A Simple Tilapia Fish Fry with Tomato Relish

Fish fry is one of the most popular ways a lot of people enjoy eating fish.  Frying fish makes it slightly crispy and so delicious.  I like to fry tilapia because it cooks fast. Tilapia is readily available in most supermarkets and it’s cheap.  You can eat it with rice or potatoes, or make fish tacos with it.  You can serve it with tomato salsa, chimichurri sauce, salsa verde, ketchup or tartar sauce.

fried tilapia  It is important to pick the freshest fish.  Fresh fish is firm and does not have a fishy odor. You can also buy frozen tilapia fillets and let it thaw completely before cooking.  After thawing, pat it dry with paper towels.  If you use fresh fish, do the same and pat it dry with paper towels. The oil for frying can be canola or vegetable oil.  You don’t need to fill up a frying pan with oil. This is not going to be deep-fried as I only use about 1/4 inch high of oil in the pan.

Make the Fried Tilapia

For this recipe a simple seasoning of salt and freshly ground pepper is all it needs.  You can of course be adventurous and try your choice of seasoning.  Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium/high heat.  Season the tilapia with salt and pepper.  After that, put some flour on a rimmed baking dish.  Then coat the fillets with flour one at a time.  Make sure you shake off the excess flour and place the fish in the hot oil.  Let the fish cook for 3-4 minutes until it is medium brown.  Flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes. Every pan is different in conducting heat so keep an eye on it and check for doneness. Cook them in 2 batches and don’t crowd them in the frying pan.  After it cooks, lay the fish on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

For the tomato relish I simply combine finely diced tomatoes, green onions, radish, lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper. I decided to combine the flavors of fresh salsa with ceviche on this relish.

The best part of this recipe is eating the tasty, slightly crispy fish with steamed rice and tomato relish.  I don’t eat fried food very often, but when I do I really enjoy this fried tilapia very much.  I hope when you try making it, they come out delicious.

Fish Fry with Tilapia and Tomato Relish

Servings 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes


  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • vegetable oil or canola oil for frying
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Roma tomatoes finely diced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper seeded and finely diced
  • 4 radish finely diced
  • ½ lime juice only
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil


  • Use paper towels to pat dry the tilapia fillets. Pour oil (up to 1/4 inch high) in a frying pan and heat it on medium/high heat. Season each fillet with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put some flour on a rimmed baking dish. Coat each fillet with flour and shake off excess flour. Slowly drop the fish in hot oil. Repeat the same steps for the second fillet. Cook it in 2 batches. After it cooks, lay fish on paper towels on a plate to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with the tomato relish.
  • For the tomato relish: In a bowl combine tomatoes, radish, jalapeño, cilantro, and green onion. Squeeze the lime 2 times on the mixture and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Stir it together and serve with the fried tilapia.
Author: Elizabeth Segal
Course: Main Course
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