Parmesan Broiled Tilapia is one of our go-to meals because it requires minimal ingredients, all of of which you likely have in your pantry, and takes less than 30 minutes to whip up, from start to finish. We take flaky tilapia filets and smother them in a butter and parmesan paste laced with hot sauce, then pop them under the broiler until they have an irresistible golden crust.
Parmesan Broiled Tilapia
I’ll admit it. Many of the weeknight dinners I deem “easy,” other people don’t tend to agree with.
And maybe they’re right. For me, chopping is a way to calm down, others dread it. I thrive on finding ingredients in the the fridge to whip up a quick way to dress my greens, a lot of people find it silly to waste time on making a homemade vinaigrette when you can just buy it at the store.
Because I’ve been cooking so long, things that seem quick and easy to me don’t reflect what someone else may think is quick and easy. (Although I am working to bring you more quick, easy dinners that you can find here.) HOWEVER, I can say with 100% certainty, that today’s Easy Parmesan Broiled Tilapia is without a doubt, one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious ways to get dinner on the table during the week.
This is a dish my Mom made at least once a month growing up, and it was always something everyone in the family devoured, and now, so does my family. We take flaky tilapia filets, smother them in a parmesan and butter paste, and then pop them under the broiler until each filet gets the most delicious golden brown crust.
What else happens during the broiling process is a little bit of the parmesan cheese and butter seepss to the bottom of the pan creating the most delicious, crispy bits you won’t want to miss.
Serve it with our creamy spinach orzo, our one pot garlic parmesan pasta, or simple pesto green beans. (Or all of the aforementioned.)
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Parmesan Broiled Tilapia
Tilapia. Tilapia is a quick-cooking white fish that’s super mild in flavor and very flaky. We love it for it’s versatility, as the possibilities are endless on what you can do with it. Aside from today’s Broiled Tilapia, we love to serve it in our fish tacos, or in the summer we love to blacken it and serve it with a watermelon salsa.
Butter. You can think of the “paste” as almost a compound butter, but better. Be sure your butter is room temperature so it blends seamlessly with the other ingredients.
Parmesan. Any aged parmesan will work here. I prefer to use grated parmesan cheese, but shredded will work as well. If you can, grate or shred it yourself versus buying it pre-shredded.
Mayo. We always use light mayo, but whatever you have on hand will work. Avocado mayo or olive oil mayo will work as well.
Lemon juice. Because there’s quite a bit of richness from the mayo, parmesan, and butter, we need little bit of acid to balance things out. A quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice does the trick.
Hot Sauce. This is totally optional, but I like a little kick in the parmesan and butter topping. A little goes a long way!
Let’s make Parmesan Broiled Tilapia!
While the oven preheats, I defrost the tilapia (if you’re using fresh tilapia, obviously you can skip this step), coat a pan with butter and then make the topping.
Stir together the softened butter (it’s SUPER important the butter is SOFT), mayo, parmesan, lemon juice, hot sauce, and dijon. Make sure to season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Next, we set the tilapia filets on the prepared sheet pan, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and then smother them with the parmesan and butter mixture. Pop the pan under the broiler and let it go until the tops are crusty, golden brown, and the tilapia is cooked through. It should take about 10 minutes.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Make sure your oven rack is placed in the middle, if you use the top rack, the crust of the tilapia will form before the fish is cooked through, and if you use the bottom, the top won’t get golden brown and crispy.
- As always, when using a broiler you want to keep an eye on it, if it looks like it’s getting too brown and crispy, move the broiled tilapia down to the bottom rack.
- Use freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese. If you use the grated parmesan cheese from the can, this dish will not work. It doesn’t have to be parmigiano reggiano, just normal parmesan cheese. These days, you can find it at pretty much any grocery store, but I know Trader Joe’s sells it for about three bucks.
- Add sliced green onions into the paste for a little bit of texture.
- Sprinkle with extra grated parmesan cheese
What to serve with dinner!
- Toss fresh asparagus with a little bit of olive, salt and pepper, and roast it under the broiled tilapia on the bottom rack in the oven (they should take about the same about of time).
- Our Creamy One Pot Orzo is the perfect compliment to the broiled tilapia and can be made in about 20 minutes.
- These Roasted Carrots with Pistachio Orange Butter are one of our favorite sides to make when we want something a little bit fancy.
- We love these Four Ingredient Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes!
- You also can’t go wrong with classic mashed potatoes, and our creamy mashed potato recipe is THE best.
Easy Broiled Parmesan Tilapia
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp light mayo (full fat mayo is fine)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- dash hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tilapia filets
- chopped chive for garnish
- sheet pan
- Mixing bowls
- Preheat oven to broil. Place a rack in the medium position.
- Grease a rimmed baking sheet with butter. Lay tilapia filets on baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, mayo, parmesan, dijon, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt. Evenly spread over tilapia filets
- Broil until topping is golden brown, crispy on the edges and the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes. If the top starts to become too brown, move the pan to the bottom rack of the oven. Garnish with chopped chive.
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