This simple recipe for Baked Cod produces buttery, perfectly seasoned, flaky cod with minimal prep 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, Fish Tacos, and Baked Salmon, proves that you don't need to have culinary training or exotic ingredients to prepare delicious fish at home.
Reasons to Love this Baked Cod Recipe
- Flavorful Recipe. The key to making memorable baked cod comes down to the seasoning, as cod has a relatively mild flavor. This recipe uses a combination of garlic, lemon, paprika, and butter to add just the right flavoring to the mild fish.
- Perfect Texture. The baking technique used in this cod recipe produces cod that is light, flaky, and nearly melts in your mouth, without the need to babysit the fish on the stove.
- Easy Wholesome Dinner. Cod is a lean source of protein and this baked cod recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it an easy, healthy family meal perfect for any night of the week.
- Picky-Eater Approved. Just like picky eaters love Fish SticKs, they love this recipe for Baked Cod. Cod is a mild fish and the flavoring is so undeniably delicious, that even people who don't care for fish gobble up this lemon garlic cod.
Notes On Ingredients
- Cod: Frozen, defrosted cod fillets are best for this recipe unless you have access to freshly caught fish and intend to prepare cod the day it is caught.
- 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.
- Paprika: Smoked or regular paprika both work. Keep in mind that smoked paprika will add a smokey element to the fish.
- 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 Make the Best Baked Cod
Step One: Season the Cod. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and salt until well combined. Pat the cod dry with a paper towel so that the seasoning mixture will adhere to the fish and then brush the olive oil mixture over each side of each cod fillet.
Step Two: Bake the Cod. 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 and bake until the cod reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F or flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in the center.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
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.
To reheat cod 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.
You can use either fresh or frozen Atlantic or Pacific cod loin fillets for this recipe. Atlantic cod is thinner, a bit sweeter, and will flake apart easily once baked, while Pacific cod is milder and firmer. I prefer the flavor and texture of Pacific cod, but this recipe will work with either variety.
The best way to defrost the cod fillets is in the refrigerator overnight. To speed up the process, 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.
I recommend baking cod at 400 degrees F until the cod reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. This temperature will quickly cook the fish, without drying it out.
Bake until the cod reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F or flakes easily with a fork and is opaque in the center.
Side Dishes for Baked Cod
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
If you tried 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 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, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the cod from the baking sheet and serve immediately with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.