Panko-Crusted Tilapia

As I sit here typing, I wonder why on earth I haven’t yet shared this Panko-Crusted Tilapia since it is one of my absolute favorite fish recipes.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

This Panko-Crusted Tilapia is super tasty.  It has a combination of fresh lemon, garlic, ginger and other fragrant spices, including paprika and crushed red pepper, that also gives it some heat.  Not a lot of heat — just enough so that Dustin eats it without even saying it’s spicy.  Perfect.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef
Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef
Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Haven’t ever heard of Panko Breadcrumbs?  Neither had I until a few years ago.  Panko Breadcrumbs are the Japanese version of what we usually consider regular breadcrumbs.  Panko holds up a lot better than regular breadcrumbs, which makes the final result much more crunchy than with regular breadcrumbs. You can find them in the baking, ethnic and/or breadcrumb section at most stores.  They are pretty much awesome.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef
Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef
Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

I’ve also used this recipe with Red Snapper and Sea Bass.  All are yummy, but Tilapia tends to hold up to baking the best, if you care about presentation.  For photos.  Which is kinda what I do.

And, of course, as with all fish, the fresher the better.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

[Random educational side note: I learned from Alton Brown many moons ago that the fish and seafood section at your local market should smell like the ocean, not like fish.  If it doesn't, I'd recommend going elsewhere.]

I like to pair Panko-Crusted Tilapia with my Lemon Snap Peas.  Such a delicious flavor and texture combination. I hope you try it out sometime. Soon.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chefYummy.

Panko-Crusted Tilapia
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Panko-Crusted Tilapia is super tasty. It has a combination of fresh lemon, garlic, ginger and other fragrant spices, including paprika and crushed red pepper, that also gives it some heat.
Recipe type: Easy
Serves: 2
  • ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1½ tsp. dry mustard
  • 1½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • optional: thinly sliced lemons for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized, shallow dish, combine melted butter, garlic powder and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In another medium-sized, shallow dish, combine Panko breadcrumbs and the rest of the dry seasonings. Mix well.
  4. Gently coat each fillet with the butter mixture and then with the Panko mixture, taking care to coat with as much Panko coating as possible.
  5. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over high heat in a non-stick, oven-safe skillet. Once oil and pan are hot, add the Panko-coated fillets. Pour the remaining lemon-butter mixture over and around the fish and carefully pat as much of the remaining Panko coating on the fish as possible. Throw in a few thinly sliced lemons to brown as well (if you wish, for garnish and added lemon flavor). Heat on high until the bottom side turns golden brown and the butter starts to brown, about 2-4 minutes. Careful not to burn the butter or the fish.
  6. Once the bottom side is golden brown, carefully flip the fillets over and place the skillet into the oven. Bake until the fish breaks apart easily with the twist of a fork, about 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. Careful not to overcook at this point.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with a slice of lemon, if you'd like. I do.




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About the author: My name is Lacey and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a foodie, a photographer, a chef, and a project manager at a local tech start-up in Austin. But, most importantly, I am the mother of three adorable little kiddos (Jordan, Savannah and Hunter) and am madly in love with and married to my high school sweetheart, Dustin.

36 comments… add one

  1. NanaBread (Jeanne) December 22, 2010, 3:05 pm

    Looks fantastic! I’m definitely trying this one. Thanks for sharing it. -Jeanne

      1. NanaBread (Jeanne) January 26, 2011, 9:31 pm

        Made it for dinner tonight! Wow…that’s an awesome dish. Got an enthusiastic “two thumbs up” from The Complete Package and I. Definitely making this again, and will be posting a glowing review on my blog soon. It’s my new favorite fish dish. So much flavor, and those pan-roasted lemons blew my mind. And it smells as good as it tastes. Awesome. Perfect. Wonderful. Adjectives fail me.

        1. lacey - a sweet pea chef January 27, 2011, 9:10 am

          Wow, Jeanne, thank you so much. I’m so very happy you all liked the panko-crusted tilapia! Yay!

          Are we still on for our Valentine’s Day Toffee-Off? If so, how are we gonna do it? I’m still game if you are!

          1. NanaBread (Jeanne) January 27, 2011, 4:11 pm

            You bet! Not sure how to approach it. I guess I could make your recipe and you could make mine. Then we’ll compare notes on both – what makes them different, etc. If you want to post a story about our toffee-off on your blog, comparing both recipes, then I would post a short story about what we did and link to yours so they can see the recipes. You’re the chef, so I’ll defer to you on the cooking side. I’m more of the smart-ass tell the story type. I should also make sure you have the exact recipe for mine. I’m not sure I ever gave you exact measurements. What do you think?

          2. lacey - a sweet pea chef January 28, 2011, 1:50 pm

            I was thinking along the same lines — that we’d just make the other’s recipe and compare our own from memory. I was originally planning to post about it and include a link to your blog with the recipe…that probably still makes the most sense. I’m thinking I will do it for my Saturday post on Feb. 12…that work for you? Yes, I would need the whole recipe from you with the exact measurements :)

    1. Roma July 26, 2011, 3:18 pm

      Sounds Great! I will try this and top it off with some Mango salsa and avocado.. – Gracias RMB

  2. Katherine January 5, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Well, another HIT! I made this last night and have to say… DELICIOUS! The seasoning was just right; not too strong, perfectly subtle. We ALL totally enjoyed it. I also have to mention again how wonderful the Baja Fish Tacos were and how everyone should give em a try. My family says the Tilapia and Fish Tacos are in a ‘tie’ right now. Thanks again for dinner!

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef January 5, 2011, 11:51 pm

      Katherine, your posts always make me smile. Thank you for the great review! I’m so happy the tilapia was another winner with you and your family. Have you all tried the Pan-Roasted Salmon recipe yet? You might like that as well. Maybe a tie breaker? :)

  3. Fritz February 19, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Made this tonight, and we were very pleased with the result. Also made the Lemon Snap Peas, and those were outstanding. The peas are especially simple when using the packaged “stringless” snap peas.
    Both recipes are going in my “do again” file.

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef February 19, 2011, 9:12 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed both those recipes…aren’t they a great combination of flavors? Yay for the “do again” file! :)

  4. Briana June 2, 2011, 7:07 pm

    Okay, so I’m totally behind the curve on this, but I *love* this recipe! I tweak it based on whatever I’ve got on hand, but I’ve made it three times now and it’s amazing. It’s fast, simple and I love how clean the flavors are. (I tend to favor the ginger a little heavily, but eh.) Tonight I laid it over some buttered angelhair and paired it with some steamed asparagus in a lemon butter sauce, and it was like summertime nirvana. And this recipe totally brought me to your site, so yay! Thank you! <3

  5. Derf July 19, 2011, 9:48 am

    wow !! fantastic coating for my tilapia, DH loved it and that counts big cus he is not a fish fan. we loved the wee bite from the red pepper flakes and the combination of spices was perfect. I was out of butter and used becel margarine instead and was also out of dry mustard so added Dejon mustard to the wet ingredients, both worked as subs, but I can imagine the coat would be incredible using butter and dry mustard, next time and there will definately be a next time !!
    Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
    I have posted a link, my photos and comments here…

    I shall return, and as you can see, others will too !!

  6. Jenny August 14, 2011, 7:04 pm

    This recipe is divine! I usually just bake my tilapia because it is simple. This recipe is incredible. Not difficult and super yummy!!! If you haven’t tried it, you must!

    Thank you Lacey for this wonderful recipe, I am excited to try more or your recipes!!!

      1. Bianca January 29, 2014, 12:29 am

        This was our dinner toihngt. My husband and I loved it. I added a little extra Cayenne for him, but was still tame enough for me. He added a little Low Fat Sour Cream .very yummy. Will be making this one over and over again.

  7. Thomas August 20, 2011, 7:32 pm

    I dont have an oven-safe skillet. Can i use a casserole dish?

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef August 24, 2011, 10:29 pm

      Yes, Thomas, you most certainly can. I have actually used a casserole dish once and it turned out fine. Once you’re done cooking the fish on the stove, just transfer to the casserole dish. Enjoy!

  8. Andrea September 25, 2011, 7:15 pm

    Tried this and LOVED it. I was looking for something different to do with tilapia and I really loved the flavors. I didn’t have any ginger to add and it was still delicious :) Thank you for sharing. It was my first time to try any of your dishes and now I’m looking for the next one.

  9. Jillian October 13, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Made this for my husband who refuses to eat fish and he loved it! Great recipe!

  10. Vicky December 19, 2011, 9:53 pm

    Super yummy idea! Googled panko tilapia and obviously this is a hit! Best idea was the red pepper flakes, so good. Cut back on the butter for health reasons but brown crunchy and delicious just the same

  11. Courtney Lewis January 25, 2012, 8:09 pm

    I just made this for dinner tonight. It was AMAZING! So easy and you inspired me to actually use my cookware in the oven. I’ve see it done and often contemplated it but never tried it. I’ll be doing from now on for sure! Thanks so much!

    The Orange Cranberry scones look incredible too…may be trying that next!

  12. Sue February 11, 2012, 8:52 am

    Thanks for this recipe. It sounds wonderful and I plan to make it for friends tonight.

    My husband has to have a very low fat diet, so I am looking for substitutes for butter in this and the recommended lemon snap pea side dish.

    For the fish, I think I will try dipping the fillets in raw egg whites to get the bread crumbs to stick.

    For the snap peas, I wonder if I could mix olive oil with the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray, so it would still have some buttery flavor.
    The spray contains some liquid soybean oil and sweet cream buttermilk, but reports that each serving (5 sprays) is fat free and 0 calories. I don’t know yet how many sprays it will take to make a tablespoon, but I will find out.

    Speaking of things I don’t know, as a real beginner, I noted that it would be helpful for your recipe/instructions to advise how many lemons we should buy to get two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and still be able to add sliced lemons for garnish. (I plan to buy 2 lemons, and I feel pretty confident that will suffice, but I thought I would pass that along since you asked for suggestions.)

    Thanks for the good ideas and helpful photos!

  13. Amanda R. April 20, 2012, 7:04 am

    Do you have any suggestions on how to keep the bread crumbs on the fish? I made this last night. It tasted so good but at least half of the bread crumbs fell off during the cooking process. Mine didn’t look anything like yours, lol.

  14. Katie May 2, 2012, 8:04 am


    I did a Google search for “Panko Crusted Tilapia” and this was the first option to pop up. It sounded good and I already had all of the ingredients so I tried it.

    I ended up just cooking the tilapia on the stove top and omitted the oven part. The butter and dry mixture allowed me to make 4 tilapia filets. Perfect!

    This might have become my new favorite recipe. It was so delicious and I just LOVED the flavors. I cannot wait to pop leftovers in the toaster oven here at work and see how it tastes today! Dare I say I might eat it for breakfast instead of lunch?!

    Thank you for sharing!!

  15. Joanne May 16, 2012, 5:22 am

    What a terrific recipe. I used fresh pressed garlic and grated fresh ginger in the butter mixture rather than dry which I believe is vastly more flavorful than powdered. I also noted, after it was entirely cooked, that there was no salt included in the recipe. We’re not salt fiends but it definitely needed a couple of light twists of fresh ground salt which really brought out the flavor. I didn’t roast the lemon on the fish, but did squeeze liberally before serving. It was really fantastic. Loved the heat of the red pepper flakes!

  16. Liesl August 20, 2012, 6:45 pm

    This was fantastic! Thank you so much- would it be okay if I shared it on my blog?

  17. toosweet118 January 20, 2013, 5:56 pm

    Tasted quite yummy! I just hate frying Tilapia since it always breaks when I flip. I baked the fish, then broiled on HI for 2 mins in the oven. I got a really nice crunch on the fish. For anyone that wants to skip frying, this worked great!

  18. Maria September 4, 2013, 3:33 am

    Just tried this recipe last night, it was so amazing. I had bought the panko already but didn’t knew what to do with it, this worked out amazing. I’m really happy I came across your website, thank you so much for sharing these amazing recipes.

  19. Kim January 8, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Hi, Lacey! I’m definitely trying this recipe. Is it absolutely necessary to transfer the fish to the oven? Is it possible to just pan fry the fish, or will it not have the same effect?
    Love your blog….thanks!


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