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Who needs a healthy dinner recipe that’s ready in under 20 minutes? And budget friendly? My Crunchy Oven Baked Breaded Tilapia uses the oven to create a crispy coating on the fish making it a healthy meal option. Make up a batch of the breading mix to always have on hand for even quicker meal prep the next time!
Why We Love This Recipe
My sister passed this Breaded Tilapia Recipe on to me years ago and still a family favorite! With fewer than 10 ingredients it’s also super simple. They’re probably all ingredients you have on hand already, too!
By baking the fish instead of cooking the filets in oil makes it a healthier option also. I like to make up a batch of the breading to keep in a jar in the pantry so that whenever I need a quick and easy dinner, I’m good to go.
It pairs well with a variety of sides like homemade fries, roasted broccoli, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Simple Stovetop Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf and more. It is also delicious on a fish sandwich or you can even use it in fish tacos like these Simple Fish Tacos with Avocado, Corn, and Tomato Salsa.
What Ingredients Are Needed To Make This Recipe?
As mentioned, all of the ingredients for the baked breaded tilapia are likely already in your pantry or can easily be found at the grocery store.
While the recipe calls for plain dried breadcrumbs, feel free to change things up and substitute garlic or Italian herb breadcrumbs or panko style breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are a crunchier version and can be found alongside the regular breadcrumbs at your grocery store.
Feel free to substitute another firm, white fish for the tilapia. I know tilapia has a mixed reputation but it’s inexpensive and can still be healthy. I like to buy frozen fish in bulk at Costco to save even more money. I feel better buying it there because of their sustainable seafood commitment to sell fish and seafood that is better for our environment and bodies.
Frozen fish is easy to keep in the freezer and can be used in lots of recipes including my Tomato Basil Topped Tilapia recipe.
How To Prepare This Fish
While this recipe is meant to serve four, the ingredients can easily be doubled or tripled. Make it for a crowd or make an extra batch to have on hand in the freezer (see below for tips on how to do that).
The key to keeping this recipe simple is to use shallow bowls for the different ingredients you’ll be dipping the fish in. I like to use pie plates, but any type of shallow bowl will work.
If you are using frozen tilapia, you’ll want to thaw it first either in the refrigerator for several hours (or even overnight) or using the cold-water method (thawing it in a bag in cold water for about 30 minutes until thawed).
Star by dipping the fish first in the flour mixture (1).
Next, dip the floured filet in the egg mixture (2). This process used to seem backwards to me but I promise, it works!
Third, dip the egg dipped filet into the cornbread mixture (3).
Lastly, place each filet on a prepared baking sheet (4). This breaded tilapia is baked for only 10-15 minutes (or until the fish flakes easily with a fork) making it a super quick and easy dinner idea!
Make Ahead Preparation Tips
The great thing about this recipe is that the cornmeal breading mixture can be made up ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 3 months! Be sure to label and date it (affiliate link) too.
Can you freeze it?
I’ve never frozen the breaded tilapia fully prepared, but you can certainly do that. Just follow the preparation steps and before baking, add it to a silicone mat (affiliate link) or parchment paper line baking sheet. Then flash freeze the breaded filets until they are solid, at least 2 hours. Move frozen filets to a gallon size bag and seal, label, and freeze.
When you’re ready to cook, pull out the number of filets you need and follow the baking instructions. So easy!
What Are Some Other Seafood Recipes?
If you like fish and seafood, be sure to check out these delicious recipes too:
Crunchy Oven Fried Breaded Tilapia
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 large egg whites
- ¼ cup plain, dried bread crumbs
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Lightly brush a large baking sheet with cooking oil or spray with non-stick baking spray.
- In a shallow bowl or pie plate, blend together flour, salt, and pepper and set aside.
- In another shallow bowl or pie plate beat egg whites until white and frothy.
- Lastly, in another shallow bowl or pie plate, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, and basil.
- Rinse the fillets and pat dry.
- Dip each filet first into flour, shaking off any excess, then into egg whites, then into bread crumb mixture.
- Place fillets on baking sheet.
- Bake fish for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Make Ahead Preparation Tips:Mix up the breading mixture and store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 3 months. Be sure to label and date the container! You can also freeze the fully breaded filets by flash freezing them and then storing in an airtight container or freezer bag. Simple pull out what you need when you’re ready to bake up a batch of fish. They can be baked from frozen by adding an additional 5-10 minutes to the total baking time.
This post was originally posted in August 2012 but updated in June 2020 with new photos and content.