This easy panko-baked cod is a tasty combination of tender cod fillets breaded with buttery Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and lemon zest! It's an incredibly quick, wonderfully delicious, and versatile part of easy weeknight family meals!
Panko & Parmesan Coated Cod
Panko baked cod is a perfect dinner for when you want something light and tasty! This recipe adds a spicy twist with some Cajun seasoning under the crunchy Parmesan panko crust. If you like a little sizzle in your meals, this is for you!
Living in a landlocked state, I always look forward to the occasional seafood. It makes me think of warm weather, beach days, and growing up on the Oregon coast. Cod also makes an inspired outdoor lunch on a blue-sky afternoon (not that I need an excuse to enjoy seafood)!
Baking a breaded fish vs. dropping it into a pan of oil makes it a lighter meal without sacrificing flavor. It’s a foolproof option for anyone trying to add more seafood to their life, and it takes less than 30 minutes.
With such mild-tasting fish and fantastically delicious breading, it’s an excellent meal for the whole family, including those hesitant about fish.
❤️ Why This Recipe Works!
- Good for Large Dinner Parties! Lots of dinner guests? It only adds a few minutes to your prep time to bread some extra fish.
- Great Texture! This dynamite texture combines the super crunchy outside and the tender, flaky inside!
- It's Flavorful! This recipe is full of flavor for something as light as this!
Most of these are pantry staples, but you’ll likely need to visit the local seafood market for cod. You also may want to mix your own Cajun seasoning; it’s well worth it and makes this dish special.
- Cod - Look for something in roughly 5-ounce portions. You can substitute another mild-tasting white fish (orange roughy, pollock, walleye, etc.) for the cod. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
- Cajun Seasoning - My recipe contains garlic and onion powder, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, etc., and goes great with any meat or seafood.
- Salt - Any salt will work; use whatever you have on hand.
- Eggs - Get farm-fresh, free-range for the best quality.
- Panko Breadcrumbs - Panko gives the breading an even bigger crunch than traditional breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan Cheese - This salty Italian cheese has a bold taste that compliments lots of different dishes.
- Parsley - Parsley adds subtle flavor and a pop of color!
- Lemon - Use the zest for the fish and the juice to make drawn butter for the side!
- Butter - Either sweet cream or salted will work in this recipe.
To change things up, try replacing the Cajun seasoning with one of the following:
- Dried Basil. Lemon, basil, and Parmesan go great together. The basil will balance the saltiness of the cheese with a subtle sweetness. You’ll love it!
- Lemon Pepper and Garlic Powder. Maximize the lemon flavor with lemon pepper while adding a bit of spice! Garlic and lemon are very complementary, especially on fish.
- Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder. If you like a little heat, try this combo! It’s full of sweet and mild ground chilis and things like cumin, oregano, and paprika.
- Garlic, Thyme, and Sweet Paprika. For a unique, sweet herbal mix, try this blend. Try using smoked paprika instead of sweet for an intense smoky flavor.
You can also mix freshly chopped herbs in the breading. Try sage, rosemary, or basil.
🔪 How To Bake Cod
No unusual equipment is needed for this straightforward fish dish. Just grab a bowl, a plate, and a baking sheet.
- Preheat. Set your oven to 450℉ (232℃) and prepare your baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Season the cod. Dry the 2 pounds of cod in portions by patting it with a paper towel. Then, in a small bowl, mix ½ tablespoon Cajun seasoning and ½ teaspoon salt and generously sprinkle it over the cod.
If you’ve opted to buy your Cajun season from the store vs. make your own, don’t add salt. Store-bought brands already contain it.
- Prepare the breading. Start by beating 2 eggs in a bowl or shallow dish. In another dish, combine 2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, and zest from 1 large lemon.
Use a fork to mix in 1 tablespoon of melted butter until all of the breadcrumbs are dampened.
- Coat the cod. Next, dip a piece of cod into the beaten egg. Then, drag it through the breadcrumb mixture, being sure to coat all sides. Transfer it to your prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the rest of the cod.
- Bake. Move the baking sheet to the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes. The fish should be flaky when finished, and the internal temperature should be 145℉ (63℃).
- Serve. Remove from the oven when done, and serve immediately.
🍽️ What To Serve With Cod
This cod is also fantastic with sauteed asparagus or roasted brussel sprouts. Air fryer garlic bread makes a delicious side and brings out and complements the featured flavors of the fish. For more ideas, see my detailed post on what to serve with cod.
💭 Tips & Notes
- For an extra thick crust, double bread the cod. To make an even crunchier coating, repeat step 4 of the instructions. Egg and bread each piece of cod twice. You’ll get a thick, buttery crust with extra Parmesan, lemon zest, and parsley.
- To test for doneness, look for flakes. Pull off a piece of fish using a fork in the thickest part of the fillet. It should come apart easily, and you should see flakes. You can also test for internal temperature using a thermometer probe. Don’t overcook it! It will become dry and rubbery if left too long in the oven.
- Use fresh or frozen fish for this recipe. If you use frozen fillets, thaw them in the fridge overnight or in a bowl of cold water in its packaging. The latter process takes about 15-20 minutes. After they've thawed, there will be extra water on them, so dry them as completely as possible. Breading will stick better on dry fish and become much crunchier when cooked. Extra moisture causes steam that will make the breading mushy.
- When buying fish, especially if you don’t live near the sea, consider where it comes from and how it’s been handled. In many grocery stores, the “fresh” fish you find has been previously frozen. Some frozen fish is flash frozen at its freshest point. This is not the case everywhere, but it’s worth looking into.
🐟 Other Great Fish Recipes
- Grilled Haddock
- Salmon In White Wine Sauce
- Pan Seared Salmon
- Baked Salmon In Foil Packets
- Air Fryer Tilapia
- Lemon Butter Baked Cod
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📖 Recipe Card
Panko Baked Cod
- 2 lbs cod (portioned into roughly 5 ounce sections)
- ½ tablespoon Cajun seasoning (see recipe or use your favorite brand)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 large lemon (zested - save the lemon juice for making drawn butter to serve with your baked cod)
- 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Portion cod and pat dry with a paper towel, then combine seasoning (Cajun seasoning and salt - omit salt if using a store-bought brand) and sprinkle over cod.
- In a bowl or shallow dish add the beaten egg, in another combine the Panko breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese, parsley, and lemon zest. Add melted butter and stir to combine until all of the breadcrumb is coated.
- Dip each cod portion into the beaten egg first, then transfer into the breadcrumb mixture to coat all sides. Place coated cod onto your prepared baking sheet.
- Place in the middle of the center rack of your oven and bake at 450°F (232°C) for 15 minutes, or until the internal the fish is flaky. The internal temperature should be 145°F (63°C) when fully cooked.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serve with drawn butter or tartar sauce on the side for dipping if desired.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!