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Garlic Butter Cod

Baked Garlic Butter Cod results in light and flaky fish that is enhanced by luscious butter and garlic. Serve it with steamed or roasted vegetables for a healthy dinner.

Garlic butter cod on a plate, ready to serve.

Whether you’re looking for an easy meal for a busy weeknight or an impressive main dish for a special occasion, this baked garlic butter cod recipe is a great option for fish lovers.

Because cod has a very subtle flavor, it is a great canvas for delicious flavors like garlic and butter. 

I love that the combination of garlic and butter livens up this flaky white fish but doesn’t steal the show.

Cod is high in protein and low in fat and calories, making it an ideal protein source for those who are following a high-protein diet.

If this is your first time making cod, no sweat. This tasty fish dinner is easy to prepare, has lots of flavor, and it may just be your new favorite fish.

Love healthy cod recipes? Also try my Chili Lime Baked Cod, Mediterranean Baked Cod, and Creamy Lemon Garlic Cod

Garlic butter cod in a casserole dish with roasted asparagus and lemon slices. A red napkin to the side.

Let’s discuss the basic ingredients for this easy cod recipe. You can find them at any grocery store!

Ingredients For Garlic Butter Cod:

Cod Filets: Cod is a mild fish that the whole family can enjoy when a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce is involved.

Pick up one pound of fresh cod fillets or frozen cod filets to make this easy baked cod recipe.

I buy wild-caught cod that comes frozen in pre-portioned 4-ounce filets. You can also prepare this recipe using one large cod filet. 

Unsalted Butter: Used to bring fat, luscious texture and creamy flavor to the otherwise neutral flavor fish, melted butter adds some much needed richness.

You can decrease the amount of butter and incorporate some olive oil too.

Fresh Garlic Cloves: Fresh minced garlic is combined with butter to give a punch of garlic flavor to the fish.

Garlic Powder and Sea Salt: In addition to fresh garlic, I also like adding garlic powder to ensure the fish is unmistakably garlicky.

Sprinkle the fish with sea salt and black pepper to your personal taste. Onion powder works great here too.

​There are many different ways you can customize this recipe. Here are some ideas.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Sprinkle the fish fillets with Cajun seasoning to make Cajun garlic butter cod.
  • To save time, skip the garlic sauteeing process. Microwave the butter in a small bowl until melted, then stir in the minced garlic. 
  • If you enjoy citrus flavor, add a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to the cooked cod fish.
  • Turn it into an herb butter by adding 1 teaspoon of your favorite dried herbs.
  • Add fresh herbs to this easy fish recipe for some herby flavor.
  • You can also add cherry tomatoes here if you’d like. 

Now that we’re familiar with the simple ingredients for baked cod, let’s make this simple recipe!

How to Make Garlic Butter Cod:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Remove the cod from its packaging and place it on a plate or cutting board. Use a paper towel to pat off any excess moisture.

Transfer the cod to a casserole dish, baking dish, or sheet pan. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Cod filets on a plate, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

To soften the sting of the garlic and to open up it’s flavor, sauté the garlic in the butter and olive oil first. To do so, heat a small skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add the butter, olive oil, and fresh garlic.

Sauté the garlic on the stove top for 2 minutes. You can increase the heat to medium high if you’re keeping a close watch on the garlic.

Be sure to pull the garlic off of the stove top before it begins turning golden brown. The goal is to open up the garlic flavor and soften the burn but not overcook the garlic. 

Fresh minced garlic and avocado oil mixed together in a small white bowl.

Spoon the garlic butter mixture over the cod. Use the back of the spoon to coat the cod with the garlic butter mixture.

Cod fillets in a baking dish being drizzled with garlic butter sauce.

Bake cod for 12-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the fish to verify the temperature. 

Serve with lemon slices and your favorite side dishes, and enjoy! I like garnishing the fish with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.

Note: I like baking asparagus along with the cod because it takes about the same amount of time. I simply trim off the ends, transfer the asparagus to the same dish I use to bake the cod, then drizzle the spears with butter or avocado oil.

Sprinkle the asparagus with sea salt and black pepper and roast for the same amount of time as the cod.

This works great for thin asparagus spears. Thicker stalks may need more time.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Final Cooking Temperature For Cod:

The FDA considers cod to be fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is considered to be the safe temperature for consuming cod. However, many people find they prefer the texture of cod when it is cooked slightly lower, at around 135 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How Long To Bake Cod in the Oven:

At 375 degrees Fahrenheit, cod takes about 12 to 15 minutes.

​If baking at 400 degrees F, cod takes about 10 minutes.

The exact cooking time cod requires depends on the size and thickness of the filet, whether or not it is at room temperature going into the oven, and how done you like your fish.

Skillet Cooked Cod:

Cooking cod in a cast iron skillet instead of the oven is another great way of ending up with the best cod recipes. 

Pat the cod dry with paper towels and season both sides to your personal preference with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant.

Carefully place the seasoned cod filets on the hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Use a sturdy spatula to flip the cod and cook another 2 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. 

Serve with vegetable sides and enjoy!

What to Serve With Cod:

Looking for side dishes to serve with cod? I love adding vegetables and some form of starch to every meal, so here are some of my recommendations.

Four baked cod filets on a black plate with baked asparagus and lemon wedges.

So that’s it! An easy recipe that’s a good choice for those trying to follow or maintain a healthy diet or those who just love a good piece of fish.

Whip this simple cod recipe up for weeknight meals on repeat.

Garlic butter cod on a plate, ready to serve.
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5 from 4 votes

Garlic Butter Cod

This light and delicate white fish is enhanced by delicious garlic butter flavors and cooked to perfection in the oven or in a skillet. Make this easy cod recipe for healthy weeknight dinner, or for any special occasion.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course, Main Dishes, Seafood Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 208kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces cod cut into filets
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the cod from its packaging and place it on a plate or cutting board. Use a paper towel to pat off any excess moisture.
  • Transfer the cod to a casserole dish, baking dish, or sheet pan. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add the butter, olive oil, and fresh garlic. Sauté the garlic on the stove top for 2 to 4 minutes, until it is very fragrant but isn't showing any color. You can increase the heat to medium high if you’re keeping a close watch on the garlic. Be sure to pull the garlic off of the stove top before it begins turning golden brown. The goal is to open up the garlic flavor but not overcook the garlic.
  • Spoon the garlic butter mixture over the cod. Use the back of the spoon to coat the cod with the garlic butter mixture.
  • Bake cod for 12-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the fish to verify the temperature.
  • Serve with lemon slices and your favorite side dishes, and enjoy! I like garnishing the fish with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.

Notes

Skillet Instructions:

Pat the cod dry with paper towels and season both sides to your personal preference with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant.
Carefully place the seasoned cod filets on the hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Use a sturdy spatula to flip the cod and cook another 2 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. 
Serve with vegetable sides and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1(4-oz) fillet | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 814mg

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