Tilapia with Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese (aka Pizza Fish)

Sneak Preview: Tilapia with Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella is a quick recipe that calls for topping breaded fish filets with pizza sauce and Mozzarella cheese. Kids love it.

Pizza Fish--in a skilletPin

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Pizza fish is not pizza with fish on it. Instead, it’s Breaded Tilapia with Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese with some fresh basil if you have it. I learned about this recipe when working for a large fish company and giving out samples. Customers were crazy about it. Translation: We sold a lot of fish.

If your family’s only exposure to fish is the high-calorie fried fish sandwich at fast food joints, you’ve got your work cut out for you.  Nonetheless, this simple fish recipe is a great place to start. 

Three Reasons Why You’ll Want To Try This Recipe

  1. It’s easily customizable. Use your favorite white fish and your favorite Italian cheese.
  2. The pizza flavors are familiar to most picky eaters.
  3. Fresh basil adds sophistication for the adults at your table.

Happy Cooks Speak Up

“I made this on Saturday. We ALL loved it!!! Mike told me to add it to our list of “regular” meals.” 😉 STACI

Do You Have Any Tips for Getting Kids To Eat Fish?

Get your kids to help you fix it. They might be more likely to eat it. It’s worth a try.

Need more tips in this area? Check out the strategies outlined in this article about getting kids to eat fish by Bon Appétit. Serving breaded fish like this recipe is just one idea.

How To Cook Breaded Tilapia in a Hurry

This fish recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make. Using frozen fish makes it even more convenient.

  1. Frozen tilapia and orange roughy will defrost in the time it takes to walk in the door from work, change clothes, and heat the skillet. Typically, it takes less than 20 minutes to defrost the average fillet when placed in a bowl of water.
  2. Another way to cut corners with this recipe is to brown the fish first, then cover it with pizza sauce and cheese. Cover the pan and let the residual heat melt the cheese. Using a lid cuts out the broiler step, although your cheese won’t get brown.

How To Assemble This Recipe

ingredients for kid-friendly fish recipePin
Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels. Pour crumbs onto a plate or wax paper.
Rolling fish fillets in bread crumbsPin
Roll fillets in bread crumbs.
Breaded fish in skilletPin
Place in a preheated skillet holding hot oil.
frying the tilapia with bread crumbs.Pin
Sauté each side until the crumbs are golden brown.
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Spoon a small amount of pizza sauce on top of each fish fillet, then sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
tilapia with sauce and cheese on topPin
Put the lid on until the cheese melts. Sprinkle basil on top if desired.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Pizza Fish-cooked in a nonstick skilletPin
Yield: 6

Breaded Tilapia with Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese

This lightly breaded tilapia is topped with pizza sauce, Mozzarella cheese, and chopped basil. It’s simple and quick. We call it pizza fish.
4 from 2 votes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes


  • 1-2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 6 4-oz pieces (680 g) tilapia, orange roughy or other thin, mildly flavored fish fillets (if frozen, allow to thaw)
  • ½ teaspoon table of sea salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cup (72 g) bread crumbs, dried
  • ½ cup (122 g) pizza sauce
  • 2 oz. (56 g) shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil


  • Preheat 1-2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Lightly dry 6 4-oz pieces (680 g) tilapia, orange roughy or other thin, mildly flavored fish fillets (if frozen, allow to thaw) with paper towels. Season with ½ teaspoon table of sea salt and ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • Pour 2/3 cup (72 g) bread crumbs, dried onto a plate or wax paper and coat the fish on both sides. Use your hands to pat crumbs onto the surface of the fish.
  • Sauté fish until brown (2-3 minutes) and flip to brown the other side. (You could stop here and serve the fish with no sauce. It’s delicious!)
  • Spoon a light coating of 1/2 cup (122 g) pizza sauce over the fish. Then sprinkle about 2 oz. (56 g) shredded Mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Place under a broiler for a minute or two to brown the cheese.
  • Sprinkle chopped fresh basil on top of the cooked fish as a garnich and serve immediately. Good served as a fish sandwich with your favorite buns.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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4 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 3 stars
    Pretty good idea, but not gonna help my kids eat more fish… Best thing that worked for me was using freshly caught fresh water fish properly cleaned, do a flour egg and breadcrumbs preferably corn meal and fry that in a little butter. I remember trying it for the first time as a kid when my dad made it, and it was love at first bite. Nothing better than a bluegill or walleye served up this way in my personal opinion…

  2. I used you “Goofproof Chicken Cutlets” recipe last night (which I use often) with fish. That was before I read your post this morning about the pizza sauce. I pulled out my usual honey-mustard sauce last night, but next time I will try the pizza sauce. Sounds good.

  3. Hi, I just got an e-mail about my comment on this recipe – I’d love to post it to Pinterest, your site apparently doesn’t allow?? I think allowing it would increase your traffic, and it is so great to share. Only six years later, but I’m going to check the rest of your site to see if you’ve posted other genius recipes like this!! Thank you for the reminder!!

    1. Hi Vicki,
      Yes, normally you can post anything on this site to Pinterest. I’ll check to make sure nothing has gone wrong. paula

  4. I recently tried a similar recipe, but with salsa, rather than pizza sauce. It was very good, we’ll try the pizza sauce, next time! It is so great to find new recipes for fish, it is something we all need to learn to eat more of, and recipes such as this make it so much easier – the fact that it is a really quick meal makes it more likely that folks will want to work it into their rotation, too.

    1. I just made this and it didnt look like this but it was good . Wasnt even for my son, i was just hungry

  5. I made this on Saturday. We ALL loved it!!! Mike told me to add it to our list of “regular” meals 😉

    1. I’m thrilled y’all liked it.

  6. What a lot of neat jobs! I wasn’t too sure about this one, but I think you sold me on it. I don’t need to be tricked into eating fish, but this really does sound tasty.

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you make this recipe before. Sounds yummy! I’ll take a new idea on how to prepare tilapia. And you know my hubby…he is a pizza lover! BTW, don’t share this with anyone at Fuzzy’s…they may just steal it!

  8. Definitely gonna have to try this one on my family!

  9. Ok, this is just fishy. Something about it reeks…. of fish. =) What a wonderfully creative idea! It’s no wonder you’ve had such a varied and somewhat “unique” career. I honestly can’t wait to try this! I agree – the pizza topping sold me!

  10. Oooo! It’s like a fish parmegian sub. Brilliant!

  11. Yum! I’ll have to give this a try. My kids and husband LOVE fish… It’s me that needs the pizza topping! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!