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.

Baked cod recipe with lemon and garlic served in cast-iron skillet

Fish is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet, so my family tries to eat fish about twice per week.

Luckily, there are so many ways to prepare a tasty fish dinner. Sometimes, I go for a big baked salmon, a hearty fish soup, or something different like a saucy Moroccan fish.

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!

This baked cod recipe takes on some bold Mediterranean flavors with a tasty garlic and lemon sauce and a few warm spices, including coriander, paprika, and cumin. 

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.

Baked cod in lemon and garlic sauce, garnished with parsley

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 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tbsp melted butter.
    • In another shallow bowl, mix together ⅓ cup all-purpose flour with 1 tsp ground coriander, ¾ tsp sweet Spanish paprika, ¾ tsp ground cumin, and ¾ tsp kosher salt.
    • Dip the fish in the lemon sauce, then coat it well with the flour mixture. Keep the lemon sauce for later use.
  • 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.

For vegetarian sides, you might want to try out these hearty recipes: roasted broccoli, asparagus with salsa, or stuffed zucchini boats.

For starchy sides, give these a try: mustard potato salad, Greek-style oven fries, or lemon rice.

And to keep with a Greek theme, why not add a dip like Miletzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) or Tzatziki with some pita chips to serve!

Baked cod in skillet with a side of Greek 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

Craving more? Check out fish recipes. You may also like our to browse top Mediterranean diet recipes.

Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients.

4.76 from 1040 votes

Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic

Suzy Karadsheh
Baked cod in lemon and garlic sauce, garnished with parsley
Best baked cod recipe out there! Prepared Mediterranean style with a few spices and a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and lots of garlic. Bakes in 15 mins!
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 12 mins
Total – 22 mins
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 5 people (up to)
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lb Cod fillet pieces, 4-6 pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Lemon Sauce

  • 5 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

For Coating

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 319.3kcalCarbohydrates: 9.6gProtein: 25.8gFat: 19.8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 70.6mgSodium: 466.1mgPotassium: 641.5mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 603.3IUVitamin C: 14.2mgCalcium: 45.3mgIron: 1.7mg
Tried this recipe?

 

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has recently been updated with new information for readers' benefit.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Suzy, I should have sent this a long time ago. I made your Mediterrean Cod dish as soon as you put it on your blog and have been making it ever since. I don't change a thing and can't count the number of times that I have made it. Everyone always loves it and asks for the recipe!! Thanks for a great, perfect Mediterrean fish recipe. Linda

  2. Hello,
    Tried your recipe today and was the best fish meal I have ever had.. it will be my every time time fish recipe.
    Thanks

  3. I am actually shocked at some of the negative reviews. This recipe, in my opinion, is outstanding and in the realm of gourmet. My husband and I loved it and I would make it again very soon and for definitely for special guests. It was not too greasy or sticky at all as some posted. The crust was crisp and the interior of the fish was and tender. I am a very experienced cook, and was able to make some independent decisions on my own to alter some of the ingredients to my husbands and my taste. For example, I reduce the lemon a little bit as 5 tablespoons seemed a bit much. I transferred the fish after searching to a baking dish and reserved all of the drippings and herbs in the iron skillet that I used to cook the fish. In that skillet, I sautéed baby spinach, which picked up all the wonder seasoning. Sautéing the spinach In all that seasoning was spectacular. I served the fish over a bed of spinach with a crisp salad. I give it five stars and would give it 50 if I could! Absolutely wonderful recipe!

  4. 3 stars
    3 stars for the over abundance of oil, butter and garlic. 4 stars for the ingredients and method.
    I made this recipe for my husband tonight. I used less than half the olive, oil, butter, garlic and about 3 Tbs. lemon.
    The fish had such a nice texture after searing and was reduced to a soggy mess by pouring the oil, butter, garlic and lemon over top. The garlic was raw and way to pungent, (and we are garlic lovers.). Next time I will reduce the oil and butter even more and pour the garlic sauce around the fish as it continues baking. Then I will plate and spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish right before serving. I served this with Greek style oven roasted potatoes and roasted zucchini rounds.

  5. 3 stars
    I read the instructions several times so I don’t know what went wrong but when flouring the fish the flour turned sticky. Also I felt there was way too much olive oil used. The lemon was a bit too much.

    1. I always make sure the fish is well drained. Sometimes there is a thick liquid on the surface, in this case I would give it a quick rinse and pat it dry with paper towels.

  6. 5 stars
    I was looking for something other than salmon and found this recipe. This was the first recipe I made from this site and it turned out fantastic. The spices used with coating the fish along with the lemon garlic sauce is simply amazing flavor.

    This is easy to make , yet it packs a big flavor with white fish. I no longer have to keep cooking primarily salmon…. This is a great tasting white fish recipe .

    Tony

  7. Hi Suzy,
    This was the first time I had used your recipe. It was pretty good. But we liked it more when we added some honey..

    Thank you Suzy.

    Ester

    1. This sounds delicious. I am always hesitant to make cod as it makes the house stink for days afterwards. Any tips for avoiding that?

      1. Hello! Not sure if I can offer any great tips for that other than popping a window open. This recipe is very flexible, so you could always use another type of white fish fillet like halibut or sea bass, for examples.

      2. Hi, Andrea. I have never tried this on the grill myself, but you may be able to make it on a cast iron skillet positioned on your grill outdoors.

  8. 5 stars
    Soooo Good!! I usually don’t like lemon with my fish! But love this lemony sauce! The paprika was a bit tricky but used reg paprika with chili powder, I’ll be ordering some of that sweet Spanish paprika in my next order! Thanks for this great recipe!

    1. Hi, Tony. I've never tried this recipe with those specific fish, so it's hard to for me to comment on that. I can say, besides cod, this recipe does work well with halibut and sea bass.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this recipe it is not just good- it's great!!! so easy and it taste like it took hours. I serves with broccolini pan seared with lemon and garlic sauce and a wild rice pilaf. Thank you for sharing, This will definitely become one of my go to fish recipes. 🙂 yumo!!!

  10. 5 stars
    Suzy , this was incredible! It deserves more than five stars for sure . The entire family loved it . Incredible flavors and well balanced. This recipe will be made many more times in this house for sure . All of your recipes have been easy to follow and a pleasure to make as well as eat. Living in Kansas is nothing like the Mediterranean but with your recipes I can eat your wonderful food and dream of being there . Maybe one day . Once again Suzy , amazing!

  11. 5 stars
    50000 stars! I have been making this recipe for a long time.

    Question to self: do I need to heat my oven up for something that would be there for 10m or under when it is already on the stove in a skillet? Nope. Killed it off. save your electric. (Horrible joke - I live in TX. We found out in Feb 2021 that our electric grid is not as cracked up as politicians said). Anyhoo - heating the oven in TX is to be avoided 🙂

    Second: Do I REALLY need butter in the "dip sauce". Don't get me wrong - I love butter. But I also love olive oil. Substitute the olive heart healthy in the dip - and put the butter love in the sauce.

    Then - who says you can't use ORANGE or LIME (vs. LEMON). If you use Lime, it becomes Tex-Mex. If you use Orange (and maybe some tarragon), it has a French flair. All the recipe suggested spices stay the same.

  12. 5 stars
    Made this tonight in a cast iron skillet. Came out great! Very flavorful, Will make it again. Thanks!

  13. 4 stars
    I tried this with a combination of cod and shrimp and OMG ! It was so good. Bright flavor and so much to taste. Fish with lemon has been so boring. I ground the spices fresh. It was warm and had a different flavor that was a total hit. I will be making it again. I browned the fish but it got a little gummy. Not sure what I did wrong but I will keep trying to fix my mistakes. Shrimp was absolutely delicious. If anyone has any thoughts, I would appreciate the feedback! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Lee. If the coating got a bit gummy, next time, try shaking the fish super well to get rid of the excess flour and keep only a super thin dusting.

    2. This recipe looks great! What flour substitute would work best for a gluten free version (I have chickpea flour on hand…)?

      1. Hi, Jen. I have used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour and it has worked well. Others have had success with almond flour. Chickpea flour may work, as well. I just can't be 100% sure because I have not tried that myself.

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is just perfect. Make sure your pan is hot enough before you sear it so you get the right texture. I've served it with zucchini rice, sweet potato puree, and cheddar rice, and it's a hit every time. Even my 3 year old and 10 month old like it!

  15. 2 stars
    I so wanted to love this recipe but my entire family hated it. Too much garlic, too much lemon. Flavors were unbalanced.

    1. Jeff, I am a farmer. I grow garlic and a ton of other things. Garlic is like vanilla. There is a great deal of variation. Different varieties have different flavors and intensity. I would reduce the amount of lemon and garlic and give it another try. Fresh garlic has a lot more "garlic flavor" than older and drier too. Lemons are the same. Recipes are guidelines . Your family never had that taste before as my had not tasted it either. I have not subscribed to cooking sites until now.

  16. 5 stars
    Made this just today in my cast iron and it looked just like the picture. Tasted great! Really great recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Served it with your lemon rice recipe and it was a huge hit. Will definitely make again.