How Do I Choose the Best Tilapia Marinade?

N. Swensson

A tilapia marinade containing ingredients to complement fish can be purchased at most grocery stores or anywhere else that bottled preparations are sold. Italian and other salad dressings can also be used as marinades. It is also fairly easy to make a homemade marinade from ingredients that most cooks already have on hand, which may be less expensive than purchasing a tilapia marinade. Tilapia is a mildly flavored white fish which has become a very affordable for those who want a budget-friendly way to eat more seafood. One way to cook the fish is to first marinate it in cooking oil with herbs or other ingredients to infuse it with flavor, then grill, broil, or bake it.

Marinades including dill are a good complement to fish like tilapia.
Marinades including dill are a good complement to fish like tilapia.

There are a variety of bottled marinades to choose from in most grocery stores. Usually, they are prepared with ingredients that are popularly used to flavor a specific type of meat. Beef, chicken, and pork marinades are all available, as are fish marinades. Any sauce that is sold for fish or seafood can be used as a tilapia marinade, and it will probably contain flavors that pair well with fish such as lemon, garlic, or dill. Sometimes, prepackaged marinades also come as dry seasoning packets that need to be mixed with oil, water, or another combination of liquids to make the marinade. For a cook that has not made a tilapia marinade before, these options can be a good place to start.

Tilapia marinade compliments the fish when cooking.
Tilapia marinade compliments the fish when cooking.

It is not always necessary to purchase a product that is specifically sold as a fish or seafood marinade. Many types of salad dressing can be used as a tilapia marinade; the cook can choose any type that he or she likes. One exception is bleu cheese dressing and other creamy types, which sometimes do not maintain their flavors well during cooking. Italian dressing and most other vinaigrettes, however, can usually be used on a variety of different meats and fish or shrimp. As with any tilapia marinade, the fish should only be soaked in the mixture for about an hour before cooking to avoid overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish.

For the cook who prefers to use as many fresh ingredients as possible, a tilapia marinade can be made from ingredients which he or she probably already has. Olive oil can be mixed with any type of vinegar and fresh herbs and garlic and poured over the fish. Tilapia also is a good choice for an Asian-style marinade using soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. When making a tilapia marinade for grilled fish, it is usually a good idea to include oil, which will help stop it from sticking and falling apart during cooking.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- A variation of this recipe is to use orange juice instead of pineapple juice. It gives the tilapia a little more tangy taste than pineapple juice does, but still combines the right about of sweetness to the marinade recipe. You can squeeze several fresh oranges or use bottled orange juice to make it.


My favorite marinade for tilapia is a combination of teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice. When mixed together, the combination adds just the right amount of salty, tangy sweetness to the fish.

To make this marinade, I use canned pineapple that is in natural pineapple juice with no sugar added. I pour the juice off the pineapple and mix it with the teriyaki sauce. I even top off the tilapia with slices of the pineapple before I put it in the oven.

It is that simple to make a great marinade and create a fabulous fish dinner.

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