Baked Tilapia with Chile and Lime

Baked tilapa with chile and lime is a simple entree that’s impressive enough for guests but also simple enough for a busy weeknight.

A person making baked tilapia with chile and lime by brushing tilapia fillets with a spice mixture.

Tilapia gets a bad rap sometimes, but its neutral taste is an incredible asset when it comes to exploring flavors. (And its wallet-friendly price doesn’t hurt, either.) An assertive spice rub makes every bite a surprise, and a tangy avocado crema balances the heat.–Tasty

*How do you know when fish is done?

Even if you follow the timing in a recipe, you might still have doubts about how to know if your baked tilapia is ready to devour. Fresh tilapia has a pinkish hue, as well as being slightly transparent when raw. When cooked, it will turn white and opaque. The best way to know when it’s cooked through is to insert a fork or the tip of a table knife at an angle in the thickest part of the fillet and twist gently. If it flakes and looks opaque throughout, it’s ready to eat.

Baked Tilapia with Chile and Lime

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the tilapia
  • For the crema


Make the tilapia

Preheat to 400°F (204°C). Adjust the oven rack to the center position and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, lime juice, and olive oil.

Place the tilapia fillets on the prepared baking sheet and use a brush to coat each side of them with the marinade.

Bake the fish until the edges begin to crisp and the flesh is moist and flaky, about 12 minutes.

Make the crema

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, and yogurt. Blend until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Scoop and swoop the crema onto a serving plate. Add the tilapia and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This simple, baked tilapia with chile and lime is flavorful with just the right amount of kick. Any mild, white fish would work, because it is really just a vehicle for the flavors of the marinade. The cool, tangy avocado crema is a perfect balance for the slightly spicy marinade. The entire meal came together in about 30 minutes. I served it with an arugula salad and a quinoa/brown rice blend with garlic butter sauce. This will be a great, light summer meal.

Wow, such a nice, tasty and simple dish to prepare. I made the marinade and the crema a few hours early to let the flavors meld a bit before baking the tilapia. There is more than enough marinade for the fish, and I gave the top of the fish a few coats before placing it in the oven.

The baked tilapia was cooked perfectly in 12 minutes. As the tilapia fillet tends to be both thick and thin, the thin bits were nicely browned, while the thicker parts were very moist and juicy. I served this with a baked potato and some of last summer’s corn on the cob that I had frozen. I think this recipe could also be used to make a killer fish taco. You have the fish, the crema, one just needs to add a bit of crunch.


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  1. This was quick, easy to make and absolutely delicious. The spices were perfect. Even my picky husband liked this one.

  2. I made this again, this time to use in a taco. Absolutely killer taco, and I used the spices on shrimp as well to make some shrimp tacos. The crema and the seafood tacos with a little bit of homemade slaw made for a great dinner.

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