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Easy Pan Fried Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce

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Looking for an easy weeknight meal that does not involve chicken? I got you! This Easy Pan Fried Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce is a delicious, healthy dinner that can be on your table in 15 minutes!!! Tender, flaky cod is gently coated in seasoned flour, then pan seared to create a most perfect crust. A buttery, lemon sauce only takes minutes to prepare and is the perfect compliment to any white fish.

This protein-packed, weeknight fish dinner recipe will easily feed three adults, or two adults and two children.

five pieces of easy pan seared cod sitting on a french platter and each piece drizzled with lemon butter sauce with fresh parsley garnishing the entire dish

WHY THIS EASY PAN FRIED COD RECIPE IS PERFECT FOR A QUICK WEEKNIGHT MEAL

First, this is a really quick and easy fish recipe. Secondly, if you are feeding a family, cod is a great choice as it is not only budget-friendly, but it’s mild flavor will be kid-approved! Lastly, this easy fish dinner is full of protein and low in carbs!

Cod is also great as the main character in my recipe for Beer Battered Fish and Chips, or try out my Cod with Cherry Tomatoes recipe!

What does cod taste like?

Pacific or Atlantic Cod is found in most markets. Cod has a firm, white flesh with a flaky texture. The flavor is mild, and not “fishy,” making cod one of the most versatile types of fish for meal preparation.

Fresh fish is best, but frozen can also be used in this easy fish recipe. Thaw frozen cod, prior to preparation.

If cooked properly, cod will have a flaky, soft texture and will take on the flavor pairings.

If you do not have access to cod, or do not enjoy this mild fish, any of these substitutions will work in this easy pan fried fish recipe:

  • haddock (probably the closest substitute, mild, sweet flavor)
  • pollack (stronger flavor)
  • hake (mild flavor)
  • flounder (mild, near the same price point, thinner fish so cooking time would be reduced)
  • halibut (stronger flavor and very pricey)
  • tilapia (mild flavor, smaller, thinner filets)
  • mahi-mahi (mid-range in price and flavorful)
  • grouper (a bit stronger flavor and also rather pricey)
  • Chilean sea bass (firmer texture, buttery flavor and pricey)
5 seasoned cod filets sitting on a white cutting board

TIPS ON MAKING THE BEST PAN FRIED COD

  • avocado oil or vegetable oil are great substitutes for canola oil.
  • Make sure the oil is hot prior to adding the fish to the pan
  • Do not overcrowd the pan (this will cause the fish to steam and not brown)
  • Allow the fish to brown on one side before flipping or moving around in the pan
  • Cook time will depend on the thickness of the fish filets (thick filets allow about 5 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other)
  • Cod is done once it starts to flake and turns opaque (inside temperature should be 145°)
  • Transfer fish to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil before plating

Why is my fish sticking to the pan?

Your pan is probably not the problem! It’s all about technique. Here are a few tips that may help prevent any fish from sticking to any pan when searing on a stovetop:

  • allow the fish to come to room temperature
  • do NOT forget to pat dry
  • seasoning will help provide a barrier between the fish and the pan
  • the pan (oil) needs to be hot
  • just let it be! (the more you mess with it, the more likely the fish will stick to the pan and break apart)

What to serve with Pan Fried Cod?

This easy pan fried cod with lemon butter sauce is so versatile and can be served in so many ways:

  • steamed rice and vegetables
  • mashed potatoes
  • french fries
  • pasta
  • steamed vegetables
lemon butter sauce in a pan for easy pan fried cod recipe

Storage and leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat in the oven, air fryer or on the stovetop.

Print
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five pieces of easy pan seared cod sitting on a french platter and each piece drizzled with lemon butter sauce with fresh parsley garnishing the entire dish

Easy Pan Fried Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce


Description

Looking for an easy weeknight meal that does not involve chicken? I got you! This Easy Pan Fried Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce is a delicious, healthy dinner that can be on your table in 15 minutes!!! Tender, flaky cod is gently coated in seasoned flour, then pan seared to create a most perfect crust. A buttery, lemon sauce only takes minutes to prepare and is the perfect compliment to any white fish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 to 5, 4-ounce cod filets (1.5 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

FOR THE FLOUR DREDGE:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

FOR THE LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • juice of one lemon

 


Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
  2. Heat oil to medium-high in a pan.
  3. Pat the cod filets with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Season both sides of the cod with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice on all sides of the fish.
  6. Lightly coat the cod filets in the flour mixture. 
  7. Place cod in the heated oil. Allow to brown and form a crust before flipping (should take about 5 to 6 minutes for a thick cod filet).
  8. Brown the opposite side for about three minutes. 
  9. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
  10. Add the fish to a platter.
  11. In the same pan, remove a bit of the oil (leave any browned bits)
  12. On medium heat, melt the butter with the garlic. Add in the fresh parsley.
  13. Cook for just a few minutes to soften the garlic. Do NOT brown!
  14. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice.
  15. Cook for another minute.
  16. Drizzle the lemon butter sauce onto the fish.
  17. Serve and ENJOY!

Notes

SEE POST FOR NOTES AND TIPS!

* DO NOT MISS, HOW TO KEEP YOUR FISH FROM STICKING TO THE PAN!

  • Prep Time: 4 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 ounces

Keywords: how to prepare easy pan fried cod, substitutes for cod, white fish recipes, easy weeknight fish recipes, easy cod recipes, why is my fish sticking to the pan, how to make a lemon butter sauce for fish, how to sauté fish, quick and easy weeknight dinner ideas,

GET TO KNOW ME!

I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him!

Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!

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