Tilapia should be deep-fried for about six minutes if the fish is coated with batter. The fish can be pan-fried for about eight minutes if it is only lightly breaded.
Before deep-frying the fish, season it with salt and pepper and lightly coat it with flour. Mix flour, seasoning, baking soda and baking powder in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix egg and buttermilk. Place each fillet into the egg mixture and then into the flour. Fry the fish in canola oil. To pan-fry tilapia with a light breading, coat the fish with flour, seafood seasoning and salt and pepper. Melted butter, garlic, parsley and lemon juice can be used to top the fish.