Baked Cod With Panko Crust
This easy Baked Cod with Panko crust is one of my favorite fish recipes! With just 10 minutes of effort, you can enjoy this insanely delicious flaky cod with a crunchy and garlicky panko crust. There’s no messy flour or stove-top oil splatter!
This gluten free breaded cod is crunchy, buttery, and tender every time. It’s a healthy and affordable dinner perfect for weeknights! For more gluten free cod recipes, try my lemon herb baked cod or this Chinese steamed cod with ginger scallion sauce.
Yummmmm! Just made this for dinner my husband and I loved it!! The crumbs are so tasty !– Joanne
Ingredients for panko baked fish
This breaded cod baked with panko is one of the best fish recipes because it achieves amazing textures and flavors with few healthy yet accessible ingredients. My version of baked cod with breadcrumbs is gluten-free and comes out juicy and delicious every time! Here’s what you need:
For the fish:
- Cod: Four pieces of thick center-cut fillets weighing 6-7 oz. per fillet. Using thick cuts of fish helps keep this panko baked cod from drying out in the oven.
- Sea salt and ground pepper: Used to season the fish and also the crispy panko topping.
- Olive oil: Use to coat the fish fillet before par-baking to keep it moist and juicy.
For the gluten-free panko and herb topping:
- Gluten-free panko (store-bought): Contains tapioca starch, water, potato starch, potato flakes, palm oil, honey, egg yolks, natural vinegar, and salt.
- Garlic powder: Used in addition to coarse sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Finely chopped herbs: Fresh parsley, chives, and dill (or any combination of these) go great with crusted cod.
- Butter or ghee: Used to coat the cod after par-baking and before adding the herb and panko topping. This added step helps to keep oven fried cod from drying out during the final bake.
Substitutions and variations
- Cod alternatives: You can use any type of flaky white fish with a thick center cut. Halibut, white sea bass, or striped bass are good alternatives for this baked cod breaded recipe.
- Frozen vs fresh: It’s okay to use previously frozen fish for baked breaded cod. Good fresh fish should have a mild ocean scent—not overly fishy—and be firm to the touch.
- Low-carb panko substitute: For keto users, use pork panko, also known as pork rind bread crumbs. The crust might be less crunchy but the flavor should still be delicious.
- Breadcrumb flavor variety: Mix in paprika, onion powder, or parmesan cheese to boost the flavor of this cod with herb crust recipe.
- If you don’t have panko: Use Italian breadcrumbs, almond flour, crushed cornflakes, or crackers to achieve crunchy gluten free breaded cod.
This buttery baked cod with bread crumbs, lemon, and herbs comes together so quickly. It differs from other cod fish panko recipes because we par-bake the fish in oil before coating it in butter and adding the panko. This ensures your breaded baked cod stays tender and juicy inside with a crispy crust.
- Prepare the fish: Pat dry the cod fillets with clean paper towels and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between them.
- Season and par-bake the fish: Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper, and then coat with olive oil on both sides to retain moisture. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack.
- Mix the panko topping: In a small bowl, combine the panko crumbs, salt, garlic powder, pepper, fresh herbs, and fresh lemon juice. Stir well.
- Breading cod with panko mixture: Remove from the oven and smear with butter, which acts as a “glue” for the panko. With a small spoon, press the panko breadcrumb mixture on top.
- Drizzle and bake: Drizzle the melted butter from the sheet pan over the panko breaded cod fish so it will brown nicely. Bake for 10 minutes or until the fish easily flakes apart with a fork.
- Garnish and serve: Place lemon slices around the panko baked fish, and keep a few extra lemon wedges on the side. Serve immediately while the fish is still warm so it doesn’t dry out.
Tip 1: For this baked cod in breadcrumbs recipe, you don’t need to toast the panko breadcrumbs before using them. We add the panko topping for baked cod near the end of baking to keep the crust nice and crunchy without burning.
Tip 2: You can line the sheet pan with either parchment paper (like I do) or aluminum foil. It doesn’t change how the dish turns out – the bottom of the baked breaded cod fillets will still be moist and buttery, and the top will be perfectly crunchy.
You can use different types of panko bread crumbs for this panko crusted baked cod—or any baked cod recipes with panko—depending on your dietary needs.
Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs:
Japanese panko breadcrumbs are larger and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs made from white bread. The ingredients generally include wheat flour, sugar, yeast, soybean oil, and salt. They stay crispier longer, making them perfect for coating fried or baked foods, adding a light, crunchy texture to dishes like tonkatsu and katsu chicken. (I like Shirakiku brand).
Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs:
I use Jeff Nathan Creations and the ingredients are tapioca starch, water, potato starch, potato flakes, palm oil, honey, egg yolks, natural vinegar, and salt. The texture is crunchy and firmer than Japanese panko with larger flakes. These are my go-to for panko fried cod recipes or any fish with panko crust
Rice Panko (Gluten-Free):
I like Wapanko brand rice bread crumbs. They are made with a single ingredient—Japanese rice. The texture is light, flaky, and most similar to the original panko flakes. They don’t do well with moisture but are the perfect alternative for fried food (Paleo chicken katsu) or adding texture to baking (shrimp stuffed mushrooms).
How to store and reheat
This baked crispy cod fish with panko requires just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cooking time, so there’s no need to make it ahead. Here are instructions for storing and reheating leftovers of this delicious gluten-free cod so that it retains its flavor and crisp yet juicy texture:
- Storage: Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Reheat in a microwave: Loosely covered with a lid on medium powder for 1 minute until warmed through. Cons: The crust won’t be as crispy.
- Reheat in an oven: Lightly spray the fillet with a thin layer of olive oil and loosely cover it with parchment paper. Bake for 8 minutes at 380ºF/193ºC. Cons: The fillet might not be as moist.
What to serve with panko crusted cod
This oven baked cod with breadcrumbs is perfect served alongside your favorite vegetables and rice. It can be dressed up with salad and savory vegetable sides or keep it casual with tartar sauce and fries. Here are some of my favorite pairings for this crispy baked cod.
- Salad: Pair this recipe for baked cod with bread crumbs with a simple mixed green salad or kick things up a notch with this Asian tatsoi salad recipe with Whole30 ranch yogurt dressing.
- Veggies: Lemon garlic broccoli goes perfectly with fish. Or whip up some easy air fryer zucchini fries, air fryer frozen brussel sprouts, or air fryer frozen green beans.
- Grains: Keep things simple with air fryer fried rice or try this healthy canned tuna pasta with lemon, capers, and parsley for a light and delicious treat.
- Selecting the Right Fish Cut: Choose thick, center-cut cod fillets for even cooking and a succulent end result. The thickness ensures that the fish remains moist inside while getting a crispy exterior from the panko.
- Alternative Fish Choices: If cod isn’t available, good substitutes include halibut, white sea bass, or striped bass. These alternatives have a similar texture and flavor profile, making them excellent for the panko breadcrumb coating.
- Preparing the Breadcrumbs: Use Japanese panko for a lighter, crispier texture. If you need a gluten-free option, look for panko made with ingredients like tapioca or potato starch.
- Baking Temperature and Time: Adjust the baking time based on the thickness of your fillets. Generally, bake at 400ºF/204ºC for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on the fish’s texture.
- Applying the Toppings: Spread the panko mixture evenly for a uniform crust. Drizzle melted butter from the pan over the breadcrumbs before the final bake for a golden finish.
- Avoiding Sogginess: Pat the fish dry before seasoning and baking. This step is crucial for a crispy crust in any panko cod fillet recipe.
- Serving Immediately: Serve panko encrusted cod hot right out of the oven to enjoy the crispiness of the panko and the moistness of the fish.
- Butter as “Glue”: Use butter to help the panko stick and to add moisture. It’s an essential step for the crust’s taste and texture.
- Low-Carb Option: For a low-carb choice, try pork panko. It offers a different flavor and texture but still provides a satisfying crunch.
Baked cod is fully cooked when the fish flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF/63ºC.
Dryness occurs from overcooking or not serving immediately. Greasing with olive oil or butter, using thick-cut fillets, and timely serving helps retain moisture and prevent a chewy texture.
Cod is done at an internal temperature of 145ºF/63ºC. Use a digital meat thermometer to test accurately, ensuring it’s fully cooked and still moist.
More gluten-free seafood recipes you might like
If you enjoy this crispy and flavorful panko cod recipe, be sure to give my other trending seafood recipes a try!
- Air fryer teriyaki salmon: Sweet, juicy, and delicious air-fried salmon in teriyaki marinade.
- Shrimp wontons with wonton sauce: Juicy wontons in homemade gluten-free wonton wrappers with sweet and tangy dipping sauce.
- Frozen salmon in air fryer: A super easy and healthy dish with ZERO prep time!
- Chinese shrimp and broccoli stir fry: Homemade takeout with simple ingredients and loaded with garlicky flavor!
Baked cod with panko recipe
For the fish:
- 4 pieces center-cut cod fillets, 6-7 oz per piece
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt
- Sprinkle ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the panko toppings:
- ½ cup gluten-free panko, about 2 tbsp per fillet
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs, chives, dills, or parsley, or a combination
- Quarter one whole lemon juice, plus more lemon slices and wedges for serving
- 3-4 tbsp (ghee) butter, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF/204ºC.
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment. Pat dry the fillets and place them on the sheet pan with some space between them.
- Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper, and grease each fillet with ½ tbsp olive oil on both sides. Olive oil adds moisture and good fat to the lean fillets and it helps the fish stay moist. Send to the oven to bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack.
- In the meantime, make the panko toppings. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients with panko breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, pepper, fresh herbs, and lemon juice. Stir well.
- As soon as the fish is out of the oven, dot a little less than 1 tbsp butter on top of each fillet and quickly use a back of the spoon to smear it over. Quickly add about 2 tbsp panko mixture on top of each fillet and use your hands to gently press it in. Some crumbles might fall off and that’s totally okay.
- Scoop a few spoonfuls of the melted butter from the sheet pan and drizzle them over the panko breadcrumbs. Send the sheet back to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. The fish is done when you can flake it easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 145ºF/63ºC.
- To serve, slice a few lemon to half rounds and place them around the fish fillets. And reserve a few extra lemon wedges on the side to pass around the table. Serve immediately while the fish is still warm.
- Selecting Fish: It’s okay to use previously frozen fish for this recipe. Good fish shouldn’t smell overly fishy but should have a mild ocean scent. The flesh should be firm to the touch.
- Baking Time and Temperature: The baking time and temperature depend on how thick your fish fillets are. Make sure to use thick-cut (center-cut) fillets for the best results.
- Alternative Fish Options: Other white fish like halibut, white sea bass, or striped bass also work well for this recipe if you can’t find cod.
- Serving Suggestion: Serve the dish immediately after baking. Waiting too long can make the fish dry and less tender.
- Using Butter with Panko: Use butter as the ‘glue’ for the panko breadcrumbs. It helps form a nice crust on the fillets and keeps the fish moist.
- Golden Crust Tip: Drizzle the melted butter from the sheet pan over the breadcrumbs before putting them back in the oven. The butter will help the breadcrumbs turn into a nice golden crust.
- Low Carb Option: For a lower carb version, consider using pork panko (pork rind breadcrumbs). The crust may be less crunchy, but it will still taste delicious.