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.

Best Baked Cod

4.97 from 66 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
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
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 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 13-15 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
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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163 comments on “Best Baked Cod”

  1. What baking dish do you recommend for this recipe? Never baked fish before. Thanks!

  2. The baked cod was amazing! I’m adding it to my ” Mom’s Favs” recipe book that I’m leaving to my daughter, grand daughters and dauthters- in- law!5 stars

  3. Just looking at the Nutritional information, are these stats per fillet or for the 4 fillets or?

  4. Very yummy! I highly recommend!5 stars

  5. Texture was good but a bit too bland for us.3 stars

  6. Is it just me or the lemons are not mentioned in the los of ingredients? I’m about to cook this, it sounds delicious. I’ll be back to review the recipe.

  7. This is the ONLY cod recipe I use when baking it. It’s is so full of flavor and makes you look like a whiz in the kitchen. I just love a recipe with few ingredients and so much flavor. This recipe never fails 😋!!5 stars

  8. At what temperarture should I have the oven before I put in the cod??

    • Hi Cristina – You can always find the full recipe listed out towards the bottom of each post in the recipe card. The oven needs to be at 400°F :)

  9. Made the recipe just as described and it’s delicious! made with lemon rice and a Nigella Lawson salad of greens with toasted pine nuts and ricotta.  New Years Eve feast for two 2021-22 style!5 stars

  10. Made this, it was wonderful. Added alittle extra on the butter/garlic so that after the fish was done, I tossed the juice with cooked spaghetti noddles for our side. Tonight we are going to use walleye for the fish and also add fresh mushrooms and red pepper. That way we get an even better pasta side.5 stars

  11. Delicious…. Wow! This recipe is going in my cook book for sure. Flavors are great. I used softened unsalted butter, low sodium salt, a teaspoon of Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard, teaspoon of organic maple syrup, organic garlic granules, three turns of my pepper mill to very finely ground black pepper, and from the garden, fresh cut parsley, chives, and thyme. Lots of finely sliced lemons (it took 1 1/2). Used a thermometer to 145 degrees. Spooned juices over fish while cooling. I served on a bed a baby spinach very slightly warmed, not enough to wilt and garnished with seasoned baked delicata’ squash slices.5 stars

  12. I made this and it was lovely but I did cut the butter back to one tablespoon5 stars

  13. This came out great! Will definitely be making this one again! Thanks!5 stars

  14. This was so easy and very delish!5 stars

  15. Does this need to be marinated? Because there was very little flavour in the fish. Aesthetics are 10/10 though. 

    • No, there’s no need for marinating. This is a lighter recipe all-around, but you can always double the seasoning for a stronger flavor if you’d like.

  16. Easy, quick, wholesome, incredibly tasty. Thank you, Lisa!
    I also appreciate that the printed recipe was 1 page only (I’ve seen simple recipes stretched out to 4!), clearly written, and included nutritional information.5 stars

  17. Can you use dried herbs in place of fresh?

  18. I made your Mexican version and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  19. Can I use ghee instead of butter. I’m steering clear of anything dairy.

  20. Can I cook the fish in a baking cookie stainless steel sheet? Thanks

  21. It truly is a delicious recipe! I have used parsley, basil, and chives, all are a great addition. I have so many good cookbooks, but I always check out recipes on here too. I used both, good oil and little butter!5 stars

  22. Looks like a great recipe.  My wife can’t have dairy.  Do you have a recommendation to make it without butter (eg just use olive oil)?  

  23. Absolutely wonderful Baked Cod recipe.
    I actually had all “”three herbs, Basil, cilantro and lemon Thyme and used all with the garlic and butter5 stars

  24. Great, simply outstanding. I’ll never sauté cod again. A few hours before I cook cod, I put on it a bit of grated onion (probably a teaspoon on 1 1/2 lbs. of filets), a very light dusting of Chef Paul’s Seafood Magic blended with no more than a 1/4 C of flour and then rewrap the cod & refrigerate till I cook it. Before I put it in the 400° oven (on parchment paper), I put a 1/2 pat of butter on each piece, cover with thinly-sliced lemon, and a light sprinkling of paprika.  Served to 4 guest last night, they raved. 5 stars

  25. This was the best fish dish I have ever had!!! Lisa, you are a genius! Cannot believe how easy it is. Thank you!5 stars

  26. Lovely, tasty and easy to make. I used Kob (the South African name for Argyrosomus japonicus) as we don’t get Cod. It worked well. Thank you5 stars

  27. Loved this recipe.  Very flavorful and tasty.5 stars

  28. I was so so behind today but the fish needed to be cooked. Found this recipe and what a simply lovely meal we had with pasta and peas. ANd got dinnner served in 30 mins. Thanks .. would love to try other recipes you have that are so easy and delicious!5 stars

    • Happy to hear you enjoyed this baked cod recipe! Excited to see what you make next from Downshiftology :)

  29. Easy and delicious. Great for low carb diet.5 stars

  30. So easy and so so good!5 stars

  31. I made this tonight. Cod for my hubby and a trout filet for me. I used chives and thyme and both were delicious. This will be a go-to topping for a lot of seafood now, can’t wait to try it with prawns!  Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  32. This is a good one.  Everyone loved it.  I added extra garlic.  Served with quinoa and sautéed baby spinach with garlic and a squeeze of lemon topped with pecorino cheese. I have a picture but I have no idea how to upload it.  5 stars

    • Sounds great with quinoa and sauteed spinach :) You can always upload an image to the Facebook community group instead.

  33. I really didn’t want to cook tonight, and didn’t want to go out to get food, I wanted something healthy so I came to your blog. Happen to have cod in the freezer, and made your recipe tonight, it was perfect, thank you so much, can’t wait for the book!5 stars