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Coconut Crusted Tilapia

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This coconut crusted tilapia recipe is richly flavorful and wonderfully spiced. You can make this recipe with any white fish fillet, but we chose tilapia because it's abundant and reasonably priced!

coconut crusted tilapia with broccolini on a plate

How to Chose the Best White Fish

White fish is a generic term that encompasses several types of fish, that tend to be plentiful, quick-cooking, and mildly flavored. Regionally, there may be many types of white fish - including tilapia, haddock, sole, flounder, grouper, sea bass, and snapper.

To make sure you get the freshest and best fish, choose a white fish that smells the least fishy. It should be firm and not slimy.

Seafood Watch is a website and app that helps you chose the most sustainable seafood options. For instance, here's what they have to say about the most sustainable types of tilapia.

coconut tilapia ingredients
tilapia marinating in coconut milk

What You'll Need to Make this Coconut Fish

This recipe doesn't take much to make! You'll only need some tilapia (or other white fish) fillets, coconut milk, kosher salt, spices (cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, ground ginger, and cayenne), and shredded coconut.

tilapia being dredged in coconut flakes and spices

How to Make Coconut Crusted Tilapia

  • Marinate - allow the fish fillets to marinate in coconut milk for at least ten minutes (and up to 24 hours)
  • Mix the Crust - mix the spices and coconut together and spread on a plate. Coat the fillets in the coconut.
  • Bake - Bake the fish for 15 minutes at 400 F, or until it flakes apart.
coconut crusted tilapia on a baking sheet

More Fish Recipes You'll Love

If you love fish recipes, try some of our other favorite pescetarian meals!

coconut crusted tilapia on a serving plate

Tips for Making this Recipe

  • You can make this recipe with finely shredded coconut (like what's pictured above) or with larger flakes. It gets a little crispier with the large flakes, but I think the spices mix better with the finely shredded coconut.
  • White fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. You can check this with an instant-read thermometer or just make sure the fish flakes apart.
  • I like to use a sheet of parchment paper on my baking sheet for this recipe. If you put the fish directly on the sheet pan the coconut crust will stick to the pan and peel off the fish. If you don't have parchment, you can use aluminum foil as well.
Yield: 4 servings

Coconut Crusted Tilapia

coconut crusted tilapia with broccolini on a plate

This flavorful coconut crusted tilapia recipe is so easy to make! It's a perfect, healthy weeknight meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 4 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk 
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon powdered garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric 
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Cover the tilapia in the coconut milk and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes (up to 24 hours). 
  3. Combine the coconut, cumin, paprika, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne. Spread coconut mixture across a plate.
  4. Remove the tilapia from the refrigerator and sprinkle with that salt. Then coat each side with the coconut mixture.
  5. Place fillets on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake the tilapia for 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky. 
  6. Serve immediately. 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 689mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 46g


Wednesday 3rd of April 2024

This recipe is lovely, however I didn’t realize until after making it that it is a coconut curry-type fish. It was yummy but a much stronger flavor than I was expecting. The recipe didn’t mention too much about the flavor profile in general. I do recommend making this if you like stronger flavors (I think mostly from the cumin).


Saturday 22nd of April 2023

Made the Coconut Crusted Tilapia for dinner last night and it was fantastic!! Everyone is looking forward to the next time it was so good. The Coconut crust is mild flavored and nicely crisp with just a hint of pepper in the background. Thank you for sharing this wonderful dish!


Thursday 8th of September 2016

Great article, love your sharing so much, thank you!

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