Want to cook up the best-blackened cod fillets in just 20 minutes? This recipe has got you covered. With homemade blackened seasoning using just 5 simple ingredients, tips for searing the cod fillets to tender, flaky perfection, with variations, serving suggestions, and more!
Blackened cod is one of my favorite weeknight fish recipes for several reasons. I have always thought that cod requires something extra to bring it to life and blackened seasoning does just that. Only a few minutes of pan-frying are needed for a delicious flavor-packed blackened crust to form.
Have you tried Spaghetti Al Nero? This distinctive black pasta is bursting with wonderful oceanic umami flavor, is easy to make and would go nicely with a blackened cod fillet.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
4 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Bold flavors - flaky cod with the tastiest blackened crust
- Quick and easy recipe - ready in just 20 minutes, a great option for a busy weeknight.
- Versatile - serve with a simple side of green veg or create a tasty sandwich or taco filling.
- Simple ingredients - all you need is cod fillets and a simple spice blend made from 5 everyday seasonings that you probably have in your spice cabinet already.
- Cod. You can use fresh or thawed frozen cod.
- Blackened seasoning - you can use ready-made cajun seasoning or make your own. For homemade blackening seasoning, you'll need just 5 ingredients including cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper.
- Oil - any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point can be used to pan-sear the cod. Do not use olive oil because it has a lower smoke point and won't withstand the high cooking temperature required to create the charred crust.
Note that the recipe has not been tested with all the substitutions and variations below, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
- Cod: This recipe will work well with other mild-flavored white fish such as haddock, mahi mahi, hake and pollock.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps:
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions! *
Step 1: Prepare the blackened seasoning: Mix the smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder and optional oregano in a small bowl or place the same volume of ready-made seasoning into a bowl.
Step 2: Remove the excess moisture from the cod fillets with paper towels and lightly salt on both sides. Then place each fillet into the bowl with the spice mixture and turn until all sides are covered in a light layer of blackened seasoning.
Step 3: Place a large skillet on a medium-high heat and add oil. Add the cod fillets when the oil is hot and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan when both sides have developed a charred crust and serve immediately.
🍽 Serving suggestions:
With so many serving options, blackened fish never gets boring:
- A simple squeeze of lemon or fresh lime juice to contrast the smoky taste of the blackened crust.
- Sides: Rice, salad, green beans, fruit salsa, fries, and sweet potato fries.
- Cod tacos: Using flour or corn tortillas with some creamy tomato-free guacamole on the side.
- Fish sandwich using crusty bread, lettuce and tartar sauce.
👍 Top tips
- Remove excess moisture from the cod before you season it - this will ensure the blackened seasoning sticks to the fish and that you get that yummy charred crust.
- Season all sides thoroughly - for maximum flavour ensure all sides of the cod fillets have a light layer of seasoning on them before you start cooking. However, be sure to shake off any excess seasoning that may stick to the pan and burn.
- Use a non-stick skillet or seasoned cast-iron skillet - to prevent the cod from sticking.
- Get the oil hot before you add the cod fillets -nobody wants to miss out on the delicious charred crust so make sure the oil is smoking hot before you add the cod fillets. You can test whether the pan is hot enough to start cooking by adding a small drop of water. If it forms beads the pan is ready.
- Turn the cod fillets once - cod is a flaky fish that can be prone to falling apart. Ensure your fillets stay whole by checking to see if the underside is done before turning over.
You can store the cooked fish in the fridge for up to 2 days. Allow it to cool and place in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. Why not make extra so you have leftovers to add to a salad or for fish tacos the next day. Cooked blackened cod is not suitable for freezing.
The cajun pepper gives the seasoning a mild to medium heat. If you are very sensitive to spice you may want to reduce the amount of blackened seasoning.
They are similar and have the same main ingredients of paprika, Cajun pepper and garlic powder. Cajun seasoning is spicier than blackened. You can substitute blackened seasoning for cajun seasoning if you don't mind the extra heat.
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees f (63 °C). You can also cut into one of the fillets to check the flesh is hot and opaque.
More easy fish recipes
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Blackened seasoning (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp oregano optional
- 4 cod fillets (Note 2)
- Sea or kosher salt
- 2 tbsp groundnut or canola oil
- Mix the smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl. You can also use the same quantity of ready made blackened seasoning.
- Dry the cod fillets with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture.
- Sprinkle the cod fillets with salt on both sides.
- Then place each fillet into the blackened seasoning mixture. Turn over to ensure the fillets have an even covering of seasoning all both sides.
- Place a frying pan on a high heat and add the oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the cod fillets and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side. (notes 3, 4 & 5)
- Remove the fillets from the pan when they are done and serve immediately.
- Air fryer method:
- Follow steps 1-6 above then air fry the seasoned cod fillets at 180 C or 350F for approximately 7 mins, turning halfway
- Blackened seasoning. You can switch the homemade blackened seasoning for the same volume of cajun seasoning. Just note that it will be a little hotter.
- Cod: This recipe will work well with other mild-flavored white fish such as haddock, mahi mahi, hake, and pollock.
- Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the cod fillets. Check the underside of the cod fillets are done before you turn them over.
- Turning the cod: Cod is a flaky fish that can fall apart if handled too much.
- Checking doneness. The cod fillets are done when both sides have formed a charred crust. You can use an instant-read meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees f (63 °C). You can also cut into one of the fillets to check the flesh is hot and opaque.