How to Boil Tilapia

Tilapia with oil and lemon on board
Tilapia (Image: rezkrr/iStock/Getty Images)

Boiling is a good way to cook tilapia fillets quickly and season the fish without overwhelming its natural flavor. The term “boiling,” however, is something of a misstatement. Although you do bring the cooking liquid to a boil, or a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the fillets, the fish actually cooks at a point below boiling, usually between 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless of the temperature, cooking tilapia in this manner takes only about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Step 1

Rinse the tilapia fillets under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Step 2

Sprinkle about 1/8 tsp. per fillet of seafood seasoning and/or black pepper, using an equal amount on each side of the fish.

Step 3

Add 1 cup of cooking liquid per tilapia fillet and the vegetables to a large saute pan or skillet. This can include water, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, white wine or a combination of liquids.

Step 4

Bring the liquid to a full boil on your stove over high heat.

Step 5

Add the tilapia fillets, using a spatula to slide the fillets into the liquid.

Step 6

Bring the liquid back to a full boil and then reduce heat to medium.

Step 7

Cook the fillets for eight to 10 minutes. Monitor the liquid closely during this time to ensure the liquid does not return to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly if you see anything more than a few slow, gently bubbles rising from the liquid.

Step 8

Transfer the tilapia from the liquid to a serving platter using a spatula. Discard the vegetables and cooking liquid.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels

  • Seafood seasoning

  • Black pepper

  • Cooking liquid

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced

  • 1 thick onion slice

  • Saute pan or skillet

  • Spatula

  • Serving platter

Tip

At 2.5 g of fat per 4 oz. serving, tilapia is a slightly fatty fish. Choose additional ingredients, especially liquids that do not increase its fat concentration even further.

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