Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (2024)

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.

Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (1)

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.

Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (2)

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 5tbspfresh lemon juice, 5tbspextra virgin olive oil, and 2tbspmelted butter.
    • In another shallow bowl, mix together ⅓cupall-purpose flour with 1tspground coriander, ¾tspsweet Spanish paprika, ¾tspground cumin, and ¾tspkosher 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!

Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (3)

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.

4.78 from 1461 votes

Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic

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The Mediterranean Dish

Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (4)

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 minutes mins

Cook – 12 minutes mins

Total – 22 minutes mins



Serves – 5 people (up to)




  • 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

  • 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.


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.

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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Easy Baked Cod Recipe with Lemon and Garlic| The Mediterranean Dish (2024)


What fish is good for the Mediterranean diet? ›

Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Stay away from deep-fried fish. Get nuts. Each week, aim to eat four servings of raw, unsalted nuts.

What is the best cooking technique for cod? ›

Try a gentle cooking method: Instead of adding fat, you can also try a gentle cooking method like steaming or cooking en papillote. Both of these methods help to preserve Pacific cod's high moisture content and produce incredibly tender results.

How do you bake cod without it falling apart? ›

Additionally, make sure the heat isn't too high and you use enough fat (e.g. olive oil, butter)/liquid (e.g. white wine, lemon juice) to keep it from sticking to the pan. If cod separates in pieces, it is overcooked. The flesh should still be slightly tender and in one piece.

Is cod better in the oven or pan? ›

But more importantly, pan frying yields that deliciously browned exterior on both sides of the fish. Baking or steaming won't accomplish that same golden “crust.” Pro Tips for pan frying cod: Let fish sit at room temp in a colander to drain any excess water, particularly if your fish was previously frozen.

What is not eaten in a Mediterranean diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet prohibits the consumption of processed foods, refined sugars, refined grains, and trans fats. Additionally, the diet limits the intake of red meat and high-fat dairy products. In addition, the consumption of alcohol is restricted, with the exception of red wine, which you can have in moderation.

Is cod part of the Mediterranean diet? ›

Fish and seafood are two key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet and it's easy to incorporate these ingredients into a healthy and delicious dinner. Whether it's salmon, shrimp or cod, these proteins pair well with other staples of the diet like vegetables and whole grains.

Do you rinse cod before baking? ›

We recommend not rinsing unless you need to rinse off any scales. Pat dry with paper towels whether you rinse or not. Preheat the oven to 450°F for fillets and steaks or 350°F for dressed fish. Even thickness: Place the fish in a single layer in a greased shallow baking pan (like a baking sheet).

What makes baked cod rubbery? ›

Overcooked fish loses its natural moisture, which can result in a dry and chewy texture. The proteins in the fish also begin to tighten, which can make the fish tough and rubbery. In addition, overcooked fish can have a severe lack of flavor, as the heat causes the natural oils in the fish to evaporate.

Should cod be soaked in milk before cooking? ›

To try this trick in your home kitchen, follow Cook's Illustrated's advice: before cooking, let your fish spend about 20 minutes sitting in milk to absorb any unwanted odors. Then, simply drain the fish and pat it dry. You'll be left with fish that has a clean, sweet flavor and none of the fishy edge.

Should you dry cod before cooking? ›

Make sure to thoroughly dry and season your cod fillets before you begin the recipe. Don't Move the Fish. Once you've placed your fish in the skillet, avoid the temptation to move it around. Let it cook undisturbed until it's time to flip it over.

Why did my cod turn to mush? ›

Fish comes in a wonderful variety of flavors and textures, but there is one texture it generally shouldn't be – mushy. A mushy fish is a sure sign that it was not only once frozen, but thawed out improperly.

Why is my baked cod tough? ›

The secret to cooking perfectly moist and flaky fish is to avoid overcooking it. The use of fat and lemon juice in this Whole30 cod recipe locks in the natural moisture of the fish and helps it cook in a quick manner. As a result, you should never have dry, rubbery fish again.

Should cod be room temperature before cooking? ›

Another tip is to remove the fish from the fridge half an hour before cooking. The reason for this is that room-temperature fish loses less liquid during cooking than cold fish making it easier to avoid the fish becoming dry.

Do Mediterraneans eat fish everyday? ›

Fish--Mediterranean-diet followers ate 3-plus servings of fish or shellfish weekly. Aim to add fish of any kind; just don't fry it. Bake or grill it instead. Eat salmon or tuna which are rich in heart-healthy, omega-3 fats, weekly.

How much fish can you eat on Mediterranean diet? ›

Choose lean poultry in moderate, 3- to 4-ounce portions. Save red meat for occasional consumption or use meat as a condiment, accompanied by lots of vegetables, as in stews, stir-fries, and soups. Eat more fish, aiming for two to three servings a week. Both canned and fresh fish are fine.

What are the top 10 foods on a Mediterranean diet? ›

10 foods to add to your Mediterranean lifestyle
  • Extra virgin olive oil. ...
  • Walnuts. ...
  • Lentils. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Wild salmon as a healthy animal protein. ...
  • Garlic for a reduced risk of cancer. ...
  • Oregano as an anti-inflammatory agent. ...
  • Mushrooms for a mental health boost.
Feb 3, 2022

What are the healthiest fishes? ›

“Think SMASH—sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring—when choosing the healthiest fish to eat,” says Amanda Sauceda, a registered dietitian and founder of The Mindful Gut, a nutritional guidance company in Long Beach, California.


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