This parmesan crusted tilapia recipe results in a flaky, tender fish with a crispy parmesan panko crust. It’s perfect inside and out, making it a great option for a quick dinner!
Looking for a low-carb option? Leave off the panko breadcrumbs, or try our lemon butter baked tilapia.
What Exactly is Parmesan Crusted Tilapia?
Parmesan crusted tilapia is a baked fish entree that is covered in a parmesan cheese and breadcrumb coating. When baked, the parmesan-breadcrumb coating creates a golden crispy exterior. The inside of the fish remains tender, moist, and flaky. It’s almost like fried fish but much healthier.
Tilapia is a type of freshwater fish, often referred to as “the chicken of fish” because of its naturally mild and subtly sweet flavor and its low cost. It is considered one of the healthiest types of fish, as it’s full of important nutrients, vitamins, and protein, but low in mercury.
This parmesan crusted tilapia is a great option for those who don’t typically like the “fishy” taste of seafood. Plus, it’s crazy easy to make, incredibly versatile, and pairs well with a multitude of other side dishes. It’s sure to please everyone at your dinner table!
Making Parmesan Tilapia in 4 Quick Steps
It’s almost unbelievable that it takes only four steps and twenty minutes to go from raw tilapia fillets to crispy, savory parmesan crusted tilapia. Here’s an overview of the steps to make this fish.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a small bowl, combine parmesan, bread crumbs, and garlic parsley salt.
- Assemble the tilapia: Place tilapia fillets in a single layer in a baking dish. Avoid overlapping fillets to ensure that a good crisp develops on every piece.
- Cover with the toppings: Sprinkle the parmesan-panko mixture on top. Spray with oil to help the coating stick and crisp in the oven.
- Bake: Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes or until the fish is opaque, easily flakes with a fork and the internal temp is 145°F. Use a thermometer (here’s our favorite) to check the thickest part of the fish.
Tips for an Excellent Parmesan Tilapia
Even the easiest of recipes benefit from a few tips. For an excellent parmesan crusted tilapia, follow this checklist.
- Vary the seasoning: Since tilapia has such a mild flavor, it’s hard to go wrong with any seasoning. Add a combination of spices and herbs to your heart’s desire. Our favorites include paprika (for a smoky twist), old bay seasoning (for a mix of sweet, salty, and spicy), garlic powder, and lemon pepper.
- Garnish the cooked fillets: For a restaurant-quality look, garnish the cooked fillet with lemon slices and a sprinkle of parsley. Alternatively, serve with lemon or lime wedges.
- Tilapia options: Fresh or frozen tilapia is best for this recipe. If using frozen, make sure to thaw the fish by placing it in cold water. Remove excess moisture from fish when completely thawed. You can also substitute tilapia with any firm, white fish like cod, sole, halibut, or flounder.
- Add citrus: If you like a citrus flavor, squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon juice over the tilapia before baking. You can never go wrong with a little lemon juice on tilapia!
- Spray oil on the coating: For a crunchy, golden-brown parmesan crust, make sure to spray enough cooking spray on the coating. Olive oil is our favorite, but you can also choose a great alternative from our ultimate cooking oil guide!
- Use foil: For an easy cleanup, place foil on the bottom of your baking sheet/pan.
- Allow tilapia to rest: To make sure the breading stays on the fish when transferring to the serving plate, allow the baked tilapia to rest for a couple minutes in the baking dish.
Yummy Ways to Serve Parmesan Tilapia
Parmesan crusted tilapia can be served like a sandwich over a piece of no-knead bread with a layer of tartar sauce. Flake the tilapia and make it into a fish taco with homemade tortillas and your favorite taco ingredients. Purple cabbage salad is a great coleslaw-like salad to use in a fish taco. Or, pair the tilapia with a starch like baked potatoes and your favorite vegetable or salad dish like air fryer asparagus, marinated mushrooms, broccoli cauliflower salad, or creamy cucumber salad.
Storing and Reheating Baked Tilapia
It’s no secret that parmesan crusted tilapia has the best texture when enjoyed immediately. If you do need to store the fish for later, be prepared to lose some of that crispness or spend some extra effort reheating it.
- Refrigerating: To keep for three to four days, store cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Freezing: To keep for up to three months, store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating in the oven: To regain some crisp, reheat tilapia in the oven at 350°F until warm.
- Reheating in the air fryer: For crispy leftovers, reheat in the air fryer at 350°F until warm.
Do I need to soak tilapia in milk?
If you don’t like the fishy taste that some fish have, briefly soak the fish in milk prior to cooking. Tilapia does not have a strong fishy flavor, so it is not recommended to soak tilapia in milk.
Should I wash/clean tilapia before baking/cooking?
There is no need to clean or wash tilapia before baking or cooking. Any bacteria present on the raw fish is safely removed when the fish is fully cooked to 145°F.
Is parmesan crusted tilapia considered low calorie?
Tilapia fish is considered a low-calorie dish, while high in protein. Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs (the other two main ingredients in parmesan crusted tilapia) are also considered to be low in calories.
More Seafood Favorites to Try
- Grilled Tilapia – Smoky, grilled whole tilapia fillets
- Grilled Halibut – Four-ingredient grilled saltwater fish
- Creamy Shrimp Scampi – Shrimp pasta covered in a white wine and parmesan sauce
- Pan Fried Tilapia– An easy dinner using tilapia + a combo of simple seasonings.
- Smoked Oysters – Grill-smoked oysters with a velvety spicy miso butter mixture
- 2 lbs tilapia fillets
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp garlic parsley salt
- 1 tbsp oil spray oil
I’ve been looking for a good tilapia recipe. This one is wonderful. It has a nice crunch on the outside perfect for the whole family. Thanks!
I am thrilled to hear that the recipe was a success. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback, enjoy!
New favorite tilapia recipe! So yummy and the different textures are FABULOUS
Hi Andie, I am so glad that the recipe was a success! Thank you for your feedback, enjoy!
My family always really enjoys tilapia, and parmesan is SUCH a good idea here! Yummy! I've been lucky that I rarely have a problem with tilapia tasting very fishy, but your tip on soaking fish in milk if it does happen to taste "fishy" is soooo helpful - gotta remember that one, for sure! Oh! And thanks for the idea to serve this with purple cabbage salad ... again, YUM YUM YUM!!
Hi Shelley, I am so thrilled that you found my tips helpful! Thank you so much for your feedback, enjoy!