My Recipe Box

Crispy Breaded Tilapia with Classic Tartar Sauce


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Tilapia, Fast & Flavorful
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 78

Pan-frying sets the coating and gives this usually mild-tasting fish a browned, crunchy crust and rich flavor. Fresh breadcrumbs make all the difference in the coating; learn how to make them in less than 30 seconds with bread you already have on hand. The classic tangy tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon adds a final flavor boost.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs. sweet pickle relish or dill pickle relish
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 oz. each)
  • Vegetable oil for the pan
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, red onion, relish, parsley, capers, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.

Line up three wide shallow dishes. Put the flour in the first; beat the eggs lightly in the second; put the breadcrumbs in the third. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper. Working with one fillet at a time, coat it with flour and shake off the excess. Then dip the fillet in the egg and dredge it in the breadcrumbs, patting them on to help them adhere. Set each breaded fillet on a plate or tray as you finish it.

Pour the oil 1/4 inch deep into a 10- to 12-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking, or until a breadcrumb sizzles and browns quickly when dropped in the oil. Cook two of the tilapia fillets until they are crisp and browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two fillets.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 410, Fat (kcal): 29, Fat Calories (g): 260, Saturated Fat (g): 5, Protein (g): 28, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 10, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 660, Cholesterol (g): 150, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I did not have any breadcrumbs so I crushed up a sleeve and a half of Ritz crackers. This recipe was simple and taste great!

I used Trader Joes spicy tartar sauce, so I can't vouch for that part of the recipe. But the fish I can say came out great. I don't really ever fry anything, though could see myself repeating this recipe easily

Easy to make and very tasty! I typically don't like tartar sauce but I made it anyway. So glad I did - so much better than store bought. Definitely will make this again.

I made this with some chips, but I baked it instead of deep fried.. It turned out pretty good! My family loved it..

A wonderful way to serve Talapia - makes it very tasty. The Tartar Sauce was very easy to make and is one of the best I have tasted! Definitely would make this again.

This one of my favorite recipes for family and company. I really feel that the tartar sauce is the star, so don't substitute with store bought. You may want to make a double recipe. If you do have leftover sauce and don't want it to turn pink, use chopped shallot instead of red onion.

I made a gluten free version by substituting Celimix (sifted on to the fish instead of dipped in) for the flour, and bread crumbs made with two slices of Udi's gluten free white bread toasted lightly and crumbed in a mini blender. Try it with your own favourite gluten free flour and bread. It was very good.

Really delicious and very easy. Took about 15 minutes.

I have used this recipe for PIKE!!! We get Pike at our local grocery store... and it is really toothsome... lots of bones to remove, but delicious! Use PANKO for crispiness and also, make hush puppies with the dredge after.. put some herbs and add dome milk or water.. It is a wonderfully versatile recipe!!

i have made this recipe multiple times and always to rave reviews from my children. i even took leftovers to a family with VERY picky children and they scarfed up all of it (the parents didn't even get a bite!). the mom called me late that night to get the recipe as her children had never EVER eaten more than one bite of fish before! tonight we will have this as a fish sandwich without the bread... topped with greens, diced tomatoes (easier for the kids to eat than sliced tomatoes), red onions and the DELICIOUS tartar sauce.

Loved this fish! I rarely "fry" but will make this often. Any white fish fillets would work. I used panko and they were light and crispy and a beautiful color. Didn't love the tartar sauce, though. It was too chunky for us.

Since trying this recipe when it first came out, I have made it again and again. Even though it is breaded (which requires a lot of steps), it is actually quite easy. For easy clean up, I put the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs on paper plates so all I have to do is toss the plates when I'm finished. I also use panko bread crumbs (in the Asian food section of the grocery store) and love the light crispy texture they provide. What really makes it spectacular is the tartar sauce recipe. It is delicious!

Make it Tonight

Cookbooks, DVDs & More