Prepare quick and easy baked parmesan tilapia for a gluten-free dinner recipe ready in less than 15 minutes! This low carb, gluten free tilapia recipe combines lemon, mayo, and fresh parmesan cheese smothered on flaky fish and baked, broiled, or made in an air fryer for a family-friendly meal all will love!
Parmesan crusted Tilapia
It’s the new year and I am ready for a reset! After all the holiday indulgence, healthy, low carb meals are a welcome change.
This easy and delicious gluten-free tilapia recipe has been a staple in our house for a quick weeknight meal. The parmesan topping ingredients are readily available, the prep is easy, and it’s ready to serve in minutes!
Plus, unlike other parmesan tilapia recipes, this one contains no bread crumbs so it is also Keto / low carb, but extra yummy, delicious, and a hit for a family-friendly meal as well. Simply mix together parmesan, mayo, lemon juice, a couple simple seasonings, spread on the fish and bake. Dinner is ready in minutes!
However, if you’d rather not turn on the oven, it can also be prepared in an air fryer or broiled in a toaster oven. Similar to another popular and easy tilapia recipe, Mexican Fish, this is a meal that can easily adapted for different tastes.
Read on to learn how to make baked parmesan tilapia, plus pro tips for how to tell when fish is done, and modifications for substituting ingredients or another type of fish.
- Tilapia – To quickly thaw frozen tilapia, place the fish in a ziplock plastic bag (or keep in its vacuumed sealed packaging). Submerge into a bowl of room temperature water. Change out water every 20 minutes if it becomes too cold. For best results, thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator.
- Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated is best, but grated parmesan may also be used.
- Butter – Make sure butter is softened to blend easily with the parmesan topping ingredients.
- Lemon Juice – Use freshly squeezed lemons and serve with additional lemon wedges. For extra lemon flavor, zest the lemon and add to the topping before juicing.
- Mayonnaise – Light or regular mayo
- Seasonings – Parsley (fresh or dried), basil, and seasoning salt (or substitute salt and pepper)
How to Make Parmesan Tilapia
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- For easy clean up line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Parchment paper traps too much moisture into the fish and makes it soggy.
- Mix together the topping ingredients in a small bowl and spread parmesan mixture on tilapia fillets. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese on top of mayo mixture.
- This recipe may be baked, broiled, or see the recipe card for air fryer instructions. Bake in a 400ºF oven for 10 minutes or broil for 4-5 minutes.
Read below for more tips on cooking fish and how to tell when the tilapia is done.
Tips for Baking Tilapia
Use the pointers below to help you confidently tackle any seafood recipe!
- Most recipes describe fish as being done when it “flakes easily with a fork.” For more reliability use an instant read thermometer to make sure it’s at 145ºF in the thickness part of the filet. Also look for the color inside changing from translucent to opaque.
- For frozen fish allow 24 hours in the refrigerator to thaw a 1 pound package. To speed up the process, leave fish in vacuumed sealed pouches and submerge in a bowl of room temperature water. Directly rinsing fish will change the texture and add too much moisture.
- Whether I’m baking, frying, or poaching fish, I always pat it dry first to remove excess moisture and prevent it from becoming mushy.
- A general rule of thumb is to cook 10 minutes per inch thickness of fish. Add 5 minutes if cooked in foil or in a sauce.
Bake, Broil, or air fryer method
Parmesan crusted tilapia may be baked, broiled or cooked in an air fryer, depending on your preference and time.
Broiling doesn’t require preheating and the fish cooks faster. However, baking reduces the risk of overcooking and the tilapia bakes more evenly. Air frying is great if making for 1-2 people and saves turning on the oven!
BROILING METHOD: Broiled tilapia only takes 4-5 minutes, so make sure everything to go with the meal is prepared before popping it under the broiler.
Place the oven rack about 4 inches from heat source, and broil 4-5 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through to cook evenly.
BAKING METHOD: Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place oven rack in middle position and bake about 10 minutes. I like to follow with a quick 1 minute broil to make cheese mixture crispy.
AIR FRYER METHOD: Spray the basket with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lay the fish in a single layer (may have to cook in batches). Cook for 7-11 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish, until the flesh is white and it flakes easily with a fork.
Substituting a different fish
The parmesan mayo topping will compliment many different types of fish, such as cod, sole, halibut, swai, pollock, or sea bass, or grouper.
Tilapia is a thinner white fish, so if using a thicker type of fish add additional cooking time. To make sure fish is adequately cooked use an instant read thermometer. The temperature should read 145ºF in the thickness part of the fillet.
Additions and modifications
Other than pairing the mayo topping with another preferred fish there are a variety of ways to adapt this tilapia recipe.
- Sprinkle on panko, bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or quick, homemade gluten-free bread crumbs.
- Chop up artichoke hearts, sautéd mushrooms, or sun dried tomatoes and add it to the mayo topping.
- Use light mayo to save on calories.
- Add capers for a nice salty finish.
- For a cheesier topping, sway out the parmesan for freshly grated mozzarella.
How to Reheat Tilapia
Avoid the microwave when reheating cooked fish. An oven or toaster oven gives better results because the fish can be reheated gently while maintaining its crunchy, crusted topping.
- Preheat oven to 300ºF.
- Place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and lay fish on top of foil. Fold up the sides of the foil so it’s loosely tenting the fish.
- Bake until fish is heated through. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
What Goes With Parmesan Crusted Tilapia?
Below are some of my favorite sides to go with tilapia, but go to my what to serve with fish resource for many others!
- Crispy Oven Baked Fries
- Roasted Zucchini (low carb)
- Green Bean Salad (low carb)
- Roasted Potatoes & Green Beans
- Crispy Oven Roasted Cabbage (low carb)
SAVE THIS Baked Parmesan Tilapia recipe TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
Let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always sharing great recipes!
Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Recipe (Gluten-Free)
- 2 pounds tilapia
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese divided
- ¼ cup mayonnaise regular or light
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, (or 1 tsp. dried parsley) minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. (If using broiling method, turn on broiler.) Line a baking sheet with foil and place thawed tilapia fillets on top. Pat tops of fish dry with a paper towel. Set aside baking sheet.2 pounds tilapia
- In a small bowl combine ¼ cup parmesan cheese, mayo, lemon juice, softened butter, fresh or dried parsley, garlic, seasoned salt, dried basil, and paprika. Evenly spread parmesan mayo mixture on top of the fish. Sprinkle topping with remaining parmesan cheese.½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese,¼ cup mayonnaise,2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice,1 tablespoon butter,1 tablespoon fresh parsley, (or 1 tsp. dried parsley),2 cloves garlic,½ teaspoon seasoned salt,¼ teaspoon dried basil,¼ teaspoon paprika
- OVEN BAKED TILAPIA: Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes. For a golden, crispy topping turn on broiler and broil an additional 1-2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid overcooking.BROILED TILAPIA: Place rack about 4 inches from heat. Broil for 4-5 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.For baking or broiling, fish is done when inside is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Serve with additional lemon wedges.AIR FRYER: Spray the basket with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lay the fish in a single layer (may have to cook in batches). Cook for 7-11 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish, until the flesh is white and it flakes easily with a fork.
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