My crunchy breaded pan seared tilapia recipe is so quick and delicious. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have four tasty fish filets that the whole family will love. Top it off with my bright and refreshing avocado salsa!
Whether baked, broiled, and fried, I love cooking with fresh seafood! There are so many flavor profiles to work with and sides to choose from. But it can seem daunting to prepare a fish dish – it’s hard to get just right.
That’s where my recipe for pan seared breaded tilapia comes in! It’s so easy and quick, and it comes out perfectly cooked and crispy every time. It pairs tremendously with my simple pico de gallo salsa recipe as well. Add a bit of avocado for the perfect fish fry topping!
Let me share a few more quick meals to help you plan dinner for every night of the week! Check out these Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms, Salmon with Apricot Jalapeno Butter Sauce, and Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta recipes for easy dishes you can make in no time flat.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Tilapia – Not too fishy and pleasantly flaky! It crisps right up and is great for breading and pan frying.
- Olive Oil – For the best frying experience, use light or refined olive oil (not extra virgin). It remains stable even at the high heats needed for frying. If you need to substitute, you can also use canola oil.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – These breadcrumbs are great because they don’t absorb too much oil, staying nice and crispy without being heavy.
- Paprika – Smoky and delicious, it adds a mild heat but isn’t overbearing. For more heat, you can use cayenne or chili powder.
- Salt & Pepper – To season the breadcrumbs for an even flavor profile. I recommend using kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Avocado Salsa – Top these crispy filets with a refreshing combination of:
- Avocado – Creamy with a smooth, buttery texture. It has a very mild taste, but is refreshing at the same time.
- Pico de Gallo – Bright and acidic, this is a simple salsa that is easy to customize and enjoy in a variety of ways.
- (Optional) Lime – Serve wedges to squeeze on top of your breaded tilapia for extra brightness and acidity. Lemons are a good substitute if limes are hard to find.
HOW TO MAKE PAN SEARED TILAPIA
- Make the Avocado Salsa. Dice a ripe avocado and add to a small mixing bowl. Pour in the fresh pico de gallo and mix together well without fully mushing the avocado- you want a few chunks in there! Keep in the refrigerator to keep from browning while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Season and Bread the Fish. Coat each filet with olive oil, front and back. Sprinkle with salt and pepper for initial seasoning before coating with the panko crumbs. Press the panko onto the fish to create a crush, but be gentle. Dust the paprika over the breading, then repeat on the back side of the filet.
- Pan Fry. In a large skillet, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to fry, carefully lay a filet in the skillet. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Repeat with all filets.
- Let Cool and Enjoy. Transfer the fish directly to plates to serve! Spoon ¼ cup of the guacamole salsa on each filet and serve with lime wedges if desired.
How many calories are in pan seared tilapia?
Breaded tilapia comes out to be 340 calories per filet, serve with ¼ cup of salsa.
Why is my breaded tilapia sticking to the pan?
Your skillet likely isn’t hot enough. Once you add the oil to the pan, wait for it to heat up and begin to “shimmer.” This doesn’t take long – just a few minutes. But it will ensure that your oil is ready for frying!
What should I serve with pan seared tilapia?
Fried fish is delicious when plated over a bed of steaming white rice. You can also serve with roasted or steamed veggies or a simple green salad.
How do you know fish is cooked through?
Stick a fork in the filet and twist. If cooked through, the fish will flake off in chunks and be white and opaque rather than translucent. You can also test the internal temperature of your fish – it should be 140-145°F when fully cooked.
This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Jan. 1, 2014, was updated with new content on March 1, 2022.
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Crunchy Breaded Pan Seared Tilapia
- 4 tilapia filets
- 3 tbsp olive oil separated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Avocado Salsa Topping
- 1 avocado diced
- 2 cups pico de gallo
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- In a small bowl mix together the pico de gallo and diced avocado. Cover and refrigerate while you make the tilapia.
- Drizzle tilapia with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle panko crumbs on top, pressing gently to adhere. Sprinkle smoked paprika over the breaded tilapia. Turn and repeat on other side.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tilapia filets and saute for 3 minutes, then carefully flip filets over and cook other side for 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, and transfer fish to serving plates. If desired, serve over steamed rice and top with avocado pico de gallo and fresh lime wedges.
- Nutrition shown is per filet, with 1/2 cup guacamole salsa.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Such a nice light way to have this delicate fish, so good.
So quick, easy and tasty. Thanks Dave!
I think you left out what to do with the panko…how to coat it…whether to bake the fish,,,,,
Hi Suzie! The site has recently changed servers and moved with a few glitches here and there. I can’t update the recipe but wanted to give you the info here: Tilapia: To each side of the tilapia filets brush on some olive oil, sprinkle with some kosher salt, cracked black pepper and gently press the Panko breadcrumbs to adhere on both sides. In another sauté pan add the olive oil and on medium high heat quickly brown the tilapia on each side. On the final side add a squeeze of lime juice and cover for a minute. Serve the tilapia… Read more »
Thanks Babe! Hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend.