. Simply choose a suitable method, such as frying or poaching, and enjoy your tasty meal with minimal hassle.

How to Prepare Frozen Fish in the Microwave

Microwaving frozen fish can be a great solution if you’re in a hurry or have limited cooking options. Choose a microwave-safe dish with raised sides or a shallow bowl to accommodate your fish fillet(s) and any liquid that is released during cooking. Here’s a helpful step-by-step process:

  1. Place 1 lb. of frozen fish fillets in the dish, ensuring there’s enough room for the liquid.
  2. Pour a mixture of 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 2 tbsp water or broth over the fillets. Add salt, black pepper, and any other preferred seasonings.
  3. Cover the dish using another plate, allowing the fish to steam properly.
  4. Microwave the dish for 6 minutes, or until the fish becomes flaky and tender. The exact time may vary based on the thickness of your fish.

By following these simple steps, you can easily cook frozen fish, such as salmon, in the microwave, and enjoy a delicious, hassle-free meal.

Instant Pot Frozen Fish

With an Instant Pot, you can easily cook fish fillets, fresh or frozen! Surprisingly, you can do the same for frozen shrimp. Place the seasoned fish on a trivet and follow the Instant Pot fish instructions for a perfect meal. Plus, utilizing your pressure cooker helps free up your stove for other dishes. Happy cooking!

How to Air Fry Frozen Tilapia

To achieve a crispy and delicious air-fried frozen tilapia, simply skip defrosting and place your fish in the air fryer as it is. This quick and easy method will save you time while still giving you a tasty white fish, whether it’s grilled or pan-fried. Enjoy your meal!

How to Bake Frozen Tilapia

Baking frozen fish, including tilapia, can yield excellent results. This method works with any fillet, not just white fish.

To avoid overcooking the fish, ensure the thickest part reaches a safe temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that the fish will continue to cook and rise about 5 degrees as it rests. It’s helpful to use a meat thermometer to get the perfect cooking level.

The cooking time for frozen tilapia will vary based on the size of the pieces, but typically takes about 20-25 minutes. You’ll know the fish is done when the center turns white and easily flakes with a fork.

When baking frozen fish in the oven, you can use a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. Simply preheat the oven, place the frozen tilapia on the lined baking sheet, and cook until tender and flaky. This convenient method works well for most home cooks and delivers delicious results.

Baked Frozen Tilapia

When preparing baked tilapia, begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper for non-stick purposes and easier cleanup. With just a few ingredients and your preferred seasonings, you can create a flavorful and healthy dish. Consider preparing side dishes on an additional baking sheet at the same time.

To bake the frozen tilapia, first preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place three lemon slices beneath each frozen tilapia fillet on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Next, drizzle melted butter over the fillets and add a touch of chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and parsley for seasoning.

Allow the fish to cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the baked tilapia has turned opaque and is flaky in the center when tested with a fork. Keep in mind that cooking times might vary based on the thickness of the fillets.

For those in search of a healthy, frozen side dish to serve alongside your baked tilapia, consider learning how to cook frozen Brussels sprouts or mastering the art of preparing frozen asparagus.

How to Preserve and Reheat Leftover Cooked Fish

When you have leftover cooked fish, like baked tilapia, it’s essential to store it properly to maintain its quality and prevent bacterial growth. Begin by letting the fish cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, place the fish in a sealable container or freezer bag, ensuring as much air is removed as possible. If you have any juicy drippings, such as melted butter, include those in the container to maintain moisture.

For optimal results when reheating your fish, consider using a microwave. Add a pat of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the fish to preserve its taste and texture. Heat the fish at 30-second intervals, checking its temperature each time. Make sure to take the fish out of the microwave as soon as it’s warmed through to the center to avoid drying it out. Pair your reheated fish with some jasmine rice for a delicious second meal.

Remember that proper storage and reheating techniques can make your leftover cooked fish enjoyable and safe to eat. Give these tips a try the next time you find yourself with leftover fish, and enjoy your tasty meal!

pan fried tilapia

How to Cook Frozen Tilapia

Great way to cook store bought tilapia
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 232 kcal


  • Oven, Instant Pot, Air Fryer, or Microwave
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper


  • 3-4 frozen tilapia fillets
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • Preheat your cooking device to 375°F (oven) or the appropriate setting for your Instant Pot, air fryer, or microwave.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the lemons and place three slices under each frozen fillet on the sheet.
  • Drizzle melted butter over the fillets.
  • Season the tilapia fillets with chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  • Cook for 20-22 minutes or until the tilapia is thoroughly cooked in the center and can easily be separated with a fork. If your fillets are on the smaller side, check for doneness at 18 minutes.


Calories: 232kcal
Keyword how to cook frozen tilapia
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Remember to serve your delicious tilapia with your choice of garnish, such as lemon wedges, fresh parsley, or a side salad. Enjoy your perfectly cooked frozen tilapia!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I bake frozen tilapia at different temperatures?

Temperature (°F)Baking Time
35020-25 minutes
37518-23 minutes
40015-20 minutes

Is it possible to cook frozen tilapia in a microwave?

Yes, you can cook frozen tilapia in a microwave. Place the tilapia on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, and cook on high for 5-7 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

What are some simple baked tilapia recipes?

  • Lemon Herb Tilapia: Sprinkle tilapia with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Drizzle with lemon juice and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
  • Garlic Butter Tilapia: Mix melted butter, minced garlic, and parsley. Pour over tilapia and bake at 375°F for 18-23 minutes.
  • Parmesan Crusted Tilapia: Coat tilapia in a mixture of grated parmesan, breadcrumbs, and garlic powder. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.

Do I need to defrost tilapia before cooking?

No, you don’t have to defrost tilapia before cooking. You can bake, grill, or microwave frozen tilapia directly. Just remember, cooking time may be slightly longer for frozen fish.

How can I determine if frozen tilapia is fully cooked?

Frozen tilapia is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. You can also check by gently flaking it with a fork – it should be opaque, and the flesh should separate easily.

Should I cook fish when it’s still frozen, or should I thaw it first?

You can cook fish either frozen or thawed. Cooking from frozen is convenient and helps retain the fish’s moisture. However, if you prefer to cook thawed fish, place it in the refrigerator overnight or use the cold-water method to defrost it quickly.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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