This easy dinner dish can go from prep to table in under 30 minutes. Made with Tilapia fillets, a creamy sauce, cheese, fresh spinach, and cherry red tomatoes, every bite is an explosion of flavor. It's no wonder how it became such a huge favorite around here.
A while back, I was looking for recipes to use up a few odds and ends that I had in the house, and I came across a Creamy Baked Tilapia and Spinach Casserole on Alyona's Cooking. I adapted it to what I had on hand and what I thought would go well together, and it was an instant success.
I have since made this baked tilapia with spinach recipe a few times, and every time I make it, I get rave reviews from the family. I have even learned the hard way that I have to double the amount and use two 9x13's instead of one because everyone wants second helpings... or thirds.
Why This Recipe Works
- It's fast and simple. This baked tilapia casserole is so easy and quick to throw together that it's perfect for a simple dinner after a long hectic day.
- A comfort meal like no other. The flavors are also comforting and simple, making it a welcomed meal to come home to. I love to serve it up with a side of Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta, to keep things simple.
- It's adaptable. You can swap out some of the cheeses, add more or fewer tomatoes, or switch up the seasonings a bit too. I've found this dish to be pretty forgiving when I'm mixing things up.
Butter- You'll need some cold butter to help add richness to the dish.
Fresh Spinach- Using fresh spinach is ideal because it's a lot easier to portion and place around the pan. Frozen/thawed/canned spinach doesn't turn out nearly as well.
Tilapia Fillets- You can use room temp or frozen tilapia fillets for this recipe because they cook pretty quickly.
Mayo- I recommend using a good mayo brand like Hellman's or Dukes, but any of them will work fine. Do not use a miracle whip.
Sour Cream- By adding sour cream, we can really add a lot of great flavor and richness. Plain unflavored Greek yogurt can be used instead if you want to make the dish a little healthier.
Seasonings- To keep it simple, we just need some salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
Cheeses- For a fabulous taste of cheesy goodness in every serving, you'll want to use some mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
Cherry Tomatoes- I LOVE the bright red color these bring to the dish, but even more than that, they bring an acidic kick of flavor that helps to really bring the flavors full circle.
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
🍽 Equipment Needed
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Check out how to make creamy tilapia and spinach with cherry tomatoes with these simple step-by-step instructions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Lay 3 handfuls of washed spinach leaves in the bottom of the baking dish.
Top with pads of cubed cold butter.
Top the butter with your tilapia fillets, trying to avoid as much overlap as possible.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream, and seasonings until well mixed.
Spread the mixture over the top of the tilapia fillets evenly with a rubber spatula.
Sprinkle your shredded cheeses on the top of the cream mixture.
Top it off by sprinkling the halved cherry tomatoes over the cheese.
Bake in the oven at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the tilapia's internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
🍴 Recipe Tips
I have made this tilapia with spinach and tomatoes recipe with slight variations and found that it still turns out pretty great regardless of what you do. For example, if you do not have mozzarella cheese on hand, adding extra parmesan cheese or an asiago blend works great.
The cherry tomatoes can be left off if you're truly not a tomato fan, but I honestly think the acidic flavor adds something to the dish, and the bright colors really make it look great too. I'm not sure how sun-dried tomatoes would turn out, but I think they could be great in this recipe as well.
Depending on how thick your tilapia fillets are you may need to adjust the cooking time by just a few minutes. I like to use frozen tilapia, but fresh tilapia would work fine too. My only suggestion here is to make sure that the scales have been removed, as not everyone enjoys eating that part.
Because this baked tilapia and spinach recipe already contains veggies and protein, I think the only thing missing is a nice carb. Serving this casserole up with simple garlic and parmesan pasta or buttered noodles is a great way to accompany the dish without overpowering it.
Yes, you can make this dish in advance, simply place it into a baking dish as instructed and then cover the pan with a lid or foil until ready to bake. Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking so that you aren't sticking a cold baking dish into the hot oven. You can use this time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Your fish leftovers are good for about 3 days. Simply reheat in the oven or in the microwave until warmed through before eating. The leftovers for this recipe taste almost as good as the day they were first made.
More great main dish recipes to try
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake
- Meatloaf with Ritz Crackers
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Oven Baked Beer Butt Chicken
- Easy Baked Spaghetti Pie
- Creamy Roasted Garlic and Tomato Pasta
Creamy Tilapia and Spinach with Cherry Tomatoes
- ¼ cup butter, cubed ($0.38)
- 3 handfuls spinach leaves, (4 ounces) ($1.32)
- 4-5 tilapia fillets, depending on size, *fresh or frozen ($5.47)
- ½ cup mayo ($0.63)
- ½ cup sour cream (0.46)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.05)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper ($0.02)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder ($0.10)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded ($0.93)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded ($0.23)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved ($1.24)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fand grease inside of a 9x13 baking dish.
- In the bottom of the baking dish, lay 3 handfuls of clean spinach leaves.
- Lay the tilapia fillets over the top of the butter, avoiding as much overlap as you can. Some is okay and unavoidable, but less overlap is best.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream, and seasonings.
- Spread this mixture over the top of the tilapia fillets evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the creamy mixture. Top with the halved cherry tomatoes.
- Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until internal tilapia temperature reaches 145 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.