This garlic butter cod recipe is ridiculously easy to make. The Cod is pan-fried in oil until crispy on the outside and around the edges. It is then finished in garlic butter sauce. The result is restaurant-quality cod fish that is flavorful, tender, and flaky, more importantly, it is ready in less than 15 minutes!
pan seared garlic butter cod Recipe
Cod is a versatile white fish that is mild in flavor, and it can be cooked in so many ways, it can be baked, steamed, poached, grilled (not recommended), deep fried, or air fried. However, today I will be showing you how to make the best-pan-fried codfish that tastes better than the one you would get from the restaurant.
This recipe uses very simple ingredients you may already have at hand. Pan fried or pan seared cod makes an easy and healthy weeknight dinner and can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. It is healthy and low in calories and fat compared to other types of fish out there.
For this recipe, I like to use skinless fresh cod fillets, but you could also use haddock or any other white firm fish. Regardless of whether you use skin-on or skinless cod, you will still achieve a crispy and golden side as I did.
The key to a good pan-fried fish is to get the skin side nice and crispy. This not only locks in flavor but also helps the fish to hold together.
You will love this recipe because it is quick, easy, and adaptable. You can season the fish however you like before pan-frying.
Love cod? try these recipes baked cod with tomatoes, instant pot cod, and air fryer cod.
What you will need to make garlic butter cod
Codfish; I used skinless cod loins for this recipe, it is thick, meatier, and much easier to work with, unlike fillet which is skinnier and can be easily overcooked.
Butter: I used unsalted butter for this recipe, if using salted butter be sure to adjust the overall seasoning accordingly
Vegetable oil: sub with any other oil of choice with a high smoking point
Garlic: Use fresh garlic for this recipe but you can use garlic powder as well
Lemon juice: This is used for extra flavor, moreover, lemon compliments all types of seafood.
Parsley: This is used to garnish the cod, feel free to use any other herbs like thyme or cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
How to pan-fry cod
15 minutes before you cook the fish remove it from the fridge so it comes to room temperature
Pat the cod thoroughly dry with a kitchen paper towel (this step is important and should not be skipped)
Season the cod with salt and black pepper.
Place a skillet on medium-high heat, add oil, and heat until hot and the oil shimmering.
Carefully place the cod loin in the hot oil skin side down, do not move or touch the fish at this point. You want to form a nice golden and crispy crust on the bottom side of the fish.
After 3-4 minutes use a (fish) spatula to carefully flip the cod over, be very careful not to break the fish. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
Carefully remove the pan-seared fish from the pan.
Still using the hot pan, reduce the heat, add butter and melt, add chopped garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to release flavor. Add chopped parsley and stir to combine.
Return the cooked fish to the garlic butter sauce and baste for about 30 seconds so that the fish can soak up the garlic butter flavor.
Finally, squeeze about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice over the fish. Take it off the heat, and serve the fish immediately.
Serve as it is with other sides of your choice with a good dollop of homemade parsley sauce, tartar sauce, or dill sauce.
What to serve with pan fried cod
Codfish is versatile and can be served with many delicious and healthy sides. Eat your cod with any of the following
Potato: kale mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, air fryer potatoes, baby potatoes, scalloped potatoes, and many more
Taco: flake the cod and make some fish tacos
Rice: seasoned rice, cumin rice, garlic butter rice, spinach rice, cauliflower rice, and many more
Vegetables: sauteed zucchini, buttered leeks, garlic sauteed spinach, stove top broccoli, air fryer vegetables, air fryer mushrooms and onions, and many more
Salad: creamy cucumber salad, creamy pasta salad, and coleslaw
Pasta: you can't go wrong with garlic parmesan orzo, olive oil pasta, and healthy Philadelphia pasta.
Watch how to make it
How to store garlic butter cod
This recipe is best served immediately, however, you can store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. You can also reheat it in the air fryer or microwave.
Garlic Butter Cod Recipe (Pan Fried Cod)
- 280 g 2 Cod loin (boneless) skinless or skin-on
- 40 g butter salted or unsalted
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon garlic chopped
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 15 minutes before you cook the fish remove it from the fridge so it comes to room temperature
- Pat the cod thoroughly dry with a kitchen paper towel (this step is important and should not be skipped)
- Season the cod with salt and black pepper (and any other seasoning of choice).
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat, add oil, and heat until hot and the oil shimmers.
- Carefully place the cod loin in the hot oil skin side down, do not move or touch the fish at this point, you want to form a nice golden and crispy crust on the bottom side of the fish.
- After 3-4 minutes use a (fish) spatula to carefully flip the cod over, be very careful not to break the fish. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pan seared fish from the pan. this is optional as the following steps can be done with the fish in the pan
- Still using the same pan, reduce the heat, add butter and melt, add chopped garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to release flavor, add chopped parsley and stir to combine.
- Return the cooked fish to the garlic butter sauce and baste with the sauce for about 30 seconds, so that the fish can soak up the garlic butter flavor.
- Finally, squeeze about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice over the fish, take it off the heat, and serve immediately. Serve as is with other sides of your choice and enjoy!
Nutritional data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients and brands you use. Under no circumstances will thedinnerbite.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.
Cod loin vs fillet
There is no real difference between cod fillets and cod loins in terms of flavor or texture. The only difference is that cod loins are cut from a larger fish, so they are usually thicker and meatier than fillets. They are also easy to work with especially when searing. If using a cod fillet for this recipe, make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
How do you keep cod from drying out
The key to not drying out your cod is to not overcook it. You want to cook it just until it is cooked through. Another tip is to baste the fish with seasoned melted butter, this will help to keep the cod moist.
Can I use frozen cod for this recipe
Yes! You can use frozen cod for this recipe, just make sure to thaw it completely before cooking.
How long to pan fry cod
This will be dependent on the thickness of the fish. For a 1-inch thick fish, you will want to cook it for 3-4 minutes per side or until you are able to lift the fish without it sticking to the pan. If your fish is thinner, it will cook faster so keep an eye on it.
How do you know when cod is done
You know a white fish like cod is done and cooked through when it flakes apart easily with a fork. However, to be on the safe side (and for optimal flavor) cook fish until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C.
And there you have it, a simple and delicious pan-seared cod in garlic butter recipe that you can make at home in 15 minutes. As always, if you made this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Kindly rate the recipe 5 star and leave me feedback in the comment section below. Tag me @thedinnerbite on Instagram and save it away to your Pinterest. Please subscribe to the blog if you haven’t for free new recipes in your inbox
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