Delicious, moist and tender baked cod is topped with a lemony, buttery topping that doesn't overpower the fish. It's one of my favorite cod recipes!
This cod recipe is amazing. And I'm saying that as someone who's not generally a huge fan of this fish. I find white, delicate fish a little boring and prefer bold-tasting fish such as salmon and tuna.
But this one is different. I think it's the combination of the lemony, buttery topping - it's delicious - and the short baking time, ensuring that the fish remains juicy. And another great recipe that makes white fish super palatable is this blackened halibut recipe.
The ingredients you'll need to make this baked cod recipe
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty main dish (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Unsalted butter: I love using a creamy yellow European butter.
Fresh lemon juice: It tastes better than bottled.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Kosher salt: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Red pepper flakes: They don't make the dish very spicy - they just add an extra layer of flavor.
Capers: You can usually find them in the pickles aisle.
Cod fillets: Fresh or frozen, about 1-inch thick. It's best, if possible, to stick with Pacific cod and not with endangered Atlantic cod.
Paprika: Adds flavor as well as color to the dish.
How to bake cod
It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Start by mixing the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the capers.
2. Pour the mixture on top of the fish and sprinkle with paprika.
3. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes at 425°F.
What is the best way to cook cod in the oven?
Lean white fish can dry out easily. Basting the fish with a tasty sauce and baking just until done ensures a tender, succulent, flavorful fish.
This tasty recipe works really well with any other firm, white fish such as halibut, as long as they are fairly thick (about 1-inch thick). Just remember that white, mild, low-fat fish can easily become dry and overcooked, so take care not to overbake.
Can I cook frozen cod fillets?
Yes! You can totally use frozen fish in this baked cod recipe! Simply adjust the baking time. So if you have frozen cod fillets in your freezer, don't bother defrosting them prior to cooking. You can absolutely bake them frozen.
It's actually easier not to overcook them when you bake them from frozen. Simply add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
What if I don't like lemon?
No problem! You can make this recipe without lemon. Simply omit it and just use the other ingredients.
How to serve it?
This recipe makes some wonderful buttery sauce, so make sure you serve it with the sauce. You might want to serve the fish fillets on top of something that would absorb the sauce, such as cauliflower rice.
What to do with leftovers?
You can keep leftovers of this baked cod recipe in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them very gently - you don't want them to dry out. It's best to reheat the leftovers in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
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Baked Cod Recipe, From Fresh or Frozen
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 4 cod or halibut fillets 6 oz each, 1-inch thick
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the capers.
- Place the cod fillets in the baking dish. Pour the butter mixture on top. Use a brush if needed to evenly distribute the thick sauce on top of the fillets. Sprinkle with the paprika.
- Bake, uncovered, until the fish is white and flakes easily with a fork. Depending on the thickness of your fish fillets and on your oven, this should take about 15 minutes (25 minutes if using frozen fish).