Quick Lemon Garlic Fish

I think I remember making a promise (or resolution) to make and post more quick, easy recipes for 2011. This one definitely fits the bill. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and if you get some rice and veggies going first, you can have a super healthy meal done in just about a half hour.

I also love this recipe because, thanks to individually sealed and frozen fish fillets, I can make one, two, four or however many I’d like and just save the rest for a rainy day (read: day after eating a whole pizza and you need a light “feel healthy” meal). Plus, it’s absolutely perfect for all you singles out there (holla!) who are cooking for one.

I used a mini food processor (exactly like this one) to whip up my marinade but it could be done just as easily with a knife. Simply mince the garlic and parsley then stir in the rest. I also used my mini George Foreman grill to quickly cook the fish. People might make fun of this classic infomercial appliance but sometimes it’s just what you need! The fish was cooked perfectly in less than three minutes. It wasn’t dry, it wasn’t soggy and it had a nice crisp surface. I’ve had my George Foreman grill for about ten years and it’s still great. If you don’t have a countertop grill, you can also cook the fish in a skillet… but that’s just no fun.

Quick Lemon Garlic Fish

Lemon Garlic Fish on white plate garnished with lemon slices, grater, whole lemon, garlic and parsley on side

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4 from 1 vote

Quick Lemon Garlic Fish

When you need a quick fix, this quick lemon garlic marinade will turn a plain fish filet into something delicious.
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 2


  • 2 3 oz. tilapia fillets ($1.99)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley ($0.17)
  • 1 med lemon ($0.50)
  • 1 clove garlic ($0.07)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.11)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 15-20 cranks freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)


  • Rinse the parsley and remove as much water as possible by shaking into the sink (hold onto the stems). Pull the leaves from the stems and place them in the food chopper or processor. Cut the lemon in half and add the juice and zest from one half into the food chopper. Save the other half of the lemon for garnish. Also add the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn the chopper on until the parsley and garlic are finely minced and the mixture is well combined.
  • Place the fish fillets (thawed) to a bowl or shallow dish and pour the lemon-garlic-parsley mix over top. Make sure both sides are covered. Some may run off but that is okay. Spray the grill surface with non-stick spray and preheat for 5 minutes.
  • Place the fish fillets in the hot grill, close the lid and set the timer for 2 minutes. Check the fish after two minutes. If you want the fish more browned, cook for one additional minute. Carefully remove the fish from the grill (it will be delicate). Serve with additional slices of lemon if desired.
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Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 158.25 kcalCarbohydrates: 4.9 gProtein: 17.85 gFat: 8.4 gSodium: 317.15 mgFiber: 1.5 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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close up of lemon garlic fish on white plate with lemon slice

Step By Step Photos

frozen tilapia in packaging
This is the tilapia I used. Each bag contains 12 oz. of fish (four 3oz. fillets) that are individually vacuum packed and frozen. If I had bought a larger pack, they probably would have been even less expensive per fillet.

parsley, lemon zest, juice, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper in food processor
Add the washed leaves from the parsley along with lemon zest, juice, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper to the food chopper.

blended ingredients
Whiz the food chopper until the parsley and garlic are minced.

fish coated  in blended sauce mixture
Place the thawed fish fillets in a dish and pour the parsley, garlic, lemon mixture over top. Make sure both sides are coated. It will run off a bit (the lemon juice makes it liquidy) but that’s okay. There will still be plenty to give good flavor.

fish on grill
Make sure to preheat the grill for 5 minutes (this can be done as you’re preparing the lemon garlic mix). I sprayed my grill surface with non-stick spray just because the cooked fish is so delicate that I didn’t want to chance it sticking at all. Stuck fish will fall apart if you try to dislodge it.

grilled lemon garlic fish
Close the lid, set the timer for two minutes and let it do its magic. I had one big thick fillet and one smaller thinner fillet. This large one took closer to 3 minutes to get the nice dark char while the second only took two. It’s okay to open the lid and check.

lemon garlic fish plated on white plate garnished with lemon slices

The other great thing about these individually frozen fillets is that they thaw out really fast. Because they are vacuum sealed, you can place them under running water to thaw without them getting water logged. Because they are so thin, they thaw in about 5 minutes! That’s perfect for a last minute dinner!