Crab-Stuffed Tilapia and other Bonefish Grill Recipes

You might think you need to sit in a restaurant and pay a substantial markup to enjoy the finest seafood. However, it might be easier to recreate some of your favorite fish recipes than you think. All you really need is a little creativity and determination.

If you ever visit the Bonefish Grill, you’re bound to get attached to a few favorite dishes. The famous Bang Bang shrimp is addicting, and the rainbow trout in lime, tomato and garlic sauce will have you savoring every bite.

Why wait until your next restaurant visit to have your favorite dishes again? Recreate Bonefish Grill recipes at home and share an adventurous dinner with your loved ones. Better yet, you can try adding your own personal flair to give the recipe a unique spin.

Our take on the Tilapia Imperial is sure to impress your family. Not only is it packed with fresh crab meat, it’s packed with flavor, too. The delicious, delicate flavor of the tilapia is perfect for adding seasonings and savory ingredients. Learn how to make this recipe below.

The Recipe

Even seafood traditionalists will fall in love with this crab-stuffed tilapia, inspired by the Bonefish recipe. Combining these two different seafoods adds dimension and texture to the dish. Don’t be phased by the seemingly difficult task of stuffing one seafood into another. Our tips on putting these two meats together may simplify and ease the process.

Serves 2


  • 4 tilapia fillets

  • 1 cup lump crabmeat

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 celery stick, chopped

  • ½ cup butter

  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves

  • 1/8 tablespoon of crushed red pepper or hot Spanish paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon seafood seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Parsley for garnish


  1. Prepare your fish. If you freshly caught your tilapia, clean, scale, debone and gut the fish. If you bought your tilapia as fillets, rinse the pieces and gently massage them to search for bones.

  2. Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an oven pan large enough to accommodate your four fillets.

  3. Place the tilapia fillets into the pan.

  4. Finely chop your onion and celery.

  5. Sauté the onion and celery in a ¼ cup of butter until both ingredients are tender.

  6. Remove the skillet from the heat, and gently stir in your crab meat, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, crushed red pepper, seafood seasoning, garlic, paprika and lemon juice. If you don’t have seafood seasoning, try a mixture of salt, black pepper, celery seed, dry mustard powder, allspice and ginger.

  7. When you have evenly mixed the ingredients, spoon a generous helping of the crab meat onto each fillet. Spread the crab mixture evenly over the fillets. If you have large pieces of crab meat and do not want to divide them into smaller pieces, we recommend spooning small amounts of the crab mixture onto several parts of the fish before spreading it. This will make it less likely that your crab will break apart into smaller pieces, and it may keep the surface of the tilapia smooth.

  8. Roll up the fillets. Use toothpicks to keep the rolls in place, if necessary. Do not roll the fillets too tightly, or the crab meat will spill out and the fish may cook unevenly.

  9. Brush the remaining butter onto the tops of your tilapia and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

  10. Place the tilapia in the oven and let it bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. To test whether the meat is done, try to flake it with a fork. You may also test the middle of the tilapia rolls with a meat thermometer. Your crab meat should reach 145 degrees.

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You may be looking for ways to modify this dish to your personal preferences and tastes. For instance, you may try using fish other than tilapia, such as catfish, haddock, bass, flounder or sole. Each of these white fish will pair well with crab meat. If you want to elevate the dish, you may try a combination of red snapper or rainbow trout and fresh crab meat.

If you’re looking for an adventurous take on this fish, you may even try bonefish, like the name of the restaurant. Remember, however, that eating bonefish is not very common because it requires a great deal of caution. As the name suggests, these fish are full of tiny bones that are hard to find.

Remember that you do not have to stuff your fish with another form of seafood. In fact, tilapia pairs extremely well with spinach, mushroom and Beaufort cheese or Gruyere.

The spinach and mushroom add a great deal of moisture, so you must sauté the raw ingredients before stuffing them into the fish. Once you combine the vegetables with garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and mayonnaise, you’re bound to create a memorable meal.

Adding slivered almonds to the mixture may add contrast to the soft texture of the fish and soak up some of the moisture. You can even toast the almonds over medium to low heat before mixing them in for better flavor.

For a simpler take on these fish recipes, you can make a tilapia stuffing out of cream cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, garlic, onion, celery and olive oil. You can stuff the fish immediately, or you can sauté the ingredients first for more flavor.

In addition, you do not have to spread this mixture over the entire fish and roll it. Instead, you can spread it over half of the fish, and fold the other half on top. Finish by squeezing lemon juice over the fillets and baking them. This simplified version may satisfy your stuffed seafood craving without creating a big mess in the kitchen.

If you want to pair your stuffed fish with a tasty side dish, we recommend serving it with steamed rice, lemon orzo and peas, mashed potatoes with butter and garlic, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Easy vegetable side dishes include roasted asparagus with minced garlic and parmesan cheese, Brussel sprouts with bacon and maple syrup or a tray of onion, broccoli, mushroom and red bell pepper roasted in olive oil.