The crispy topping is everything! Make this baked cod with panko bread crumbs in just minutes. An easy, healthy recipe for a weeknight dinner.
Baked cod with panko breadcrumbs is one of those recipes that would cost close to $20 in a restaurant, but is a breeze to make at home!
The panko topping is tossed with olive oil (melted butter would work, too), rosemary and paprika and piled on top of the fish fillets. By the time the cod is cooked through, the topping is golden brown and gloriously crunchy.
Ingredients for Baked Cod with Panko
- PANKO: Panko breadcrumbs can be found alongside regular breadcrumbs in most well-stocked supermarkets. Whole wheat panko can often be found in health food stores, such as Whole Foods, or online.
- LEMON: Use fresh lemon juice from a couple of wedges of lemon.
- OLIVE OIL: I prefer extra virgin olive oil.
- GARLIC: Mince 2 cloves of garlic.
- SPICES: The recipe calls for a combination of dried crushed rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper. Don’t have rosemary? Use dried thyme or oregano instead. If you like a little zip, sprinkle in some cayenne pepper.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
💙 What’s to love about panko crusted cod
▪️Quick & easy: The prep is quick and easy. Chop some garlic, squeeze some lemon over the fish, make the panko mixture and cook. Super simple!
▪️Short ingredients list: Most of the ingredients (spices, olive oil and panko bread crumbs) are pantry staples. Add in a couple of cod fillets, which can be kept on hand in the freezer.
▪️Taste & texture: The tender fish pairs really well with the crunchy, garlic panko breadcrumbs.
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How to make baked cod with panko
PREPARE THE DISH: I used a baking dish lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, but a baking sheet works, too. Line it with foil or parchment paper (check on temperature limits) for easy clean-up.
PREPARE THE FISH: Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towel and place them in the baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and season it with some salt.
THE BREADCRUMBS: Start by sautéing minced garlic in a little olive oil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the panko crumbs, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir until the breadcrumbs are completely coated with the oil.
TOP THE FISH: Carefully spoon the breadcrumbs topping onto the cod fish fillets and use your fingers to gently press down to secure it.
BAKE THE FISH: Pop the baking dish into the oven and bake until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. Cooking time is dependent on the thickness of the cod fillets. The ones I used were about one inch thick and took 12 to 14 minutes to cook. Keep reading for my surefire trick to test for doneness when cooking fish!
SERVE IT UP! Serve the baked fish with lemon wedges and garnish with minced parsley, if desired.
What to serve on the side
When serving baked cod with panko, there are several delicious side dishes that you can consider. Here are a few ideas:
- Roasted vegetables: Toss potatoes, onion wedges, cauliflower and bell peppers with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until tender and slightly caramelized.
- Steamed vegetables: Serve the cod with steamed broccoli, cauliflower or green beans. Season with lemon juice or herbs.
- Quinoa side: Try a hot side dish, like Garlic Mushroom Quinoa or a Southwestern Quinoa Salad.
- Potatoes: Try Light Mashed Potatoes or a pan full of Roasted Paprika Potatoes.
- Green salad: Serve a simple green salad, tossed with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette or Tahini Dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Panko is a type of Japanese breadcrumb. If you’ve ever eaten tempura, you’ve experienced the wonderful crispy crunch of panko.
I keep panko breadcrumbs on hand to make easy panko toppings like this cod recipe or my Parmesan crusted salmon. It’s also great for coating chicken tenders, topping gratins or stirring into sautéed asparagus.
This is one of my all-time favorite kitchen tricks!
The standard methods for testing for fish doneness are a) cutting into the fish to see if it’s opaque and b) using a fork to test if the fish flakes easily.
However, there is a much simpler method! Test the internal temperature of the fish (this works with most fish) by inserting a small, sharp knife into the thickest part of the fillet. Hold it there for 10 seconds. Remove the knife, then carefully (sharp and hot!) lay the side of the knife against your upper lip or the inside of your wrist. Both areas are quite sensitive to temperature. If the knife is hot, the fish is done!
This recipe works best with a mild white fish. However, not all fish that fall into the category work well for this recipe. For example, tilapia is typically too thin (quick cooking), which doesn’t allow for the fish to cook long enough to allow the breadcrumbs to brown sufficiently.
Choose a thicker, denser fish, such as halibut, bass or cod.
Sure! Switch things up by subbing in garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper and/or basil. Parmesan cheese or lemon zest are also great for extra flavor.
Other healthy fish recipes to try
Baked Cod with Panko
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place the cod fillets in the prepared baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the panko breadcrumbs, rosemary, pepper and paprika. Stir to coat the breadcrumbs with the oil.
- Top each cod fillet with half of the breadcrumbs mixture, pressing down so that the mixture sticks to the fish.
- Cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 12 to 14 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillets.
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