This Oven Baked Tilapia recipe sounds so exotic, but it’s actually really easy to prepare!
Oven-baked breaded tilapia comes out with a thin, crispy coating that has just a few seasonings mixed in so as not to overwhelm the delicate, buttery flavor of the fish. This inexpensive, healthy whitefish has become super popular because its mild flavor makes it versatile in so many recipes!
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Why We Love Oven Baked Tilapia
We love Panko-crusted tilapia because it’s one of the best ways to prepare this tender, flaky fish. There are so many ways to prepare tilapia and we’ve included an air fryer method, but we think the best way to cook tilapia is in the oven! Often found grilled and made into fish tacos at Mexican restaurants, or blackened and fried in Cajun recipes, tilapia is a simple, easy-to-cook with fish that never fails to impress the palate. There are dozens of breaded tilapia recipes on the internet, but we like this one because it’s simple, and comes out of the oven perfect every time!
What is Tilapia?
Tilapia, is similar to Swai, or basa, or cod, and is a freshwater, farm-bred fish. It has nearly as many omega-3 fatty acids as cod. It is often more widely available and less expensive, too and so can be used in its place in recipes. It has a mild, buttery sweet flavor and a firm, flaky texture. Raw tilapia might have a pink tinge to it that turns pure white when it’s cooked. Tilapia filets can be purchased fresh or frozen.
FISH Because tilapia has such mild flavor, many different kinds of seasonings, breading, and sauces go well with it. But if tilapia is hard to find, go with basa, haddock, or even cod, if available.
BREADING/TOPPING This parmesan-crusted coating recipe with Panko is an easy way to get accustomed to cooking with tilapia.
ITALIAN DRESSING MIX Use our easy recipe for Italian Dressing Mix which goes so well with all kinds of meat of fish, or come up with your own signature blend.
BUTTER Butter makes tilapia filets moist and flavorful, but olive oil is an acceptable alternative.
- Serve lemon tilapia cold over a bed of greens for a healthy, refreshing red leaf salad with lemon vinaigrette.
- Baked tilapia in foil can be seasoned with garlic butter and some lemon pepper.
- Or add a thin slice of lemon to the packet before baking tilapia at 400° Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- but tilapia is also delicious when served Piccata style, with a tangy lemon butter sauce.
How to Bake Tilapia
- Preparation is key!
- Combine topping ingredients in a bowl.
- Gently rinse tilapia filets and pat them dry with a clean dishtowel or a paper towel. Place filets on a prepared baking dish.
- Drizzle filets with melted butter and squeeze lemon juice over the tops.
- Sprinkle the topping mixture over the fish and bake according to recipe instructions. Serve immediately.
In the Air Fryer
The air fryer is another great way to cook these tasty filets!
- Prepare the topping and the tilapia as indicated in the instructions above.
- Sprinkle the topping mixture over the fish and place on the air fryer rack with space between each filet.
- Cook in the air fryer at 390°F for 12-15 minutes, turning them over halfway through at 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks
Baked breaded tilapia is one of the easiest dishes you’ll ever make but we have a few ideas for troubleshooting!
- Check tilapia after the first 8 minutes of bake time. The fish should be starting to firm up and turn white and the topping should be starting to brown. If the filets aren’t baking at the same rate, this means the oven may have some “hot spots.” Just rotate the baking dish 90° clockwise for the rest of the bake time.
- For an extra crispy topping, place the finished filets under the broiler for about 1 minute.
Side Dishes for Tilapia
So many side dishes go with tilapia, it’s hard to pick just a few. But tilapia with parmesan orzo with basil, or just a simple side of lemon rice, would be delicious along with some air fryer green beans. Or keep it extra light with a red leaf salad with lemon vinaigrette!
- Oven-baked tilapia will keep for about 2 days in the refrigerator as long as it’s in a tightly covered container. Reheat in the microwave.
- Break tilapia up in chunks and make fish tacos with salsa, or serve it cold in a wrap with lettuce and a creamy dill dressing.
Other Easy Dinner Ideas!
- Easy Turkey Pot Pie – a tasty classic!
- Smoked Salmon – easy smoker recipe.
- Simple Beef Stroganoff – dinner in 40 min!
- Ham And Pea Pasta Bake – family favorite.
Oven Baked Tilapia
- 4 filets tilapia (about 1 pound) or cod
- ½ lemon
- 1 ½ Tablespoons butter melted
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon Italian dressing mix or 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon butter melted
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with foil paper and spray with cooking spray or grease with oil.
- Combine Topping ingredients in a small bowl.
- Rinse tilapia filets and pat dry. Place on baking tray.
- Drizzle with melted butter and squeeze lemon juice over the tilapia. Sprinkle fish with topping mixture.
- Bake 8-10* minutes for thin filets, or about 15* minutes, or until fish is just cooked through and fish is flaky.
- Broil for the last minute if desired.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.