Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe

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Crispy Baked Cod with Panko is an easy, flavorful, and light dinner meal. Flaky cod fillets topped with lemon, garlic, and parsley Panko breadcrumbs, then baked to perfection!

Serve this recipe with Honey Glazed Carrots, Parmesan Orzo Pasta, and Strawberry Tiramisu Recipe. You can also check out these What to Serve with Cod (50+ Best Side Dish Recipes)!

Best crispy baked cod
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This healthy meal is ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, and the whole family will love it. Here are more easy and tasty fish and seafood recipes: Baked Salmon with Pesto Recipe (Easy), Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce, Classic Lobster Bisque Recipe (Easy), and Seared Sea Bass With Lemon Butter Herb Sauce.

Best Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe

This baked cod recipe is a favorite fish recipe that requires little effort and few ingredients. Enjoy a weeknight meal, or serve a weekend dinner with friends.

This was inspired by my quick and easy Best Baked Salmon with Pesto Recipe (Easy)!

I recently made this recipe for a casual dinner party, which got rave reviews.

The lemon and parsley seasoned panko bread crumbs add a wonderful flavor and a crunchy texture to the light, flakiness of the cod. This is a great way to serve fresh cod! If you love cod- try this recipe Easy Blackened Cod Recipe or my Lemon Butter Baked Cod.

This recipe is inspired by a dear family friend, Uncle Ricky. He loves cod, and this recipe is dedicated to him. Enjoy!

Recipe Ingredients

The best part about this recipe is it only requires a few good quality and fresh ingredients.

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe- ingredient shot
Ingredients for baked cod recipe
  • Cod fillets
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh garlic
  • Paprika 
  • Fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Lemon slices for serving

See recipe card for quantities.

Equipment

All you need for this easy, no-mess recipe is a proper baking sheet to bake the fish.

If you want to zest your lemon the proper way- use my absolute favorite Microplane! I use it to grate my own cheese (read: TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese) and zest lemon, limes, and more!

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe on a plate with lemons, parsley, and garlic in the background

How to make Panko Crusted Baked Cod (step by step instructions)

Baking cod in the oven is a foolproof and easy method for tender, flaky fish. Here’s how to make it.

Photos 1-2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, and paprika. Stir with fork to combine. Set aside.

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe- Process of making the crunchy topping for the fish
Panko break crumb topping

Photos 3-6. Place the fillets onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil and lemon juice over the cod fillets, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. 

Top each fillet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of panko topping, and press down gently to ensure the topping stays on top of the fish.

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe- process of preparing the fish with oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice

Photos 7-8. Add a slice of butter on top of each fillet. 

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center. According to the USDA, an instant read thermometer should read 145°F when inserted into the thickest part of the cod.

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe- adding butter on top and baking
Adding butter and baking fish

FAQs

Is cod healthy?

Cod is both a nutritious and flavorful fish loaded with lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. It is a great source of Vitamin B6 and B12. It’s also low in mercury and this baked cod fish is only 115 calories per serving. Cod is a healthy fish option to enjoy year around.

Why use panko bread crumbs for crispy crust?

Crunchy panko crumbs provide a gorgeous golden brown topping to the fish fillets. Cod is so flaky and tender I enjoy the contrast with the buttery and soft white fish.

Substitutions for Cod

Cod is a delicate, flaky, mild white fish. It works well with this recipe, but you can use other white fish varieties such as: Haddock, Pollack, Black Cod, Stripped Bass, Hake, Mahi Mahi, Grouper. You can even use salmon if that is easiest to find!

Do I need to dry cod before cooking?

Make sure to dry your cod fillets. This will help create the nice crispy panko bread crumb coating.

Why did my cod turn out tough?

If your fish turns out tough it’s probably because it was overcooked. It’s an extremely lean fish that is very unforgiving when cooked for too long.

TOP TIP: I like to use foil instead of parchment paper when baking fish or meat in the oven. I find that it gets a crispier bottom instead of steaming in the way it tends to do when baked on parchment. I use parchment more for baking cakes!

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe on a sheet pan lined with foil
Best crunchy topping on flaky baked cod

Gluten-free

This recipe easily adapts to a gluten-free diet by using a gluten-free panko bread crumb variety.

Recipe Variations

This recipe is phenomenal as is, but you can try these variations to mix it up a bit.

  • Cheese – a popular addition is adding parmigiano or parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs to make a parmesan-crusted cod. Do this by adding 3/4 cup fresh cheese to the breadcrumb mixture.
    • Why I like to grate my own cheese: TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese
  • Spicy – add some red pepper flakes with the breadcrumb mixture to kick it up a notch!
  • Deluxe – add crushed crackers, cornflakes, regular breadcrumbs, pretzels, or potato chips instead of the traditional panko bread crumbs. Use thicker, hearty chips and crackers for the best results.
Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe on a plate with a side of steamed asparagus

What to serve with baked cod

This delicate cod recipe is the perfect main dish for several side options! Make Shredded Zucchini and Cheese Pasta (easy) or Best Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes and Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread with a side of Italian Fennel, Citrus, Pomegranate and Salad.

Make a surf and turf dinner with these recipes- How to Cook Steak in a Pan (Perfect Recipe) and How to Cook a Small Prime Rib Roast Recipe.

If you want to serve appetizers, try Hot Mascarpone Spinach Artichoke Dip or Italian Stuffed Zucchini (vegetarian)!

Don’t forget dessert! Best Brown Butter Apple Pie, Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic), Italian Apple Cake, or Creamy Frozen Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust.

Storage

Leftovers.

As with all fish recipes, they are best eaten fresh on the day it is cooked. Leftover cod will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days when properly stored in airtight containers.

Reheating leftover cod.

For best results, reheat the cod in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350ºF. I don’t recommend microwaving as it tends to overcook the fish and dry out the topping.

TIP: to avoid dry fish, add a splash of water on top of the filet before putting it in the oven

Freezing leftover fish

Generally, cooked fish can be frozen for up to 1 month. I do not like freezing leftover cooked fish since it changes the consistency when reheated.

Top Tip

  • Make sure to dry your cod fillets. This will help create the nice crispy panko bread crumb coating.
  • Cook fish on aluminum foil rather than parchment paper. Parchment will steam the bottom of the fish and topping while the foil will help it crisp.

MORE recipes for you:

Seafood Appetizer recipes:

This baked cod is a fabulous go-to easy recipe! It’s the perfect dish for those nights when you don’t want to get out of the pots and pans. Save and make it again.

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe on a plate with a side of steamed asparagus

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

This is one of my favorite ways to serve cod. It is flaky and butter soft with the crunchy lemony topping. I know it will soon become a favorite in your home as well!

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Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe on a plate with a side of steamed asparagus

Panko Crusted Cod Recipe

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4.8 from 11 reviews

Crispy Baked Cod with Panko is an easy, flavorful, and light dinner meal. Flaky cod fillets topped with seasoned, lemon, garlic, and parsley Panko breadcrumbs then baked to perfection!

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 34 (6 ounce) cod fillets
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 gloves garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 2 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided into slices (one for each fillet)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges (optional: for serving), cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil. Use paper towels to pat the cod fillets dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, and paprika. Stir with fork to combine. Set aside.
  3. Place the fillets onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil and lemon juice over the cod fillets, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. 
  4. Top each fillet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of panko topping, and press down gently to ensure the topping stays on top of the fish. Add a slice of butter on top of each fillet. 
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center. According to the USDA, an instant read thermometer should read 145°F when inserted into the thickest part of the cod.
  6. Serve hot with lemon wedges, and a side of your favorite vegetable, and bread!
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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22 Comments

  1. Ciao Elena, I made this for dinner tonight & it was SO delicious! So easy to prepare & nice & light! I will definitely make this again! My side dish was broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, caramelized onions & purple cabbage! I didn’t use fresh garlic, hubby is not a fan, but used onion& garlic powders, parsley, black pepper & the lemon zest & juice! YUM! YUM!