Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust

Look for tilapia that has been farmed in the United States (see the Monterery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch on the subject.)

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs, seasoned or unseasoned, or 2 cups panko
  • An additional 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning if you are using unseasoned breadcrumbs or panko
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 1 1/3 pounds
  • Flour for dusting, about 1/3 cup
  • 1 beaten egg

Optional berry sauce

  • 2 cups mixed berries (frozen work well)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


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1 Place the breadcrumbs, seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Add the sundried tomatoes and olive oil and pulse until the consistency of a coarse meal.

2 Spread some olive oil along the bottom of a roasting pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

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3 Rinse off the tilapia fillets with water and pat dry. Spread flour on a plate. Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl next to the flour. Place breadcrumb mixture in a bowl next to the egg. Put a large plate next to the breadcrumb mixture. Then, working one by one, dredge the tilapia fillets first in the flour until lightly coated, then dip in the beaten egg until coated and let the excess drip off. Then place a small handful of the breadcrumb mixture on the large plate and place the fillet on top of it. Sprinkle a generous amount of breadcrumb mixture over the top of the fillet and press down with your fingers. When both sides are well breaded, gently transfer the fillet to the roasting pan.


4 Place the baking pan with the fillets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through, and the fillets easily flake with a fork. (If serving with berry sauce, you can make the sauce while the fish cooks.) Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two before serving.

Serve with slices of lemon with which to drizzle over the fish, and/or the optional berry sauce.

To make a berry sauce, place the berries in a small saucepan. Add a 1/4 cup  of water and sprinkle with sugar. Bring to a simmer and gently crush the berries a little with a potato masher or the back of a fork, just enough to break up the larger berries. Cook gently uncovered for several minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a syrup.

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  • Maggie

    If I were to substitute almond meal for breadcrumbs, do you think I should swap cup for cup? Thank you in advance!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Maggie, you might be able to get by with a little less, maybe 3/4 cup?

      • Maggie

        Thank you! The almond meal really affected the texture. The mixture was wet and pasty. I got it onto the fish as best I could and finished it under the broiler to help form a crust and it was surprisingly still delicious. For some reason we found it very salty .. Could have been user error (kids tug at my legs while I cook!). We’ll definitely make it again.

  • Laura

    This was so tasty!

  • Cookie

    I made this this week and it was excellent! Really loved the flavor of the crust! Thank you for sharing.

  • rebecca

    I have sun dried tomatoes that have to be rehydrated. Can i use and if so, how much?

    • Elise

      Hi Rebecca, I do not know. I’ve only ever worked with the sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil.

  • Dean E.

    Regarding the “fishy” flavor of some tilapia … try marinating in milk for about a half-hour. For some reason this seems to reduce that fishy flavor.

    • Gary

      Recently I bought two fresh Halibut steaks for BBQ and to my surprise upon opening the package within an hour of purchasing them these steaks had an awful fish smell. The trick? I rinsed both under cold water while gently rubbing the flesh with my finger especially the center boning part, dried them with a clean paper towel and voila no more smelly fish. Unless the fish is very old or not fresh at all this trick will not work. Mistakes do happen at the store and filets can be mixed with other ones before being displayed so I most always rinse my fish… filet or not.

  • Dean E.

    Made this a couple of nights ago and was very happy with how it turned out. I used mixed frozen berries for the sauce which did indeed work just fine. I especially liked the idea of processing sun dried tomatoes with the breading mix … ingenious and delicious!

  • Jerri

    Or, if you have access, you can just buy the same sun-dried tomato crusted tilapia already done an Costco!!!

    • Gary

      Yes, you could go to Costco but if you noticed the crust on these filets are like a paste and packaged who knows when? Even though the package shows the date(s) the coating is made way in advance for perhaps 100’s of Costco warehouses. But again as Elise said…. to each his/her own. I do know though that Costco does sell Tilapia filets without the crust which could be another option. Having control in the making of the crust, as well as the amount put onto the filet, including the no delay to cook it, is what makes this recipe a winner over Costco.

  • Chef Art

    Tilapia is farmed raised in pens and fed gmo grains and who knows what else. Do you know any fish that eat grains in the wild? Eat only wild caught fish.

  • Hannibal

    Tilapia is an African river fish that thrives in high density schools. Its a favorite with aquaponic farmers because they say if you have a 55 gallon drum of water you can raise 55 Tiliapias. This has been attested to. They apparently get along very well.

    Unfortunately because of the propensity to school so densely they outbreed other fish and in the U.S. you can’t breed them in most states. Texas and New Mexico forbids the importation of live fish because they are considered an invasive species. That means even aquaponic farmers can’t use them in any state that forbids this live fish.

    They are mild and medium dense. I have it fried and steamed and I am going to try this recipe complete with the berry sauce. You can also make an orange sauce and that acidity goes well to enhance this fish. My brother makes tilapia crouettes with a lot green and red bell peppers with a liberal amount of jalapeno to heat it up. Pretty good eats. This new recipe gives one more way to enjoy this fish that is becoming very popular because its easy to breed.

  • Sandy S.

    Thank you Kathy and Elise for drawing my attention to the Seafood Watch website. They make it so easy to learn a lot quickly and make good choices. The pocket guide will be with me now, too!

    • pattie

      They also have a smartphone app. Very useful for shopping and restaurants, although I am wary of restaurant fish lately given all the talk about how deceitful some can be on their menus.

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking

    Now that is a really tasty coating for chicken!

  • JoAnn

    I can hardly wait to try this – we are always looking for good seafood recipes in the summer and we LOVE your recipes – we also live in the Sacramento area, so we find your site to be timely and to use many of the same items that we have fresh in our garden or at the farmers market. I am using the last of my sundried tomatoes from last year’s harvest and I think they will make this superb! Thank you for the amazing ideas!

  • Lee

    Sounds wonderful! I agree with Sandy S., the breadcrumb mixture would be a good one for Eggplant as well. My question: What berries did you use in your sauce? Thanks!

    • Elise

      A frozen mixture of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

  • Jayne

    I’ve had baked fish fillet with blueberry dressing before and it was mindblowing! Love that crust.

  • Rebecca

    This looks and sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to try. I know this is going to be a totally stupid question, but what is the reason for a separate plate with bread crumbs – why don’t we just lay the filet in a shallow bowl of the bread crumb mixture and then flip it over to coat second side?

    • Elise

      I found this process works well for me. I put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl because I don’t want to dip my hands into the food processor bowl to pull some out. I don’t dump them all in a shallow bowl to dredge because egg residue may be left on the remaining breadcrumbs making it more difficult to dredge other fillets, and because I can more easily control and portion out the amount of breadcrumbs I am using. But to each her own. Whatever works for you.

  • FoodJunkie

    Thanks Elise, now I know what to do with the Basa fillets I have. So far they have been most unimpressive and this recipe should perk them right up.

  • donutty

    Tilapia is a weeknight favorite in our house. I usually dust with flour or cornstarch, season with a little salt and pepper, and pan fry it for a few minutes on each side. Sometimes I squeeze a little lemon juice to finish it. I often serve it with your (raw) home fries and some green beans.

  • Kelly

    I like tilapia but have a hard time finding fillets that don’t taste fishy. Sometimes I think if you cut off the grey parts of the flesh, that helps a bit. Any insight?

    • Elise

      I think you just have to make sure that either you’re buying the fillets frozen, and defrosting them right before you use them, or buying very fresh fillets. I often ask the fish monger at our local market when the fillets came in. “This morning” is the best response. Rinsing the fish (and then patting dry) also helps.

      • Kelly

        Thank you for the reply; I’ll definitely be taking your advice though a local fishmonger might be an obstacle.

    • Paul

      Buy tilapia at COSTCO..fresh or frozen.

  • Sandy S.

    Berries with fish, hey? Well, I’m game to try it. You have a very good track record at our house!
    Recently I have been experimenting with eggplant recipes. I think I will try your breading on it as well when I make the tilapia. The berry sauce may be good on it, too!