This Parmesan crusted tilapia is perfectly seasoned, with a crunchy exterior and tender on the inside. It’s a dish everyone will love!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

There’s nothing better than a crispy breaded piece of fish, and this Parmesan Crusted Tilapia is no exception! This simple way to prepare fish fillets has a big impact. The exterior is crunchy and perfectly seasoned with savory Parmesan and crunchy breadcrumbs, and the interior is tender and flaky. This went over very well in our family: our 5 year old especially gobbled it down. Here are a few tips on how to make this simple yet impressive dish.

Ingredients for Parmesan crusted tilapia

Tilapia is a white fish with a mild, subtly sweet flavor: it’s a great intro fish for kids or people who think they don’t like seafood. This Parmesan crusted tilapia is an ideal recipe to impress: the crunchy coating of cheese and breadcrumbs makes this fish taste irresistible. It’s simple to put together, and makes a big statement. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Tilapia fillets
  • Mayonnaise: this makes the Parmesan and breadcrumb coating stick to the fish! If you prefer, you can use melted butter or simply drizzle the fillets with olive oil.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: make sure it’s grated (the powdery kind), not shredded (the stick kind).
  • Italian panko: breadcrumbs seasoned with herbs and salt; see more below!
  • Salt and pepper
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

What to look for when buying tilapia

The vast quantity of tilapia available to buy is farm raised. But it’s still considered a sustainable fish if you look for responsibly farmed tilapia. Here’s what Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends:

  • Look for tilapia farmed in Peru in raceways and Ecuador in ponds. Then look for tilapia from Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Indonesia, and Taiwan. 
  • Tilapia is a Best Choice when farmed in indoor recirculating tanks with wastewater treatment and a Good Alternative when the wastewater isn’t treated.
  • Also, look for tilapia certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices, and Naturland.

Italian panko makes the dish

The key to this Parmesan crusted tilapia recipe, aside from the fish itself? Italian panko. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. Italian panko has extra seasonings added, which add a good bit of flavor to the recipe. Here’s what to know about panko:

  • “Italian” means herbs and salt are added. You should be able to find Italian panko or panko easily at your local grocery store.
  • Only have plain panko? Use plain panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. Mix the ½ cup panko with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and ¼ teaspoon each dried basil and thyme).
  • What about for gluten-free? You can also find gluten-free panko at stores or online.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

How long to bake Parmesan crusted tilapia

Dress your tilapia fillets up in breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then pop it in the oven and bake! How long does it take to bake? This depends on the thickness of your fillet. The fillets we’re able to find at the store are typically pretty thick, so ours take about 18 minutes. If you have thinner fillets, it could take up about 16 minutes.

Tip: If you have very thin fillets, you may want to spray the tops with cooking spray before baking to help brown the breadcrumbs during the bake time. Tilapia is cooked when the internal temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit when measured with a food thermometer.

Dipping sauces

You can serve this Parmesan crusted tilapia on its own: but it’s even better with a dipping sauce! We happened to have truffle aioli on hand and wow, does it punch up the flavor! Here are a few ideas for sauces to serve alongside:

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

More tilapia recipes

Tilapia is a tasty mild fish that’s always a hit at the dinner table! Here are a few more ideas for using it in recipes:

This Parmesan crusted tilapia recipe is…

Pescatarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko.

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Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This Parmesan crusted tilapia is perfectly seasoned, with a crunchy exterior and tender on the inside. It’s a dish everyone will love!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia (3 to 4 fillets) 
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil*)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup Italian panko
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Bring the tilapia to room temperature. Place it on a cutting board and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the grated Parmesan cheese and Italian panko.
  4. Spread the mayonnaise on both sides of each fillet. Sprinkle the tops with the salt (divided between the fillets) and a few grinds black pepper. Flip over one fillet and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on the back, then place the reverse side on the parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. Repeat for the other two fillets, dividing the breadcrumb mixture between them.*
  5. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, until browned and flaky and the internal temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit when measured with a food thermometer.

Notes

*Tip: If you have very thin fillets, you may want to spray the tops with cooking spray before baking to help brown the breadcrumbs during the bake time.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Parmesan crusted tilapia

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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