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This blackened tilapia recipe is not for the weak! It's spicy, the flavors are bold, and the lemon juice brightens the whole thing up! For those of you who think healthy eating is boring, think again! showmetheyummy.com #fish #tilapia #spicy #spicerub #healthy #lemon
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4.91 from 76 votes

Blackened Tilapia with Homemade Spice Rub

This blackened tilapia recipe is not for the weak! It's spicy, with bold flavors. For those of you who think healthy eating is boring, think again!
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time7 mins
Course: Fish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy, homemade spice rub, seafood
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 225kcal


  • 1 pound tilapia fillets should be 4 fillets, fresh or thawed (according to package directions) if frozen
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or another oil with a very high smoke point

Spice Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon salt more or less to taste


  • lemon juice to taste


  • Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, dried oregano, dried thyme, celery seed, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside. 
  • Gently dab tilapia with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture.
  • Cover generously with your spice rub, making sure to press it in with your finger tips.
  • Gently shake off any extra rub and set aside. You can let the rubbed fish rest at room temperature for up to 20 minutes.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes
  • Once hot, add in a tablespoon of oil, turn to coat the pan, and immediately add in 2 of the tilapia filets.
  • Cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip, add in another half tablespoon of oil, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. 
  • The tilapia will be opaque and can be flaked with a fork. The outside will be VERY dark. 
  • Remove tilapia from the pan, squeeze lemon juice generously over cooked fillets.
  • Repeat with remaining tilapia and serve!
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I always buy frozen tilapia in bulk. I then defrost only what I need for dinner that night.
This rub recipe is for 1 pound of tilapia, but if you don't want to make a pound of tilapia, make what you like, and save leftover rub in an airtight container in your fridge!


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 1808mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 2795IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2.4mg