Who would have thought your oven could make fish batter look (and taste) so good? Breaded and Baked Fish is an absolutely delicious weeknight dinner the entire family will love. Serve these up with tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice for restaurant-style fish at home
It doesn't get much better than crispy, crunchy breading over perfectly cooked, flaky cod filets that bake up moist and flavorful. This breaded fish is so much better than a box of fish sticks and you'll find this to be the simplest dredge you've ever conquered. Plus, the quick and easy batter stays put while cooking!
Not only is this Baked Fish recipe ready in under 30 minutes, but it's also not oily in the slightest, a healthier alternative to fried fish, and just as tasty. Kids and grown-ups alike will love this dinner. For more recipes like this one try our Roasted Shrimp, Salmon with Dill Sauce, and Baked Lobster.
HOW TO MAKE BAKED FISH
For this recipe, we went with easy-to-access cod fillets, but you can use just about any firm, mild-flavored skinless fish filets you'd like. Catfish, flounder, haddock, pollock, and tilapia would all work beautifully with the flavors in this breading.
However, when swapping out one fish for another, you should note that cod filets are typically 1 ½" thick and therefore take longer in the oven to cook through than a thinner fish fillet would. Since this recipe was developed using a thicker fish, depending on the thickness of your fish, you may need to reduce the oven bake time.
To kick off this over-the-top easy Baked Fish recipe, you'll start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rather than using a baking dish, we're opting for an oven-safe cooling rack, and here's why:
Using an oven-safe cooling rack placed over a baking sheet ensures the hot air from the oven can circulate both on top of and underneath the fish, which means no soggy underside! This simple rack hack ensures your baked cod bakes up crazy crispy on both the top and the bottom!
The next thing you want to do is Pat away any exterior moisture from the outside of your fish fillets. To do this, gently press against the fish with a few paper towels and transfer them to your work surface.
Now, it is on to the dredge! You'll start with a mixture of mayonnaise, egg yolks, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. This mix is thick and sticky and will keep your breading in place as the fish goes into the oven. It also serves as a flavoring agent, thanks to the seasoning and lemon zest.
For the Panko breading, you'll combine Panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and fresh chopped parsley (if desired) in a mixing bowl. Drizzle melted butter over your breadcrumbs and mix until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated in the butter.
Adding fat to the breadcrumb mixture ensures that your Baked Fish breading bakes up a beautiful golden brown! If you'd prefer, feel free to use a mild-flavored olive oil in place of butter.
Once you've got this all mixed up, take your cod fillets and submerge them completely into the mayonnaise mixture so that the fillets are fully drenched. Next, gently press each fillet into the breadcrumb mixture, taking care to apply the breading on all sides of the fish.
Transfer the fish to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
For perfectly cooked breaded and baked fish, it is also helpful to keep in mind that as any type of fish tapers down toward the tail, it becomes thinner. As mentioned earlier, thinner fish fillets will take less time to cook through than thicker fish fillets. So, how do you apply this information at home? Consider checking the doneness of the thinner pieces before the designated cook time is up!
Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce to top it off. You can also plate this up with coleslaw and french fries on the side for a fish and chips kind of night at home!
HOW TO KNOW WHEN BAKED COD IS DONE
You can tell your fish is done by using an instant-read thermometer, checking color, or texture. Let's begin with color and texture for those who do not have an instant-read thermometer!
When the fish has finished cooking, it should be completely opaque in the center. It should no longer look shiny and translucent when cut into. Cooked fish should also flake easily with a fork; no tugging is required.
To test the doneness of baked cod by looks alone, use the tines of your fork to break into the thickest portion of the fish at a 45° angle. Give your fork a little twist to reveal the interior of the fish. If the fish easily flakes and is fully opaque in the center, it is done and ready to eat!
Even though the above methods for visually gauging the doneness of your fish are extremely helpful, I still find a great deal of security in using an instant-read thermometer. Instant-read thermometers can be found for as little as $10 and can be (quite literally) lifesavers in the kitchen! To take the temperature of your baked fish using an instant-read thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the fish and look for an internal temperature that reads at 145°F or higher.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER BAKED FISH
This easy, baked cod recipe will stay good refrigerated between 36-38°F sealed in an airtight container for up to two days.
To perfectly reheat breaded fish, have your oven preheated to 325°F. Place the fish on a pan and bake until warmed to your liking, about 7 to 10 minutes.
6 MORE FISH RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
This crazy-easy Baked Fish recipe is about to bring restaurant level flavors to your dining table with less than 30 minutes of effort.
- 6 (6-8 ounce) cod fillets (about 1 to 1 ½" thick)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 egg yolks
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, separated
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, separated
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley (optional)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375°F and have ready an oven-safe cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.
Pat the exterior moisture away from the fillets using paper towels and set them aside on your work surface.
In a small bowl, whisk to combine mayonnaise, egg yolks, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, add the panko bread crumbs, ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and chopped parsley (if using), and stir to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until the bread crumbs are evenly coated.
Dip each fish fillet fully into the mayo mixture, and then gently press all sides of the filet into the panko mixture. Transfer to the rack and bake for 25 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, then serve using a thin spatula to slide under and lift the fillet away from the rack.