This easy baked cod recipe comes together in just over 20 minutes, but there is a reason it is a big fan favorite! Tender, perfectly flaky cod, tossed in bold Mediterranean spices and baked with a tasty garlic and lemon sauce.
Fish is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet, so my family tries to eat fish about twice per week.
But one of my favorite go-to dinners is this easy lemon baked cod! And it is the #1 fish recipe on my site, for good reason!
Why this cod recipe works?
Cod fillet is a beautiful fish that is quick to cook, tender and mild-tasting so you can easily give it some big flavors!
Best part? You can make this lemon baked cod in just over 20 minutes from start-to-finish!
Can I use frozen cod fish in this recipe?
Fresh vs. frozen? This is one of the questions I get regularly about cooking with fish. More often than not, frozen is the better option for quality wild-caught fish.
Depending on where you live in the States, the "fresh" fish you may find sitting on ice at the fish counter was likely frozen and thawed before it was displayed. Whereas, flash frozen fish is caught and quickly frozen at the peak of its freshness, and it is often more affordable.
If you find quality frozen fish fillet (sometimes labeled cod loin), it will work in this baked cod recipe but be sure to thaw it properly before use.
How to thaw frozen fish?
Frozen fish fillets thaw quickly in about 15 to 20 minutes. Here is how:
- First, be sure to leave the fish in its vacuum-packaging. If it is not in some sort of packaging, place it in a zip-top bag (do not place it water "naked").
- Arrange the vacuum-sealed fish in a bowl and cover it with cold tap water. Do NOT use warm or hot water; This creates more risk for bacterial growth and will also affect the texture of the fish,
- Check after 15 to 20 minutes to see if the fish feels tender and thawed through. If it is hard in some parts, leave it in for a little big longer.
How to bake cod and what temperature is best?
First, what temperature should cod be cooked at? For baked cod, I typically set my oven to 400 degrees F. How long? Depending on the thickness of your cod fillet, it could take about 10 to 15 minutes in the oven.
In this cod recipe, I use about 1 ½ pounds of cod fillet, and it helps to use a large oven-safe baking dish or a cast-iron skillet. Here is how to make it:
- First, start by lightly coating the cod fillets in some well-seasoned flour. To do this, prepare a dredging station.
- In one shallow bowl prepare the lemon sauce by mixing together 5 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoon melted butter.
- Sear the fish. To give the cod some good color and texture, sear it in olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Add the lemon sauce. Now, to the lemon sauce, add 5 minced garlic cloves (so much flavor), then pour it over the cod.
- Bake in 400 degrees F heated oven for about 10 minutes or until the cod is cooked through. The fish is ready when it turns a beautiful white opaque and flakes easily when you take a fork to it.
- Garnish and serve! I love adding some parsley for a pop of green!
What to serve with this cod recipe?
To complete this fish dinner, I always like to add a big salad and a simple side. I have some ideas that will go perfectly with this cod. To add more Greek flavors, try out our Greek salad. Or give this Lebanese fattoush salad a try. If you're looking for some beans in your salad, try our Mediterranean bean salad or chickpea salad.
Can I refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked fish?
When I make this baked cod recipe, I don't typically have leftovers. And as with all fish recipes, it is best eaten fresh on the day it is cooked, particularly because often times the fish was already frozen before it was cooked.
But, a reader recently asked this relevant question as she cooks for fewer people. Depending on how fresh the fish was to begin with, you can store the leftovers either in the fridge or even in the freezer. First, cool the fish a little, but don't leave it in room temperature for more than 1 hour before refrigerating or freezing.
Arrange the cod in a shallow glass container with a tight lid and refrigerate for up to 2 days. If you need to warm it up, simply use a medium-heated oven until just warmed through (there is always a chance the fish will be overcooked when you warm it up again).
Generally, cooked fish can be frozen for up to 1 month. My personal preference is not to freeze it, because I feel the texture of the fish changes a little.
More recipes to try
- Whole Roasted Snapper with Garlic and Veggies
- Easy Seafood Paella
- Shrimp Kabobs
- Greek Chicken and Potatoes
- One Pot Chicken and Rice
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Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic
- 1.5 lb Cod fillet pieces, 4-6 pieces
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 5 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, and melted butter in a shallow bowl (do not add the garlic yet). Set aside.
- In another shallow bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, spices, salt and pepper. Set next to the lemon sauce.
- Pat the fish dry. Dip the fish in the lemon sauce then dip it in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour. Reserve the lemon sauce for later.
- Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or an oven-safe pan) over medium-high heat (watch the oil to be sure it is shimmering but not smoking). Add the fish and sear on each side to give it some color, but do not fully cook (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove the skillet from heat.
- To the remaining lemon sauce, add the minced garlic and mix. Drizzle all over the fish fillets.
- Bake in the heated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork (10 minutes should do it, but begin checking earlier). Remove from the heat and sprinkle chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
- Serving suggestions: Serve immediately with Lebanese rice and this Mediterranean chickpea salad or traditional Greek salad.
- Cook's Tip: This recipe has been edited adding step #5 to achieve more color. Be sure to use a fish spatula to carefully turn the fish in the skillet.
- Leftover Storage: If you have any leftovers, let the fish cool a bit, then arrange in a shallow glass container with a tight lid. You can refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, or freeze for up to one month. My personal preference is not to freeze fish as, sometimes, the texture does change.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices.
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has recently been updated with new information for readers' benefit.