Garlic Herb Baked Cod


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This baked cod is an easy and foolproof recipe for perfectly flaky fish, every time. A simple buttery garlic herb topping transforms cod fillets into a delicious, light, and healthy weeknight dinner – in under 30 minutes!

Baked cod with lemon slices in a baking dish.

While baked salmon tends to get a lot of attention, a cod fillet is not one to be overlooked. It’s just as meaty, holds up well in a variety of recipes like today’s garlic herb baked cod and this Mediterranean cod en papillote, and you simply can’t beat that flaky texture.

But what I love most about baked cod is how darn easy it is to make. All you have to do is stir together the garlic herb butter mixture, slather it on top of the cod, and then bake it in the oven. You’ll have one unbelievably flavorful and healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients for baked cod on a counter.

Baked Cod Ingredients

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

  • Cod: I’m using wild-caught Alaskan cod in this recipe. But if that’s not readily available, you could also use halibut, mahi mahi, or another flaky white fish.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter so I can add then season with salt to my preference.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is preferred for the most robust flavor, but you can also use garlic powder in a pinch.  
  • Parsley: Chopped parsley in the garlic butter adds a lovely pop of green. Not a fan of parsley? Try chives, thyme or another tender herbs. 
  • Lemon: Fish and lemon are best friends!
  • Paprika: Add just a touch of paprika to elevate the flavor profile.

Fresh versus Frozen Cod

If you can’t find fresh cod at the market, don’t fret. Frozen Alaskan cod might be the better option. Why? It’s hard to tell 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.

Topping cod fillets with garlic herb butter mixture.

How To Bake Cod Perfectly

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

  1. Make the garlic herb butter. Stir the butter, garlic, herbs, and seasonings together.
  2. Coat the fish. Smear the garlic herb butter mixture on the cod fillets.
  3. Bake the fish. After 13 to 15 minutes in the oven the fish should be flaky and ready to serve!
Piece of baked cod with lemon slice in a baking dish.

Switch Up The Seasonings

Give this cod recipe a flavor twist by tweaking the seasoning in the garlic butter. Here are a few ideas:

  • 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.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • To store in the fridge: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • To freeze for later: Yes, you can freeze cod! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • For reheating: Simply reheat in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until the fish is warmed through.
Baked cod being flaked with a fork.

More Easy Seafood Recipes To Love

If you’re a seafood lover like, I’m confident you’ll love these recipes as well:

I hope you enjoy this garlic herb baked cod! If you make it, drop a comment below on how it turned out. Your review will help other readers in the community.

Baked cod in a baking dish with lemon slices.

Garlic Herb Baked Cod

4.97 from 137 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 extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chives, thyme or other herbs, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the cod in a baking dish.
    Four cod fillets in a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the butter, olive oil, minced garlic, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper.
    Mixing the garlic herb butter mixture.
  • Spread the compound butter mixture on top of each filet.
    Adding garlic herb butter to cod fillets.
  • Lay the lemon slices both on top and under the cod filets.
    Cod fillets topped with lemon slices.
  • 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.
    Baked cod in a baking dish.


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!

Recipe originally published September 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. A 4.98 overall rating! Really?
    I was seriously disappointed. I thought the dish lacked flavor….anda huge garlic fan. Just fyi, I make a garlic l, sesame oil, soy sauce infused edamame  to die for. Ok..that’s my input. 3 stars

  2. The flavors are so perfectly balanced with the halibut. I made a roasted sweet potato, broccoli & mushroom mix with the extra herbs as a side and the combination was surprisingly perfect. This recipe is now in my rotation. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 stars

  3. this honestley is probaly one of the best fish i have ever eaten. i made it for a school project and my dad who hates seafood loved it.

  4. Made this delicious cod recipe tonight and we absolutely loved it and will be making it again. It truly is a 5 star!!

  5. Made this tonight with frozen cod fillets. I did a cold water thaw on the fish then followed the recipe.  It was very good and the fish was perfectly done.  I will definitely make this again in our fish rotation.5 stars

  6. I made this last night and it was delicious! I used a Corning Ware skillet with a piece of parchment paper. Did a light cooking spray on the paper. I did not have a whole lemon so substituted lemon pepper seasoning for the lemon, salt and pepper. I was using dried parsley so reduced that to 1 TBL. Cooked at 400 for 15 min and temp. in part of fish was still 130 so added 7 more minutes. Came out just perfect. Even my picky eater really liked it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.5 stars

    1. You could do a simple side salad (like my massaged kale salad or Israeli salad), or roasted veggies!

  7. This recipe is amazing! I’ve made it probably half a dozen times now & it always comes out delicious. Only change I made was to use TWO sliced lemons rather than one lemon, for some extra yummy lemon flavor. Thank you for this delicious recipe!!!

      1. Finally cooked this! The fish kinda flakes but temperature is not 145F. Not even 120F. The fillet is kinda thick. Am I supposed to check temperature as soon as I take it out of the oven? Thanks for helping out a newbie.

      2. If your cod is thicker, I would let it cook a bit longer. And yes, check the temperature when you take it out of the oven.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

      1. So sorry… sent the recipe to my computer and saw the whole list… btw. It was delicious!!!!! The juice in the pan has all the flavor. Do you baste the fish with it? Or is it a dumb question?

  10. 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

    1. 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 :)

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    1. 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.

  15. 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

    1. Good to know about the one-page print! Always looking to keep things as simple and easy for everyone :)

  16. 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

  17. 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)?  

  18. 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

  19. 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

    1. Happy to hear your guests loved this baked cod recipe! The oven method really is magical :)

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

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

  23. 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

  24. 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

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

  25. 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

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this cod recipe! And yes, I can’t wait for the book to be done either. :)