Garlic Herb Baked Cod


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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 (like this Mediterranean cod en papillote), 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.

Garlic Herb Baked Cod

4.96 from 89 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This baked cod is an easy and foolproof recipe for perfectly buttery, garlicky, and flaky fish every time!


  • 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
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). 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 13 to 15 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.


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
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Wow! You did it again Lisa!! This recipe is amazing. The fish was so tender, flaky and flavorful. I will be making this dish again at my next dinner party. They are going to love it!!! I have made a lot of your recipes and all have been great! Thanks Lisa!!5 stars

  2. I think I needed to add more seasoning and less lemon, but this is a great and easy recipe to cook for the whole family. I have used so many recipes from your site. Thanks :)5 stars

  3. Restaurant quality.  Quick, delightful perfection!  Could easily make this for a dinner party.  Served over a bed of blistered cherry tomatoes and sautéed spinach.  Chive/thyme combo is yummy.  Thank you for a delicious dinner!5 stars

      1. This was quick,easy and delicious. We had it with your sautéed garlic swiss chard which is almost the same as the way I’ve been cooking it. It was a delicious healthy dinner. Thank you for sharing5 stars

  4. Made the herb garlic cod, really simple and quick. The flavours were amazing, perfect for a quick dinner party 🥳
    If there was a facility to post a photo I would 🤗5 stars

  5. So good and really easy! I grabbed a little fresh parsley, chives AND thyme from our garden to mix into the butter (because, why not?). Even my not-fishing-loving teen ate it without a disparaging comment (which I consider a compliment) 😂 We will put this recipe into our regular fish rotation. 5 stars

  6. I made this meal today and it was amazing! I only made two large pieces of cod as I live alone. I had leftover compound butter so I rolled it in plastic to look like a log and will freeze it until next time! You have got to make this. It was so juicy and tasty. Thanks Liza! You’ve done it again!!!5 stars

  7. I made this meal last week and it turned out fantastic. I know its good when my husband asks me where did I buy it from? This turned boring cod into a beautiful meal. Thank you !