Garlic Butter Baked Cod

Do you love garlic bread as much I as do? Like, do you keep it on hand in your freezer at all times? Then you’re going to love this Garlic Butter Baked Cod recipe. In my search for a more filling vehicle for that buttery garlic goodness (something that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat 16 pieces of in one sitting), I found some leftover cod fillets in my freezer that had “garlic butter” written all over them!

The mild, slightly rich flavor of a cod filet is the perfect base for the zesty fresh garlic and sweet, creamy butter. And as if this Garlic Butter Baked Cod wasn’t already perfect, it also happens to be incredibly fast and easy to make. Weeknight dinner perfection!

What’s In Garlic Butter Baked Cod

For this recipe, I literally took my basic Garlic Bread recipe and duplicated the topping (butter, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and salt). Then I added a pinch of paprika for color because baked cod is notoriously pale. I also happened to have a couple of lemons, so I sliced one up and added it to the baking dish for a nice bright flavor to balance the rich butter. It’s absolute flavor perfection and my mouth is watering just typing this!

Should I Use Frozen or Fresh Cod?

You can use fresh or frozen cod, whichever is available to you. If using frozen, make sure the cod fillets are fully thawed before topping with the butter mixture and baking.

How to Know When Cod is Done Baking

The time needed to bake your cod will depend on the thickness of the filet, but cod should be baked until it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF. At this temperature, the flesh will be opaque and flakes easily with a fork. If you continue baking too long past this point the cod can get tough or rubbery.

My filets were a little on the thick side, so I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400ºF to reach that internal temperature. If you have thin filets, it may only take 15 minutes of baking. A simple electronic instant-read meat thermometer is really helpful for determining when the fish is finished baking. The one I use is linked in the bottom of the recipe card below.

Is Fresh Parsley a Must?

I don’t expect you to buy an entire bunch of parsley just for 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley for this recipe. If you don’t already have some on hand, you can either skip the fresh parsley, or use one teaspoon dried parsley in its place.

Is the Lemon Necessary?

While you can make this recipe without the lemon, the lemon does take the flavor to the next level, so get a lemon if you can! Single lemons can be expensive, so remember, you can freeze your whole lemons if you buy them by the bag!

What to Serve with Garlic Butter Baked Cod

I served my Garlic Butter Baked Cod with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, but I think it would also be awesome with:

  • Oven Roasted Broccoli
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad
  • Roasted Vegetable Couscous
  • Bruschetta Pasta
  • Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad
  • Lemon Parsley Pasta
  • Spinach Rice with Feta
  • Lemony White Bean Salad

P.S. I wrote the recipe below for just two servings because that’s all the cod I had left after testing, but you can easily increase it to four by changing the number of servings in the box below. It will automatically adjust the ingredients below to match.

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Garlic Butter Baked Cod

4.67 from 75 votes This rich and zesty Garlic Butter Baked Cod is a fast and flavorful weeknight dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes, using basic pantry staples. Author: Beth – Budget Bytes Servings 2 Prep 10 minutes Cook 20 minutes Total 30 minutes Save RecipeSaved! Print Recipe


  • 2 Tbsp butter (room temperature) ($0.26)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/8 tsp paprika ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley ($0.10)
  • 8 oz. cod (2 4 oz. filets) ($2.48)
  • 1 fresh lemon ($0.37)


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and chopped parsley. Stir until it forms a fairly smooth paste.
  • Take a small dollop of the garlic butter and spread it over the surface of a small baking dish to keep the fish from sticking. Add the cod filets to the dish and then coat all sides of the fish with the remaining garlic butter.
  • Slice half of the lemon and add the lemon slices to the baking dish with the fish. Cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into wedges for serving.
  • Bake the cod for 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Spoon any juices from the bottom of the pan over the fish. Serve the cod immediately with the remaining fresh lemon wedges for squeezing juice over top.

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Serving: 1ServingCalories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 21gFat: 19gSodium: 299mgFiber: 0.2g Read our full nutrition disclaimer here. Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Pictured with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes.

How to Make Garlic Butter Baked Cod – Step by Step Photos:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp room temperature butter, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1/8 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp salt, and about 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley.

Mix the ingredients together until they form a fairly smooth paste.

Take a small dollop of the garlic butter and smear it over the surface of a small baking dish (to prevent the fish from sticking). Place the cod fillets in the dish, then coat them on all sides with the remaining garlic butter mixture. Slice half a lemon and add the lemon slices to the baking dish. Cut the rest of the lemon into wedges to serve with the finished fish.

Bake the Garlic Butter Cod for 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF.

Spoon any of the juices in the pan over the fish (that will spread the lemony flavor).

Serve immediately with some of the baked lemon slices, and a couple of the fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over top.

I paired my Garlic Butter Baked Cod with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes. It’s a great easy no-brainer side dish that you can serve with anything from fish to steak!

Love Cod? Try these cod recipes:

  • Easy Oven Baked Fish with Tomatoes
  • Easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw

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