New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Orange Honey Tilapia Slow Cooker Recipe

Fish! It's what's for dinner.

I love making fish in the crockpot. I love making pretty much anything in the crockpot, but the ease of making fish is just so wonderful, I'm surprised everyone doesn't cook fish this way.
It's easy.
It's moist and flavorful.
It doesn't heat up the house on a hot day.
it doesn't stink up the kitchen.
and clean up is practically non-existent.


I had a bunch of frozen tilapia in the house that I bought in bulk, and needed a new recipe. My kids hands-down favorite tialpia is Parmesan Tilapia, but I wanted a super low-fat dinner to counteract the gobs of Cheesy Creamed Corn I ate the other day.

The Ingredients.
serves 4

4 tilapia filets (frozen is just fine)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 (10-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
aluminum foil
salt and pepper to taste at the table

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Lay a length of foil on your countertop and place the fish directly in the middle. Dribble balsamic vinegar and honey over the top of each fillet, and place a handful of drained mandarin oranges on top (my kids like to drink the juice!).

Fold over foil and crimp the edges to form a packet. Put the foil packet into your slow cooker, and put the lid on (if you'd prefer to have one fish fillet per packet for serving, divide the sauce and the oranges). Cook on high for two hours, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. If your fish was frozen, it may take another 30 minutes or so, but you should still check it after two hours. Season to taste with some salt and pepper at the table.

The Verdict.

We all loved this, and I was able to share my grandfather's story about mandarin oranges really being boneless baby goldfish. It's a bit odd---but the kids loved the story the same way I did when I was growing up!

more fish in foil:
fillet of sole with pesto
salmon with a sweet and spicy rub

and more on the way!

ps: my friend Sean started a new endeavor called Punk Domestics. If you liked the idea of making homemade yogurt, I think you'll get a bunch of great ideas. He's also looking for submissions, if you're interested!
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The Boob Nazi said...

ooo I want to substitute pork for the tilapia.

jadedj said...

It never even occurred to me to cook fish in the crockpot. This is great! I dread baking in the summer, so this sounds like it might just satisfy our fish cravings during the hot months. Thanks.

SSB said...

I've had frozen tilapia in the freezer for a while now. I'm going to make this for dinner. Thanks.

rthling said...

Looks interesting....
But I really want to try the other tilapia recipe you linked...
Left a comment there, too.

safirasilv said...

I never knew you *could* cook fish in a crockpot. Tilapia cooks so quickly I'd never have thought of it--but this recipe sounds tasty and easy.

The Healthy Hostess said...

What a great recipe! I made grilled foil packet fish 2 days ago!! I love fish! I am going to try this soon!

Amie said...

I just don't do fish, but I applaud YOUR efforts!!

How's life with three? We should introduce them to my three sons...

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Despite you having told us before about the merits of slow cooking fish, I haven't done it yet. I think it's time! I like that I can actually do this once I get home from work. :-) I made a grilled tilapia the other night using an adapted version of an online recipe. It was okay, but not the stellar dish I'd imagined.

Funny on the goldfish ... my FIL told his kids that sweet potatoes were "music roots" to get them to eat them ... figure that one out. LOL Lots of us come up with silly things that make no sense, but still make us laugh and sometimes eat foods we normally wouldn't. ;-)


SaraK said...

Mmmm, sounds yummy. I will definitely be trying this. Love tilapia.

Katherine said...

Anything that involves honey and balsamic vinegar is right up my alley. I'm going to have to make this one.

Barb, sfo said...

We tried this last night. It was good and easy--2 1/2 hours from frozen. I liked the light orange flavor that the fish had. However, I was less fond of the light fish flavor the oranges had!

There was no smell in the kitchen at all from cooking this. It's definitely one we'll do again. Thanks!

debra said...

Hey Stephanie - have a technical question for you:
I have one of those crocks that have one base and 3 different sized crocks. The crocks are shallow and deep. Is it ok that the packets are lying kinda touching eachother? Also, are they meant to be wrapped in foil individually? Thanks!!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Debra,

they can absolutely be touching each other, or on top of each other. The newer crocks heat from the sides as well as from the bottom.
It's up to you if you want all the pieces in the same packet, or in different packets.

xoxo steph

debra said...

I used frozen Mahi......and i think i overcooked it as it came out pretty tasteless and dry..... :(

Still want to try the salmon next time.....

Tina said...

Oh, Stephanie! This was SO GOOD! I didn't know you could crock-pot fish, either but YUM! Thanks for the super-easy recipe!

Crock Pot Virgin said...

We always have frozen tilapia in the freezer and I'm so excited to try this recipe for dinner tomorrow night! Sounds so yummy - and I love that it's so few ingredients (and super healthy to boot!). Thanks, Stephanie, for always bringing unique recipes to us!

(BTW - if you haven't tried Stephanie's Salmon with the dry rub - DO IT! We've eaten that one a few times and it's phenomenal!!)

chinese antique said...


Granny Annie said...

This is cooking up in my slow cooker right now. Can not wait.

Sean said...

Thanks for the plug, love!

AJ Rice's Mommy x 2 said...

This was a great dinner- though I didn't follow this recipe just the method- perfectly flaky, moist fish. This method is now a weekly staple! Thanks so much- posting this on my blog too!

Lacey said...

Stephanie this is an amazing idea! My crock pot has been dormant since the "soup months" and it never occurred to me to make fish in it! Plus tilapia is a great eco-friendly option, I'm always looking for new ways to make it!

Sarah D said...

I made this last night and it turned out great. ( I overcooked it though). But even better was the leftovers made AMAZING fish tacos for lunch. The oranges had a great sweetness that played off the spicy salsa I put on my tacos! Yum.

som said...

I made this today...and it was DELICIOUS. I also made a great do not need foil to make fish recipes in the crock-pot! I had suspected so for awhile and decided to experiment with it today. It came out perfectly flaky and moist and makes me super super super happy because I detest aluminum foil:)

Kristin said...

I'm making this tonight, for Valentine's Day... Fish for V-day! I'm looking forward to this one! Thanks for all that you do!

Mrsblocko said...

I made this and wrote about it here. I don't know what happened, but this did not turn out very well. It was a big bummer because usually everything I've made on here has been rockin awesome.

Andrea (Run. Learn. Repeat.) said...

I made this for dinner tonight and we loved it!! I am planning to share it on my blog, and will make sure to link to your site when I do.

Michelle said...

This recipe sounds great. Could you use fresh navel orange slices instead of mandarin oranges? I'm not a big fan of canned fruits and vegetables.

Umm Muhammad said...

I don't cook with aluminum foil directly touching my food. Do you think it would make a difference if I laid parchment paper down on top of the foil, put the fish on that, and then made a packet?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi there,

go ahead and just use the parchment paper. Fold the ends over a few times and crease tightly---the fish will cook the same way.

Linsey said...

Sooo has anyone ever tried putting a veggie or starch, potatoes for instance, under the fish pocket? I am sure this would increase the cook time but that's kind of a necessity for me. I am thinking about how to achieve something akin to a bamboo steamer using a slow cooker.

Quiltin' Jenny said...

We were pleasantly surprised by this recipe! My husband, who is very particular about fish anyway, was suspicious. Two of my three kids hate it when I make fish for dinner.
The verdict? My husband, oldest son, and I really enjoyed it. My youngest said it was "okay" (a rave review from her) but really loved the oranges; and my middle one had a few bites without making sounds like he was going to die. For a fish recipe this is the equivalent of 5 stars and it was super healthy with our quinoa and sauteed cabbage. Thanks!

Lauren Becker said...

This was really tasty and totally simplified cooking fish. I'm linking the recipe on my blog to yours. Just got my crockpot and going bananas with it!

Marcie said...

I'd never thought about cooking fish in the crockpot, but I tried this recipe and it was delicious! I used frozen filets, and they were done in 2 hours. It didn't make my house smell like fish, and it was so easy I'm going to make it all the time. Thanks!

Scarlett said...

Can't wait to try this recipe. However my go to side with fish is rice. My girls are getting a little board with it. Does anyone have suggestions on budget friendly sides for this fish? Thanks in advance!

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