Ohhhh are these Tilapia Cakes good! They are loaded with fresh parsley, onion, celery, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to bring a subtle but welcome burst of heat! Topped with a smear of mayo for added flavor, these Tilapia Cakes are dangerously delicious!

Three tilapia cakes on 3 different plates with a lemon wedge atop each.


Have you made a fish cakes recipe before? They are really good! It’s a delicious way to eat fish because the fish cakes are loaded with all sorts of seasonings and herbs (fresh or dried). And for the fish cakes I’m sharing today, I used tilapia.

More often than not, tilapia can be found in my freezer. I love tilapia recipes!

I like tilapia because it’s affordable, fairly healthy, and tastes amazing!

This is a perfect dinner recipe to make if you’re looking to incorporate more fish, or even if you’re trying to switch things up!

I’m guilty of falling into the trap of making the same meals over and over and over again.

But friends, this is one of those meals that I make over and over and over again! Haha! We LOVE it!

It takes zero convincing to get my 4 year old to eat one of these Tilapia Cake patties. Dead serious. He gobbles it right up.

So yes, this is a kid-friendly fish recipe! Better than fish sticks even (and healthier)!

Two pictures illustrating the making of tilapia cakes; a glass bowl with the herbs and mayo being whisked.


How to make Tilapia Cakes

First things first, lets cook the fish. Grab a skillet with somewhat high sides. I used my 12 inch cast iron skillet. And fill it with water, about 1 inch high.

Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper into the water. Add 1 bay leaf, and 2 lemon wedges.

Once the water is simmering, gently place the tilapia in the water. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the fish is white and cooked through.

Use a slotted spoon and remove the fish from the water and place the tilapia in a bowl so that it can cool.

Empty the water from the skillet, and add butter to the pan. Add some diced celery and onion and cook until the onion is translucent.

Place the cooked celery and onion in a large bowl.

While the tilapia is cooling, gather the seasonings and 3 eggs. Place those in a small bowl and whisk away. (Pictured above).

Tilapia cakes mixture with bread crumbs and egg, and tilapia flaked into the bowl.

Place the seasonings in the large bowl with the celery and onion.

Add Panko crumbs (helps add substance and also holds the tilapia cakes together) to the large bowl.

Add a generous amount of chopped fresh parsley to the mixture. Yummm!

Now, flake the cooled tilapia into the large bowl.

Using your clean hands, form into 6 patties.

Tilapia cake patties on a baking sheet prior to baking.


Place the patties on a baking sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. This helps the cakes firm up.

Remove from the fridge and spread a small amount of mayo over top each fish patty.

Tilapia cakes on a baking sheet with a pastry brush spreading mayo overtop.

Place in the oven to bake!

Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

Alternative to baking the Tilapia Cakes

I opted to bake these tilapia cakes because it’s just easier. And I’m alllll about the easy route.

You can fry these if you’d like. Doing so will make a nice crust on the exterior.

If that’s what you’d like to do, then place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Place over medium-high heat.

Add the tilapia cakes, flipping once, until they are golden brown. About 8 minutes.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

I’m a huge lover of tilapia recipes! Whether you love fish or you don’t, I hope you give this one a try. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Here are some additional quick and easy recipes that are adult AND kid-friendly!

If you make this recipe, or any other recipes on my blog come back and leave a review.

Tilapia cake on a small plate topped with fresh parsley and a fork resting along side the fish cake.


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A tilapia cake on a plate sitting atop a blue linen napkin.
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5 from 4 votes

Tilapia Cakes

Moist, tender, and FLAVORFUL these Tilapia cakes will be your most loved meal. These cakes are easy to assemble. 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon - cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup celery - diced
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion - diced fairly small
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tablespoons mayo, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped - about 1/4 cup packed


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  • Fill a pan with an inch of water. (I used my 12-inch cast iron skillet). Place over high heat. Add the pepper, bay leaf and 2 slices of lemon to the water. Bring to a low simmer. Place the tilapia in the simmering water and cook until the flesh has whitened and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the fish from water and set aside to let cool. 
  • Empty the water from the pan. Over medium heat add the butter to the pan. Once melted add the celery, and onion. Saute the vegetables until onions turn translucent about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl. 
  • In a small bowl whisk 1 Tablespoon mayo, mustard, eggs, salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes. Add this mixture to the sautéed vegetables. 
  • Add the panko crumbs and chopped parsley to the large bowl and stir everything to combine. 
  • Flake the cooked tilapia into the large bowl full of the vegetables and sauce. Form into 6 patties. 
  • Place the patties on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour to set. (You can keep it in the fridge for longer, but chill for at least 1 hour).
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Remove from fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the cakes with a smear of mayo. 
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately with remaining lemon wedges. 


Calories: 239kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 20g (40%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 4g (20%)Cholesterol: 131mg (44%)Sodium: 646mg (27%)Potassium: 385mg (11%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 820IU (16%)Vitamin C: 17.9mg (22%)Calcium: 64mg (6%)Iron: 1.9mg (11%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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