This Panko Baked Cod recipe is easy and ready in 20 minutes! The fish is made with Dijon mustard and a crispy lemon herb breadcrumb topping.
There is nothing better than fish when you're looking for a quick and easy meal. This Panko Crusted Cod is flavorful and topped with buttery lemon herb breadcrumbs.
Cod is one of my go-to ingredients when I'm craving seafood. It's widely available, versatile, and cooks quickly. Cod is a flaky white fish with great texture and a mild flavor.
It can be pan-fried, grilled, breaded, deep-fried, or baked. Cod is a good fish to have on hand when you want something tasty and need dinner in a hurry.
This recipe is made with cod that is topped with Dijon mustard and a buttery Panko breadcrumb topping. The fish is baked in the oven until crispy and perfect served alongside some roasted vegetables.
The breadcrumbs give this dish great texture and the addition of herbs like garlic, Italian seasoning, and paprika provide a nice base of flavor. Finish with some lemon zest for a meal that feels special, but takes no time at all!
What Is Panko Crusted?
The thing that makes this recipe so delicious is the Panko topping that is prepared and added to the cod before it bakes in the oven. Panko is a type of Japanese-style breadcrumbs that is made from white bread.
Panko breadcrumbs are light and airy. They can be used to coat everything from mozzarella sticks to chicken parmesan. Panko can also be combined with butter to create a crunchy topping for dishes like macaroni and cheese or a gratin.
In this recipe, the Panko breadcrumbs are combined with melted butter, along with some herbs, salt and pepper, to create a savory mixture. That mixture is used to top the cod before baking and creates a 'crust' as the fish bakes.
'Panko crusted' refers to the buttery breadcrumb topping that bakes on top of the fish.
Panko breadcrumbs are widely available these days and can be found in nearly every grocery store, or purchased online. This recipe uses gluten free Panko breadcrumbs, but feel free to use the regular variety if gluten is not an issue for you.
Ingredients For Panko Baked Cod
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe.
- 2 lbs. Cod Fish (thawed)
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- ¾ cup Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs (or regular Panko breadcrumbs if not gluten free)
- 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp. Paprika
- 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (melted)
- ½ tsp. each Kosher Salt and Pepper (split)
- 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
How To Make Baked Cod With Breadcrumbs
This is one of the easiest dishes to make and packs a lot of flavor with only a few ingredients.
Dijon mustard is one of the things that gives this fish so much flavor. It helps to provide a 'base' on top of the cod by giving the breadcrumbs something to stick to and it creates a tangy and savory flavor profile.
The first step is to thaw the fish (if necessary) and prepare it for baking. Fish that has been frozen contains more water and it's important to pat the cod dry before baking, so that it does not become soggy when cooked.
- Completely thaw 2 lbs. of cod fish (if frozen). Once the fish is thawed, pat both sides dry with some paper towels.
- Pour 2 Tbsp. of olive oil onto a large baking sheet and spread it evenly over the surface.
- Place the fish on the baking sheet, making sure there is room between each fillet.
- Measure 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard into a small dish and brush the mustard over one side of each fillet using a basting brush (alternately, you can spread the mustard on the fish using the back of a spoon).
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper over the top of the cod fillets.
What Can I Use Instead Of Cod?
If you can't find cod, or prefer another variety of fish, there are lots of options available.
Any variety of firm, flaky white fish will work in place of cod. Black cod (also known as Sablefish), haddock, pollack, walleye, halibut, or Mahi Mahi are all great options.
It's best to choose a flaky fish that's not too oily for the best results. Salmon, trout, or any oily fish are not the best options, as the buttery breadcrumb topping may result in an oily or soggy texture.
What Can I Use In Place Of Mustard?
Feel free to swap out the Dijon mustard for something else if you find the flavor of it to be too strong.
Mayo can be used in place of mustard. Simply spread it on top of the cod fillets instead of the mustard if you prefer a tamer flavor.
Alternately, you can use your favorite salad dressing instead of the mustard. Italian dressing is a good choice.
Or, you can squeeze lemon juice on the fish instead of mustard before topping with breadcrumb coating.
How To Make Panko Breadcrumb Topping
This Panko breadcrumb topping is so easy to prepare and makes a delicious fish even more irresistable.
- Melt 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.
- Pour ¾ cup gluten free Panko breadcrumbs (or regular Panko breadcrumbs if not GF) into a small bowl, along with 2 tsp. each garlic powder and paprika and ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
- Slowly pour the melted butter into the breadcrumb mixture and stir with a fork until the butter is completely incorporated.
What Temperature Should Cod Be Cooked To?
Once the breadcrumb mixture is finished, it's time to top the fish with it.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of the breadcrumb mixture on top of each cod fillet and pat it down with the back of a spoon.
- Continue until each of the fillets is coated in the mixture. It's fine if some of the breadcrumbs spill off onto the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 14-15 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet once the cod has finished cooking.
The best way to tell if seafood is done is to check the internal temperature. Simply place a food thermometer into the thickest part of the fish to check the temperature.
The safe internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit and can be checked using a food thermometer.
The fish should easily flake with a fork and will appear white instead of translucent.
How Long Does Cod Take To Bake?
Cooking times may vary slightly, depending on the thickness of your cod filets and the oven used.
Generally, cod prepared in the oven like this takes 14-15 minutes to cook through. It may take a bit less or more time, depending on the thickness of the cod.
It's best to test the internal temperature when determining if the fish is done cooking.
Once finished, the breadcrumb coating should be slightly crispy and golden brown.
Why Is Baked Cod Tough and Rubbery?
Cod becomes tough or rubbery when it is overcooked. It's easy to overcook cod and seafood in general, so it's important to cook just until done and no more.
Perfectly cooked cod is flaky and firm. The texture is pleasant and the fish moist.
What To Serve With Cod
I recommend using a Microplane to zest a lemon over the top of the Panko Baked Cod. You can also cut the lemon into wedges and squeeze the juice over the top. The acidity from the lemon helps to balance out the richness of the fish.
Cod is great because it pairs with so many different side dishes. This Panko Baked Cod lends itself to any variety of vegetable sides, from roasted veggies to salads.
If you like a sauce to top your fish, be sure to check out this Homemade Tartar Sauce and Creamy Tarragon Sauce.
Love cod? Check out these recipes!
How Long Does Baked Cod Last In The Fridge?
Any leftovers should last 1-2 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Be sure to allow the fish to cool completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
The coating on the fish will lose its crispiness when stored in the fridge.
Can It Be Frozen?
I do not recommend freezing this Panko Baked Cod, as the freezing process would make the fish rubbery and unappealing.
It's best to enjoy cod right after baking or within a few days.
Love fish and seafood? Check out these recipes!
- Walleye Fish Sandwich
- Baked Walleye Fingers
- Smoked Salmon Dill Crostini
- Cajun Shrimp Tacos
- Skillet Shrimp and Vegetables
- Vietnamese Shrimp Salad
- Mushroom Shrimp Risotto
- Breaded Shrimp Tacos
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos
- Mexican Shrimp Rice Bowls
Looking For Vegetable Sides To Go With Cod? Don't Miss These Recipes!
Panko Baked Cod
- Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Completely thaw 2 lbs. of cod fish fillets (if frozen). Once the fish is thawed, pat both sides dry with paper towels. It's important that the fish is patted dry, so that it doesn't become soggy when baked.
- Melt 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Pour ¾ gluten free Panko breadcrumbs (or regular Panko breadcrumbs if not gluten free) into a small bowl. Add 2 tsp. each garlic powder and paprika, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper. Stir until the butter is completely incorporated into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spoon a generous amount of the breadcrumb mixture over the top of each cod fillet and press the breadcrumbs down onto the fish using the back of a spoon. It's fine if some of the breadcrumbs spill out onto the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the cod has cooked through.Baking times may vary depending on the thickness of your cod fillets. The best way to tell if cod has finished cooking is to check the internal temperature using a food thermometer. Stick the food thermometer into the thickest part of the fish. The safe internal temperature for cod is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.The cod is done when it is white, flaky, and the breadcrumb topping golden brown.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve.
- To Serve: Use a Microplane to zest 1 lemon over the top of the baked cod. Cut the lemon into wedges and squeeze over the top of the fish.