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Best Sauces For Tilapia ⋆ 6 Of The Best You Have To Try! ⋆

Are you contemplating serving up some Tilapia for dinner? Perhaps you’re a little tired of eating it plain. Either way, you want a good sauce, right? Well, thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the best pairings you should absolutely consider, at the very least!

So, what are the best sauces for Tilapia? The best sauces for Tilapia include creamy lemon and garlic sauces. Sometimes made with white wine or chicken broth. Other creamy sauces–cilantro and lime sauce, pesto sauce, and tomato sauce also work well too. Alternatively, lemon and garlic mayonnaise is a great option. 

Below you’ll find a list of great sauces for Tilapia. 

If the Tilapia is oven baked, it may require that you cook the sauce together with the fish. 

You’ll also find some thoughts on sauces to stay away from when serving Tilapia. 

The Best Sauces For Tilapia

Creamy Lemon Sauce

Lemon sauce, as well as lemon and garlic sauce, are synonymous with Tilapia. Well, that’s to say–a lot of people favor a lemon and garlic sauce with their Tilapia. 

For this sauce, you’ll need butter, minced garlic, chicken broth or dry white wine, heavy cream (or a vegan replacement), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

In the skillet you fried the Tilapia, add the butter and let melt over medium-high heat.

Stir in the garlic and let cook for about 20 seconds–till fragrant.

Then, slowly whisk in the broth (or white wine) and cook for four minutes (it should be reduced by ⅓). 

Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in some butter, then slowly whisk in the cream.

Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined. It’s important to whisk continuously so that the cream doesn’t curdle. 

Lastly, season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. Plate the fish and pour over the sauce. Alternatively, add the fish back into the skillet to heat, then plate it. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.  

You can find the full recipe here

Lemon Garlic Sauce

This is a slightly different take on lemon garlic sauce from the recipe above. In fact, it’s for oven-cooked Tilapia, so the sauce gets cooked together with the fish in the oven. 

For this recipe, you will need tilapia fillets, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, butter, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, capers, and lemon wedges, and parsley for garnish. 

To make this recipe, preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a baking tray.

Sprinkle salt over the tilapia fillets (top and bottom), then arrange them in the dish–the edges are OK to overlap. Sprinkle pepper and oregano on top of the fillets. 

Melt the butter, then, in a bowl, mix together the melted butter, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic. Pour the sauce over the fish in the oven dish. Top with capers. 

Bake for twelve to fourteen minutes. You want the oven dish uncovered when baking. 

When ready, the fish should flake easily when poked with a fork. If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature of the fish should reach 145°F.

Once done, serve immediately on warmed plates. Drizzle the fish with the sauce from the pan and garnish with the lemon wedges and parsley if desired. 

As you can see, it’s a quick dish to make! 

You’ll find the full recipe here

Creamy Tomato Sauce

Another favorite to serve with fish is a tomato sauce.

This recipe, too, calls for cream, however, so it’s clear that people tend to favor a cream sauce with their Tilapia!

For this recipe, you’ll need butter, diced onion, minced garlic, chicken broth, tomato sauce, heavy cream (or a vegan replacement), dried Italian seasoning (or make your own by blending Italian herbs and salt), and chopped parsley. 

After frying the Tilapia, put the skillet back over medium heat to melt the butter.

Once the butter has melted, add the onion and sautée for about three to four minutes–it should soften. Then add in the garlic and sautée for 20-60 seconds–until fragrant. 

Once the garlic is fragrant, whisk in the cream, chicken broth, and tomato sauce, bit by bit.

Keep whisking until the sauce is well combined. Season with the Italian seasoning and bring the sauce to a slow boil. 

Once the sauce boils, lower the heat and let simmer for about eight minutes, whisking occasionally. Once done, season with salt and pepper to taste (if needed). 

Return the Tilapia to the skillet and heat through. This should take about two minutes. 

Remove the skillet from the heat, serve immediately, and garnish with parsley if desired. 

You’ll find the full recipe here.

Pesto Cream Sauce

Pesto–an Italian flavor–works well with Tilapia in this cream sauce. 

The ingredients for this recipe are chicken broth, heavy cream, lemon, pesto, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.

In the same pan, you fried the fish, add the heavy cream, and reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pesto.

Whisk the chicken broth with the cornstarch, and then add it to the pan while whisking.

Bring the sauce to a simmer while stirring and see when it reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper to taste. 

Add the Tilapia back into the skillet and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately. 

Find the full recipe here

Cilantro Cream Sauce

Another cream sauce, but this time flavored with cilantro and lime. A traditional combo in the Latin American kitchen, as well as in Asia. 

For this recipe, you’ll need olive oil, minced garlic, thinly sliced scallions, heavy cream, chopped fresh cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste for seasoning. 

In the pan where you fried the Tilapia, add some olive oil and heat over medium heat till fragrant–about forty seconds.

Add the onions and garlic and sautée for one to two minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer–let simmer for three to four minutes. 

Then, stir in the chopped cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for another minute or so. 

Serve by drizzling over the fried fish. You can garnish with some cilantro and lime wedges if you like. 

You’ll find the full recipe here

Lemon and Garlic Mayonnaise

This sauce easily wins the prize for easiest sauce to make on this list! The original recipe calls for serving this sauce with tilapia fingers (i.e., fish fingers), but you can serve it with baked or pan-fried Tilapia as well. 

So what will you need to make this super easy sauce? Mayo, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and ground black pepper.

That’s it!

Should fancy take you, you could add some herb for flavorings such as chopped parsley or tarragon. You could also swap the lemon for lime if desired. 

To make the sauce, simply place the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

You might want to let the sauce sit for a little while (a few minutes to half an hour) to let the flavors combine.

If using it later in the day, or the next day, simply place it in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

You’ll find the full recipe here

What Types of Sauces Pair Best With Tilapia?

A lemon and garlic cream sauce is definitively a winner. Other cream sauces that work well with Tilapia include lime and coriander cream sauce, tomato cream sauce, and pesto cream sauce. You can also serve it with garlic and lemon mayo.  

Creamy lemon sauces, usually containing garlic, are perhaps the most common sauces to serve with Tilapia.

You’ll find variations on them when it comes to preparation. Some may contain just butter, no cream.

Others contain white wine or chicken broth together with the cream.

Choose one that suits your tastebuds!

Other cream sauces are also favored with Tilapia–tomato cream sauce, pesto cream sauce, and lime and coriander cream sauce.

You could even make your own recipe choosing your favorite her. For example, a parsley cream sauce would likely work very well with your Tilapia. 

If you fancy something that’s easy to make, aioli with an added dash of lemon works well.

You could add some parsley or tarragon for extra flavor. Or you could make life simple and simply serve the Tilapia with aioli! 

If you find that only mayo gets too heavy, try to use some sour cream and some mayo or some Greek yogurt and some mayo.

If you use lemon or lime in the sauce, you can add a bit of honey to mellow things out.

Cook the garlic (boil the cloves in their peel, peel, crush, and mix with the mayo) beforehand if you find raw garlic too strong. 

What Sauces To Avoid Serving With Tilapia 

Smearing your Tilapia with just mayonnaise makes it a bit bland. Pouring over ketchup, hot sauce, or mustard, on the other hand, will totally mask the taste of the fish. 

As a general rule, cream sauces or creamy sauces (i.e., mayonnaise or mayonnaise and sour cream/Greek yogurt) based sauces are served with Tilapia.

If you use a strong sauce of some kind, it will likely mask the taste of the fish rather than bring it out.

A mustard sauce may actually be nice, but then you want to make a mustard cream sauce, not just smear the fish in mustard! 

Looking for the best fish sauce pairings? Then check out my definitive guide below: