Meatless Monday Challenge

5-Ingredient Baked Cod with Panko

on April 30, 2024
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Make baked crispy cod at home with just 5 ingredients with this easy recipe! With a panko breadcrumb crust, this white fish dish is crispy on the outside, and perfectly flaky on the inside. Only 20 minutes required!
Crispy cod with panko crust served with lemon wedges.

This baked cod with panko is the simplest way to get bold flavor and a nice crunch on your cod in the oven! The panko and Parmesan crust is seasoned simply yet effectively with Old Bay Seasoning and lemon juice.

Simple ingredients combined with simple technique means this delicious cod recipe only requires 5 ingredients and 20 minutes to make. Plus, this recipe plays up the natural flavor in the fish, for a delightful fish dish that boasts the perfect texture.

Panko baked cod on a pink plate with a flaky forkful taken out.

In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make a simple panko crust for cod without the need for an egg wash.

Panko Baked Cod Ingredients

Here’s everything you need:

  • Cod. I used individual 4-ounce portions of frozen cod, defrosted. You can use fresh or frozen, just make sure it’s fully thawed before you get started.
  • Panko. Other breadcrumbs work in a pinch, but panko gets the crispiest. You can even make your own panko breadcrumbs at home.
  • Parmesan cheese. If you want a dairy-free version, you can skip the Parm and add extra panko.
  • Old Bay Seasoning. Or other seafood seasoning of choice. None on hand? Check out Every Old Bay Seasoning Substitute.
  • Lemon juice.
All ingredients needed for baked cod with panko including panko breadcrumbs, Old Bay seasoning, cod, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese.

Sustainable Seafood

As an environmental scientist, I prioritize sourcing my seafood in a responsible way, to honor my commitment to sustainability.

If you are a U.S. resident, when it comes to cod, look for wild caught Atlantic cod with a blue Marine Stewardship Council certification to make sure you are sourcing your fish sustainably.

Green tip: Look for Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea labels on your fish to ensure they were harvested sustainably.

How to Make Panko-Crusted Cod

How to Prep Cod for Baking

Before baking the cod, it’s best to remove excess moisture. This helps to get the crispiest exterior on your fish! Pat the cod dry with a paper towel to easily soak up the liquid.

This is the same technique I use in this Bang Bang Salmon recipe.

Green tip: Paper products contribute to deforestation. Consider these bamboo paper towels! Bamboo naturally regenerates every few months, whereas trees cannot regrow once harvested.

For this crusted fish recipe, you can easily use either fresh or frozen cod! Just thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator or add it to a plastic or reusable storage bag and submerge the bag in cold water for about 45 minutes to defrost.

If your cod is not already divided into individual portions, slice them into about 4-ounces pieces now.

Using a paper towel to blot dry cod, removing excess moisture.

How to Make a Panko Crust for Cod

This 4-ingredient panko-based crust is super easy to make. Just add your panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice to a shallow bowl.

Use a fork to whisk and combine. The lemon juice may cause there to be some clumps in your crust mixture, and that’s perfectly okay.

Panko-based crust mixture with Parmesan cheese, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice.

How to Crust Cod with Panko without an Egg Wash

This recipe is intentionally paired back to make it simple, quick, and the opposite of overwhelming. That means we are using only what’s necessary to get a nice flaky baked fish with a crispy outer exterior.

There’s no egg wash here to adhere the panko, so we are relying on technique to get the crust on the cod. The raw cod itself is naturally a little sticky.

Use clean hands to press a generous amount of the crust mixture into the fish filet, coating it with about an inch of crust on each side.

Pressing panko crust mixture into raw cod to form a crispy outer layer.

How to Bake Cod with Panko to Get it Crispy

Once your cod is coated in your panko crust, carefully transfer it to a lined baking sheet.

You can line it with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat. This will just allow it to easily peel away once baked and ready to serve, so none of your crust sticks to the baking sheet and gets left behind.

Make sure your oven is fully pre-heated to 400°F before placing your cod in the oven. Bake it on the top rack for 10-12 minutes. The internal temperature of the cod should reach 145°F, and the panko crust should be crispy to touch.

Cod crusted with panko ready to bake in the oven.

How to Serve Baked Cod with Panko

This cod is super versatile and pairs deliciously with a variety of sides! Here are some of my favorites:

Two plates of panko-crusted cod served with lemon wedges and fresh basil.

How to Properly Store and Reheat Panko-Crusted Cod

Once cooked, your Baked Cod with Panko will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze your panko-crusted cod for up to 3 months.

To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, and bake your cod for a second time at 275°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature once again reaches 125°F.

Green tip: Did you know that of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes? Properly storing, reheating, and enjoying leftovers is a great way to reduce your contribution to food waste.

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Why You Should Bake Cod with a Panko Crust

  • The texture. The panko forms a nice and crispy exterior to encase the flaky fish.
  • It’s minimalist. This recipe only requires 5 ingredients to make.
  • It comes together quickly. You only need 20 minutes start to finish to get dinner on the table.

If you’re loving this Baked Panko Cod and want more crispy fish recipes, check out this Beer Battered Halibut and Pistachio Crusted Salmon.

Crispy cod with panko crust served with lemon wedges.

5-Ingredient Baked Cod with Panko

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Marley Goldin
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Make baked crispy cod at home with just 5 ingredients with this easy recipe! With a panko breadcrumb crust, this white fish dish is crispy on the outside, and perfectly flaky on the inside. Only 20 minutes required!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 8 ounces cod (individual 4-ounce portions)
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or other seafood seasoning of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (1 lemon = approx. 4 tablespoons juice)
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  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Prep your cod by cutting into individual portions (about 4 ounces each) and removing skin if necessary and patting dry with paper towels (try these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option!).
  • In a small mixing bowl, make your crust mixture by adding Panko, Parmesan, Old Bay, and lemon juice and stirring to combine. The moisture from the lemon juice may cause some clumps — that's okay!
  • Use clean hands to press the crust into the cod, coating it generously on both sides. Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the internal temperature of the cod reaches 125°F.

Pro Tips

  • If you don’t have Panko, you can replace it with any plain breadcrumbs. 
  • For a dairy-free version, simply omit the Parmesan cheese and add an extra 2 tablespoons of Panko or breadcrumbs.
  • For more easy pescatarian recipes, check out this list of 5 ingredient or less fish recipes


Share This Recipe

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, 5 Ingredients or Less, Baked Cod, Fish Dinner, Panko-Crusted Cod, Pescatarian
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