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The last night we were in Hawaii, we went to the nicest restaurant at Turtle Bay. I wasn’t familiar with most of the items on the menu but this one really stood out to me. The restaurant used fresh caught sea bass rubbed in chili spices and crusted it in macadamia nuts. This one was a winner!

Crusted tilapia with rice and asparagus on a white plate.The last night was my absolute favorite night. It was so nice to be away in beautiful Hawaii with the hubby. It was so relaxing and we had the time of our lives. Our room was right on the beach with a hammock right outside. We would lay in the hammock right next to the ocean and relax under the stars. We even saw a shooting star! Doesn’t that sound like perfection?

Photos from Hawaii drinks, hammock, sunset.This is totally making me want to go back!! Anyway back to life and back to reality! Did I just get that song stuck in your head? 🙂

I wanted to create the same flavor as the delicious fish that I had at the restaurant. It seemed pretty simple to make and the spices mixed with the sweet macadamia nut flavor was to die for. The great thing about fish is that it cooks so quickly. And when it is pan seared, it gives the fish a beautiful crust and amazing flavor!

White plate with macadamia crusted talapia and asparagus.

More amazing recipes from Hawaii Week:

Pineapple Cheesecake Dessert Bars

Dole Pineapple Whips

Hawaiian Style Garlic Shrimp

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork

Hawaiian Hamburger Steaks

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Chili Macadamia Crusted Tilapia

5 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
Delicious pan seared tilapia that is crusted with a chili spice and macadamia nuts.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings



  • In a food processor, pulse the macadamia nuts until fine but slightly coarse. In a small bowl, combine macadamia nuts, panko crumbs, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk the egg and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Dredge each tilapia fillet in the egg and coat in the macadamia spice panko mixture.
  • Carefully place the tilapia fillet in the heated pan, and sear on each side 2-3 minutes or until brown on each side and cooked through.


Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 38gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 484mgPotassium: 644mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 770IUCalcium: 58mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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  1. This Chili macadamia crusted tilapia is one of my families all time favorites and it takes just minutes to prepare and cook. I bake ours instead of pan frying just because I dislike the smell it leaves in our kitchen when I pan fry and it’s a bit healthier. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. This tilapia has become our favorite tilapia recipe. Thank you for sharing a delicious new idea that surpasses the traditional bakes by far.
    Thank you.

    1. You are totally welcome! Thank you for the kind compliment and following along with me! I am so glad that you enjoyed it! XOXO

  3. I have been trying to find instant cheesecake pudding mix where I live , western canada, with no luck.can you tell me who makes it.I know it isn’t made by kraft foods because I checked.I would really like to try it if I can find it.Thank you