Recipe: Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for fish recipes recently, and so today I thought I would revisit this extra-simple, extra-fast dinner that delivers huge flavor in a foolproof package.

Fish cooks so fast — this dish is so convenient for those last-minute meals. It was one of my first “grown-up” recipes, a quick meal for busy evenings after work. I would turn to this frequently when living alone or with roommates. It never failed to please, with the fresh, aromatic flavors of cilantro, ginger, and sesame.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

It’s sweet and spicy, salty from the soy sauce, and melting in the middle. It’s certainly not the prettiest dish, but it’s oh-so-fast, oh-so-easy, and oh-so-good.

On Tilapia and Sustainability

For sustainability, the best tilapia choice is domestically farmed tilapia. Tilapia adapts well to farming, and while domestically farmed tilapia makes up only about 10% of commercially available tilapia, it is the most environmentally friendly choice, according to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. A good alternative is farmed tilapia from Central or Southern America. It’s best to avoid tilapia from Taiwan and China.

→ Read More: Tilapia at the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch

Any thin fish fillet would also work in this recipe; tilapia isn’t your only option here.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia


Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    tilapia fillets, or other thin fish fillet

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1

    jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (optional)

  • 1/3 cup

    roughly chopped cilantro leaves

  • 1/4 cup

    white wine

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

  • 1 teaspoon

    sesame oil

  • Scallions, chopped for garnish

  • Extra cilantro, to garnish


  1. Heat the oven to 475°F. Pat the fish dry, season lightly with salt and pepper, and lay in a 9x9-inch or 8x8-inch ceramic or glass baking dish.

  2. Combine the garlic, grated ginger, chopped jalapeño, cilantro, white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small food processor. Process until blended. (Alternately, you can finely chop or mash the garlic, ginger, jalapeño and cilantro in a mortar and pestle, then whisk together with the liquid ingredients.)

  3. Pour the sauce over the fish, rubbing it in a little. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through. It will be very moist and even a little gelatinous, still.

  4. Serve immediately over brown rice or orzo, garnished with the additional scallions and cilantro.

Recipe Notes

This recipe was originally published June 14, 2007.