Dinner is so easy and fast with this simple Baked Tilapia. A scrumptious crispy topping made with breadcrumbs, butter, and garlic makes these fish fillets flaky inside and crispy outside. A super simple and over-the-top delicious baked tilapia recipe is at your fingertips.
Tilapia has a very mild taste and a medium to firm texture. That composition makes this whitefish the perfect candidate for crispy herbed toppings. You can take a less expensive fish fillet and turn it into a mouthwatering dinner. All it takes is a handful of ingredients.
Why Baked Tilapia Is Great Choice
- Budget-Friendly. Tilapia is one of the most economical types of fish you can buy. Plus, the other ingredients for this baked tilapia recipe are pantry staples. All it takes is butter, lemon juice, panko, parsley, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Easy to find. You can use fresh or frozen tilapia in this recipe. Tilapia is easy to find at your grocery store or from your fishmonger.
- Easy Weeknight Meal. Baked fish is a great choice for those evenings when you haven't planned dinner ahead of time. Take out some frozen tilapia fillets, defrost the fillet, add the ingredients, and bake them in the oven. All ready in under 20 minutes.
- Servings. It is so easy to make this recipe for one person, two people or many more.
- Delicious. It's hard to beat crispy baked tilapia with a moist and delicately flavored interior. Panko makes the baked tilapia crispy without over-cooking. Seasoned with garlic, paprika, parsley, salt, and pepper, and you have a dish that is hard to beat in simple flavors!
- Tilapia is an excellent source of protein, omega-3's, vitamins and minerals. All these benefit the brain, heart, and eyes with only about 200 calories per serving. If you want to learn more about the benefits of eating tilapia, check out Tilapia Nutrition + 9 Things You Need to Know About Tilapia from the National Fisheries Institute.
- Panko breadcrumbs are what gives this baked fish that extra bit of crunchiness without frying.
- Butter makes everything better. It acts as a binding agent for holding the breading onto the fish.
- Seasonings include garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and parsley flakes.
- Lemon juice, a common ingredient in seafood, adds brightness.
How To Bake Tilapia
I’m confident you will love how easy and delicious this baked tilapia recipe is.
- Preheat your oven. The oven temperature for baked tilapia is ideal at 400°F for a crispy outside and a flaky inside.
- Pat the tilapia dry with a paper towel. Next, add the tilapia fillets to a baking dish and brush with a bit of melted butter. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Then, season with salt and pepper. You can also make this baked tilapia without lemon if you prefer.
- The seasonings for baked tilapia are so simple. Parsley flakes, garlic powder, and paprika are all the spices you need. Mix that in with the buttery panko topping. Then pat the topping onto the tilapia to make the tilapia crispy and scrumptious.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Check the tilapia at 12 minutes to see if it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. If not, continue baking until it is perfect.
- You are ready to eat dinner in under 20 minutes! Serve with optional lemon wedges, if you prefer.
- Note: The USDA recommends that an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish registers 145°F. With thinner pieces that is often difficult to do and the visual doneness indicators work well.
- While the panko coated tilapia is baking, make some sautéed broccoli with garlic, sautéed green beans, or a simple side salad with dressing.
- I don't recommend baking tilapia from frozen. The fish is too delicate and won't taste right. Thaw your tilapia overnight in the refrigerator, under cold running water in your sink, or in the microwave. Do not let fish sit out on your countertop to thaw.
More About Tilapia
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 2 to 3 servings, approximately 4 ounces each of a variety of seafood each week. The FDA lists tilapia on it's Best Choices of fish list.
For consumers wanting a healthier diet, the bad information about tilapia has been dubunked. Tilapia received bad publicity at one time but with no sound scientific evidence. Many health professionals have commented about the health benefits of tilapia.
Countries for Tilapia Sourcing
Specific Safety Concerns
Water quality and excessive use of antibiotics are pressing issues in some countries. These factors can make the tilapia less safe to consume.
China has been criticized for lax environmental regulations and frequent antibiotic use in fish farming. Vietnam and Thailand have also faced scrutiny for similar reasons.
Verify Labels and Certifications
Opt for tilapia that has a certification like MSC or ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council). This ensures the fish meet specific safety and sustainability standards.
Being informed about the origin of your tilapia can significantly impact its safety and quality. Stick to trusted sources that adhere to international food safety guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cook tilapia until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure it's fully cooked and safe to eat. FoodSafety.gov has an great chart you can download that shows safe food temperatures.
Overcooking or using a low oven temperature can make tilapia mushy. Make sure you preheat the oven and stick to the recommended cooking time.
Both methods have their merits. Baking is healthier and easier for large batches. Frying gives a crispy texture but adds more calories
No need to wash tilapia before baking. Washing can spread bacteria and doesn't improve taste or texture. Tasting Table gives more insights and references as to why you should not wash fish.
Tilapia is done when it flakes easily with a fork and turns opaque. The internal temperature should be 145°F (63°C).
Yes, tilapia skin is edible but some people don't like its texture. If you're not a fan, you can easily remove it before or after cooking.
Time to make the best baked tilapia with panko ever. You will be glad you did.
Quick and Easy Baked Tilapia With Panko
- 2 tilapia fillets, about 4 oz each
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice about ¼ lemon
- 5 teaspoon melted butter, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a paper towel, pat tilapia fillets dry. Place tilapia in the baking dish. Brush the top of the tilapia with 2 teaspoon melted butter. Drizzle lemon juice over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder, paprika, and remaining butter; stirring well. Pat mixture on top of tilapia.
- Bake, 12 to 15 minutes or until the tilapia is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve.