Baked Cod with Panko is an easy, flavorful, and light dinner dish. Cod fillets are topped with seasoned, buttery Panko breadcrumbs then baked to perfection!
Seafood is a blank slate. You can add a variety of seasonings, breadcrumbs, or toppings to enhance the flavor of the fish.
Whether it's soy sauce and ginger like we used on our oven baked mahi mahi recipe, a lemon caper sauce like on our pan seared halibut, Chilean sea bass with dill, or baked flounder with lemon garlic and butter a little flavor goes a long way.
That's the case with this baked cod with panko, too. We seasoned the panko breadcrumbs with butter, lemon juice, garlic powder, and paprika.
The seasoned panko adds a wonderful flavor and a crunchy texture to the light, flakiness of the cod. They make a great combination!
How to Make Baked Cod with Panko:
- Start by preheating the oven to 425°F, and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use paper towels to pat the cod fillets dry.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, lemon juice (reserve about 2 teaspoons), parsley, melted butter, garlic powder, and paprika. Set aside.
- Drizzle the remaining 2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the cod fillets, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place the fillets onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Top each fillet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of panko topping, and press down gently to ensure the topping adheres to the fish.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center. According to the USDA, an instant read thermometer should read 145°F when inserted into the thickest part of the cod.
- Remove from the oven, and serve immediately!
How do I make my panko crisp?
When you're making oven baked cod with panko, the moisture from the fish has a tendency to make the panko topping soggy. There are a couple of ways to keep the panko nice and crispy.
The first thing is to add a little melted butter to the panko mix. Butter helps the panko brown nicely and hold it's crunchiness.
The second thing is to cook the panko at a high heat. We bake the cod with panko topping at 425°F, because it cooks the cod nicely while crisping up the panko at the same time.
How to Make Baked Cod with Panko and Parmesan?
It's really easy to add Parmesan cheese to this recipe for a little added flavor. Freshly grated (in a food processor) off the block Parmesan cheese, or grated cheese from a shaker container works best.
Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan cheese with the panko breadcrumb mixture and follow the recipe as written.
What can I use if I don't have panko?
There are several things you can use as a topping in place of the panko; however, the texture won't be quite the same.
Crushed crackers, cornflakes, regular breadcrumbs, pretzels, or potato chips will give a crunchy texture to the baked fish. Some thin potato chips may not hold up well, so look for thicker, hearty chips if you decide to go that route.
Simply replace the panko breadcrumbs with your choice of other topping. Add it to the fish, and bake.
Why is my baked cod tough?
When oven baked cod is tough, that usually means that it's over cooked. There's a fine line between light, flaky fish and dry, overcooked fish.
It can happen very quickly, too, so it's best to keep a close watch on it. Tough cod can also happen as the fish cools.
It may be flaky and perfectly baked when it's removed from the oven, but once it cools the cod can toughen some and dry out.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon(s) garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon(s) paprika
- 1 pound cod fillets, 3 to 4 pieces
- 2 teaspoon(s) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
For the Breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon juice, melted butter, garlic powder, and paprika.½ cup panko bread crumbs3 tablespoons parsley2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice½ teaspoon(s) garlic powder¼ teaspoon(s) paprika
For the Fish
- Use paper towels to pat the cod fillets dry. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the fillets, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.1 pound cod fillets2 teaspoon(s) lemon juice1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt¼ teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
- Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of panko topping on top of each piece of fish and press down gently so the topping sticks. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the cod flakes easily.
- Serve immediately with a side salad or sautéed vegetables. We do not recommend storing the cod for later.