Delectable Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia Recipe – A Must-Try!

Fire up the smoker grill and get ready for a mouthwatering fish dinner with this smoked honey glazed tilapia recipe. As an assistant to a BBQ chef, I have seen my fair share of recipes, but this one never gets old. It is exciting to share it with you.

In my experience, smoking fish can seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it’s worth it. The flavorful smoked honey glaze will leave your taste buds tingling for more. Whether you are looking for a quick weeknight meal or something special for a weekend dinner party, this recipe has got you covered.

The blend of sweet honey and spicy cayenne pepper, along with the smoky aroma from the hickory wood chips is irresistible. You don’t need to be an experienced cook or have fancy equipment to make this delicious dish. With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can achieve restaurant-quality results in your own backyard.

So, grab your apron and preheat your smoker grill because it’s time to smoke some delicious honey-glazed tilapia!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia
Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia

Ladies and gentlemen, I have one question for you: who doesn’t love a deliciously Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia recipe that is so easy to make? With just a few simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, this recipe will become your go-to for any fish dinner.

But let me tell you, this isn’t your basic baked tilapia. No, no, no. This is the real deal – hickory smoked honey glazed tilapia fillets that will have you hooked at first bite. The deep, smoky flavor paired with the perfect sweetness of the honey glaze makes this dish something special.

And don’t get me started on the texture! Crispy on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside. You won’t even believe it’s fish! This is an ode to all those out there who love salmon fillets or honey garlic salmon – trust me, this recipe hits all those tangy, smoky notes in all of the right ways.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a healthy option for dinner. Tilapia is a low-fat, high-protein fish that can be enjoyed baked or grilled with just a little bit of seasoning. But why settle for basic seasoning when you can take it up a notch with smoked honey glazed tilapia fillets?

So whether you’re cooking for your family or friends, impressing your date or simply treating yourself to something special – this recipe is perfect for any occasion. You won’t be disappointed with what emerges from the smoker grill. So go ahead and give it a try – trust me; you’ll be thanking me later.

Ingredient List

 Tender and tasty tilapia covered in a sweet and smoky honey glaze.
Tender and tasty tilapia covered in a sweet and smoky honey glaze.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this delicious smoked honey glazed tilapia recipe:

  • 2 lbs tilapia fillets
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Note that it’s important to use fresh ingredients to get the best flavor possible. The quality of the tilapia, in particular, can greatly affect the outcome of this recipe. If possible, look for tilapia that is sustainably sourced and free of any chemicals or preservatives.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect combination of sweet and savory in every bite.
The perfect combination of sweet and savory in every bite.

To cook Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia, you’ll need to follow these steps:

1. Preheat the Smoker Grill

First and foremost, you need to preheat your smoker grill to a medium-high temperature of 225°F to 250°F.

2. Soak the Tilapia Fillets

While your smoker grill is heating up, soak the tilapia fillets in water mixed with 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup white sugar for an hour. This will not only help keep the fish moist but also ensure that it absorbs flavor.

3. Season the Fish

After an hour of soaking, remove the tilapia fillets from the water mixture and pat dry with paper towels. Now season the fish with a dry rub made of 2 teaspoons coarse salt, 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, and 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper. Massage the spices into both sides of each fillet thoroughly.

4. Add Olive Oil

Next, drizzle some olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) onto each piece of seasoned tilapia. Make sure all sides are coated well.

5. Smoke the Fish

Once your smoker grill is preheated, place the seasoned tilapia fillets on the smoker rack and let them smoke for about three to four hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F.

6. Prepare Honey Glaze

Meanwhile, combine 2 cups honey, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat while stirring occasionally for about five minutes or until thickened to make smoked honey glaze.

7. Add Honey Glaze

Brush some of the smoked honey glaze over each tilapia fillet during the last hour of smoking time until you use it all up.

8. Serve and Enjoy!

When done, remove your smoked honey glazed tilapia from your smoker grill and transfer onto a platter. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top, garnish with lime wedges, then serve immediately with your preferred side dishes or on its own.

Substitutions and Variations

 Flavorful and flaky tilapia smothered in a sticky glaze.
Flavorful and flaky tilapia smothered in a sticky glaze.

Hey folks, you know how sometimes a recipe can be a little too strict and doesn’t allow for any experimentation or exploration? Well, I’m all about options and permutations when it comes to cooking, so let’s talk Substitutions and Variations for this Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia Recipe!

First, if you’re not a fan of tilapia, you can substitute it with other white fish such as Swai or even salmon fillet. And if smoking fish isn’t your game, you can try baking the fillets in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes until they flake easily with a fork.

Now let’s talk about the honey glaze. While I swear by my recipe that uses honey, soy sauce, and olive oil as the base ingredients, feel free to experiment with other types of sweeteners like brown sugar or maple syrup. Just make sure to adjust the ratios accordingly and do some taste testing along the way to make sure your glaze isn’t too overpowering.

If you’re feeling adventurous with your spices, try adding some garlic or onion powder to the dry rub mixture. Or if you want a little heat, increase the amount of cayenne pepper or even add some smoked paprika.

Finally, don’t forget about the sides! While I recommend serving this dish with some lime wedges for an extra citrus kick, you can also pair it with grilled vegetables like asparagus or bell peppers. And if you’re looking for something more hearty, try serving it on top of a bed of quinoa or brown rice.

Remember, cooking should be a fun and creative experience. So don’t be afraid to play around with this recipe and make it your own!

Serving and Pairing

 A fresh catch of tilapia coated in a smoky honey glaze for an unbeatable taste.
A fresh catch of tilapia coated in a smoky honey glaze for an unbeatable taste.

Once your smoked honey glazed tilapia is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve and enjoy it! This dish pairs well with a variety of sides, such as roasted vegetables, sweet potato fries or coleslaw. You could also serve your smoked tilapia with some cilantro lime rice, which would be perfect for soaking up all of those delicious flavors.

For a more southwestern feel, you could try pairing this dish with some black beans and a fresh tomato and corn salsa. The sweetness from the glaze balances out the spiciness from the cayenne pepper really well, so you could also experiment with serving it alongside some spicy buffalo cauliflower bites or even some buffalo wings if you’re feeling indulgent!

In terms of drinks, I’d recommend keeping it simple and refreshing. A cold beer pairs wonderfully with this dish – a light lager like Corona or Modelo would be perfect to cool down your palate after the heat of the cayenne pepper. Alternatively, a nice crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would work nicely with the fish and honey flavors.

Whatever you choose to serve alongside your smoked honey glazed tilapia, make sure to have plenty of napkins at the ready – this is one sticky and mouth-watering fish dinner that is definitely worth getting your fingers dirty for!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A simple and delicious seafood dish to impress any guest at your next BBQ party.
A simple and delicious seafood dish to impress any guest at your next BBQ party.

Now that you’ve fired up the smoker grill and indulged your taste buds in a feast of smoked honey glazed tilapia, the natural question arises; what do you do with the leftovers? The good news is that this fish dish can be conveniently stored and reheated for a quick and easy meal anytime.

To make-ahead, prepare the tilapia fillets according to the recipe instructions. Once cooked, allow them to cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. You may also separate them into individual portions for convenience. Refrigerate immediately and store for up to 3 days maximum.

When it’s time to reheat, remove the fish from its storage container and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Cover it with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap and microwave on high for 30 seconds intervals until heated through. Alternatively, heat up some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and pan-fry the fish until warmed up. This will help maintain its crispy exterior while giving it that smoky aroma all over again.

If you’re not going to consume the leftovers within 3 days of refrigerating them, it’s best to freeze them instead. To freeze, lay the fish fillets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze them flat for about 1 hour or until they’ are firm enough not to stick together. Transfer them into air-tight containers or freezer-safe Ziploc bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Keep in mind that reheating frozen smoked honey glazed tilapia might not retain its original texture as it might come out slightly dry or soggy due to moisture loss during freezing. However, it will still be packed with flavor making it an excellent quick-fix meal option when time is scarce.

In conclusion, smoked honey glazed tilapia does very well regarding make-ahead, storing and reheating enabling you to enjoy this delicious fish dinner even during busy times helping you focus on what matters most – indulging in sensational taste cravings!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A mouthwatering smoked tilapia dish that will leave everyone wanting seconds.
A mouthwatering smoked tilapia dish that will leave everyone wanting seconds.

As an assistant BBQ chef, I have picked up a few tips to make sure that the smoked honey glazed tilapia recipe comes out perfect every time. Here are some tips for you to consider before cooking your next batch of the delicious glazed tilapia.

First and foremost, be sure to soak the tilapia fillets in water and lime juice for at least one hour before cooking. This will help remove any impurities that might affect the overall taste of the fish. Additionally, it is essential to pat the fillets dry using a paper towel before seasoning them.

When smoking fish, maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial for perfect results. A solid tip is to preheat your smoker grill before adding your fish to ensure it reaches optimal smoking conditions.

Another tip for preparing this recipe is to use hickory wood chips instead of other types of woods. Hickory’s distinctive smoky flavor mixes perfectly with the honey glaze, making an unforgettable dish.

To get that deep, rich flavor and glaze that heats onto the fillets, do not skimp on brushing on the honey glaze after several intervals of smoking. The more coats you put on those tilapia fillets, the more incredible they will come out!

It’s best if you make this dish with fresh tilapia fillets; however, if fresh ones aren’t readily available, feel free to use frozen ones. When defrosting frozen fish fillets, place them in a glass bowl or plate over a drip tray to prevent them from soaking in their melted ice and water.

Lastly, be careful when adding salt since we’ve used soy sauce on this recipe already. Too much salt would overpower all of the other flavors present in this recipe.

With these tips, smoking these glazed tilapia fillets should come as easy as pie! So take your grilling game to another level with these pointers and wow everyone with your perfect smoked honey glazed tilapia recipe.


Now that you have mastered this recipe, it’s important to address some questions that may arise during the process. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions with detailed answers to guide and help you achieve the best results.

What is the best wood to smoke tilapia with?

When it comes to smoking fish, alder wood is a top choice due to its subtly sweet flavor. It blends well with the taste of tilapia, creating a delicious mix of flavors. Other popular wood options for smoking include apple wood, which has a light and fruity taste, and peach wood, which provides a similar flavor to apple wood.

Should you soak tilapia before cooking?

When it comes to preparing tilapia fillets, there are ways to reduce any strong fishy odor that may be off-putting to some. One effective technique is to soak the fillets in salted ice water or lightly rub them with lemon or lime juice.

How do you smoke fish in a smoker?

To get started on this flavorful fish recipe, begin by preheating your grill or smoker and adding some wood chips. When it comes to smoking the fish, keep the temperature range between 175°F to 200°F and cook it thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Wondering about the cooking time? Expect to smoke the fish for about three hours to achieve the perfect texture and taste.

What does tilapia need to be cooked to?

One of the key steps to preparing a flavorful and juicy fillet is by placing a slice of butter and a lemon slice on top of each piece. The next step is to cover the pan with foil and bake it in the oven for around 30-35 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fillet reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to check that the fish is cooked properly by testing its flakiness with a fork.

Bottom Line

So there you have it, my friends! A recipe that will make your taste buds dance with joy! I hope you enjoyed reading about my recipe for smoked honey glazed tilapia, and I encourage you to give it a try.

With its sweet and smokey flavor, this recipe is perfect for any occasion. From a weekday fish dinner to a fancy dinner party, this dish is sure to impress. It’s also incredibly versatile, so feel free to play around with the ingredients and make it your own.

And if you’re new to smoking fish, don’t be intimidated! Follow my instructions carefully and you’ll end up with perfectly smoked fish every time. Just remember to use a reliable smoker grill and keep an eye on the internal temperature of your fish.

In conclusion, I’m confident that once you try this smoked honey glazed tilapia recipe, it will become a staple in your kitchen. So go ahead and get cooking! Your taste buds will thank you for it.

Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia

Smoked Honey Glazed Tilapia Recipe

Tried this for a different way to serve Tilapia. Made it up from several different recipes I found online. It really turned out really yummy!!! The salty, spicy, sweet combination with the smoke infusion makes the fish really flavorful. Preparation time includes brine time. I took the advice of the review and cut the salt down from 1 cup to 1/2 cup. I agree, made it a better recipe, thanks for the advice.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Seafood
Calories 543.8 kcal


  • 2 lbs tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • olive oil


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 quart water


  • Dissolve sugar and salt in the water. Stir and dissolve.
  • Add the fillets and refrigerate for minimum of 1 hour and up to 4.
  • About an hour before marinating is complete start up smoker.
  • You are looking for a temperature of about 200 F and no higher than 225°F.
  • Use a good hard wood of your choice. I use pecan most of the time. Alder, hickory, mesquite and cherry are all nice.
  • Mix up the salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • Take out the Fillets, rinse then pat dry.
  • Drizzle olive oil on a platter.
  • Place fish on the platter and slide em around to oil the bottoms.
  • Generously coat the tops only with honey.
  • Sprinkle the mixed seasonings on top only.
  • Place fillets directly on grate of prepared smoker and smoke for 1 hour.



Serving: 597gCalories: 543.8kcalCarbohydrates: 85.8gProtein: 45.9gFat: 3.9gSaturated Fat: 1.4gCholesterol: 113.5mgSodium: 15437mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 84.7g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Tilapia
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Shara @The Bird BBQ

Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.