2 Ways to Bake Tilapia in the Oven So It’s Crispy and Flaky

The best oven-baked tilapia recipes are flavored with tasty seasonings and yield a well-done crust.
Image Credit: LauriPatterson/iStock/GettyImages

As a white fish, tilapia easily takes on the flavors of the other foods you combine it with. You can make a range of oven-baked tilapia recipes, including panko-crusted baked tilapia and Cajun-seasoned baked tilapia.

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Fish like tilapia are considered a nutritious addition to any diet because they are good sources of protein and unsaturated fatty acids, according to the American Heart Association. It's worth noting that tilapia tends to have less omega-3 fatty acids compared to other fish, per Harvard Health Publishing.

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Panko-Crusted Oven-Baked Tilapia Recipe

On its own, oven-baked tilapia is delicious and doesn't take much time to put together. When prepared this way, you can create tilapia tacos, burritos and a range of other meals.

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Given the versatility of this white fish, people usually use it in dishes like a tilapia casserole or goulash, or turn it into a crispy meal like baked tilapia with panko.

Tilapia Internal Temp

The FDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fish must be stored below 40 F and should not be left out at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 tilapia fillets

  • 2 cups of panko bread crumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon of parsley

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

  • 1 egg yolk

  • Whisk

  • Small bowl

  • Baking tray

  • Cooking thermometer (optional)

Step 1: Defrost Your Tilapia Fillets

If your tilapia fillets are frozen, defrost them in the fridge overnight or soak them in their airtight wrappings in a bowl of cold water until thawed, changing the water every 30 minutes, per If your tilapia fillets are frozen, defrost them in the fridge overnight or soak them in their airtight wrappings in a bowl of cold water until thawed, changing the water every 30 minutes, per USDA guidelines. guidelines.

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Step 2: Mix Your Breading and Spices

Mix the panko bread crumbs and spices together before you take your fish out of the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Coat Your Tilapia

Whisk your egg yolk in a small bowl, then brush your tilapia fillets with the yolk. Coat both sides with the seasoned panko mix before putting the coated fish onto a baking tray.

Step 4: Cook Your Panko-Crusted Tilapia

Cook the panko-crusted tilapia fillets in the oven at 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Your fish is fully cooked when it's reached an internal temperature of 145 F, according to the FDA. If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you'll know your tilapia fillets are done when they are crispy on both sides and flake easily.

Baked Tilapia Recipe Without Breading

Preparing tilapia with breading adds additional carbs to the meal, but you can also make it without bread crumbs. Choosing the right spices and natural seasonings will help you make a delicious oven-baked tilapia without sacrificing flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 tilapia fillets

  • Large bowl

  • Baking tray

  • Aluminum foil

  • Nonstick spray

  • Salt and pepper

  • Complementary flavorings, like Cajun seasoning

  • Spatula

  • Food thermometer

Step 1: Defrost Your Tilapia Fillets

If your tilapia fillets are frozen, defrost them in the fridge overnight or soak them in their airtight wrappings in a bowl of cold water until thawed, changing the water every 30 minutes, per USDA guidelines.

Step 2: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 475 F. The higher cooking temperature will help your fish to develop a tasty crust.

Step 3: Lay Your Fillets on a Baking Tray

Place a sheet of foil over a baking tray and grease it with a light coating of nonstick spray. Put the tilapia fillets on the tray, leaving a little space between them.

Step 4: Season Your Fillets to Taste

Season the tilapia fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Add other ingredients such as lemon, lime or orange juice and zest if you like, or go the spicy route with a liberal sprinkling of Cajun or blackening seasoning.

You can also make fresh seasoning by combining chopped rosemary, dill, thyme, tarragon, sage, basil, cilantro or other herbs with a little olive oil and minced garlic, then spooning it onto the fillets and spreading out evenly.

Take it a step further by adding chopped peeled canned tomatoes, olives and capers or something sweet, like mango chutney or peaches sauteed in butter and brown sugar, on top of your fish.

Step 5: Bake, Remove and Enjoy

Bake the tilapia for about 8 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 F, which is considered safe, according to the FDA. If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you'll know your tilapia fillets are done when they are opaque and flaky.

Take the fillets off the baking tray immediately, or they can quickly overcook and start drying out.

Transfer your cooked fillets with a broad spatula to a plate and enjoy, or save them for later.

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