Lemon Butter Cod Recipe

May 29, 2021

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A simple yet incredibly flavorful Lemon Butter Cod recipe! Made with flakey cod fish, a simple seasoning, bright lemon, and ultra rich butter! It’s pan seared to achieve a light browning and flavor boost, and you can have it ready in just 25 minutes!

This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photo: Pan seared cod fillet topped with a spice rub, lemon butter sauce and parsley. It is served over white rice with a purple flour and lemon slices to the side.

How to Cook Cod

Cod is an easy fish to cook and there are several methods to choose from. You can bake cod, grill it, pan fry (sear) or even smoke it. My favorite is pan seared.

Why? The two biggest reasons are flavor and time. Pan searing adds more flavor than other options (think golden brown perfection) and it can cook in under 10 minutes on the stovetop!

Lemon Butter Cod Video

The Best Way to Make Cod!

This cod recipe is my favorite way to prepare cod! I’ve tried other options but they aren’t ever quite as delicious.

Cod can be pretty mild tasting and it’s a versatile fish that adapts well to various flavors. Here we enhance it by browning in a hot skillet and finishing with an impressive and well balanced sauce.

A classic seafood upgrade used to amplify flavor used here, is a tempting and welcomed trio of ingredients. Basic but bold – it’s lemon, butter and garlic.

And we don’t just use your typical everyday butter. We are making it top notch delicious with a special ingredient – Danish Creamery European Style Butter!

I am obsessed with this butter lately! It makes the best cookies, excellent cakes, the ultimate buttered toast, and it upgrades your favorite savory recipes too.

What’s superior about it? The extra fat and less water content. It is 85% butterfat (which is even higher than most European butters coming in at 82% to 83% butterfat, and traditional butter at only 80% butterfat).

It’s also slow churned in small batches offering a velvety texture, plus it’s preserved in foil so it maintains it’s fabulous flavor and doesn’t absorb any off flavors from the fridge.

It’s extra rich and extra creamy, just the way butter should be. And their recipe hasn’t changed since 1895, why change such a good thing?

Once you try it you’ll see what all the fuss is about!

Four cod fillets shown overhead on a white oval platter. They are covered in a sauce and garnished with parsley. A package of butter and fresh parsley are shown to the side.

Lemon Butter Cod Recipe Ingredients

  • Cod fillets: Look for fillets that are about 1-inch thick. Thinner or thicker will work cook times will just need to be adjusted accordingly. Fresh is best but if you only have access to frozen (and thawed) that works fine too.
  • Flour: This soaks up moisture and encourages browning, plus it helps the sauce stick to the fish. Only a little is needed.
  • Seasonings – paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  • Danish Creamery European Style Butter: The salted or unsalted version will work here. If using unsalted add a few pinches of salt to the sauce.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is used in addition to the butter so it doesn’t burn at a higher heat.
  • Garlic: Preferably use fresh garlic not bottled or powder for best flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Only use fresh lemon. The bottled has a preserved flavor that will stand out here.
  • Chicken broth: Just a little is added to thin out the sauce.
  • Parsley: Used for a nice finish for a pop of color and hint of fresh herb flavor.

Scroll down for full recipe with amounts and print option.

Photo of ingredients that are used to make this lemon butter cod recipe. Includes fresh cod fillets, oregano, thyme, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, flour, garlic, butter, lemon, parsley, olive oil, and chicken broth.

How to Make Lemon Butter Cod

  1. Mix flour and seasonings: In a small mixing bowl whisk together flour, paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  2. Spread mixture over cod: Sprinkle and spread flour mixture over both sides of the cod fillets (use up all of the mixture).
  3. Heat fats in skillet: Melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook cod in skillet, transfer: Add cod and sear until golden brown and cooked through on each side, about 4 minutes per side (fish should flake easily with a fork when done). Transfer to serving plates.
  5. Melt remaining butter in skillet: Reduce burner temperature to medium-low. Melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter in same skillet.
  6. Saute garlic: Add garlic and saute just until fragrant and just lightly deepened in color (but not browned), about 15 seconds.
  7. Add liquids to butter: Remove from heat and carefully pour and stir in chicken broth and lemon juice (careful it will steam!).
  8. Pour sauce over cod, garnish and serve: Immediately pour sauce over cod fillets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Collage of six photos showing how to make a cod recipe. Shows seasoning cod, searing in a skillet, and cooking a sauce in skillet after.

Helpful Cooking Tips for Cod

  • If it is frozen be sure to thaw thoroughly before cooking. Usually it takes one day of thawing in the fridge, never defrost in the microwave or you can ruin the texture and even partially cook it.
  • If cod is overly wet, dab fairly dry with paper towels. It should be barely damp so flour sticks, but dry enough it will brown nicely.
  • Be careful not overcook the cod or it will be tough and bouncy.
  • To know when it’s done, cod should flake easily with a fork and it should lose it’s translucent and raw appearance.
  • Cod can be cooked skin-on or skinless. Per personal preference, I like to remove skin but you could leave it on if preferred.
  • If you opt to leave skin, cook skin side down first. Then to keep that skin nice and crisp plate with sauce underneath and serve skin-side upright.
  • Atlantic or pacific cod may be used, though many argue Atlantic is better. There are some textural and light flavor differences.

Sauce being poured over cooked white fish fillet on a platter.

Cod Recipe Flavor Variations

  • Try other seasonings or blends.
  • Use a different herb to finish like dill, basil or cilantro.
  • Make it spicy or mild by increasing or omitting cayenne pepper.
  • Pescatarian vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth.
  • In a pinch, lime juice will work in place of lemon.

More Seafood Recipes You’ll Love

Four cod fillets shown overhead on a white oval platter. They are covered in a sauce and garnished with parsley. A package of butter and fresh parsley are shown to the side.
5 from 3 votes

Lemon Butter Cod Recipe

Made with flakey cod fish, a simple seasoning, bright lemon, and ultra rich butter! It's pan seared to achieve a light browning and flavor boost, and you can have it ready in just 25 minutes!
Servings: 4
Prep15 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (6 oz each) cod fillets, skinless, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp Danish Creamery Butter, cut into 1 Tbsp pieces, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together flour, paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle and spread flour mixture over both sides of the cod fillets (use up all of the mixture).
  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add cod and sear until golden brown and cooked through on each side, about 3 - 4 minutes per side (fish should flake easily with a fork when done). Transfer to serving plates.
  • Reduce burner temperature to medium-low. Melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter in same skillet.
  • Add garlic and saute just until fragrant and just lightly deepened in color (but not browned), about 15 seconds.
  • Remove from heat and carefully pour and stir in chicken broth and lemon juice (careful it will steam!).
  • Immediately pour sauce over cod fillets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Butter Cod Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 315 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 111mg37%
Sodium 658mg29%
Potassium 771mg22%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 973IU19%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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11 Comments

  • Tonya Boette

    I made this cod!! The recipe was spot on!!! Instead of flour I used baking powder since I’m gluten-free! mm good!! Thanks for sharing! I also added Cajun seasons..

  • Mary

    Made this yesterday for dinner : ) My sear was nowhere near as good as yours (ill try a higher heat next time) but still came out great. Great staple recipe to keep on hand!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Mary! Thanks for your feedback!

  • Joanne

    I have been looking for a recipe to make cod for dinner and this recipe looks superior. I love mine broil but my husband wants at front so this I think it’s going to be a real winner!

  • Angelina

    Cod has always been my favorite, even when I was a kid. I never did anything more than lightly flour it, & season it w/salt, pepper, & a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder. I gently pan-fried-& served it w/finely minced Italian Parsley sprinkled over the top. I’m now looking forward to making this terrific Cod recipe, which sounds (& looks) incredibly delicious! As always, it’s certainly ‘Classy’! Thank you 💐

  • christine

    Fabulous! Love doing it on the stove top. Great “finish…Quick’…I could eat this every week!…I do the same recipe using “pounded thin” chicken breast…

  • PollyAnna

    Hi, I have never cooked fish before. The only fish I generally eat is flake, hake, whiting, Hoki, and salmon but only as salmon patties. As a child, every Easter, on Good Friday my mother cooked Smoked Cod, I think that’s what it was called. She would boil it in water, it stank the house out, it was red-orange looking when it was cooked. I was never a lover of it, hence my fish’n’chip style of flake etc but I keep seeing various recipes with either salmon or other types of fish and I’m developing an interest, a curiosity to maybe try cooking some myself. My question for you is, is the cod in this recipe the same as the smelly fish my mother boiled and what exactly do I ask the fish monger for. Thanks for your time to read through + hopefully reply. I’ve only just found your site about a week or two ago and have tagged several recipes to try. Thanks.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      This cod is white and only became a reddish in color from the seasoning. The type your mom made could have been a different type of fish it sounds like.

      You can ask the fishmonger for Pacific or Alaskan cod. Thicker fillets are preferred vs tail end. I’m so glad you found my site, hope you enjoy!