I have a simple, quick dinner for you! And it includes two of my staple food groups: butter and cheese.

Some people say that cheese and fish just don’t mesh. That does not include me. Cheese goes with everything. If I could, I’d eat a cheese sandwich on cheese bread and dip it in cheese soup.


In fact, I might do that later.

Remember when I made garlic basil butter for the balsamic gnocchi?

I figured that would be pretty darn good on fish. Especially with added cheese.

Because butter makes it better. And by “it” I mean everything.

True story.


Yes, there is butter and cheese in this, but that’s about it. The amount on each filet is less than a tablespoon so this still ranks high in my healthy weeknight meals. I’d much rather have a little of the real stuff.

Oh, and I must mention that this dish only has five ingredients – and you most likely have them all in your house. See? Fish isn’t scary. Fish is delicious.

I love serving mild fish with lemons because it reminds me of summers in Northern Michigan and days at the beach. It tastes fresh. It tastes like summer. And when the snow is still piled up to the middle of your windows after two weeks, summer is a luxurious thought.


Perfectly flakey and delicious.



Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia

makes 4 tilapia filets

4 tilapia filets (I used fresh, but I think frozen should work too)

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon thyme

salt and pepper to taste

lemon slices for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pat tilapia dry (if frozen, it should be thawed first) with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Lay on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 10-12 minutes. While fish is baking, mix butter with garlic, thyme and parmesan cheese.

Remove fish from oven and gently flip. Spread about 1/2 tablespoons of butter mixture on the fish, and heat the broiler in your oven. Set fish under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes, or until cheese gets golden and bubbly.

Serve with lemon.


It’s so versatile too! You can serve it with rice, on a salad, in a sandwich, or even with a side of vegetables… if you like that kind of thing.

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114 Responses to “Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia.”

  1. #
    1
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — January 26, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Yum! We love tilapia! Love the cheesy topping :)

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Nicole @ Making Good Choices — January 26, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    I love the short ingredient list…and the cheese and butter. I don’t make tilapia that much, I need to go get some!

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Lisa@ Dishes of Mrs. Fish — January 26, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    Oh yum! I don’t make nearly enough fish! That has to change. :)

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Blog is the New Black — January 26, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    You make me want to like fish!

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    Natalie @ While I Breathe — January 26, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    looks awesome…. i bake up fish in blue cheese dressing, that’s it… it may not be the healthiest but it is sooooo good… now i want to do it and add cheese on top!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

      Um, that sounds amazing. I’m obsessed with blue cheese. Must try this asap.

      Reply

  6. #
    6
    Erica — January 26, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    ow! I love how the cheese browned up! I agree a little of the real stuff is better than a bundle of the fake stuff

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Matt — January 26, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    I HATE when people think that seafood and cheese don’t go together. Everything is better with a layer of cheese ;)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

      You changed your blog name! I like.

      Reply

  8. #
    8
    Hannah — January 26, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    Not only have I never had tilapia (it doesn’t seem to exist here in Australia), but I have *never* had cheese with fish. Shame. On. Me. This shall be rectified, though with ling or whiting :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

      Oh my… you need to have some!

      Reply

    • Vicky @ Recipe Adaptors — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

      I’m glad it’s not just me that hasn’t seen this fish in Australia…..but I guess any white fish would work. My husband might eat fish if it was covered in enough cheese that he couldn’t tell there was fish on the plate!

      Reply

  9. #
    9
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — January 26, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    I love summer days in Michigan.. ::sigh::

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

      They are the best!

      Reply

  10. #
    10
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — January 26, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    omg i need to go to bed! your a.m. post is up!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

      LOL! Ahhh… yes you do!

      Reply

  11. #
    11
    Lauren at KeepItSweet — January 26, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    I always hesitate to cook fish because my entire apartment ends up smellling like fish! This looks interesting and simple, though.

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

      I find that when I cook fish on the stovetop, the smell lingers longer. Being that this was baked only with salt and pepper (no fat until the last 2 mins), I didn’t get a fishy smell at all! Not even the slightest bit. Try it!

      Reply

  12. #
    12
    Katrina — January 26, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    I’ve nver had cheese on fish. Cool idea!

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Debbie — January 26, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    The lunch ladies in my college cafeteria would high five you on your fish & cheese pairing. They served it all the time. Of course, in their case it was a breaded fish filet with a slice of American cheese under the breading. Mmmm…cheese fish.

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — January 26, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    I have yet to meet any food that cheese does NOT go with :-)

    Reply

  15. #
    15
    kristina @ life as kristina — January 26, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    Easy enough and look amazing!

    Reply

  16. #
    16
    Heather — January 26, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    butter really does make it better…and short ingredient lists are kinda my thing. this is going up on the menu soon!

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Blond Duck — January 26, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    I never thought about Parmesan tilapia! Brilliant!

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    Gen — January 26, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    Mmmmm that looks soooo good!
    Guess what we have sitting in our freezer? Fresh tilapia! whoo!

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Elizabeth@The Sweet Life — January 26, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

    I would never think to add cheese to fish–really interesting idea. Looks gorgeous.

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes — January 26, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    Lemon IS the best reminder of summer, and I love tricking myself into thinking it’s getting closer to spring by using lemon all the time in winter! Lemon and fish is seriously the best. And adding cheese? Genius.

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — January 26, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

    This looks sooo tasty! I’ve been eating a ton more fish lately and a whole lot less chicken (I know, who AM I? I’m sure Mr How Sweet would be appalled) so I’m all about the fish recipes right now. Thanks Jess! :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

      We’ll see how Mr. How Sweet feels when he opens his lunch and discovers fish, not chicken!

      Reply

  22. #
    22
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — January 26, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    Looks and sounds delicious!!

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl — January 26, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    I love how you so seamlessly go from cake batter pancakes one morning to parmesan tilapia the next! I think I could eat the fish for dinner and the pancakes for dessert :)

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Kristen@PrettySweet — January 26, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    We don’t like really fishy-tasting fish, so tilapia is pretty much our favorite. I usually do a panko/olive oil/parmesan crust with some type of seasonings – and lemon squeezed over the top…but I’ll excited to try this new recipe. I love garlic! And you’re so right – cheese is awesome on fish. =)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

      I love parmesan crust too!

      Reply

  25. #
    25
    marla {family fresh cooking} — January 26, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    Looks wonderful! The lean fish is complimented perfectly with the cheese and butter. xo

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Lisa @ Healthy Diaries — January 26, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    Tilapia is one of my favorite fishes! I’m with you on it’s OK to put cheese on fish!
    Maybe i’ll make this for dinner tonight?

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

      Do it!

      Reply

  27. #
    27
    carolinebee — January 26, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    I love tilapia!! And cheese…soo yah :D

    They go together like pancakes and sprinkles!!

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    mary (sisters running the kitchen) — January 26, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

    This looks awesome! I love all of that cheesy goodness. I bet the lemon adds an awesome taste !

    Reply

  29. #
    29
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 26, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    I love tilapia, and I always have some in my freezer. And actually, my mom always cooked with with a parmesan butter spread – I love it!

    Reply

  30. #
    30
    LauraJayne — January 26, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    I actually just learned (via Top Chef All-Stars) that cheese and fish don’t mix – but I always thought a healthy “breading” with parmesan cheese would be delicious over cod or tilapia!
    Either way, this looks delicious!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Holly @ couchpotatoathlete — January 26, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Oh yum! I usually buy frozen tilapia filets and they never taste really good unless there are lots of ingredients “on top” — crusted cheese/butter? That would work great!

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    nikki — January 26, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    I’ve been buying tilapia for several years but I ran across a fish called Swai when I was at the grocery store a couple days ago and decided to try it. Everybody loved it and said it was even better than tilapia because it has more flavor, I personally thought it was a little sweeter. I am definitely making the switch to Swai fillets from now on.

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

      Never heard of it! I will be on the lookout.

      Reply

  33. #
    33
    Jess — January 26, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    sounds so light and refreshing!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Angela — January 26, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    Thanks Jessica — We love tilapia here, so this will definitely be added to our menu this week :) I have also tried the Swai fillets, they are wonderful for fish tacos.

    Reply

  35. #
    35
    Chicago Cuisine Critique — January 26, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    Yum! This looks great, and I just happen to have a few tilapia fillets in my freezer. :) Who says cheese doesn’t go on fish? Not me!

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Alexis @ There She Goes — January 26, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    I’m not usually a tilapia fan, but I feel like the butter and cheese could make me like this fish :)

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    EatLiveRun — January 26, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

    Ok, I admit…I’ve always been on team cheese-free fish (except for feta because it goes on everything), BUT these look really, really good and I might have to give them a try!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

      Jenna my dear! Have you ever had lobster mac and cheese? This may change your mind.

      Reply

  38. #
    38
    Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine — January 26, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    Definitely trying this. Tilapia is so inexpensive!
    I tried something last night very similar to this, except with Salmon. I will post on my blog soon :)

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Debbie — January 26, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

    I’m going to try the topping on chicken

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

      I’m sure it will be delish. Let me know!

      Reply

  40. #
    40
    Stephanie — January 26, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    Haven’t been able to decide on dinner for tonight, this may be it! :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

      I say go for it!

      Reply

      • Stephanie — January 26th, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

        I had tilapia filets in the freezer so it was a no brainer. They’re thawing out as we speak! I will have to run over to the store to pick up some Parm though. I think I only have Colby Jack and Cheddar. While I love Colby, I’m gonna serve it with Parmesan Couscous so might as well stick with the original :)

        • Jessica — January 26th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

          Sounds so good!

  41. #
    41
    Caitlin N. — January 26, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    I totally agree. Cheese goes with anything and everything. Really, it should be its own food group!

    Reply

  42. #
    42
    Jennie @ Designed to be Fit — January 26, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Damn my lactose intolerant husband! He ruins everything tasty!

    Reply

  43. #
    43
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — January 26, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    I’ve never been big on tilapia, but since it’s so cheap I know I really should TRY and like it. Smothered with cheese, though, I could like anything! This looks delicious, Jessica. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  44. #
    44
    thehealthyapron — January 26, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    I have to say that I dont like cheese + fish BUT this recipe seems interesting… :)

    Reply

  45. #
    45
    Kristen — January 26, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    As soon as I saw this I immediately thought “breadcrumbs!” I might have to run to the store and buy some lemons for the sole purpose of making this tonight… it looks delicious!

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — January 26, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    This looks so delicious! I, for one, think cheese can go on everything. And I mean, everything.

    Reply

  47. #
    47
    annie — January 26, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

    Oh my gosh! that looks so delicious!!

    Reply

  48. #
    48
    Svetlana — January 26, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    OMG this looks amazing, never could say that about fish!!!

    Reply

  49. #
    49
    natalie (the sweets life) — January 26, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

    I always have tilapia in our freezer so I can’t wait to try this!!

    Reply

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    Carrie — January 26, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    Wow, this looks wonderful! I’m definitely going to give this a try sometime.

    Reply

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