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Best Baked Cod

This baked cod is my easy and foolproof recipe for perfectly flaky fish, every time. A simple buttery and garlicky herb topping transforms simple cod fillets into a light and healthy weeknight dish.

Four baked cod filets in a white casserole dish.

While salmon tends to get a lot of attention, a cod fillet is not one to be overlooked. It’s just as meaty, holds well in a variety of recipes, and you can’t beat that flaky texture.

Today’s recipe serves just that. An easy, oven baked fillet that’s soaked up in butter, garlic, lemon, and parsley. It’s unbelievably tender and guarantees one flavorful and healthy dinner in 30 minutes. 

What Type of Fish to Buy

When it comes to fish, I always recommend starting with a good quality (preferably wild caught) variety. I’m using Alaskan cod in this recipe, but you could also use halibut, mahi mahi, or another flaky white fish.

Fresh vs Frozen Cod

Similar to how I shop for shrimp, frozen wild Alaskan cod might be the better option. You’re never sure how long the “fresh” cod on ice has been sitting out. Plus, fresh catches of the day can be a bit pricey and hard to come by.

Baked cod filet with lemon slices in a pan.

Baked Cod Ingredients

Garlic and butter will always be a dynamic duo when it comes to flavoring seafood. But here’s a few other things you’ll need. 

  • Cod: Look for wild Atlantic or Pacific cod varieties.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter so I can add as much salt as I want to this recipe.
  • Garlic: Fresh is the way to go here, but you can use garlic powder in a pinch.  
  • Parsley: Go with Italian flat-leaf parsley in the garlic butter and as a garnish. Not a fan of parsley? Try chives, thyme or other herbs! 
  • Lemon: Fish and lemon are best friends!
  • Paprika: Add just a touch to elevate the flavor profile.

Ingredients for baked cod laid out on a table.

How To Make The Perfect Baked Cod

Pan searing is one way to achieve that beautiful crust. But I find that baking it in the oven is hands down the most foolproof method. Here’s how to make it. 

  1. Make the garlic herb butter. Stir the topping ingredients together.
  2. Coat the fish. Smear the garlic herb butter on the cod filets.
  3. Bake the fish. Once the fish is flaky, it’s ready to serve.

Ingredients for a garlic butter herb topping mixed in a bowl.

How to Know When Baked Cod is Done

A white fish like cod is done when you can flake it with a fork. But it’s always best to cook fish to its proper temperature of 145°F/63°C.

Switch Up The Seasonings

Give this cod recipe a fun cod recipe a fun twist by tweaking the seasoning in the garlic butter. Here’s a few of my favorites.

  • French: Use fresh or dried thyme in place of the parsley, and add a tablespoon of chopped capers.
  • Cajun: Replace the paprika with your favorite Cajun seasoning blend and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Italian: Swap the parsley for fresh basil, and the paprika for Italian seasoning.
  • Spanish: Use smoked paprika instead of sweet.
  • Mexican: Substitute chopped cilantro for the parsley, ground cumin for the paprika, and lime for the lemon.

How to Serve Garlic Butter Cod

What’s a plate of fish without warm and savory sides? These easy ideas will complement the cod beautifully.

Baked cod filets on a white plate with a fork.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

As with most fish, it’s best to eat any leftovers within 1 to 2 days after cooking. Here’s a few storage options. 

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store for up to 2 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 1 month.
  • How To Reheat: Simply reheat in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until the fish is warmed through.

More Easy Seafood Recipes To Love

If you’re a seafood lover like, I highly recommend any of these recipes.

Baked cod in a baking pan topped with lemon slices.
5 from 16 votes

Best Baked Cod

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This baked cod is an easy and foolproof recipe for perfectly buttery, garlicky, and flaky fish every time!

Ingredients

  • 4 6-ounce cod filets
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chives, thyme or other herbs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. Place the cod in a baking dish.
    Raw cod filets in a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the butter, olive oil, minced garlic, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper.
    Garlic butter herb topping being mixed in a bowl.
  • Spread the compound butter mixture on top of each filet.
    Garlic butter being spread on top of cod filets.
  • Lay the lemon slices both on top and under the cod filets.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cod is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Before serving, spoon the juices from the baking dish over the cod.

Lisa's Tips

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store for up to 2 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 1 month.
  • How To Reheat: Simply reheat in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until the fish is warmed through.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 169mg, Potassium: 760mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 622IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baked Cod, Baked Cod Recipe
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36 comments on “Best Baked Cod”

  1. Actually, when baking cod in Italian recipes such as baccala, you would still use chopped parsley (not fresh basil). However as a second choice, basil is used especially if you’re using a few fresh tomatoes. For a light sauce. Italians tend to use parsley with seafood, more than basil. 

  2. What a delish meal! Super easy to make and my family enjoyed. Served with roasted broccoli. Will definitely make again as we’re trying to eat more fish. 

  3. What can I use instead of butter? Thanks

  4. This dish was absolutely delicious. Lisa i would like to take this chance to express my gratitude. Ur recipes have been a total blessing for me. I have a chronic indigestion issue so i have to be so careful with what i eat which lowers the qulity of my life. Then i found ur recipes with all the alternatives and everything which brought back so many dishes i used to enjoy before i had this medical issue. I cannot thank u enough. It’s been an absolute blessing seriously. Thank u soooo much

    • Thanks so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that I’m able to make a positive impact on this community and hope you continue to enjoy all the content I create :)

  5. I loved this cod paired with roasted veggies: green beans with almonds, quartered Yukon potatoes with slices of red onion. I used melted butter, olive oil, lemon, and garlic powder over the veggies while they baked! Easy and delicious. In the spirit of “use what you have” and “make it easy” I used the cod in place of tuna in a casserole the next day. Such a nice flavor. Thanks for another winner, Lisa!

  6. Tried this tonight with Haddock and was absolutely lovely! Can you share where the beautiful casserole dish is from please?

    • Glad you loved this one Kelley! The casserole dish is actually not available anymore. But I will be sure to find one similar before the holidays hit!

  7. I made this recipe yesterday and it was a success! I don’t eat fish as much as I would like, mostly because I never really took the time to find recipes that would be to my taste, but this one is definitely a keeper! The fish was perfectly cooked, and the butter combined with the lemon juice was… just perfect! Oh, and I served this fish with some steamed broccoli.. and your honey glazed carrots :) ! Thanks so much for all your amazing work and for providing us with such easy, tasty and healthy recipes!

    • Glad you found a fish recipe you can enjoy! Loved how you made this with broccoli and the honey glazed carrots. Perfect dinner spread :)

  8. This recipe makes me fall in love with cod! Normally not my favorite fish, but this dish is just sooooo yummy. And so easy to make. I combined it with steamed broccoli and spooned the butter-garlic sauce over the veggies. So delicious. Also big thumbs up from the kids ;-). 

  9. Sure is The Best Baked Cod!! This recipe was easy to prep and make. Tasted DELISH!!  Not only did I finally find a recipe that has me eating more fish but my kids too! 

  10. I will be using this recipe again. I had two pieces of cod sitting in my freezer that I wanted to get rid of. I whipped this up and in no time I had a delicious dinner!

  11. Made this cod recipe with the green bean and shallot side dish tonight, it was excellent. Here in New England one can still purchase fresh wild caught cod so that makes a huge difference in flavor over frozen. I used cod loin.

  12. Such a great recipe and so delicious and easy! My kind of cooking! Will definitely try with the other herbs!

  13. Delicious! Quick & easy to make.

  14. I am in love with this recipe. Will try it soon. Thanks

  15. That flaky baked cod is making my mouth water. I am bookmarking to try this recipe in the coming weekend. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Wow, this looks absolutely delicious! I need to incorporate more fish into my diet, so I’ll definitely be trying this one out!

  17. I love this cod. The fresh herbs and lemon makes it like restaurant food without the price tag. This is the perfect healthy dinner recipe … totally hassle-free. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  18. We are totally loving the lemon buttery flavors! My kids had it with classic mashed potatoes, me and my husband we had simple steamed vegetables and it was amazing. Thank you for sharing :)

  19. Hi Lisa!
    I made this recipe tonight and while it tasted beautiful.. the fish was super rubbery! Any idea why?? Did I just buy some bad fish (frozen from the grocery store) or was my oven too hot or was 15 min too long? 
    We loved the flavor just aren’t familiar enough with fish to know what would make it rubbery.
    Thanks so much!
    Liz