Tilapia Flavor Profile

Tilapia Flavor Scale

Tilapia fish has a sweet, mild taste with lean flesh and a medium-firm, flaky texture. Raw flesh is white or pinkish-white sometimes with a darker muscle layer on the skin side of the fillets. The flesh cooks up to a white color. Aqua-cultured Tilapia tend to have a better flavor than wild Tilapia because Tilapia taste like their environment and wild fish feed on algae.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

St. Peter’s Fish (because it’s believed that Tilapia was the fish which Jesus multiplied to feed the masses), Sunfish

Tilapia Culinary Notes

Tilapia is very much a product of its environment. If it is raised in poor quality water then it’s flavor will be muddy, grassy, or worse. You want to buy premium Tilapia from a quality source.

Description (Oreochromis niloticus, O- aureus, O- mossambicus)

Tilapia fishpicture by Ueberschär, B.

Depending upon the species, the skin color can range from black & white striped, to green, to red. Average whole Tilapia are 1 – 2 lbs but can grow larger. Most US fresh Tilapia is from south-western states as well as from Costa Rica and Colombia. Tilapia is the second most cultivated fish in the world, beat only by carp (go figure! I’ve never seen carp on a menu.)

Fresh Tilapia Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Most fresh Tilapia is from Costa Rica & Colombia. Frozen available all year long.



Tilapia Butchering Yield % to Fillets

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Round ungutted34%variance +/- 3
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Tilapia are originally from the Nile River, but today they are raised in warm waters throughout the world. Some countries consider them to be an invasive species.

Typical Wholesale Products

Whole, H&G, Skin/On Fillets, Skin/Off Fillets

Tilapia Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Tilapia, Oreochromis spp.St. Peter’s Fish, SunfishFarmed – Closed Recirculating SystemsUSGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngLow
Farmed – PondsEcuadorGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.png
China, TaiwanYellow-icon_20.pngRed-Dot_20.pngYellow-icon_20.png
Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticusFarmed – Closed Recirculating SystemsAlberta, CanadaGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.png
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.
Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended      Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative      Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not RecommendedUpdated
August 2013


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat165
* Protein grams34.5
* Fat grams2.9
* Saturated fat grams1.4
* Sodium milligrams89
* Cholesterol milligrams86
* Omega-3 grams.3
more Tilapia nutrition info


Comments from before Site Migration

ELA []    [ Sep 24, 2010  ]

Tilapia is a common fish here in Pila, Laguna.

Thanks so much for the info, now i appreciate it more…

MAGICOFSPICE    [ Aug 31, 2010 ]

As always, excellent information…I do enjoy this as a fish selection as I find it to be quite versatile in dishes 🙂

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Aug 30, 2010 ]

Very glad that the info is helpful to others! Thank-you for your comments.

THE MOM CHEF []    [ Aug 30, 2010  ]

I love tilapia so it’s nice to see that it’s one of those foods that doesn’t have a domino effect of damage. Thanks for the post.


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