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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword skillet tilapia, tilapia piccata
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 326kcal
Author Kelly Wildenhaus | the hungry bluebird


  • 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!


  • 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