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Best Tilapia Recipe Ever: Baked With Parmesan Cheese

This baked parmesan cheese tilapia is fresh out of the oven. You won't believe how delicious this fish is until you try it!

This baked parmesan cheese tilapia is fresh out of the oven. You won't believe how delicious this fish is until you try it!

People Who "Don't Like" Fish Love This Recipe!

"This tastes too fishy."

"I don't like fish very much."

Have you heard these statements before? I have. I even used to hear them from my boyfriend.

But not anymore—not since I started making his tasty, easy tilapia recipe. He loves this dish, and he goes on about how good it is every time I make it. Each time I serve it, he's surprised all over again by how tasty fish can be.

Tilapia is a fish that is very easy to cook and hard to mess up. It doesn't take long to cook, and it always tastes good, at least when I make it at home. It's more expensive than whiting filet (one of the cheapest fish you can buy), but it's less expensive than most other cuts of fish.

Tilapia is a mild-tasting white fish that is unlikely to turn anybody away. Many people may like fish but are turned away by fish that tastes too strong or too "fishy." Tilapia is not like that. Tilapia is mild . . . and never overwhelming in smell or taste.

My Favorite Tilapia Recipe

I came across this particular tilapia recipe online many years ago. I was subscribed to some recipe sites, and thus I would receive different recipes weekly for various foods. I was always looking for different ways to make fish. I loved frying it, but I wanted something healthier—and different.

The recipe I have now is a torn piece of paper, printed on an old printer, tattered from years of use in the kitchen. Years ago, I started adding notes to my recipes—when I made them, who I was with, and what the results were. Was it good? Tasty? Needed a little extra of this or that? So there are scribbles all over this recipe, like so many other recipes tucked here and there in my kitchen.

This particular tilapia recipe, based on my handwritten notes, shows me making this recipe at least once a year since 2005. And my comments on it show that all reports were good; the first comment is, "Excellent! Tasty!" This is a recipe you can't go wrong with, as long as you do like tilapia. Maybe you don't even know you like it. It's definitely worth a try. Since the last time I checked, I have made the recipe much more often than once a year.

Ingredients for tilapia topping

Ingredients for tilapia topping

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds tilapia filets, thawed (My recipe says that orange roughy, cod, or red snapper could be substituted. I would guess that most fish would work.) I just put enough filets to cover the bottom of my 9 x 13 casserole dish. Six of them fit perfectly.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your 9 x 13-inch baking dish by spreading butter in the bottom or using non-stick spray (that's what I do). Lay thawed tilapia filets in a single layer. If you forgot to thaw the filets, stick them in cold or warm water for a few minutes; they will thaw in a very short time.
  2. Brush the top of the fish with lemon juice. Put fish in a preheated oven of 375 degrees. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the fish starts to flake.
  3. In the meantime, in a bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, softened butter, mayonnaise, chopped green onions, seasoned salt, black pepper, and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Mix up well with a fork and set aside. (Note: Do not put the topping on before putting the fish into the oven the first time. Once, when I already had the topping prepared, I forgot to wait until the end. Instead, I put the topping on the right after the lemon juice and popped the dish into the oven. While the final product was still good, it was drier and not anywhere near as delicious as normal. So remember to wait on the topping!)
  4. After the fish has cooked to the point of being flaky, take it out of the oven and spread the cheese mixture on top. Turn oven to broil to brown top of fish, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep an eye on the fish, as baking time will be impacted by the thickness of the filets. Do not allow it to overcook. Quicker option: Turn oven to broil setting. After the oven heats up, place in tilapia. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until almost done. Take out, and add Parmesan cheese mixture. Then broil another 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. Keep a close eye on tilapia so as not to burn it.

Even Quicker and Simpler Tilapia Recipe

You should be very pleased with this tilapia recipe. If you would like to try an even easier, even quicker tilapia recipe, perhaps the easiest of all, then I have tried such a thing that works really well.

  1. Take the desired amount of frozen tilapia out of the bag and place it in a buttered or sprayed non-stick pan. You can sprinkle a little olive oil or canola oil in the pan if you prefer. Place a lid over the pan of fish with the burner turned to medium heat. Do make sure the pan is hot before you put tilapia in it. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes before checking the fish. If tilapia is starting to turn white, it's time to turn it over.
  2. Sprinkle a choice of seasonings on the tilapia before turning. A simple option is to sprinkle salt and pepper or perhaps lemon pepper. You can also experiment with your favorite seasonings: garlic salt, dill weed, or cajun seasoning, to name a few. You can even brush the fish with melted butter.
  3. Cook tilapia for another 3 or 4 minutes on the other side. Add more seasonings on that side if you'd like. When tilapia flakes easily with a fork, it is ready to eat. Be careful not to cook too long, as tilapia—like most fish—is much better when it's not overcooked.

If you're hesitant to cook or eat fish, try this baked tilapia recipe or even tilapia in other recipes. Tilapia is a mild fish that cooks quickly. Messing up the flavor would be hard to do, too. Try it!