Baked Tilapia Zesty and Kid Friendly

Have you had baked tilapia? I hadn’t, until last night. It is very good. This dish is even one kids will like. It has a secret ingredient. Orange zest.

Before you furrow your brow too much, let me explain. I call this the Orange Zest Baked Tilapia.

The idea came from’s recent magazine issue. I liked the Greek-Style Tilapia recipe, but some of the ingredients didn’t resonate with me. As Emeril used to say (and probably still does), I kicked it up a notch. If you try it in your house (perhaps on a Friday during Lent) let me know how it goes!

Orange Zest Baked Tilapia

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Prep Time: 12-15 minutes
Cook Time: 16-18 minutes
Total Time: 30-33 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


  • 2 oranges
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
  • 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint organic grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups dry Orzo Pasta (I like having enough cooked orzo for leftovers)
  • Aluminum foil, to cover the pan of fish in the oven
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for cooked orzo
  • 1/2 cup Reduced fat Feta cheese (for cooked orzo)

Zest the 2 oranges; you should have about 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest. Set aside. Cut the oranges in half and juice them. You’ll need 1/4 cup fresh orange juice.

Wash and then cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Rinse fresh dill; chop up.

Place the tilapia fillets in the Pyrex 13″x9″ pan. Pour the fresh orange juice over the fillets. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish. Follow with the orange zest, dividing it among the fillets as best you can. Then sprinkle the chopped dill over top. Lastly, add the sliced tomatoes to the dish, and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake the tilapia dish in the oven for 16-18 minutes, or ’til fillets are opaque even at the thickest part.

While the fish is baking, boil water for the orzo in a 4-quart pot. Once the water is boiling, add the orzo and follow the pasta directions on the container. My orzo was done in 10 minutes. Drain well.

Put the cooked orzo in a serving bowl and add 2 teaspoons of EVOO. Stir. Add a smidge of kosher salt and then the feta cheese. Stir and serve the orzo with the orange zest baked tilapia and roasted tomatoes. For those who like a little sauce, the juice on the bottom of the baking dish is excellent over the tilapia and orzo.

Now this is a fish recipe that will stick around! It’s easy to do, and both kids and adults liked it! Love it! What fish or veggie dish are you baking up next?

Photos by Kelly Estes


About Kelly Estes

Kelly is a freelance writer who loves to cook. She is a former award-winning newspaper journalist who now writes for the web from her test kitchen in Jacksonville, Florida.
This entry was posted in Guest-worthy Dinners and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Baked Tilapia Zesty and Kid Friendly

  1. Pingback: Vote on this article at

  2. Liz says:

    Sounds great! Tilapia check! orange check! Fresh Dill Check! (from my garden), orzo check!
    Feta cheese… oh no I FORGOT!!!
    I’ll let U know how I like it tomorrow!

  3. I have a bunch of tilapia in the freezer and have only found one recipe (a feta tomato thing) that we like with it. This will be a nice change of pace. Thanks!

  4. Jen Ginther says:

    Mmmm, this sounds WONDERFUL!! I will make it soon and let you know how it turns out. Thank you!

  5. Ileane says:

    Hmm, mmm good! I eat Tilapia on a regular basis. We bake it, fry it, wrap it in foil and throw it on the grill in the summer, you name it!. This recipe looks delicious. I’ll try it soon. Thanks!
    .-= Ileane´s last blog ..Say Goodbye to Family, Friends and A Good Night’s Sleep! =-.

  6. Liz says:

    I tried this recipe and it was delicious! so simple to make and my kids and husband loved it!. I went a little heavy on the orange zest next time I’ll stick to the 2 teaspoons!
    You are right the Orzo pasta was the perfect compliment!
    thanks for sharing a new Family favorite for the Wests!

  7. Glad I found this piece – I’ve been making broiled tilapia with olive oil & lemon pepper, but the orange zest actually sounds good.
    .-= Peyton Farquhar´s last blog ..Amazing Icebergs =-.

  8. Kelly Estes says:

    I’m so glad you found your way here! I think you’ll enjoy the orange zest on the tilapia. Let me know how it turns out!

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    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  10. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!