Flaky baked cod with a delicious panko topping flavoured with Parmesan, fresh parsley and a little mustard. A healthier alternative to fried breaded cod, but still perfectly crispy. An ideal weeknight recipe that you can get on your plate in less than 30 minutes using your oven or Air Fryer.
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!
✅ 5 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Easy and ready in 25 mins - this recipe really could not be any simpler. Just mix together the ingredients for the panko topping, prep the cod fillets, and let your oven or air fryer do the rest. Perfect for a weeknight!
- Healthy and perfectly crispy - much better for you than fried panko cod but still perfectly crispy.
- Super tasty - flaky baked cod with a crispy panko topping flavoured with umami Parmesan, fresh parsley and a small amount of tangy mustard.
- Made with a few simple everyday ingredients - you'll be able to find everything you need to make this recipe in your local store. No shopping around required.
- Versatile - serve with green veg or a simple side salad or serve with some buttery potatoes or rice if you want to make more of a meal of it. There are lots of options.
- Oven baked or air fryer - this recipe includes an oven baked and air fryer method.
🛒 Ingredients and variations:
This super speedy and easy recipe requires a few simple ingredients. You'll be able to find them all at your local store, and you may even have most of them in your kitchen already.
- Cod - can be fresh or frozen. If you are using frozen cod make sure you thaw it first in the refrigerator and remove any moisture using kitchen paper before you add the panko mixture.
- Panko breadcrumbs - these are readily available to buy, but you can also make your own.
- Parsley - adds a freshness to the panko crust. You can use basil or dried herbs instead.
- Parmesan - can be switched for other hard cheeses with a similar flavour profile such as Grana Padano or Pecorino.
🧑🍳 Baked cod with panko in 3 easy steps
1. Prepare the panko mixture
Mix olive oil, butter, mustard, Parmesan, panko breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
2. Prepare the cod
Pat the cod fillets dry with kitchen paper and coat the top and sides of the cod with the panko mixture using your hands.
3. Oven bake or air fry
Oven method: Place the cod fillets onto a lightly greased baking dish or sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 200C or 400F until the cod is cooked through and the panko topping is starting to turn brown.
Air fryer: Heat the air fryer to 200C or 400F and brush the air fryer basket with oil. Place the panko cod fillets into the basket and air fry for 10-14 minutes until the topping is brown and crisp.
Top tip: Fish is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 140F or 60C. Use a fish thermometer to check the doneness or cut into the thickest part to check the inside of the fillets are cooked.
👍 Top tips for perfect baked panko cod
- Use skinless cod fillets or remove the skin before you get started - fish skin is delicious when it is crispy, but that is not possible when you bake it. Most cod fillets you buy are skinless. If your cod fillets have skin, it's best to remove the skin before you get started. You can grill the skin separately if you would like and enjoy some crispy skin on the side.
- Use room temperature butter - the butter binds the panko mixture together, but it will not work so well if the butter is cold. Soften the butter in the microwave if you are in a hurry.
- Use your air fryer if you have one - get delicious cod fillets with a perfectly crisp panko topping without having to wait for the oven to heat up.
- Adjust the timings depending on the size and thickness of your cod fillets - Get the best results by checking for doneness instead of following the exact timings in the recipe. This recipe has been tested with cod fillets that are approx 125g each and 2 cm / 1 inch thick, but you may need to add/remove some time depending on the size of your fillets.
- Check doneness of the baked or air fried cod fillets - by cutting into one of the fillets to see if the flesh is opaque and hot in the middle or use a fish thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 60C or 140F.
🍽 Serving suggestions
Panko baked cod is very versatile and can be enjoyed with potatoes, rice, peas, green vegetables like beans or broccoli or with a simple potato salad or side salad.
Cod is generally considered a healthy choice because it is high in protein, low in fat and contains some iodine that aids thyroid function. However, cod does contain a little mercury, so it's best not to eat it in excess - no more than four times a week for most people and two if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Use wet ingredients to form an emulsion so that your breadcrumbs stick. Examples include butter, oil, mayonnaise, and egg wash.
Panko is made from crustless white bread that is blitzed into small flakes and then dried. Panko breadcrumbs are dryer than normal breadcrumbs and have a crispier texture when baked or fried.
Panko baked (or air fried) cod tastes best when served immediately. If you have leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for a couple of days but note that the topping will lose its crispiness and the cod is likely to become dryer. Cover with foil and reheat in the oven for best results, but you can also reheat in the microwave if you are in a hurry. This dish is not suitable for freezing.
🐟 Check out my other easy fish recipes
Fish is tasty, nutritious and often very quick and easy to cook. If you enjoyed this baked panko cod recipe, you should check out these other speedy week-night friendly fish recipes.
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
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