This crispy and cheesy Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia is the perfect twist on classic fish for those looking to enjoy a hassle-free yet delicious meal. With a satisfying balance of flavors and textures, this oven-baked tilapia will become a favorite in your recipe collection.
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- How to Make Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia
- How Panko is Different Than Regular Breadcrumbs
- What Difference Does Parmesan Make In This Recipe?
- Can I Use Frozen Tilapia?
- How To Perfectly Bake The Tilapia
- Serving Suggestions
- Top Tips
- 📖 Recipe / Receita
This Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia is always on top of my mind when it comes to a quick, tasty, and easy-to-make fish dish.
The fish is seasoned only with salt, old bay, and lemon juice. It's nothing fancy, but it tastes so good! Then, you top it off with the Panko crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and butter, creating a delicious paste covering the fillets. The result is a super crunchy crust on top, offering a great twist to our old classic breaded fish.
I love this recipe because you don't need to dip them in eggs, milk, batter, or anything. It's a lighter, fuss-free version that's super quick to make and so delicious.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If you're wondering why you should give this Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia a try, here are a few reasons to whet your appetite:
Quick and Easy: This recipe is a breeze since there's no dredging or dipping. It's perfect for busy weeknights or when you want a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
Crispy and Flavorful: The combination of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and spices creates a crispy and flavorful coating that elevates any regular fish.
Healthier than fried: There's no dipping or frying since they are baked tilapias, so you get a lighter yet crispy bite.
Let's take a closer look at each ingredient used in our Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia recipe, along with some possible substitutions for those who want to customize the dish to their liking:
- Tilapia Fillets: They have a mild taste and flaky texture. They're a great choice because they're affordable, easy to find, and absorb flavors well. If you're looking for a substitution, other white fish, like catfish or flounder, can be used in its place.
- Old Bay Seasoning: This blend of herbs and spices adds a unique flavor to the dish. If you don't have Old Bay seasoning, you can make your own by combining ingredients like paprika, celery salt, and black pepper. Alternatively, you can use your favorite fish seasoning blend as a substitute.
- Lemon Juice: Brings a zesty and tangy element to the dish, complementing the richness of the Parmesan cheese and butter. You can use bottled lemon juice as a substitute if you don't have fresh lemons. Keep in mind that fresh lemon juice may provide a more vibrant flavor.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: They are the secret to achieving that extra crispy and light coating on your tilapia without frying. I don't recommend substitutions for this ingredient.
- Parmesan Cheese: Imparts a nutty, salty flavor that perfectly complements the fish. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is recommended for the best taste. You can try Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese as alternatives if you're looking for a substitution. They provide a similar sharpness and nuttiness.
- Salted Butter: It makes the flavorful coating that adheres the panko and Parmesan to the tilapia fillets. You can replace salted butter with unsalted butter and adjust the salt to your liking.
- Oregano and Garlic Powder: Oregano and garlic powder contribute to the seasoning mixture, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish. You can experiment with other herbs and spices to customize your seasoning.
How to Make Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia
Step 1: Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 375ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly grease it.
Step 2: Season the fish by pouring lemon juice equally between the fillets. Sprinkle salt and old bay equally.
Step 3: Prepare the Panko crust. Add room-temperature butter inside a bowl and stir it well until it becomes creamy (not liquid). Add Panko, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and garlic powder, and mix it all together until it forms a crumbly cream.
Step 4: Spoon it equally over the fish fillets and press it with the back of the spoon to help it stick to the fish.
Step 5: Bake it for approximately 7-8 minutes, then cancel the baking option and turn on the Hi Broil. Broil it for about 3 minutes or until the crust is golden. Your fish should flake easily when ready and look opaque. Don't overbake it. Enjoy!
How Panko is Different Than Regular Breadcrumbs
Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that are lighter, airier, and crispier than traditional breadcrumbs. They create a delicate, crunchy coating, making dishes like Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia extra crispy and delicious.
What Difference Does Parmesan Make In This Recipe?
Parmesan cheese adds a nutty, salty richness to the dish, enhancing the flavor of the tilapia and creating a delicious contrast with the crispy panko coating. It also helps with the crispiness and golden color as it bakes. It's a key ingredient that makes this recipe stand out.
Can I Use Frozen Tilapia?
You can use frozen tilapia, but they DO need to be defrosted before use so the water released during the defrost process won't make the crust soggy.
So, if you have frozen tilapias, defrost them, pet them dry, and continue with the recipe.
How To Perfectly Bake The Tilapia
Tilapia is delicate and cooks quickly. Keep a close eye on the oven, as overcooking can result in dry fish.
For this recipe, we'll cook the Tilapia fillets at 375ºF for about 7-8 minutes per inch (2.5cm) — measuring on the thickest part of the fillet — Then, we'll broil on the highest setting (if your oven allows you to choose), for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
To know if the fish is done, check it with a fork; it should easily flake and look opaque. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).
Allow the tilapia to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the juices redistribute, keeping the fish moist and flavorful.
The result is a tender, moist fish with a beautiful golden and crunchy crust.
Feel free to get creative with your Parmesan Panko Crusted Tilapia. You can add a pinch of cayenne for some heat or incorporate your favorite herbs and spices to customize the flavor.
You can pair this fish dish with a side of steamed vegetables, a simple salad, or rice. In my house, we love eating this fish with butter rice. My Peach and Feta salad and my Artichoke salad also go great with it! The possibilities are endless!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer for the best results.
- Don't forget to season the fish with salt before adding the crust to ensure a flavorful bite.
- Make sure to press the panko mixture firmly on top of the fillets so it can create a crust.
- Don't overbake the fillets so they can hold the moisture.
- If the time is up, but the crust is not golden yet, you can broil a little longer (keeping a close eye on it). If the time is up and the crust is golden, but the fish is a little underdone, turn off the heat and let the fillets cook with the heat retained in the oven until done.
Yes, you can experiment with different cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Asiago for a unique twist on the recipe.
I don't recommend using regular breadcrumbs in this recipe, as the measurements would need to be recalculated, and the end result wouldn't be the same.
Certainly! You can use other white fish, like catfish or flounder, as a substitute for tilapia.
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📖 Recipe / Receita
Baked Panko Fish
- 6-7 fillets Tilapia
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1¼ teaspoon Old bay seasoning
- 1¼ teaspoon Kosher salt (or salt it to your liking)
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated is better)
- ¼ cup Salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 375ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly grease it.
- Season the fish by pouring lemon juice equally between the fillets. Sprinkle salt and old bay equally.
- While the fish marinates, prepare the Panko crust. Add room-temperature butter inside a bowl and stir it well until it becomes creamy (not liquid). Add Panko, Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and mix it all together until it forms a crumbly cream. Spoon it equally over the fish fillets and press it with the back of the spoon to help it stick to the fish.
- Bake it for approximately 7-8 minutes, then cancel the baking option and turn on the Hi Broil. Broil it for about 3 minutes or until the crust is golden. Your fish should flake easily and look opaque when ready. Don't overbake it. Enjoy!
- Make sure to press the panko mixture firmly on top of the fillets so it can create a crust.
- Don't overbake the fillets so they can hold the moisture. To know if the fish is ready, it should flake easily with a fork. For this recipe, the fish won't flake easily in 7 minutes, but it's usually just right after the 3 minutes on Hi broiling. If the time is up, but the crust is not golden yet, you can bake a little longer. If the time is up and the crust is golden, but the fish is a little underdone, turn off the heat and let the fillets cook with the heat retained in the oven until done.
All nutritional information above is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Nutritional content may vary according to brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, substitutions, optional ingredients, etc. Simple Living Recipes is not responsible for any miscalculation or misinformation in the nutrition label.
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