Doritos Crusted Fish

taking a bit of Doritos Crusted tilapia

Doritos crusted fish is our new favorite dinner, so easy and so crispy! We used nacho cheese chips, but any flavor will work. They give the fish a delicious crunchy crust that’s baked, not fried. (Don’t love fish? Do this with chicken!)

Doritos crusted tilapia on a dinner plate

Doritos crusted fish is a family favorite meal in our house!

I just know it’s going to be one in yours too. How can you not love buttery tender tilapia baked up in a zesty and crunchy Nacho Doritos crust? Using Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips as a stand in for bread crumbs in this baked fish is utter genius. And it’s also utterly delicious. You’d never guess it was baked, not fried and all the flavor is built right in.

Doritos crusted tilapia on a baking sheet

Doritos and other snack chips make ideal bread crumbs for baking

When you crush Doritos or other snack chips you get a crumb that is very close to panko bread crumbs, which are the extra crunchy Japanese style crumbs. Panko crumbs are lighter and flakier to begin with, and get their extra crisp texture from being twice baked. When you crush snack chips like Doritos, you get a very similar result, with the added bonus of tons of flavor!

Doritos snack chips crushed into crumbs

5 simple steps to Doritos crusted fish night ~ yay!

step 1. Put Doritos chips into a food processor

A standard bag of chips will fit in a standard 14-cup processor.

Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips in a food processor

step 2. Process them into crumbs

I like to pulse the machine occasionally to make sure all the chips get evenly crumbled.

Dorito Chips made into crumbs

step 3. Set up your breading stations

Wide shallow bowls work best to accommodate the fish fillets.

stations for breading tilapia in Doritos crust

step 4. Dip and coat your fish in buttermilk, then crumbs

Use one hand for dipping and the other for coating in crumbs, that way you’ll stay (relatively) mess free.

Doritos crusted tilapia on a baking sheet

step 5 . Bake until the fish is tender

It should flake easily with a fork, and register 145F in the center.

a plate of Doritos crusted tilapia with pan in background

you’re going to flip for this recipe

  • It’s super-duper easy.
  • You get crazy crispy fish without frying ~ the oven (and the Doritos) do all the work.
  • The Doritos not only give the fish an epic crunch, they give it epic flavor.
  • No one, but no one, is going to turn up their nose at Doritos crusted fish.

serving suggestions for Doritos crusted fish

The flavor of the chips makes the fish memorable, and definitely the star of the dinner plate, so I go for simple sides here. I’ll do simple steamed veggies like snow peas, asparagus, green beans, or broccoli. Frozen peas are always perfect. A side salad is a fresh way to balance out the Doritos. If you want to go all in, create a fun fish and chips meal with frozen fries and coleslaw.

Use your fish to make tacos. Don’t forget the pickled onions and the salsa.

Drizzle your fish with a silky nacho cheese sauce, or serve with classic tartar sauce. All we needed was a squeeze of lemon.

taking a bite of Doritos Crusted tilapia

Doritos crusted fish FAQs and tips

What type of fish works best for a Doritos crust?

Mild white fish works best, so tilapia, cod, halibut, whitefish, etc. Shrimp would work too. Oily fish like swordfish, tuna, or salmon would not be ideal.

How much crumbs will I get from a bag of Doritos?

You’ll get about 2 cups from a standard 9 1/4 ounce bag. Enough to coat at least 6 fish fillets, or 6 chicken breasts.

I don’t have a food processor, can I do this by hand?

Yes, put the chips in a sturdy zip lock bag and roll or bash them into crumbs. You may need to do it in batches to get fine, even results.

Can I do this with other types of chips?

Yes you can, have fun experimenting. Have you checked out my Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Macaroni and Cheese? Just saying

snack chips for making crumbs

Can I make the crumbs ahead of time?

Yes, they’ll keep fine, just like the chips do.

Can this be cooked in an air fryer?

Yes, set it at 400F, just like you would in the oven.

Can I use frozen fish?

Yes, but it will be a little harder to dip and coat, and will take a little longer to cook.

Do I have to use buttermilk?

I like to use cultured buttermilk because it’s got substance that really helps the crumbs to stick on. Milk will also work, but make sure to pat on those crumbs thickly. You can also make your own buttermilk substitute by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit on the counter for 15 minutes. It won’t be thick, but it will approximate the acidity of buttermilk.

Is Doritos crusted fish healthy?

Well, the fish is ~ the coating isn’t. But it’s a fun once-in-a-while recipe that’s a great conversation starter, and a fabulous way to introduce picky eaters to fish.

we love seafood!

taking a bit of Doritos Crusted tilapia
5 from 9 votes

Doritos Crusted Fish

We've been making Doritos crusted tilapia on repeat. It's become one of our favorite dinners, not only because it's so simple but because…Doritos! We used nacho cheese chips, but any flavor will work. This is definitely a winner winner fish dinner!
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 219kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • food processor


  • 1 1/2 lbs fish fillets (I used tilapia) which was 4 fillets
  • 9 1/4 ounce bag of Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips (or flavor of your choice)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • salt to taste
  • lemon wedges


  • Preheat oven to 400F Line a baking sheet with parchment (optional.)
  • Put the Doritos into a food processor and process the chips into crumbs. It helps to pulse the machine to get them evenly crushed.
    Dorito Chips made into crumbs
  • Put the Doritos crumbs in a wide shallow bowl, and the buttermilk into another.
    stations for breading tilapia in Doritos crust
  • Dip each piece of fish into the buttermilk, and let the excess drip off.
  • Dredge it in the crumbs, on both sides, patting them in well so the whole fish is well coated. Lay on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the fish. Note: discard any leftover crumbs, they cannot be re-used once you've dipped fish into them.
    Dorito crusted tilapia on a baking sheet
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the fish is done. It should flake easily with a fork, and register 145F in the center.
    Dorito crusted tilapia on a baking sheet
  • Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Cook’s notes

  • Strangely enough I find that the fish does need a touch of salt, despite being coated with Doritos. My husband disagrees, so add it to taste.
  • The nutritional info reflects only the amounts of buttermilk and chip crumbs that will actually adhere to the fish. If you like you can start with less buttermilk and crumbs, but it makes it easier to coat the fish when you have a little extra in your bowls. 


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 10:45 am

    I have teen boys and this will be a hit with them! Thanks for “cool, mom!” points!??

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 25, 2022 at 10:48 am

      You’ll have so many points you won’t know what to do with them 😉

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 10:16 am

    5 stars
    I’m all for this! Fish tacos tonight!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 25, 2022 at 10:30 am

      Yes! This would make the best tacos.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    5 stars
    Doritos and fish?! This is a dream come true!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    5 stars
    I am IN for anything with Doritos and this one is no exception! What an amazing idea!!!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to make this recipe.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe is pure genius, that’s all I have to say. I will be coating everything in Doritos from now on.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    5 stars
    Fish is so yummy and baked makes it healthier too. Love the use of Nachos to give it that unique touch.

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