Slow Cooker Sweet Balsamic Tilapia – $5 Dinner Challenge

Love. Love. I’m in love.

For several reasons.

  1. Fish…wanting to add more fish into our diet.
  2. Made these in the slow cooker.
  3. Super easy clean up.
  4. Kids ate every bit of the fish…and wanted more. (Yes, I let them dip it in ketchup. Gotta do what you gotta do.)
  5. It only takes 2-3 hours to make so you can start it just after lunch…those of you who are at home.
  6. Delicious.
  7. Flaky, tasty, sweet  goodness.
  8. It didn’t taste like fish.
  9. The kids loved it. (Wait, I already said that!)
  10. The kids loved it. (Ok…sorry, but this is super important.  To get your kids to not only eat fish, but to LIKE the fish is a huge deal to this mama.)

So that’s why I (and a few others) love this meal.

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Slow Cooker Sweet Balsamic Tilapia

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 2 to 4 hours


  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($.05)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar ($.01)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 frozen tilapia fillets ($2.99)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice ($.60)
  • 1 acorn squash ($.99)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened ($.40)
  • 1/4 cup honey ($.40)
  • Dash of cinnamon and ginger ($.05)


  • In a small bowl, whisk or stir the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar with a few dashes of salt and pepper.
  • Place the thawed fish fillets onto a piece of foil that is large enough to wrap completely around the fish. Pour the sweet balsamic sauce evenly over the fish fillets and then wrap the foil tightly around fish.
  • Place the foil packets in the base of the slow cooker and set on low and cook for 2-4 hours. Fish will be white and flaky when it is cooked.
  • Cook the rice as directed on the package.
  • Make Honey Roasted Acorn Squash.
  • Serve Sweet Balsamic Tilapia with Brown Rice and Honey Roasted Acorn Squash.

Cost $5.49

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  1. Shonda says

    Perfect timing!!! I have fish on the menu for tomorrow night, but I didn’t know what kind – until now!! I just happen to have tilapia in the freezer, so this is what’s for dinner! Can’t wait to see if my kids like it as much as yours did…..

  2. says

    Getting my children to like fish is important to me too! They each have their favorites, but the universal favorites are Dole, White Ruffy and Ahi Tuna. But letting them dip it in catsup is truly an inspired idea!

  3. Shelly says

    You know what I love about you, Erin? You make things that are so simple, so real, so do-able!

    I think what has made me follow you more than anything is the fact that you always show us the WHOLE meal, not just the entree. I have a horrible time adding sides to our dinners. I’m working to get better about it. And you’re helping me.

    I’ve never been a big fish eater. I live in KS, and nothing from the sea is remotely fresh. I’ve heard good things about using frozen fish, since it was fresh when it was frozen. I think I’ll have to try this! (Though I’ll have to invest in a couple of the ingredients.) Thank you!

    • says

      K, try putting all of the fish in a single layer in a baking dish (like a 9×13 or whatever), pour the sauce over top and cover, then bake at 350. When I start my fish from frozen it usually takes around 25 minutes for a fillet to cook through, so if yours is thawed, it will take less. I’d start checking it at around 10 minutes the first time, and then just make note of how long it takes for the next time. (It will probably be somewhere around 12-16 minutes.)

  4. Kathleen says

    I usually love your recipes but I have to say this was a bomb for me. It was awful and we like fish! I think it would have been better with a lot more sauce and less cooking time. But in the end I suspect slow cooking is just not the way to go for fish. My no fail fish recipe is just to bake it for 20 minutes in an oven at 350 topped with Tony Chacheres and fresh vegetables, like sliced green onions and red bell peppers.

  5. alison says

    What do i do with my son though, he says he’s a vegetarian now and doesn’t want to kill fishys.

    he’s only 7, i’m not sure what to do i don’t really like fish either just shrimp but he won’t even eat shrimp.

  6. Alicia says

    Oh my goodness what perfect timing! I have been trying different tilapia recipes the last couple of days and now I have one more to try with the last bit of fish! thanks so much for all the great recipes & ideas! :)


  7. Kristen says

    I truly savor the fish dishes whether it is fried, boiled and grilled. Yes, I agree that tilapia is really flaky and tastes good. I like how you include butter or margarine in tilapia aside from vinegar. Maybe I should try preparing this dish in the near future.

    Onkyo TX-NR708 Receiver


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