Tilapia Piccata is a simple and delicious dish that you can make in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! I sear the fish in a pan and then finish it in a delicious bright, lemony butter sauce. It's perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and your kids will love it too!
My Tilapia Piccata is a simple yet elegant dish that will take you less than 30 minutes to make! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
This dish is a spin on one of my favorite Italian dishes- chicken piccata. Chicken piccata is a delicious chicken dish packed with plenty of flavor from bright lemons and briny capers.
It’s one of my favorite dishes to order at Italian restaurants but the truth is that it’s actually quite easy to make at home. To put my own twist on the dish, I decided to make my version with tilapia instead of chicken.
I’m always looking for ways to incorporate seafood into my family's diet. Seafood is packed with so many nutrients including protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Tilapia is a white fish that's readily found in grocery stores. It has a mild flavor so it's a good fish to cook if you're trying to get your kids to eat more fish. It’s also a fairly firm fish so it won’t fall apart while you’re cooking it.
I like to cook tilapia in the air fryer or use it to make fish tacos. If you can't find tilapia, you can substitute other types of white fish like flounder, halibut, grouper or cod.
Lightened Up Tilapia Piccata
Most traditional piccata recipes call for large amounts of butter. Butter adds flavor and also helps thicken the sauce.
This is a common cooking technique in French cooking. It’s called monter au beurre, which means to finish or “mount” a sauce with butter. It’s done by swirling pieces of cold butter into a sauce at the very end of the cooking process to give it a glossy, velvety texture and rich flavor.
To cut down on the amount of butter, I add a small amount of flour to the sauce to act as a thickener while it reduces.
Unlike most recipes which often call for several tablespoons of butter, I swirl in only 1 tablespoon at the end. It's just enough to add delicious, buttery flavor.
I also cook the fish in olive oil rather than butter. By making that substitution, I'm replacing saturated fat with the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.
Olive oil is one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, a healthy eating plan that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. To learn more, read my post all about the health benefits of olive oil and ways you can incorporate it into your diet.
This is a great dish if you're trying to get your family to eat more seafood. But the recipe is easily adaptable and works well with chicken breast or pork tenderloin.
What To Serve With Tilapia
Tilapia is a mild fish so it can be paired with a wide variety of side dishes.
Serve this Tilapia Piccata on a bed of angel hair, spaghetti squash, risotto, diced potatoes or mashed potatoes to soak up all the delicious lemony sauce.
You can also pair this fish with other vegetables, rice, salsa, bread and more. Looking for some more tasty ideas? Read my post the 30 Best Side Dishes for Tilapia.
More Tasty Seafood Dishes
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons flour, divided use
- 4 tilapia fillets (about 5 oz. each) can substitute any mild, white fish like flounder, halibut, cod or grouper
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped plus extra for garnish
- Whisk the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest, and 2 teaspoons flour together in a measuring cup. Set aside.
- Season the tilapia with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the remaining ¼ cup flour on a plate and lightly dredge the fillets in the flour on both sides, dusting off any excess. Discard the extra flour. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the fish. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes, then carefully flip the filets over and cook another 3 minutes on the second side. Remove the fish and place on a plate.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Then, pour the chicken stock mixture and capers into the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the butter and parsley. Return the tilapia fillets back to the pan and spoon the sauce over them. Cook another minute until warmed through. Garnish with extra parsley before serving.
This is my favorite recipe! I saved it on Yummly about a year ago, and I still make it regularly! Every time it is perfecto. Both my husband and I love it! Tonight, I tried making it with salmon and it was amazing!
Thank you so much and please keep posting recipes!
That's great! Thanks, Laura!
Jessica Flory says
Oh my goodness. This tilapia was incredible!! So flavorful and buttery! My toddler was scarfing down fish like there was no tomorrow 🙂 Thank you for this wonderful recipe we will make over and over again!
Thanks so much for your comment, Jessica! I'm so happy that you and your family enjoyed the dish! I know how hard it is to get toddlers to eat so that's a great compliment! 🙂
Forte Fitness says
This was SO good and love how healthy it is while still being so tasty! Thanks for posting. I'm keeping this in my recipe box as a favorite. I liked my plate clean!!
That's awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know!
Glad I found your page, this dish is awesome and so easy! I look forward to trying more recipes from you. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much!
Melissa Anderson says
Wow, looks great. I will definately be trying this. I even think my picky teen will like it. I used to eat a similar dish at a restr. in the South. It was made with catfish and had little chunks of lemon and tomato as well as the capers. I'm thinking it will be even better with Tilapia. Can the white wine be substituted with something else?
Yes, you can use extra chicken stock if you don't want to use wine. I hope you enjoy it!
My kiddos aka "piggery" love Tilapia. Ill definitely try this one. Have tilapia fillet in the ref...perfect! Thanks Sonali <3 -- Ojie
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks, Carla! Let me know how it goes if you try it!
oh yummy!! i am making this tomorrow for our Sunday dinner. Thanks so much!!
Carrie's Experimental Kitchen says
Good morning! I just wanted to let you know that I shared this recipe on my weekly seafood roundup. Thank you for allowing me to share!
Thanks for your comment, Laura! Please let me know how it goes if you try it!
Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño says
YOur tilapia looks excellent, and I love your photos, very clear. This recipe is something close to what I have been meaning to try, thanks for sharing!
Lynda - TasteFood says
What a wonderful variation. I rarely cook with tilapia, but will make a point of making this recipe. It looks delicious.
Thanks Lynda! This recipe would work well with almost any kind of fish.
hi doc, you make it look and sound so easy,I am definitely going to replace the chicken with the fish. So healthy too.
Our favorite Italian restaurant food is shrimp scampi or chicken picata.Never realised there is so much butter in the restaurant dishes.
Thanks! I love shrimp scampi too but it also has a lot of butter like piccata. You can cut down the amount of butter in the sauce by adding a little flour to thicken it, just like I did with this dish.
Looks really good and its realtively easy to make at home!
Thank you! Yes, it's very simple to make so it's one of my go-to quick weeknight meals.
Thanks so much! I'm bookmarking this and will definitely let you know when I make it..Keep em coming!!!
Thanks, M.J! Do let me know how it turns out if you try it.
Deborah Schoeny says
Dr. I love the recipe but the nutritional info does not include sodium content. Is that missing from all of your recipes?
Hi Deborah, thanks for stopping by! This is an old recipe- we’re in the process of updating all of the recipes on the site to include full nutritional information including sodium. I’ve updated this one for you now. I hope you try it out!