Panko Parmesan Crusted Baked Tilapia Recipe

Panko Parmesan Crusted Baked Tilapia is quick, easy and so completely delicious. It’s the best, light weeknight dinner! 

Try these other awesome fish recipes: Fish with a Lemon Sherry Pan Sauce, 20 Minute Sheet Pan and Baked Fish Sticks.

A side shot of Tilapia filets lined up at an angle on a pan with lemons on the side.

Why I love this Baked Tilapia Recipe

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I’ve always been a lover of all things seafood. But you know what I really love about cooking fish for dinner? The fact that it comes together really quickly. This is a super important prerequisite for my weeknight meals. Because ain’t nobody got time for that.

This oven baked tilapia is a super tasty throw-together meal that is an upgrade from simply throwing the fish onto the pan and popping it into the oven. I love the super flavorful and crispy crust that sits on top of the fish. It almost gives you the feeling of eating fish sticks or a breaded fish fry without the hassle of breading the fish.

A close up of a piece of Panko Parmesan Tilapia on a pan woith lemon behind it.

Tips for parmesan crusted tilapia?

  • Be generous with salt and pepper when seasoning it with the panko parmesan mixture.
  • I used my Mini-Prep Processor to get a nice, thorough mix of the panko parmesan mixture. It works better than using a whisk or a fork (although you can do those or a regular food processor as well).
  • Take your time when spreading the panko mixture onto the fish, it can get a bit messy.
  • Serve the fish with addition lemon- It adds a wonderful brightness and makes a pretty garnish.

Ingredient information that’s helpful to know:

Fish: I used tilapia for this recipe because that’s what I have on hand, but any flaky, white fish will work!

Panko Bread Crumbs: I prefer using Panko for this recipe because it comes out crispier than regular breadcrumbs. A good gluten-free substitute would also be ground up Rice Chex cereal.

Parmesan Cheese: This provides fantastic flavor- you can also use Romano cheese.

An overhead image of Oven Baked Tilapia on a pan with lemons and fresh parsley around it.

I thought you weren’t supposed to mix cheese and fish?

I know some people are weird about the whole cheese/fish flavor combo. But I’m not asking you to melt cheddar over your fish or anything. I’m not a complete monster! Parmesan cheese is a little different. It’s got such great flavor that adds an additional crispiness to the crust that makes it different that the melty, stringy cheese that people usually think of when it comes to cheese (which totally would not be appetizing on fish in my opinion).

Can I use something other than tilapia?

Feel free to use any other light white fish if Tilapia isn’t your scene.

Do you have to flip tilapia when baking?

I don’t think it’s necessary because you’re not trying to achieve a good sear the way you do when pan frying. Additionally it’ll ruin the crumb crust.

Should I bake fish covered or uncovered?

I prefer to bake it uncovered.

Is fresh or frozen tilapia best?

Either option works just fine. If possible, I always encourage you to go with fresh and to know where your fish is coming from (sustainably sourced, of course!). To thaw, remove from the freezer into the fridge the night before, or fully submerge in a bowl of cold water and change the water every 30 minutes until thawed.

How long do I bake tilapia for?

This recipe bakes for around 20 minutes. A thermometer at the thickest part of the fish should be at least 145 degrees.

Leftovers and storage:

Although this is best served right away, it will last up to 2 days covered in the fridge.

A close up photo of a bite of Panko Parmesan Crusted Baked Tilapia on a fork on a pan with lemon behind it.

Ingredients you can prep ahead:

  • Grate Parmesan cheese if it isn’t already
  • Wash and dry fresh parsley
  • Peel garlic
  • Thaw Tilapia if frozen

Helpful tools:

  1. Mini-Prep Processor
  2. Sheet pan
  3. Fish Spatula

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia lined up on a pan.

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Panko Parmesan Crusted Baked Tilapia Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked tilapia
Servings: 4 filets
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Romano
  • 5-8 sprigs fresh parsley + extra for garnish
  • 1 lemon juice + extra wedges for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + some for sprinkling on the fish
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper + some for sprinkling on the fish
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil + a little extra for drizzling the fish
  • 4 tilapia filets
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Process all ingredients except the fish in the mini prep processor until well combined.
  3. Place the fish on the prepared pan and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the panko parmesan mixture between each of the tilapia filets and press it into the top of the fish so that it almost covers them.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  7. Garnish with extra parsley and lemons and enjoy immediately with extra lemon juice.
Recipe Notes

This will last up to 2 days covered in the fridge.

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