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Tilapia Piccata

Tilapia Piccata ~ pan seared tilapia in a bright, briny and buttery sauce made with lemons, butter and capers.

Tilapia piccata in pan with lemons

There's nothing I like more than being able to put a quick and delicious dinner on the table with ingredients I likely have on hand.  That's almost always the case with a piccata.  And while chicken is traditional, I really like it with fish.

The bright, briny and buttery sauce is a perfect match for tilapia.  And best of all, this tilapia piccata comes together in about 20 minutes!

Overhead photo in skillet

Chicken piccata is probably the most popular version, both in restaurants and at home.  Thing is, we don't care for boneless, skinless chicken breasts around here.  I rarely have them hanging around in the freezer, like almost never.

But I do usually have some sort of frozen white fish in there and lately, it's been tilapia.  Any firm white fish works, like halibut, cod or even swai (try it, very mild and clean tasting and it's my choice for Greek Baked White Fish).

Close up in pan with lemon wheels.

Let's get back to that bright and briny sauce, because in my opinion, that's the beauty of a piccata.  It's essentially butter, lemon, capers, white wine and stock, or some variation thereof.  I also add a little shallot and garlic, lemon slices and a sprinkling of fresh parsley when finished.  The fish gets dredged in flour and browned first, then it takes a bath in the sauce.  Really simple preparation that delivers maximum flavor.

I've made tilapia piccata on weekends and during the week, and I wouldn't hesitate for one second to make it for company.  This straightforward recipe works just as well with chicken cutlets, but give it a go with tilapia ~ it will be your new favorite way to make a piccata.  Best ~ Kelly🍴🐦

Finished tilapia in pan sauce with lemons

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Overhead of Tilapia Piccata in skillet

Tilapia Piccata

Pan seared tilapia in a bright, briny and buttery sauce made with lemons, butter and capers, on the table in under 30 minutes.
4.77 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 326kcal


  • 2 - 3 tilapia fillets, fresh or thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 - 4 thinly sliced lemon wheels, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock, low salt, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • Optional: knob of butter to finish off sauce
  • Chopped fresh parsley for serving


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil and butter.  Blot tilapia dry and season both sides with salt and pepper and then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.  Add to pan and brown 4 - 5 minutes per side.  Remove to plate and set aside.
  • Turn heat down and add garlic, shallots and lemon slices.  Sauté for about 30 to 60 seconds, until starting to soften and fragrant.  Pour in wine and stir and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits.  Cook until reduced by half.
  • Add chicken stock, lemon juice and capers.  Simmer and stir for 2 - 3 minutes until reduced by about half.  Stir in a small knob of butter, if desired, to finish off sauce and make it extra silky.
  • Taste for salt, pepper and acidity, adjust if needed.  Return tilapia to skillet, simmer, spooning sauce over fish until warmed through.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • To make with chicken, halve boneless, skinless chicken breasts horizontally into four cutlets.  Prepare as directed above.
  • If you want to make this Whole30 compliant, omit the butter and use ghee, swap out the flour with tapioca starch, and leave out the wine.  It's just as good with chicken stock only. And, no knob of butter at the end.
  • I sometimes add a little more chicken stock, up to ¾ cup, because Meathead loves a good pan sauce ~ the more to drizzle over everything, which lately has been cauliflower rice.


Calories: 326kcal Carbohydrates: 9g Protein: 36g Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 7g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 106mg Sodium: 283mg Potassium: 677mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 3g Vitamin A: 248IU Vitamin C: 28mg Calcium: 42mg Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!


Recipe Rating


Sunday 17th of September 2023

mine had a bitter aftertaste. not sure if I put too much lemon or what I did wrong. everything else was amazing. please advise.


Thursday 21st of September 2023

Not sure, maybe too much lemon or capers. I rinse the capers and some people just don't like them. Maybe they taste bitter to you? Hope that helps.


Tuesday 25th of October 2022

Absolutely delicious! I used a little more liquid to begin with so I end up with more sauce!

Amanda Epsztein

Monday 17th of August 2020

This was super fresh and easy. Thanks so much for the recipe. Itll definitely be something I make often!!


Saturday 22nd of August 2020

So glad you liked it, thanks for letting me know!

Ray preston

Sunday 10th of November 2019

This is the tastiest recipe that I have EVER had for tilapia with a white wine sauce. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for trying any other way to prepare it. Perfection at its best!


Monday 2nd of September 2019

This is such a simple delicious recipe. I make extra sauce too for couscous or rice. You mentioned that you make cauliflower rice with it. Wanted to share that Aldi has a seasoned frozen cauliflower rice that I made the most delicious faux mashed potatoes. I added extra seasonings and used butter and a little half and half. I don’t think anyone could tell the difference, just creamy and delicious


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

Thanks for the cauliflower rice tip, I will have to try that, sounds easy and tasty. Glad you liked the tilapia.