Easy Garlic Butter Baked Cod

$8.08 recipe / $2.02 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.68 from 80 votes
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Do you love garlic bread as much I as do? Then you’re going to LOVE this Easy Garlic Butter Baked Cod recipe. I used the same buttery garlic spread that I use for my garlic bread to top these tender and mild cod fillets. I added a little lemon for brightness and the end result is a super simple weeknight main dish that I can make on a moment’s notice.

garlic butter baked cod on a plate with tomatoes, asparagus, and a fork

The mild, slightly rich flavor of cod is the perfect base for the zesty fresh garlic and creamy butter. And as if this Garlic Butter Baked Cod wasn’t already perfect, it also happens to be incredibly fast and easy to make. Weeknight dinner perfection!

What’s In Garlic Butter Baked Cod

For this recipe, I took my basic Garlic Bread recipe and changed it up ever so slightly to make it more fish-friendly. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy baked cod:

  • Cod: Frozen cod is usually the most economical option, and it thaws quickly so you can make this dinner without any forethought! Try to get fillets that are about 4oz. each.
  • Butter: This is the vehicle for all that good garlicky flavor! The richness of the butter pairs wonderfully with the light and flakey texture of the cod.
  • Olive Oil: A little oil helps make the butter mixture more spreadable, and slows the browning just a bit.
  • Fresh Garlic: The star of the show! Fresh garlic brings big punchy flavor to the fish.
  • Paprika & Salt: A little seasoning is all you need here because we want to keep the flavors light, fresh, and simple. Paprika also helps add color to an otherwise pale palate.
  • Fresh Parsley: Parsley adds a little freshness and color to this dish, which is always welcome, but it won’t be a deal breaker if you don’t have any. You can also use one teaspoon of dried parsley in place of the fresh.

How to Thaw Frozen Cod

Frozen cod is not only convenient, but you can usually get a better price than buying fresh. Frozen cod is usually sold in bags that have individually vacuum-sealed pieces, which makes thawing super fast and easy. Here is how to thaw frozen cod:

  1. Place vacuum-sealed fish in a bowl of cold water. If your fish is not vacuum sealed, place it in a tightly-closed zip top bag with as much as squeezed out as possible.
  2. Leave the fish in the cold water for 10-15 minutes, or until thawed. The total time will depend on the thickness of the fillet. Once thawed, transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Overhead view of four cod filets in a baking dish with lemon.

How to Know When Cod is Done Baking

The time needed to bake your cod will depend on the thickness of the filet and the type of baking dish you use, but cod should be baked until it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF. At this temperature, the flesh will be opaque and will flake easily with a fork. If you continue baking too long past this point the cod can get tough or rubbery.

My filets were a little on the thick side and I used a thick ceramic baking dish that takes a little longer to heat, so I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400ºF to reach an internal temperature of 145ºF. If you have thin filets or are using a thinner metal baking dish, it may only take 15 minutes of baking. A simple electronic instant-read meat thermometer is really helpful for determining when the fish is finished baking.

What to Serve with Garlic Butter Baked Cod

A fork picking at a piece of garlic butter baked cod on a plate
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Garlic Butter Baked Cod

4.68 from 80 votes
This rich Garlic Butter Baked Cod is a fast and flavorful weeknight dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes, using basic pantry staples.
Garlic butter baked cod on a plate with roasted tomatoes and asparagus.
Servings 4
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter (room temperature) ($0.50)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley ($0.22)
  • 1 lb. cod (4 4 oz. filets) ($5.99)
  • 1 fresh lemon ($0.69)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and chopped parsley. Stir until it forms a fairly smooth paste.
  • Add the cod filets to a baking dish, add the garlic butter mixture on top of the fish, the spread it until the fish is evenly coated.
  • Cut half of the lemon into slices and add the lemon slices on top of the fish. Cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into wedges for serving.
  • Bake the cod for 15-20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 145ºF (total baking time will depend on the thickness of the filets and the material of your baking dish). Spoon any juices from the bottom of the pan over the fish. Serve the cod immediately with the remaining fresh lemon wedges for squeezing juice over top.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 21gFat: 19gSodium: 298mgFiber: 0.2g
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Video

Overhead view of Garlic Butter Baked Cod on a plate with tomatoes and asparagus, a black fork on the side.

Pictured with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes.

How to Make Easy Baked Cod – Step by Step Photos:

Ingredients for garlic butter in a bowl, not mixed.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 4 Tbsp room temperature butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 4 minced cloves of garlic, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt, and about 2 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley. Mix the ingredients together until they are fairly smooth (a few small lumps of butter are okay).

Garlic butter being spread over fish filets in a baking dish.

Place the cod fillets in the dish, then spread the garlic butter mixture over each piece.

Lemon slices placed on top of fish in the baking dish.

Slice half of a lemon and add the lemon slices to the baking dish. Cut the rest of the lemon into wedges to serve with the finished fish.

Baked fish after it came out of the oven.

Bake the Garlic Butter Cod for 15-20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF. If you’re using a thin metal baking dish or have thin filets, the fish will cook faster. If you are using a thick glass or ceramic baking dish or have thicker filets (as I did here), the fish will take slightly longer to bake. Spoon any of the juices in the pan over the fish (that will spread the lemony flavor).

Close up side view of a piece of garlic butter baked cod on a serving plate with asparagus and tomatoes.

Serve immediately with some of the baked lemon slices, and a couple of the fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over top.

Overhead view of a piece of garlic butter baked cod on a plate with roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

I paired my Garlic Butter Baked Cod with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes. It’s a great easy no-brainer side dish that you can serve with anything from fish to steak!

Love Cod? Try these cod recipes:

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  1. This is a great and versatile recipe! I realized tonight when I had already started making it that I had no parsley. I subbed fresh cilantro for the parsley and added 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp of ground chipotle pepper to the butter mixture, then topped with lime slices instead of lemon. It was fabulous!

    We served it as Mexican fish bowls, with turmeric rice, black beans, spring mix, and all the usual taco toppings, along with balsamic vinaigrette. It will definitely be going into regular rotation.

  2. So delicious! My whole family loved it. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  3. Today is my husband,Bruce’s Birthday! I asked him this morning which restraunt he’d like to go to. Lunch? Or dinner? I had a special place in mind, but he surprised me. He said he’d like to celebrate his birthday here, at home, just the two of us. Delighted and flattered, I asked if he had something in mind that sounded really good to him. He said, if we could find it, he’d love some really fresh fish, preferably…Ling Cod. One of our favorites! I called our local fish market, “Fishermans Direct”, fingers crossed. They had three lbs of “right out of the water,” blue Ling Cod!!! I just walked in the front door with it!!! We are using this recipe for “butter baked fish” tonight for the first time!! Can hardly wait!! We’ll share our results tomorrow…It sounds wonderful! I’m batting a thousand that we have an amazing “Birthday dinner”, right ahead of us!!!

  4. Happy to add another easy fish dish to the rotation! Serving it with a lemon wedge to squeeze on fresh lemon juice really makes this. I also made oven-roasted baby potatoes and broccolini which was easy to do simultaneously in the oven with the fish.

  5. This tasted wonderful!! My garlic paste was a bit liquidy, but I think I just used a little too much olive oil. Ate it with a spoon to get all the flavor, and it was delicious! I’ve never cooked cod before, but I will definitely be making this again.

  6. Better cooking the garlic a bit with the olive oil before combining. Garlic didn’t cook as fast as the fish did and wound up with a few pieces of raw garlic.

  7. Really appreciate all the details, like changing cook times. I topped mine with Crab Imperial and I used Old Bay instead of paprika, but otherwise followed the menu. I even had them with asparagus! Really nice.

  8. I’m baking this cod for the first time. I wanted to have a recipe for Id that was not costed with breading. I live mild fish. This will be flavorful. I didn’t have any parsley on hand so I used the Italian seasoning blend. That and chopped garlic from a jar is used in my preparation. I’ll have a serving of brown rice with it. I made 3 servings so will have some for tomorrow.