Delicious Baked Cod with tomatoes, onions, basil and lemon is an easy dinner recipe perfect for busy weeknights and impressive enough for entertaining too.
This favorite fish recipe is one of those low calorie recipes the whole family will love. The flavors are light and fresh and the baked fish cooks in 15 minutes tops.
It's a healthy recipe that's fresh, light and delicious!
It's also an easy recipe to change up using a method that doesn't require lots of fats or breading for perfectly flaky fish every time.
Easy Baked Cod Recipe
This recipe is so easy and filled with light, fresh flavors. The preparation is minimal and the cooking time fast.
Only a few wholesome ingredients are needed and nothing hard to find. When done cooking the fish flakes beautifully!
Cod is a thicker white fish with a meatier texture. It's the main fish used in fish sticks due to its mild flavor, flaky consistency when cooked and thickness.
The simple baked cod recipe highlights all those features along with the fresh flavor of the other ingredients.
It's perfect for healthy dinners and one of those easy dinner recipes you'll want to make on repeat.
Fish en Papillote
It sounds fancy but cooking 'en papillote' is simply a French term for cooking 'in paper'. It refers to a cooking technique that allows steam to cook lighter proteins like fish or chicken in parchment paper or in a piece of aluminum foil.
It's a great way to use less fats in cooking and is an exciting end presentation when serving as well.
It only requires a baking sheet for the packets to sit on when baking too so clean up is easy. It's fast and easy enough for a weeknight but beautiful when entertaining guests too.
White fish is usually common to cook this way though other types of fish can also be used too.
What makes this skinny?
- light fish is a lean protein
- very little oil (½ teaspoon per serving) and no extra fats for cooking
- steaming the ingredients in parchment paper
- No panko breadcrumbs, no garlic butter
This method offers a big calorie savings from methods like pan frying or roasting with more oil to keep the fish moist and tender.
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Cod filets. One pound of cod fish fillets are used. Fresh cod or frozen and thawed can be used. Choose four filets the same size so they all cook in the same amount of time.
Salt and pepper. Salt and pepper the fillets generously before cooking.
Red onion. Use half a medium red onion, thinly sliced.
Cherry tomatoes. You'll need one pint of cherry tomatoes, halved.
Lemon Zest. Always zest the lemon before juicing it. I love this zester for fast zesting and not taking off any of the bitter pitch.
Lemon Juice. Use fresh lemon juice. It does make a difference. place the lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds before zesting or juicing to release more juice.
Fresh basil. Two tablespoons of thinly sliced fresh basil will be used.
Olive oil. Two teaspoons of olive oil.
Parchment paper. This will make the cooking packets.
Use a different type of fish. Any flaky white fish can be used for this recipe. Tilapia, Mahi Mahi or Striped Bass are all great choices.
Change up the vegetables. Use other quick cooking vegetables in the paper packets. If using thinner pieces of fish the cooking time may need to be adjusted (it may cook faster).
Try different fresh herbs. Dill is another delicious herb to use with lemon on fish. Pick fresh herbs you love and create a totally new combination!
How to make Baked Cod - Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F. Tear sheets of parchment paper approximately 13-inches by 16-inches.
STEP 2. Prepare the cooking packets
Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper.
Add ¼ of the sliced onions on the center of each parchment paper sheet (photo 1).
Next place a cod fillet on top of the onions (photo 2). Add the cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, drizzle lemon juice and basil on top of the fish (photos 3-6).
Drizzle ½ teaspoon of olive oil over the ingredients in each packet.
Working with the long edge first, tightly roll the ends together to form a seal. Roll up each end (photo 7).
STEP 3. Bake
Place packets on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 145 degrees F. Do not over cook.
When finished cooking carefully unroll or tear each packet being mindful of escaping steam. Garnish with more basil and serve immediately.
Notes: If you don’t have cod, any flaky white fish will work. Tilapia, Mahi Mahi or Striped Bass are good options.
Be careful not to over cook the cod. If overcooked the fish can become chewy. It's best to cook it about 12 minutes and check the temperature with a meat thermometer (I prefer an instant read food thermometer).
Open packets carefully after cooking. Steam will be released after cooking so open the parchment packets carefully.
Use same size fish fillets. They will cook in the same amount of time.
How to Store it
This recipe is best eaten when freshly made. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day.
Reheating can result in the fish being overcooked and not having the same flaky texture.