Panko Crusted Cod Fish – Healthy Seasonal Recipes

This golden crispy baked cod recipe with crunchy garlic butter panko breadcrumbs is simple to prepare and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Serve it for a family-friendly weeknight meal, or double the recipe and serve this panko-crusted cod for guests on a special occasion.

four pieces of pank cod in a parchment lined baking dish

Why We Love This Baked Cod with Panko Crust

This crispy baked cod is restaurant quality but still an easy recipe! It comes together in under 30 minutes making it perfect for a weeknight dinner. Plus, we’re spilling the secrets of getting crunchy panko breadcrumb topping without pan frying!

  • A mixture of butter and panko gives the fish a crispy, crunchy texture when baked while the addition of paprika gives the breading mixture that golden-brown fried appearance.
  • Bake at 425°F for 16-20 minutes to get a perfectly cooked fillet with a crispy, crunchy topping.
  • Panko-crusted cod is so versatile and pairs with such a wide variety of salads, veggies, and even dipping sauces! Check out our serving suggestions for crispy baked cod.
  • And we love that this delicious dinner can be prepped up to 4 hours in advance! Breaded cod is perfect for entertaining and the holidays. Bonus if you prepare in a baking dish as it can be easily moved into the refrigerator.

Ingredients for Panko-Crusted Cod

panko crusted cod ingredients with text overlay
  • Cod Fish Fillet: An incredibly mild cod tends to be a type of fish that almost everyone likes. Before purchasing be sure to check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood website or app to find which type of cod (or any other seafood!) is the best for you and your community. And keep in mind, once the flaky white fish is purchased, store it in the refrigerator away from ready-to-eat foods, if possible, below. 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko crumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that are lighter and have a crispier texture than traditional breadcrumbs. We mix the breadcrumbs with melted butter to make a panko mixture that gives the fish that crunchy exterior when baked.
  • Paprika: Provides a subtle spiciness to the dish while giving the fillets a golden brown appearance without frying.
  • Kitchen Staples: Garlic, fresh lemon juice, butter, herbs, Kosher salt, and black pepper.

How To Make Codfish with Crispy Panko

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Baking Dish

First, preheat the oven to 425°F. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat a 9×12 baking dish with cooking spray.

Step 2: Salt and Pepper Cod Fillets

Cut cod into 4 portions. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place on to prepared baking sheet or dish.

Step 3: Make Garlic Butter

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant.

Step 4: Spoon Garlic Butter over Cod

Over each fillet, spoon about half the garlic butter.

Step 5: Prepare Panko Breading

To the remaining butter, stir in the panko, paprika, and lemon zest. Spoon the buttery panko breadcrumb mixture over the top of the fish and press into the cod to create a nice crust.

Step 6: Bake and Enjoy!

Bake until the cod starts to flake. Serve with lemon wedges and herbs if desired. Enjoy!

side view of sliced baked cod recipe with panko on circular white plate with a fork

FAQs For Baked Cod with Panko

How do I make sure my cooked fish stays crispy, not soggy?

Before salt and peppering, pat the fillets dry with paper towels. Patting dry will remove any excess moisture that may cause the fish to become soggy after baking. And finally, we recommend serving this panko-crusted cod immediately for the crispiest texture.

How is panko different than regular breadcrumbs?

Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that have a lighter, crispier texture than traditional breadcrumbs.

What kind of fish is similar to cod?

Cod is a very mild-flavored white flaky fish. If choosing an alternative, haddock or scrod is the best as it is the closest to cod, but tilapia, white sea bass, striped bass, hake, cusk, or pollock would also make great substitutes as they are mild white fish.

Serving Suggestions

This panko-crusted cod fish recipe is light and pairs nicely with many sides and veggies.

overhead photo of baked cod with panko in a rectangular baking dish

Make Ahead, Storage, Freezing, Reheating

  • Make Ahead: To make ahead, prepare through step 5, up to 4 hours ahead of time, and keep refrigerated. A good rule of thumb if making ahead, to prepare the cod fish fillets in a baking dish as it can be easily moved into the refrigerator. Just be sure to double-check that your baking dish is refrigerator-to-oven safe!
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days but keep in mind that the panko crust will become soggier, the longer the leftovers sit.
  • Freezing: We recommend not freezing this baked fish with panko as the exterior will no longer be crispy after thawing.
  • Reheating: To reheat, warm in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes. Reheating this way will not only warm them through, but it will help keep them nice and crispy. 

Variations To Try and Substitutions

  • Swap out panko bread crumbs for regular breadcrumbs or make this gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or traditional.
  • Use a different fish such as black cod, salmon, or another white fish like haddock, hake, sablefish, or black cod.
  • Season breadcrumbs with a little dill or dill weed, garlic powder or onion powder, or add a touch of spiciness and add in a little hot paprika or cayenne.
  • Serve with a side of tartar sauce.
overhead photo of panko crusted cod fish on circular white plate with fork and simple green salad

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie


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This golden crispy baked cod recipe with crunchy garlic butter panko breadcrumbs is simple to prepare and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Serve it for a family-friendly weeknight meal, or double the recipe and serve this panko-crusted cod for guests on a special occasion.

  • 1 1/4 pound cod fish filet
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
  • Chopped fresh herbs such as dill and parsley for serving, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or coat a 9 by 12 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cut cod into 4 portions and season all over with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet or dish. 
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 20 seconds to 1 minute. 
  4. Spoon about half of the garlic butter over the fish. 
  5. Stir panko, paprika, and lemon zest into the remaining garlic butter. Spoon the panko over the cod and press into the fish to create a panko crust. 
  6. Bake until the cod is just starting to flake, 16 to 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and herbs if desired.


Ingredient Note: Regular breadcrumbs work too. You can use ½ butter and half olive oil if desired. Add 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan to the Panko mixture if desired. 

Tip: Thinner cod filet will cook more quickly than thicker portions. I found that when my cod portions were of varying sizes I had to remove the thinner portions from the sheet pan and keep them warm while the remaining thicker portions cooked a little longer. 

Make Ahead: To make ahead, prepare through step 5 up to 4 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated. (We find the baking dish is easier for this option as it can easily be moved into the refrigerator. Just make sure your baking dish is refrigerator-to-oven safe!) 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 5oz piece of fish
  • Calories: 237
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Protein: 26 g

Keywords: baked cod with panko, baked cod recipe with panko, panko crusted cod

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple Quirk Books was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.

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