This easy baked Parmesan crusted tilapia recipe features a flavorful Parmesan crust from only a few everyday ingredients. The perfect weeknight dinner recipe is ready in under 30 minutes.
A quick and easy weeknight recipe with a weekend eloquence. This has become a standard in our home. It is also an excellent fit for any low-carb or keto diet.
It's time to eat more fish. I need to, and so do you. But easier said than done. This is a slight modification of a Rachel Ray recipe.
A 5 for a fish person. Absolutely fantastic, even non-fish people.
🐟What is Tilapia?
Tilapia is frequently referred to as "the chicken of fish" due to its mild taste and ease of mass production on farms.
But what is it really—more than you want to know. You might want to sip the science and jump to the FAQs.
So if you remember Biology 101, genus and species are used to name plants and animals (the taxonomic classification). For example, humans are homo sapiens. "Homo" is the genus, and sapiens is the species.
That little discussion is needed to define tilapia because tilapia is a genus, and there are hundreds of different tilapia species.
With recent DNA analysis, two genera have been split out of the tilapia genus, but all are still commonly referred to as tilapia. But the overall point is lots of variation in tilapia, but here are some generalized.
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 around the world, and they're farmed almost everywhere.
They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are very hardy. Due to these characteristics, they can act as an invasive species at times.
On a final note, some internet "health sites" have been attacking tilapia as unhealthy using misleading headlines like "worse than bacon."
While you can attack any farm-raised fish for the method, or any farm product for that matter, 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. You can have that whole discussion about the impact of over-fishing of oceans. It goes on and on.
If you want to debate this whole issue, do not comment here. This is a cooking site. I'm sure I know more about nutrition and medicine than you, and I will delete any comment about this issue.
Yes, frozen is fine if fully thawed. I try to toss the package of frozen fish in the refrigerator the day before, which always works great.
Fresh tilapia also works well if you have a good source.
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, and it will last me for at least six months.
Yes, but it needs to be relatively firm and not more than about ¾ inch thick, or the coating will be done before the fish.
The beauty of home cooking is seasoning to your taste. I generally add a touch of garlic powder for my wife.
Some people will like something like lemon pepper, Old Bay, or cajan seasoning.
It will get a very nice brown and will take 10-12 minutes. The fish will also be flakey if you check. If you are unsure, the internal temperature should be 145°.
What To Serve with Tilapia?
For a complete meal, a nice starch and a vegetable are needed.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat oven to 400° convection or 425° conventional. Wash and pat dry tilapia fillets.
Line a baking dish or sheet with aluminum foil and brush foil with oil.
Grate Parmesan if needed.
Mix Parmesan, paprika, parsley, salt, and 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 on top of the already coated fish.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes until flaky.
Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
- 1 pound Tilapia
- 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 oven to 400° convection or 425° conventional. Line a baking sheet or baking pan with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil.
- Wash and pat dry tilapia with paper towels.
- Mix Parmesan, paprika, parsley, salt, and pepper in a shallow pan.
- Brush tilapia with oil on both sides and then dredge in the Parmesan mixture and pat on the coating. Place on the baking sheet. Add some of the extra coating on top of the fish.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes until flaky.
My 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 December 18, 2010, which was the first year of the blog. The blog has grown 1000X since that time. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.