Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

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  • Tilapia is one of those fish that doesn’t taste too fishy and even non-seafood lovers enjoy. It is also easy to prepare and pretty healthy, in the traditional sense at least, especially this easy Parmesan Crusted Tilapia!

    close up of parmesan crusted tilapia with lemon and baby potatoes

    Tilapia Fish

    What is tilapia? Some don’t even think it is a real fish, but it is! However tilapia isn’t just one species of fish, it actually refers to over 100 different species of freshwater white fish that all have the same characteristics.

    Most are fairly thin, small and have very little to offer as far as taste. Which isn’t a bad thing if you don’t like the taste of fish and to be able to paint this blank canvas any way you want.

    Think of tilapia as the tofu of fish.

    Breaded Baked Tilapia

    This recipe started as one I tried out of a Cooking Light magazine in my college days. Since I didn’t grow up eating much fish, I was determined to try a few at home and this was easy and also didn’t require a laundry list of ingredients.

    overhead of parmesan tilapia with lemon wedges

    Little did I know, the same characteristics that appealed to me in college would also appeal to me over 20 years later as a working mom. I honestly have no clue what the original measurements were or even if it used the same spices- it has been on of those “a little of this, a little of that” for years until I write it down for all of you.

    Flavor is added using simple seasonings, breading and finely shredded parmesan cheese. Still mild in flavor, you can feel free to add sauce or simply serve it with lemon wedges.

    Tilapia in the Oven

    Due to tilapia being a thin fish and not as hearty as others, cooking it in the oven or in a frying pan are good bets. You can do it on the grill, but it needs to be in a pan, not directly on the grates or in a fish basket.

    uncooked tilapia filets with parmesan breading

    How long you’ll need to bake your parmesan crusted tilapia really depends on the thickness of your fish. A thicker fillet will need closer to 18-20 minutes, but smaller only about 12-15 at 350 degrees.

    Since it is so thin, check for doneness by using a fork to see if it easily flakes instead of taking an internal temperature.

    cooked tilapia fillets with parmesan breading

    Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Recipe

    This recipe is so simple easy. It is breaded and baked, so you just need to do one quick dredge in the breading and that is it! No need to do a flour and egg dip.

    I used seasoned bread crumbs so they already have Italian seasoning in them, but you can use plain (and add Italian seasoning) or panko. Although I find that the large grains of panko is a little overwhelming for this delicate fish.

    tossing a tilapia fillet in parmesan breading

    You can even use cracker crumbs like Ritz or saltine. If you do use a salted cracker, omit additional Kosher salt.

    I like to place mine on an elevated rack, like a broiler pan or oven safe cooling rack. This ensures the hot air circulates evenly around the whole fish and the bottom will get just a crispy as the top. If you don’t have one, feel free to put it directly on the baking sheet or baking dish.

    Then you bake it and serve. That is it!

    A plate of breaded tilapia with lemons and parsley

    Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Fish Tacos

    This baked tilapia recipe is also perfect for making fish tacos. They are the excellent blend of crunchy and fresh.

    Pair with my favorite pico de gallo, pineapple salsa or just vinegar coleslaw and a few fresh jalapeno slices for the perfect taco.

    Bake tilapia as directed and then cut into strips for easy wrapping in tortillas. We even have more fish taco ideas!

    What to Serve with Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

    Anything, really. This recipe is so tasty, but also fairly simple so it can blend with so many flavors. I do like having a starch and a veggie, so here are my best picks.

    For starches, either potatoes or rice are good picks, but this fish also tastes great on a bed of pasta with alfredo sauce. Try my Almond Rice Pilaf or Balsamic Roasted Veggies too.

    Cheesy fork of kale gratin
    Cheesy Kale- I promise you, it is good!

    Also go for green with cheesy baked kale, roast broccolini or even a nice leafy salad with ranch dressing.

    Storage & Freezing

    I don’t recommend making this recipe ahead of time. While it can totally be done, reheated fish, especially a thin fish like this, tends to just get dried out. The crispy breading will never crunch up the same either.

    I also don’t recommend breading them ahead of time. You can, however, prepare the breading and then dredge and bake when you are ready to eat.

    serving plate of breaded parmesan tilapia

    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. I do not recommend freezing this fish after it is cooked.

    Chances are it was previously frozen and shouldn’t be refrozen. It will also be rubbery and dry when thawed and cooked again.

    parmesan crusted tilapia for pinterest

    More seafood recipes you will love:

    Southern Salmon Croquettes
    close up of salmon Croquettes
    Salmon Croquettes are a southern classic! Full of salmon, peppers, onions and seasoning, this versatile dish is sure to be loved by all!
    Easy Shrimp Paella
    A bowl of food on a plate, with Paella
    Shrimp Paella is an easy, weeknight meal requiring less than 10 ingredients, one pan and 30 minutes—all due to one secret pantry staple!
    Seafood Fra Diavolo
    overhead of fra diavolo
    Spicy marinara sauce with fresh seafood.
    parmesan crusted tilapia close up

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    A plate of breaded tilapia with lemons and parsley
    Print Recipe
    5 from 6 votes

    Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

    Tilapia is a fish that even non-seafood lovers enjoy. It's easy easy to prepare & pretty healthy, especially this EASY Parmesan Crusted Tilapia.
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Total Time20 mins
    Course: Main Course, Main Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: parmesan crusted tilapia
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 247kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola



    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet so the fish is elevated and hot air can circulate around.
    • Wash and pat fish dry with a paper towel, set aside.
    • In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan cheese, Kosher salt and black pepper.
    • Working with one fillet at a time, place in breadcrumbs, gently pressing them into the fillet. Turn so the whole thing is covered Place on rack.
    • Bake for 12-15 minutes. At the very end, turn on broiler for 1 minute just to get a little browning.
    • Remove and serve with fresh lemon wedges or sauce of your choice.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.


    **You can use plain breadcrumbs or combine 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning with plain breadcrumbs to season them. You can also panko or even cracker crumbs like Ritz or saltine. If you do use a salted cracker, omit additional Kosher salt.


    Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 1069mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
    image of jessica formicola

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