This Parmesan Crusted Tilapia recipe uses fresh or thawed frozen tilapia fillets, Parmesan cheese, and paprika, but without Panko breadcrumbs for crispy bake tilapia in under 30 minutes.
Tilapia—fresh or thawed frozen fillets
Parmesan cheese—grated, fresh is preferred.
Pantry ingredients—paprika, parsley, salt, black pepper
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Simon said—"Great recipe. My wife and I loved it. Our new favorite way to make tilapia."
Sue said—"5 Stars! This recipe is amazing! I've made it several times using 3 different kinds of fish."
This fast recipe is a modification of a Rachel Ray recipe that's easy for a weeknight dinner but with weekend eloquence.
👨🍳How to Bake Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
- Mix topping of grated Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
- Brush tilapia with oil, then dredge in the topping and pat it on firmly.
- Place on a prepared baking sheet and pat more topping on the fish.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until flaky.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
⏰How long to cook tilapia in the oven?
It will get a very nice brown and take 10-12 minutes. The fish will also be flakey if you check. If you are unsure, the internal temperature should be 145°.
- Sweet paprika is commonly used, but try hot or smoked paprika for a different flavor.
- I frequently add a touch of garlic powder or cayenne pepper.
- Or try other seasonings like lemon pepper, Old Bay, or cajan seasoning.
Can I use other fish?
Yes, you can make Parmesan crusted salmon, haddock, or cod with this recipe, and as long as the thickness is under 1 inch, the cooking time should be the same. Other white fish may be used, but it needs to be relatively firm.
🍽️What to serve with tilapia?
For a complete meal, serve tilapia with a fresh salad or a vegetable, like roasted asparagus, roasted cauliflower, or bacon-baked green beans. A potato dish like Parmesan Baked Potatoes, scalloped potatoes, baked French fries, or roasted red potatoes are excellent choices.
Storage of leftovers
This dish is much better served fresh. The coating will not be as crispy and may fall off. But you can store leftovers by carefully sealing them in foil for 3 days. Then, to reheat, open the top of the foil completely and reheat in a 350° oven or air fryer.
Yes, frozen is fine if fully thawed. Thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator overnight.
You need a good Parmesan since so much of the flavor is the cheese—quality matters.
I like to get a nice wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano and shred or grate as needed. I use lots of Parmesan, which will last at least six months.
First, be sure to dry your fish entirely before coating.
Second, thoroughly preheat the oven before cooking, and do not cook at a lower temperature.
Third, do not overcook. If thinner fillets, use a temperature of 140° and an instant-read thermometer to get it right.
Follow the instructions about mushy fish, dry thoroughly, use a preheated oven, and cook at the recommended temperature.
But some ovens will not brown as well as others due to the structure of the oven. Then, turn on the broiler for a minute or two.
🐟What is Tilapia?
Tilapia is frequently called "the chicken of fish" due to its mild taste and ease of mass production on farms.
They are generally freshwater, inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. Tilapia is native to Africa and the Middle East. However, they've been distributed worldwide and farmed almost everywhere.
While you can attack any farm-raised fish for the method or any farm product, the facts still support tilapia as a good source of low-fat protein. Tilapia is lower in omega-3 than some wild fish but lower in mercury.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400° convection or 425° conventional. Thaw tilapia completely if frozen,. Wash and pat dry tilapia fillets.
Line a baking dish or sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, and brush the foil with oil or a very heavy spray of cooking spray.
Grate Parmesan if needed.
Mix Parmesan cheese, paprika, parsley, salt, and black pepper in a shallow pan.
Brush tilapia with oil on both sides and then dredge in the Parmesan mixture, patting the coating on. Place on the baking sheet. Take some of the remaining Parmesan mixture and pat it on the already-coated fish.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes until flaky.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
- 1 pound Tilapia, fresh or thawed frozen - 4 fillets
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese - grated fresh if possible
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° convection or 425° conventional. Thaw tilapia completely if frozen,. Wash and pat dry tilapia fillets.
- Line a baking dish or sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, and brush the foil with oil or a very heavy spray of cooking spray.
- Grate Parmesan if needed.
- Mix Parmesan cheese, paprika, parsley, salt, and black pepper in a shallow pan.
- Brush tilapia fillets with oil on both sides and then dredge in the Parmesan mixture, patting the coating on. Place on the baking sheet. Take some of the remaining Parmesan mixture and pat it on top of the already-coated fish.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes until flaky and an internal temperature of 145°.
Your Own Private Notes
- You can use fresh or frozen tilapia that is completely thawed.
- Be sure to dry the tilapia well with paper towels before coating.
- The quality of the Parmesan cheese matters a lot in this recipe.
- I like to add a little extra topping just before going into the oven.
- If unsure, fish is done at 145° internal temperature in the thickest part.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published on December 18, 2010, the blog's first year. The blog has grown 1000X since that time. Now updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.