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One of my favorite things ever is showing you super simple staples for busy weeknight dinners. Like this lemon baked cod fish recipe — let me show you how to bake cod that’s tender, flaky and super easy. Not only does the simple lemon butter sauce impart major flavor, but this recipe for oven baked cod is ready in only 20 minutes.

Lemon and butter work so well with fish, and if you love the flavors of this baked cod recipe with lemon butter, try the same combo in pan fried tilapia, pan seared halibut, or baked salmon. You can also make a separate lemon butter sauce for fish — or for just about anything.

Why You’ll Love This Oven Baked Cod Recipe

  • Lemony, bright flavor
  • Tender, flaky cod texture
  • Just a few minutes prep
  • Bakes in under 15 minutes
  • Healthy seafood dinner that’s rich in protein
Baked cod recipe on a plate with fork and lemon slice

Lemon Baked Cod Ingredients

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for baked cod with lemon butter sauce, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Cod – I prefer wild-caught cod fish, but you can use any variety of cod. Look for fillets that are about 4 ounces each and similar in thickness, so that they cook at the same rate. I prefer thicker fillets, which dry out less.
  • Butter – Imparts so much flavor! I prefer grass-fed, unsalted butter. But if you need a dairy-free version, you can substitute olive oil here instead.
  • Lemon – You’ll need a fresh lemon (not bottled lemon juice), as we’re using the zest as well as the juice.
  • Garlic Powder – I use garlic powder for convenience, but you can swap in a couple cloves of fresh minced or crushed garlic if you like.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Parsley – I used curly fresh parsley, but flat leaf works great as well. You can also substitute, or add, fresh dill if you like, as I did in my baked salmon recipe.

VARIATIONS: Try other spices on your cod! Paprika, lemon pepper seasoning, or chives all pair well with fish.

Baked cod recipe ingredients in bowls

How To Bake Cod In The Oven

This section shows how to make lemon baked cod, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.

  • Thaw cod fillets. This isn’t absolutely required, but it’s easier to brush lemon butter onto the cod if it’s thawed first. Since the pieces are not too thick, they thaw pretty quickly in a bowl of water.
  • Pat dry. Remove the fillets from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Make lemon butter. Melt butter in a shallow bowl in the microwave (or a saucepan on the stove), then stir in fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Cod filets patted dry
Lemon butter sauce in a bowl with whisk

  • Season. Arrange the cod fillets in a baking dish, then brush lemon butter mixture over both sides. Season with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper on both sides.

TIP: Make sure your baking dish is large enough. The fish fillets should not be touching, or touching only minimally, to cook through evenly.

Cod brushed with lemon butter
Seasoned cod fillets in baking dish

  • Bake cod. Cook until the cod filets are opaque and flake easily with a fork. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

TIP: For the most tender fish, check the internal temperature. It should be 140 to 145 degrees F, measured in the thickest part with an instant-read thermometer.

Baked cod fish in baking dish
  • Serve. Drizzle the fish with the lemon butter sauce from the pan, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top is nice, too. (See below to get ideas for what to serve it with!)
Flaked baked cod on a plate with fork

What Temperature To Bake Cod?

What temperature should cod be cooked at? There are different options for cooking temperatures, but I like 400 degrees F because:

  • Cooking at a higher heat means faster cooking and less chance of drying out.
  • It’s a standard temperature and makes it easy to estimate cooking time, based on size.

TIP: The general rule of thumb is to cook fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. But, it can still vary, so check a couple minutes sooner than you’d need based on thickness alone.

How Long To Bake Cod At 400 degrees F?

This baked cod with butter sauce will take about 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. If your cod is frozen, read below!

How Do You Know When Cod Is Done?

Baked cod with lemon will be opaque and flake easily when it’s cooked through. It should reach an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees F.

How To Make Baked Cod From Frozen

I prefer to thaw my cod fillets before putting them in the oven, but if you forgot or don’t have time to let it thaw, you can also easily make this oven baked cod fillet right from frozen.

Follow the same directions as above, but add on 5-10 minutes of baking time. The exact time will vary a bit depending on the size of the fillet, but cook it until it’s cooked through, opaque, and flakes easily.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Store this oven baked cod fish in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: Let the lemon butter cod cool completely. Then freeze leftovers for 3-4 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
  • Reheat: Reheat in a hot skillet or 350 degrees F oven for best results. I don’t recommend microwaving fish, but it will work if you must.
Oven baked cod fillets close up

What To Serve With Baked Cod Fish

What do you eat with cod? There are so many options! This baked cod recipe with lemon and butter is seasoned simply, so it goes with just about anything.

I like to include a vegetable side dish. Here are a few sides that pair perfectly with baked lemon pepper cod:

More Healthy Fish Recipes

If you like easy baked cod recipes like this one, you might also like some of these other healthy fish recipes:


Reader Favorite Recipes

The recipe card is below! Readers that made this also viewed these recipes:

Lemon Baked Cod Fish Recipe

This lemon butter baked cod recipe is tender and flaky, with the best lemon butter sauce! Learn how to bake cod fish with just 5 simple ingredients and 20 minutes.

Prep Time 8 minutes

Cook Time 12 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings 8 servings


Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.


Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). You can bake the cod fillets from frozen or thaw them first in a bowl of cold water. (I prefer thawing if you have time, as it makes it easier to brush on the butter without solidifying.)

  2. Use paper towels to pat the cod fillets dry. Arrange them in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish.

  3. In a small bowl in the microwave or saucepan on the stove, melt the butter. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

  4. Brush the lemon butter over the cod fillets. Season with garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Flip and repeat both lemon butter and seasoning on the other side.

  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes (will vary by thickness), until the baked cod is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 cod fillet

*If you have a large lemon, you may get more than the standard 2 tablespoons of juice per lemon. Measure juice and use all of the zest.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories 145

Fat 6.5g

Protein 20.3g

Total Carbs 0.5g

Net Carbs 0.4g

Fiber 0.1g

Sugar 0.1g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

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