I often make tilapia fillets in the oven. I put two pieces of fillet on an oiled Corelle plate, put some lemon juice, salt and basil on it, and cook it at 170°C for 15 minutes.

This is my routine breakfast, so I've cooked this meal over a thousand times now. I love the taste of lemon juice on the fillet, and I don't like how most of the lemon juice just collects at the bottom of the plate rather than sticking to the fish.

I was thinking, is it possible to add something to the lemon juice to give it a gel-like texture? If it's viscous like that, maybe I can just spread it on the fish, and have a nice thick layer of lemony taste.

I looked at gelatin, agar agar and Gellan Gum. The first two seem to not be able to withstand high temperatures (I need 170°C). There's a page about Gellan Gum here and it says "Hydrates between 167-203°F/75-95°C, Gels from 50-122°F/10-50°C, Melts from 176-284°F/80-140°C". I'm not sure what that means though.

Can you think of a solution to make lemon juice be more like a gel, and withstand 170°C?

  • 1
    Why not thicken with corn starch? picturetherecipe.com/recipes/lemon-chicken-chinese-style
    – roetnig
    Aug 22, 2018 at 10:39
  • I tried it a couple of times, it sucked. I had to put a whole lot of it to have an effect, and even then it only got thick enough when I was stirring it. Once I put it on the fillet, most of it poured down. And after cooking, it was a bit gross and bread-like.
    – Ram Rachum
    Aug 22, 2018 at 11:05
  • 3
    It sounds like you're expecting the gel to go into the oven and cook with the fish. Is there any particular reason that you couldn't prepare a gel separately and brush a layer on when the fish comes out?
    – logophobe
    Aug 22, 2018 at 17:39
  • @logophobe Interesting, if you'd do that, what would you use?
    – Ram Rachum
    Aug 23, 2018 at 11:31
  • 2
    @RamRachum something like the corn starch version linked above would work, just let it cool to increase the thickening ability. You could use a prepared lemon curd instead. Or, if you want to get fancier, you could look at "sheared gel" recipes like this one using agar-agar: cooked.com/uk/Daniel-Wilson/Hardie-Grant-Books/Huxtabook/Basics/…
    – logophobe
    Aug 23, 2018 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


You could make a lemon curd.

It will not be baked at the same time as the fish, but could be a good way to do what you want,

See this recipe.



Last year I figured out I should just use citric acid. It comes in crystal form so there are no liquids to deal with.

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