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Learn how to cook tilapia in just 15 minutes! This 5-ingredient garlic and parmesan crusted tilapia is a delicious and easy dinner recipe that the whole family will love. Serve the tilapia fillets with rice, a loaf of crusty bread, or a simple green salad.

Broiled tilapia on a dinner table with salad and bread

How to Make this Easy Tilapia Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Put an end to the crazy rush of mealtime with an easy tilapia recipe that the whole family can agree on! Here are three reasons that you’ll love this meal:

  • You only need 5 ingredients — most of which are pantry staples. You can also keep the fish in the freezer until you’re ready to use it, so this is one option that will save you a last-minute trip to the grocery store.
  • The dinner is a lighter, healthier, protein-packed option, yet it’s still made with delicious, familiar ingredients that your children will love. We’re talking butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a very mild, tender white fish. Who wouldn’t devour that?!
  • And finally (but perhaps most important), this baked tilapia recipe only requires about 5 minutes of prep. We all have time for that!
Process shot of brushing melted garlic butter on tilapia

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need when you learn how to cook tilapia. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Tilapia fillets: a mild white fish.
  • Salted butter: gives the tilapia rich flavor and helps it brown and crisp in the oven.
  • Lemon: an acidic touch that brightens up the dish.
  • Garlic powder: for savory flavor.
  • Grated Parmesan: creates a sharp, salty, flavorful crust on the fish.

Plus salt and black pepper, of course!

Sprinkling parmesan cheese on tilapia filets

How to Cook Tilapia

Learn how to cook tilapia fillets with an easy, gluten free, 5-ingredient recipe that’s ready from start to finish in about 15 minutes! For this dish, you’ll cook the fish under the broiler. The high heat of the broiler gives the tilapia a nice golden brown, crusty exterior, while the inside of the fish stays moist and tender.

  1. Combine melted butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  2. Brush the fish with the garlic butter mixture and place on a broiling pan, rimmed baking tray lined with aluminum foil, or even a large baking dish (if they fit).
  3. Broil the tilapia for 5 minutes.
  4. Flip the fillets, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and broil for 5-6 more minutes.
  5. Taste and season tilapia with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve with lemon slices or lemon wedges and fresh herbs.
Overhead shot of baked tilapia recipe served with lemon wedges and fresh herbs on a plate

How Long to Cook Tilapia

The tilapia will need a total of about 10-11 minutes under the broiler, flipping halfway through. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of your fish, the temperature of the fish when it goes under the broiler, and the proximity to the broiler itself. Keep a close eye on the fish while it’s cooking — don’t walk away — as food can burn very quickly under a broiler.

How to Know When Tilapia is Done

To know when the fish is done, gently insert the tines of a fork into the thickest part of a fillet. Twist the fork at a 45 degree angle. If the flesh of the fish is fork-tender and flakes easily, it’s done!

If you prefer to use an instant read thermometer, the fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.

Close up front shot of parmesan crusted tilapia on a plate

What to Serve with Broiled Tilapia

This is a really simple tilapia recipe, which pairs well with almost any side dish. Garnish the fish with a lemon wedge and some chopped fresh parsley. Here are a few easy sides that go well with baked tilapia recipes:

Side shot of a plate of crispy baked tilapia on a dinner table

Storage

The cooked fish will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 days. If you need to store the tilapia longer, you can freeze the leftovers for up to 1 month. It’s important to note, though — this tilapia is best when served warm from the oven.

How to Reheat

While it’s not ideal, you can carefully reheat the tilapia. You just need to be sure that you don’t overcook the fish in the reheating process. Either warm in the microwave for just a few seconds, or warm in a 275°F oven (loosely covered with foil) for about 7-10 minutes (or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 130-135°F).

Recipe Variations for Easy Baked Tilapia

  • If you like the flavor of Old Bay seasoning, you can add a dash of Old Bay to the melted butter mixture and then brush it on the fish. Paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, or lemon pepper would also be great additions to the butter mixture.
  • We love the flavor of the butter, but you can swap it out and use olive oil instead if you prefer.
  • For even stronger lemon flavor, add some grated lemon zest to the butter mixture.
  • Swap out the lemons and use lime juice instead. The cooked tilapia would be great in fish tacos!
  • Make it spicy by garnishing with crushed red pepper flakes or by adding cayenne pepper to the butter mixture.
Crispy broiled tilapia fillet on a plate

Tips for the Best baked tilapia recipes

  • How to cook frozen tilapia: If you’re starting with frozen tilapia, thaw the fish in the refrigerator overnight. Pat dry with paper towels and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Broil the tilapia about 5-6 inches from the heat. Always keep a close eye on food when it’s under the broiler, as it can burn very quickly.
  • Serving sizes: This recipe yields four very large servings. If you’re cooking for two, or if you have smaller appetites to feed, I would suggest using only two or three tilapia fillets.
  • Garnish each serving with fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, or chives, a lemon wedge, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can also sprinkle with red pepper flakes for some heat!
Overhead shot of healthy baked tilapia on a plate
Overhead shot of baked tilapia recipe served with lemon wedges and fresh herbs on a plate

5-Ingredient Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

5 from 22 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 250 kcal
A delicious, easy, and healthy parmesan-crusted tilapia made with only 5 ingredients and ready in 15 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tilapia fillets (about 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Minced fresh parsley, for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to BROIL on HIGH and place a rack about 5-6 inches from the broiler unit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Pat tilapia dry and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Combine melted butter, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Brush the butter mixture on both sides of the fish.
  • Place the fish on the prepared baking sheet, bottom side UP, and broil for 5 minutes. Flip the fish over, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and return to the broiler for 5-6 more minutes. The fish will flake easily with a fork when it’s done.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Video

Notes

  • How to cook frozen tilapia: If you’re starting with frozen tilapia, thaw the fish in the refrigerator overnight. Pat dry with paper towels and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Broil the tilapia about 5-6 inches from the heat. Always keep a close eye on food when it’s under the broiler, as it can burn very quickly.
  • Serving sizes: This recipe yields four very large servings. If you’re cooking for two, or if you have smaller appetites to feed, I would suggest using only two or three tilapia fillets.
  • Garnish each serving with fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, or chives, a lemon wedge, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can also sprinkle with red pepper flakes for some heat! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(8 ounce) filletCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 37gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 234mgPotassium: 559mgVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 14.3mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 1.2mg
Keyword: Baked Tilapia, baked tilapia recipes, broiled tilapia, parmesan crusted tilapia, Parmesan Tilapia
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in January, 2017. The photos were updated in November, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. I love most seafood, with that being said, I’ve never cared for the different recipes that I’ve used in the past!! HOWEVER, I made this today and this was soooooo yummy. The flavors marry together so well. I baked 2 fillets (even frozen, mind you). Ate one for lunch and while running errands – my mouth kept watering thinking about the absolute luscious ness. I paired my fish with some raw peppers, riced cauliflower and fresh beans !!!! Thank you somuchfor sharing your recipe. I’ll try and upload a pic of it!!

    Didn’t work -but know that it looked and tasted amazonh

    1. I left out that I’ve prepated tilapia from other recipes and it was lacking the tasteyness of this. Also at the bottom I mentioned amazon ( lol – you can certainly tell what I’ve been surfing on the net – I meant to say ‘AMAZING’

      1. I love that, Michelle! Thank you so much for your kind note. I had to laugh, because I was scrolling through Amazon when I saw your comment pop up. 🙂 Glad that you enjoyed the fish!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I followed your exact recipe and added a little extra Parmesan. Delish!!

  3. 5 stars
    Hubby make this. We only had two tilapia fillets and so added shrimp to fill in. He said it was super easy and all of us said it was super yummy!!!
    Thank you!????????

  4. 5 stars
    Went looking for a recipe on the fly, and found this one. I cannot say enough about it! The garlic and parmesan were perfectly proportioned, and not overwhelming, just perfectly flavored! I HIGHLY recommend this. Just wonderfully refreshing anytime of the year!

    1. Thank you so much, Wendy! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it and I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment!

  5. I followed the instructions to this recipe exactly, and I ended up with an oven fire. Wish I would’ve been able to try it!

  6. 5 stars
    I have made this many times. It is a family favorite. Tonight I am out of tilapia, but I have salmon. I wonder, would all steps be the same with a different fish?

    1. Hi, Laura! Thanks for your kind note! Salmon is typically quite a bit thicker than tilapia and it’s often sold with the skin-on, so it won’t cook in quite the same way as the tilapia. Here’s a similar Parmesan-crusted baked salmon recipe that you might like to try, or you can use those cooking instructions with the tilapia ingredients. Up to you! https://www.theseasonedmom.com/baked-salmon-fillet/ You can transfer the salmon to the broiler for the final few minutes of cooking time, if you like, to get the topping even more crispy. Hope that helps!

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my, this was WONDERFUL! I used Walleye fillets (Married to an avid Minnesota fisherman). My only changes were I added 1 tsp Italian seasoning and I used shredded instead of grated Parmesan. This is now my go-to recipe for any light flaky white fish filet! Goodbye cracker crumbs! Thank you for a terrific recipe!

    1. That’s awesome, Tracee! I’m so glad to know that it works with the Walleye as well. Thanks for your note!