Garlic Butter Baked Cod

Do you love garlic bread as much I as do? Like, do you keep it on hand in your freezer at all times? Then you’re going to love this Garlic Butter Baked Cod. In my search for a more filling vehicle for that buttery garlic goodness (something that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat 16 pieces of in one sitting), I found some leftover cod fillets in my freezer that had “garlic butter” written all over them!

The mild, slightly rich flavor of a cod filet is the perfect base for the zesty fresh garlic and sweet, 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!

Garlic butter baked cod on a plate with tomatoes and asparagus, with a black fork on the side.

For this recipe, I literally took my basic Garlic Bread recipe and duplicated the topping, adding a pinch of paprika for color (baked cod is notoriously pale), and used that as the topping for my cod. I also happened to have a couple lemons, so I sliced one up and added it to the baking dish, which added a nice bright flavor to balance the rich butter. It’s absolute flavor perfection and my mouth is watering just typing this!

Should I Use Frozen or Fresh Cod?

Use whichever is available to you. If using frozen, make sure it is fully thawed first (transfer to the refrigerator the day before). 

Is Fresh Parsley a Must?

I don’t expect you to buy an entire bunch of parsley just for 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley for this recipe. If you don’t already have some on hand, you can either skip the fresh parsley, or use one teaspoon dried parsley in its place.

Is the Lemon Necessary?

While you can make this recipe without the lemon, the lemon does take the flavor to the next level, so get a lemon if you can! Single lemons can be expensive, so remember, you can freeze your whole lemons if you buy them by the bag!

What Should I Serve with Garlic Butter Baked Cod?

I served my Garlic Butter Baked Cod with roasted asparagus and tomatoes (recipe coming tomorrow), but I think it would also be awesome with roasted broccoli, maybe some Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad, or Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Close up of a fork digging into a filet of Garlic Butter Baked Cod on a plate with vegetables.

P.S. I wrote the recipe below for just two servings because that’s all the cod I had left after testing, but you can easily increase it to four by changing the number of servings in the box below. It will automatically adjust the ingredients below to match.

 
Close up of a fork digging into a filet of Garlic Butter Baked Cod on a plate with vegetables.
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Garlic Butter Baked Cod

This rich and zesty Garlic Butter Baked Cod is a fast and flavorful weeknight dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes, using basic pantry staples.
Keyword: Cod Recipe, Easy Dinner, Weeknight Dinner
Total Cost: $3.56 recipe / $1.78 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter (room temperature) ($0.26)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/8 tsp paprika ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley ($0.10)
  • 8 oz. cod (two 4 oz. filets) ($2.48)
  • 1 fresh lemon ($0.37)

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.
  • Take a small dollop of the garlic butter and spread it over the surface of a small baking dish to keep the fish from sticking. Add the cod filets to the dish and then coat all sides of the fish with the remaining garlic butter.
  • Slice half of the lemon and add the lemon slices to the baking dish with the fish. Cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into wedges for serving.
  • Bake the cod for 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. 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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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

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.

Step by Step Photos:

Garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl, unmixed.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp room temperature butter, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1/8 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp salt, and about 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley. 

Mixed garlic butter in a small bowl

Mix the ingredients together until they form a fairly smooth paste.

Garlic Butter Cod in the baking dish with lemon, ready to bake.

Take a small dollop of the garlic butter and smear it over the surface of a small baking dish (to prevent the fish from sticking). Place the cod filets in the dish, then coat them on all sides with the remaining garlic butter mixture. Slice half a lemon and add the slices to the baking dish. Cut the rest of the lemon into wedges to serve with the finished fish.

Baked Garlic Butter Cod in the baking dish

Bake the Garlic Butter Cod for 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF.

Close up view of the baked Garlic Butter Cod in the baking dish.

Spoon any of the juices in the pan over the fish (that will spread the lemony flavor).

Close up front view of a piece of Garlic Butter Baked Cod on a plate with tomatoes and asparagus.

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

Overhead view of the plate full of tomatoes, asparagus, and Garlic Butter Baked Cod.

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! Stay tuned!