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Parmesan crusted tilapia is one of my go-to weeknight dinners. It’s quick, easy to make, and the flavor is absolutely divine! With just the right combination of parmesan cheese, spices, and herbs, this parmesan tilapia comes together in minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights when you want a delicious meal fast. The end result is something truly special: Golden crispy fish surrounded by an herb and cheese crust.
This dish has all the speed of pan fried tilapia and lemon butter baked tilapia, with a savory coating similar to parmesan crusted salmon. It’s one of my favorite meals to make in under 30 minutes!
Why You’ll Love This Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Recipe
- Mild taste with parmesan flavor
- Flaky, tender fish with crispy exterior
- Ready in 20 minutes
- No breadcrumbs, flour, egg, or dredging needed
- Naturally low carb, gluten-free, and packed with protein
- Cost effective one-pan meal
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for easy parmesan crusted tilapia recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia:
- Tilapia Fillets – Unlike many other fish recipes, you can bake this tilapia fresh or frozen, because the combination of mayo and crust prevents it from drying out. If you have frozen fish, simply rinse it under cold water to remove any ice, pat dry, and proceed like you would with fresh fish. I used whole fillets for this recipe, but loins (the thicker part of the fillet without the flat portion) are fine to use as well.
- Spices – Garlic salt, black pepper, and paprika give this crusted parmesan tilapia a delicious flavor, but you could use other spices as well. If you don’t have garlic salt, you can use a combination of plain garlic powder and sea salt instead.
- Herbs – You will also season the fish with dried oregano and basil. You can also use fresh herbs, but you’ll need to triple the amount of each.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – This ingredient, along with the herbs and spices, forms the “breadcrumb mixture” for the fish. Don’t get shredded or shaved parmesan, as it will just melt and won’t create the same crust. I also don’t recommend fresh grated parmesan, as it will melt instead of forming a crust — use grated parmesan from a plastic can like this instead. Parmesan is a healthier option than bread crumbs, but if you want to, you can replace half of it with bread crumbs for an even crispier texture.
- Mayonnaise – I like to use my homemade avocado oil mayo, but you can use any mayo you prefer for this recipe.
- Lemon Juice – I use a fresh lemon, but this is totally optional.
You don’t have to cook parmesan crusted tilapia with vegetables, but I often do for an easy sheet pan meal. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to add them:
- Soft Veggies – Use vegetables that don’t take long to cook, like asparagus, green beans, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. Harder vegetables are not recommended, because they won’t cook through by the time the fish is done.
- Olive Oil – Alternatively, avocado oil will work as well, or even melted butter since the cook time is pretty short.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
How To Make Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
This section shows how to make baked parmesan crusted tilapia with mayo, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep. Preheat the oven. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
- Season. Arrange the tilapia fillets on the pan. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with garlic salt and black pepper on both sides.
- Spread the mayo. Add mayonnaise over each filet.
- Add the crust topping. In a small bowl or dish, mix together parmesan, oregano, basil, and paprika. Top each fish fillet with parmesan mixture.
- Add veggies. If you want to make a sheet pan dinner, arrange soft veggies in a single layer around the fish.
- Bake. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork and crust is golden brown. Squeeze with fresh lemon before serving, if desired.
How Long To Bake Parmesan Tilapia?
At 400 degrees F, baked parmesan crusted tilapia takes 10-12 minutes to bake, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F with a thermometer.
TIP: Baking with frozen tilapia?
Just add a couple more minutes to the cook time. You’ll know it’s ready when it flakes easily with a fork, just the same as fresh fish.
- Store: The safest method to store leftovers is to separate each fillet and place it in a shallow airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. The container should then be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: For best results, reheat tilapia in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, until warm. The microwave will also work, but is more likely to dry out the fish.
- Freeze: You can also freeze parmesan tilapia for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or in a zip lock bag submerged in water, prior to reheating. The fish may be a bit drier after thawing.
What To Serve With Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
An easy weeknight dinner needs equally easy sides! Try these ideas.
- Salads – When I want a simple side, I go for kale crunch salad, but other salad recipes like pear salad or creamy cucumber radish salad pair well with parmesan tilapia.
- Vegetables – To have everything done at the same time, try quick air fryer green beans, perfectly caramelized sauteed eggplant, or buttery sauteed broccoli.
- Starches – Oven roasted potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes, and Instant Pot baked potatoes are popular options. I like to make less-starchy swaps like roasted rutabaga, easy cauliflower rice, or mashed cauliflower.
More Baked Fish Recipes
If you liked this baked tilapia recipe, you’ll love some of my other baked fish recipes for busy weeknights. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Baking Sheet – For best results, I always use a high quality, warp resistant, nonstick baking pan.
Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (Quick & Easy!)
This easy parmesan crusted tilapia recipe is flaky, flavorful, and takes just 15 minutes. Add veggies for a fast sheet pan dinner!
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia:
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Lightly grease a sheet pan with oil.
Place the tilapia fillets on the lined pan. Season with garlic salt and black pepper on both sides.
Spread about 2 teaspoons (8 g) of mayonnaise over each filet.
In a small bowl, mix together the parmesan, oregano, basil, and paprika.
Sprinkle the parmesan mixture on top of each fish fillet.
Optional step: If you want to make a sheet pan dinner, arrange soft veggies in a single layer around the fish. (Harder vegetables are not recommended, because they won't cook through by the time the fish is done.) Drizzle them with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the parmesan is golden brown. Squeeze with fresh lemon before serving, if desired.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
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Serving size: 1 5-oz filet
Nutrition info does not include optional veggies, because it will depend on which ones you use.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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I never would’ve thought to put mayo on fish this way. As much as I HATE the taste of mayo, I tried it anyway. It was absolutely fantastic!! I’ll definitely make this again & again.
I tried this for lunch yesterday. It was so quick and easy. And so delicious! I used yellow squash and zucchini.
OMG!! I love this recipe! It was quick, easy and super delicious! I served it with oven roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Definitely a weekly menu must have!! 🙂
Can this be frozen in Food saver freezer bags?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Rodney, Freezing will change the texture of the fish a bit, but it will still taste the same.
Delicious and great for weeknights.
Seriously love this recipe. I’ve made it 4-5 times and each time it’s perfect. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Thank you, Preslie!
I tried this tonight and it was easy and delicious! I used tomatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Thank you, Pam!
I found this recipe and went immediately to the store for Tilapia. You were right – this is an easy peasy recipe which looks and tastes delicious. My family loved it. I modified slightly. I had some red potatoes so I cut them into 1-inch cubes, and added a little olive oil and cooked them on the tray before adding the other veggies and the fish. They were nice and crispy by the time the whole meal was ready. For the last couple of minutes, I turned to stove off and the broiler on. That made the parmesan get slightly brown and crispy also. Delicious!
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Thank you, Pat! I’m glad you liked it!
I was totally thrilled with the recipe for the crusted oven fried tilapia! Made it tonight with side order of steamed sugar snap peas. Loved it.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Thank you, Cathy! I’m glad you liked it!