This simple recipe for Baked Cod produces flaky, buttery, perfectly seasoned, cod fish with minimal prep work and easy-to-find ingredients!
When it comes to fish, it can be hard to achieve both perfectly cooked and perfectly flavored fish. This recipe for cod, along with my recipes for Blackened Mahi Mahi, Sweet Potato Pancakes, and Baked Salmon, proves that you don't need to have culinary training or exotic ingredients to prepare delicious fish recipes at home.
Cod is a lean, firm, meaty, fish that has a relatively mild flavor. The key to making it memorable and delicious comes down to the seasoning. This recipe uses a combination of garlic, lemon, paprika, and butter to add just the right flavoring to the mild fish, and the baking technique cooks the cod so that it becomes light, flaky, and nearly melts in your mouth--without the need to babysit the fish on the stove.
In fact, you don't even need much time to whip up this delicious baked cod, as it comes together in under 30 minutes, making this lean protein, a delicious option for any night of the week.
Notes On Ingredients
- Cod: You can use either fresh or frozen Atlantic or Pacific cod loin fillets for this recipe. Atlantic cod is thinner, a bit sweeter in taste, and will flake apart easily once baked, while Pacific cod is milder and firmer. I personally prefer the flavor and texture of Pacific cod, but this recipe will work with either variety. I also recommend purchasing frozen fish fillets as you never know how long the fish has been sitting out at the fish counter. However, if you have access to freshly caught fish, prepare the fresh cod the day you catch or purchase it.
- Lemon: Only FRESH lemons will do, as this recipe uses both the juice and zest of the lemon and the flavor of fresh lemon juice is far superior to that of bottled juice.
- Butter/Olive Oil: This recipe uses both butter and olive oil. Olive oil will make a fabulous base for the glaze on the fish and the butter will finish the fish with a richness that is hard to beat. If you are dairy-free or looking to cut calories, simply omit the butter from the recipe.
- Garlic: I love using a lot of garlic to flavor the mild fish. Both freshly minced and jarred minced garlic work equally well in this recipe. If don't care for garlic, simply omit it.
- Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard adds the perfect punch of flavor to the marinade for the cod. It is tangy, robust, and flavorful. You can substitute Brown Mustard for the Dijon, but do not use yellow mustard, as the flavor is not the same.
How to Bake Cod Fish Perfectly
- If needed defrost your cod fillets in the refrigerator overnight. To speed up the process of thawing, place your fish in a bowl of cold water and place it in the refrigerator. Your fish should be defrosted within a couple of hours.
- Once the fish has been defrosted, pat the cod with a paper towel until dry.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and salt together until well combined.
- Brush this mixture evenly over each side of each cod fillet.
- Place the seasoned cod on a rimmed baking pan or baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Top each fillet with a pat of butter. Remember, you can omit this addition if desired.
- Bake until the cod reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F OR flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in the center.
- Once the cod has been baked, remove it from the baking dish and serve the fish immediately with fresh lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley.
Storing & Reheating Leftover Cod
Cod, like most other fish, is best served immediately after preparation, as it can begin to taste fishy and dry out after storage. That said, you can safely store leftover baked cod in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or store the cooked, cooled fish in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To reheat without drying out, place the cod on a baking sheet, and heat for 15-20 minutes in a 275-degree F oven, until just warm to the touch. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish once heated and serve.
This recipe for Baked Lemon Butter Cod pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes. Below are a few of my favorite sides to serve with this fish.
- Rice Pilaf
- Roasted Broccoli
- Smashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans Almondine
- Air Fryer Potatoes
More Easy Fish Recipes
If you enjoyed this Baked Cod Recipe, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 2 large garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cod filets about 1" thick
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
- Lemon and parsley for serving
- If needed defrost the cod fillets in the refrigerator overnight. To speed up the process of thawing, place the fish in a bowl of cold water and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
- Combine the olive oil, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and salt together in a small bowl.
- Pat the defrosted cod dry with a paper towel. Then, brush the cod evenly on both sides with the olive oil mixture.
- Place the seasoned cod on the baking dish and top each fillet with ½ tablespoon of butter if using.
- Bake until the cod reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees OR flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in the center. This is about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the cod from the baking sheet and serve immediately with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
I had never made cod before but this was easy and super delicious! New go-to!
So happy you found this recipe easy to make and enjoy!
This is one of our favorites! This baked cod tastes better than the restaurant quality! We paired this with rice pilaf and it was soooo good! We had no leftovers.
Thanks for sharing, Sharina! So happy to hear you enjoyed both the cod and the rice pilaf 🙂
For the first time, my picky son ate a fish! He liked this baked cod. It was so simple to make yet it turned out so satisfying and yummy. We'll surely have this on repeat, thanks Kristen!
That is awesome! I am so happy to hear that even your picky son enjoyed this Cod!
I love this recipe, and I can't wait to try more.