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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 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.
Some of the recipes have an option to adjust to fewer people. is there a way to adjust all recipes to 2 people, without having to do math on ingredients?
Hi, Dale. Unfortunately, we don't have that option with the current program we are using. We appreciate the input, though and will see what we can do as we work to improve our website.
Good recipe simple ingredients everyone enjoyed it
I’ve tried this dish 2x now. Such a great dish. The only thing is when I put in oven, all the oil, garlic and juice burns. Is there any trick to not get the bottom burnt pan look?
Hi, Terry. We've never had this issue, so not sure what to recommend. You may just need to try reducing the heat in your oven a bit?
The dish looked beautiful but... the taste was not for me. This is the first and last time I use coriander and cumin. Even my wife could not eat it and she loves lemon baked fish.
Made this tonight, and it was delicious! My husband and I both loved it.
I wanted to try something new, as my family eats fish several times a week. Of seven family members, one really liked it, one hated it, and the remaining five thought it was just okay. I think maybe the combination of spices lends itself more toward fish tacos, or another Hispanic fish dish, with appropriate sides.
So easy to make and melt in your mouth deliciousness.
I personally loved this recipe but the kids and husband found it to be way too lemony and sour! I wonder if there’s a way to scale down on the lemon but keeping the same amount of sauce?
Just an idea - maybe try 1/2 white wine & 1/2 lemon juice or even all white wine if you don't want the lemon flavor at all.
Love this dish-have made several times. The trick w/any fish dish is eliminating the "fishy" taste, cooking the fish perfectly, and layering in lots of flavor. This recipe nails all three. Modifications: add a 2 tblsp of cornstarch to dredge (to lighten it up) and allow fish to rest after coating in fridge for 10-15 min. to ensure coating sticks when pan frying.
This came out really awesome! I follow the recipe exactly. So yummy!!!
Can I substitute tilapia in this recipe if that is what I have on hand?
Sure! Tilapia tends to be a lot thinner than cod, though, so it will likely cook faster.
I made this recipe tonight for my daughter's family and they loved it!
I found the website because we are trying to eat healthier and now I find it difficult to decide which recipe to make.
Thank you for making great videos and including ingredient information.
It's our pleasure, Sherry! We're honored to be a part of your health journey!
Any recommended gluten free substitutes for the flour?
Hi, Tracy. This is Kate (Suzy's gluten free teammate). I have had success using King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure flour with this recipe (it's actually my go-to for any recipe). I'm guessing any brand of measure-for-measure gluten free flour will work well here, though.
Forgot to add that I served this dish with wilted spinach (I added the remaining lemon sauce and extra garlic to it) also some air fried petite red potatoes tossed in black truffle oil, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. YUM!
Yum! Sounds like a wonderful meal!
I made this tonight and my husband LOVED IT! It will definitely be added to the rotation.
Can you please clarify which kind of paprika? The recipe says "sweet Spanish paprika," but the link goes to "smoked Spanish paprika."
Good catch! Thanks for pointing that out. You want to use sweet Spanish paprika here.
***** Quick and delicious!! Thanks for your recipe!
This recipe is fabulous! So easy to make, and sooooo delicious. The spices in the flour really add beautiful flavor and the lemon/garlic sauce makes it shine. Served it with roasted broccoli and drizzled the extra sauce over that as well. Can't wait to make this again! Thanks for sharing such a gem.