Discover the mouthwatering flavors of Traeger-grilled Tilapia with our easy and delicious recipes. From crispy fillets to zesty marinades, elevate your seafood game and bring out the best in this versatile fish using the renowned Traeger grill. Join us on a culinary journey to explore incredible dishes that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Traeger Grilled Whole Tilapia

If you’re looking for an easy, healthy, and delicious seafood dish to grill up on your Traeger, look no further than this recipe for grilled whole tilapia. The Traeger adds an infusion of smoked flavor to this whole grilled tilapia, making it a great way to grill up some seafood for an excellent meal. Also, the smoking process helps lock in moisture and adds an extra dimension of flavor.


Tilapia is a mild fish that pairs well with various flavors. This recipe uses a bold chili lime sauce to add an extra kick of flavor. The sauce permeates the delicate fish as it cooks, while the Traeger adds a hint of smokiness that enhances the meal. Plus, the Traeger will help you get an even cook on the whole fish.

Making cuts on the outside of the fish is optional but it provides more surface area to infuse flavor. We typically leave the skin intact on larger fish because the skin helps hold in the moisture. However, tilapia is small and cooks quite quickly. Since the cavity on tilapia is small, it helps to tie the fish closed with cooking twine so the stuffing doesn’t fall out. If you tie the fish with twine, make sure you use cooking twine so it doesn’t catch fire on the grill.

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Here is Why This Recipe Works

This recipe for grilled whole tilapia works for several reasons. First, the Traeger grill adds a delicious smoky flavor to the fish, enhancing its taste and making it more flavorful. The smoking process also helps to lock in moisture, resulting in a juicy and tender fish.

The choice of tilapia as the main ingredient is also a great option. Tilapia is a mild fish that pairs well with various flavors, making it versatile and easy to work with. In this recipe, a bold chili lime sauce is used to add an extra kick of flavor to the fish. The sauce permeates the delicate fish as it cooks, creating a delicious combination of sweet, spicy, and umami flavors.

Additionally, cooking a whole fish may seem intimidating at first, but this recipe proves that it is actually quite easy. By following the steps provided and using cooking twine to tie the fish closed, you can ensure that the stuffing doesn’t fall out during grilling. The result is a visually impressive dish that will impress your guests and make them think you’re running an upscale restaurant.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

This recipe for Traeger smoked whole tilapia requires the following ingredients:

  • Whole tilapia (fresh and preferably with clear, bulging eyes and bright red gills)
  • Olive oil (for coating the fish)
  • Salt and pepper (to season the fish)
  • Lime slices
  • Onion slices
  • Garlic cloves
  • Serrano pepper slices (optional for added heat)
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Cooking twine (optional for securing the cavity of the fish)

How to Buy Fresh Fish

When purchasing whole fish, it is important to look for signs of freshness to ensure a high-quality product. Here are some tips on how to buy fresh fish:

  1. Eyes: The eyes of the fish should be clear and slightly bulging, indicating that it is still fresh. Avoid fish with sunken or cloudy eyes.
  2. Gills: Check the gills of the fish, which should be bright red and moist. Avoid fish with brown or slimy gills.
  3. Skin: Press your finger against the skin of the fish and observe its response. Fresh fish will have skin that quickly springs back and does not leave an indentation.
  4. Smell: The smell of fresh fish should be clean and ocean-like, without any strong or unpleasant odors. Avoid fish that has a strong fishy smell.
  5. Fins and Tail: Examine the fins and tail of the fish. They should not be dry or brittle, but rather moist and pliable.
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By paying attention to these indicators of freshness, you can ensure that you are purchasing high-quality fish for your recipes.

How to Cook Traeger Grilled Whole Tilapia

How to Cook Traeger Grilled Whole Tilapia

To cook Traeger grilled whole tilapia, start by making shallow cuts on the outside of each tilapia and coat them with olive oil. Season the fish and stuff the cavity with fresh aromatics like lime slices, onion, garlic, Serrano pepper, and cilantro. If desired, you can also wrap cooking twine around the fish to keep the cavity closed and prevent the stuffing from falling out.

Next, make a chili lime sauce by blending together ingredients like chili powder, lime juice, garlic powder, honey, and salt. Use half of the sauce to coat the fish, making sure to get inside the slits and the cavity. Reserve the rest of the sauce to serve with the cooked fish.

Preheat your Traeger pellet grill to 400°F and oil the grill grates. Place the seasoned whole tilapia onto the grill grates and cook for 20 to 35 minutes (depending on the size of the fish) or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check if the fish is done by looking for an opaque appearance and flaky texture.

Once cooked, remove from heat and serve immediately with additional chili lime sauce on top. This grilled whole tilapia pairs well with sides like air fryer asparagus or broccoli, rice or a side salad. Enjoy!

Tips for Success

1. Choose fresh fish: When buying whole tilapia, look for clear and slightly bulging eyes, bright red and wet-looking gills, springy skin when pressed with your finger, a clean ocean-like scent, and fins and tail that are not dry or brittle. Fresh fish will ensure the best flavor and texture.

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2. Make shallow cuts on the outside of the fish: This provides more surface area for the flavors to infuse into the fish while grilling.

3. Use cooking twine to tie the fish closed: Since tilapia has a small cavity, tying it with cooking twine helps prevent the stuffing from falling out during grilling. Make sure to use cooking twine that is safe for high heat.

4. Coat the fish with olive oil: This helps prevent sticking and adds a nice flavor to the grilled fish.

5. Preheat the Traeger pellet grill: Preheating ensures even cooking and helps achieve a nice sear on the outside of the fish.

6. Grill until internal temperature reaches 145°F: Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness or look for opaque flesh that flakes easily.

7. Serve with extra sauce: Reserve some of the chili lime sauce to serve alongside the grilled tilapia for extra flavor.

In conclusion, Traeger grills offer a versatile and convenient way to cook delicious tilapia. With its superior heat control and smoky flavor, Traeger allows for easy preparation of perfectly grilled or smoked tilapia dishes. Whether you prefer a simple grilled fillet or a more complex smoked recipe, Traeger is the ideal choice for enhancing the taste and texture of this popular fish. Elevate your culinary experience with Traeger and enjoy mouthwatering tilapia like never before.

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