Easy Baked Panko Crusted Cod

Easy oven-baked Panko fish that is crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky inside! This Panko crusted cod is one of the delicious and healthy baked fish recipes the whole family will love. Find out the secret to get breadcrumbs to stick to fish without egg!

Baked panko fish with yogurt sauce and garnished with parsley and lemon slices on a white plate.

Why you’ll love this baked panko fish recipe

Baked cod with Panko crust is made by seasoning the cod fillets first. (You can use any fish for this recipe.)

The fish fillets are then topped with a crust made of Panko breadcrumbs seasoned with herbs and spices. A binding agent is used to get the crust to stick to the fillets.

(Panko is my favorite type of breadcrumbs. I use them for making appetizers like crispy prawns fry and Italian cheese potato croquettes.)

The panko crumbed fish fillets are then baked, which results in flavorful, moist fish with a crunchy panko-herb crust.

I have adapted this panko fish recipe from my spicy baked lemon mustard fish recipe.

One of the healthy seafood recipes on our weekly dinner menu, this is a favorite main course everybody in my family loves. And yours will love it, too!

Serve this panko crusted fish with a super easy homemade parsley-yogurt sauce (recipe below). Pair it with a salad like beet orange salad, balsamic quinoa salad or no-mayo coleslaw for an easy, healthy dinner.

Watch how to make panko crusted cod

Ingredient notes

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Labelled ingredients to make panko crusted cod.
  • COD FILLETS– This recipe, like easy fish cutlets, is quite versatile. Any flaky fish can be used: cod, halibut, tilapia, haddock all work well for this recipe. I make this recipe with salmon sometimes and it tastes great. But personally, I feel salmon tastes better when paired with pesto as in pesto-crusted salmon. You may also like pan-fried recipes like paprika salmon with mango salsa, citrus-marinated salmon, or if you want to bake salmon, try these salmon kabobs on skewers.
  • MUSTARD– Mustard and fish taste amazing together. It also acts as a binding agent that helps the breadcrumbs stick to the fillet. I recommend whole-grain mustard since it adds more crunch and texture. But Dijon mustard also has its own advantages. Since it is creamier, it helps pack more breadcrumbs on the fillet that results in a thicker crust.
  • BREADCRUMBS– Ideally, Panko breadcrumbs give more crunch to the topping but if you don’t have them, regular ones can also be used.
  • SPICES AND HERBS– Chili powder and salt for seasoning the fish, red chili flakes, garlic powder, parsley and lemon zest for seasoning the breadcrumbs.
  • OIL– I’ve used olive oil here since it is a heat-stable healthy oil.
Baked panko crumbed fish on 2 white plates with yogurt sauce in a bowl next to them.

How to make panko crusted fish- step by step

How to season the fish

Season the fish fillets with chilli powder, salt and oil. The oil helps in cooking and also seals moisture within the fish. You can season in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Fish fillets seasoned with salt, oil and chili powder in a ziplock bag.

Panko seasoning for fish

Take panko breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Add red chili flakes, garlic powder, parsley and lemon zest.

Ingredients for panko seasoning in a glass bowl.

Toss all the ingredients together.

Seasoned breadcrumbs for fish in a glass bowl.

How to use panko crumbs on fish

Coat the top and sides of the fish fillets with mustard.

2 fish fillets being coated with wholegrain mustard.

Top liberally with the breadcrumb mixture and press. Spray the remaining oil evenly on the crust.

Oil being sprayed on 2 panko crusted fish fillets ready to be baked on a baking sheet.

How to bake panko crumbed fish

Bake the fillets at 200°C/ 400° F for 12 minutes. If your fillet is thicker (the fillet I used is about 1 inch thick), cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Baked fish with panko crumbs on a sheet pan.

Easy homemade parsley yogurt sauce

The cod fillets and the crust are well seasoned, so you’ll only need a simple yogurt sauce to make this Panko crusted cod a delicious dinner. Mix yogurt with parsley, cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Another option would be to pair the Panko cod with paprika feta dip with roasted red peppers, a spicy dip with bold flavors.

Panko cod also tastes amazing with creamy roasted garlic sauce.

Devour!

Additions and substitutions

  1. If chilli powder is too spicy for you, use pepper to season the fish.
  2. Feel free to add more seasoning like onion powder or ground coriander to the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. More herbs like chives and thyme can also be added. If you don’t have fresh ones, dried herbs would do.
  4. For added flavor, mix the whole grain mustard with a teaspoon of butter before spreading on the fillet.

Love fish? Try this simple 7-ingredient fish curry for an authentic Kerala experience.

Questions about baked fish with panko crumbs

  • What’s the best way to cook fish?

    The best way to cook fish depends on the type of fish, personal preference, and the cooking equipment available. Here are some common methods for cooking fish:
    Baking: It is one of the healthiest methods to cook fish since it limits loss of nutrients like Vitamin D and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (source) This method involves cooking fish in a preheated oven with a little oil or butter and seasoning. It’s best for thicker fillets like this panko crusted cod or whole fish like tandoori pomfret.
    Pan-frying: This method involves cooking fish in a frying pan with a little oil or butter. It’s a quick and easy method that can produce crispy skin and moist, flaky flesh. This method is best for thin fillets like tilapia or sole.
    Grilling: Grilling fish on a gas or charcoal grill is a healthy and flavorful option. Grilled fish has a smoky, charred flavor and crispy skin. It’s best for thicker, meatier fish like salmon, swordfish, or tuna.
    Poaching: Poaching involves cooking fish in liquid like water, broth, or wine. It’s a gentle cooking method that can keep the fish moist and tender. This method is best for delicate fish like cod or halibut.
    Steaming: Steaming fish involves cooking it over boiling water, either in a steamer basket or wrapped in parchment paper. It’s a healthy and low-fat cooking method that can produce moist, flaky fish. This method is best for delicate fish like sole or flounder.

  • How do you cook cod without making it rubbery?

    Temperature: Cod should be baked at 200°C/ 400° F for a perfectly cooked cod with a golden crust. A higher temperature would make the cod rubbery and burn the breadcrumbs. At a lower temperature, cod would be undercooked and the crust wouldn’t brown enough. (The internal temperature of cod should not exceed 62.8°C/145°F.)
    Time: The rule of thumb to bake fish is 5 to 6 minutes for every ½ inch of thickness.

  • Should you marinate cod before cooking?

    Cod has to be seasoned initially with chilli powder (or cayenne pepper), salt and oil. This helps the fillet retain flavor and moisture on the inside. Then top it up with seasoned breadcrumbs for the flavorful crust. If you don’t want the cod to be spicy, use black pepper instead of chili powder.

  • What is Panko?

    Panko is a variety of flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods. It is made from bread without a crust, and then grinding the bread to create fine slivers of crumb. They are lighter, absorb less oil, and stay crispy for longer than regular breadcrumbs.

  • What is the most common mistake when cooking fish?

    1. The most common mistake when cooking fish is overcooking it. Fish is delicate and cooks quickly. It has little fat to help keep it moist. If left on the heat for too long, it can become dry, tough, and rubbery
    Overcooking fish can also cause the proteins to denature and release a white liquid called albumin, which can make the fish look unappetizing and taste dry.
    2. Another common mistake when cooking fish is not seasoning it properly. Fish has a mild flavor, and it’s important to season it with salt and pepper or other spices to enhance its taste.
    3. Lastly, not paying attention to the freshness of the fish can also be a mistake. Fresh fish should have a mild odor, bright eyes, firm flesh, and shiny scales. If the fish smells overly fishy or has a slimy texture, it’s likely past its prime and may not cook properly.

Baked panko cod served with yogurt sauce and garnished with parsley and lemon slices in 2 white plates.

What to serve with panko cod

There are lots of options to choose from. Some of them would be:

Click here for more side dishes.

Spicy pasta like arrabiata spaghetti and red pesto pasta also go well with the mildly spiced Panko crumbed fish.

If you’re in the mood for healthier options, try:

Baked Panko cod with yogurt sauce and garnished with parsley and lemon slices in a white plate.

Easy Panko Crusted Cod Recipe

Easy oven-baked cod with Panko crust that is crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky inside! This panko crusted cod is one of the delicious and healthy baked fish recipes the whole family will love. Find out the secret to getting Panko crumbs to stay on the cod!
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 390 kcal

Ingredients
  

Seasoning for fish

  • 2 thick cut cod fillets (320 grams/ 11 ounces each) or 4 fillets, 160 grams/5.6 ounces each. (notes 1&2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne or black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For binding

  • 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

Panko seasoning

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (note 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup parsley tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1.5 teaspoons minced garlic)
  • zest of 1 large lemon

For parsley yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Season the fish fillets

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400° F.
  • Clean and season the cod fillets with chili powder, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
    2 thick cut cod fillets (320 grams/ 11 ounces each), 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Panko crumbed fish

  • Place the fish fillets on a baking tray. Coat the top surface of fish fillets with wholegrain mustard, dividing equally among the fillets.
    2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • Mix all the ingredients listed under panko seasoning.
    1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, zest of 1 large lemon
  • Take handfuls of the seasoned crumb mixture and spread on each fish fillet evenly. You will have enough mixture to cover the sides too, if you like more of the crust. Press the mixture carefully so it sticks to the mustard.
  • Spray the rest of the oil on the crust and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Test for doneness

  • The internal temperature of the fish should reach 62.8°C/145° F.
  • If you don't have a meat thermometer, check near the thickest part of the fillet with a fork. The fish must flake easily and should be white throughout. If not, bake for 2-3 minutes more. (note 4)

Parsley yogurt sauce

  • Mix together all ingredients for the yogurt sauce.
    1 cup yogurt, 3 tablespoons parsley, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Serve Panko crusted cod with the sauce.

Video

Notes

  1. If you don’t have cod, other flaky white fish like haddock, bass or halibut can be used.
  2. I have used huge fish fillets, each of which can serve 2 people. Feel free to slice each fillet into 2, either before cooking or after. (Or you can buy smaller ones!)
  3. Panko breadcrumbs are larger and extra crunchy, but if you don’t have them, you can use regular ones.
  4. The baking time depends on the thickness of the fillets. Fillets that are about 1 inch thick take 12 minutes. If yours is thicker, bake for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Serving suggestions: Serve with a salad or salsa:
The nutrition facts include those of baked fish and yogurt sauce.
Easy Baked Panko Crusted Cod

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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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6 thoughts on “Easy Baked Panko Crusted Cod”

  1. Just curious as I am making this, are bread crumbs an all just on the top? Or is it only mustard that is just on the top?

    1. Hi Maurice, thanks for trying out the recipe!
      Spread mustard on top and the sides (all exposed sides) and coat (again, all exposed sides) with bread crumbs. Mustard will help the crumbs stick to the fish.

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