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This creamy lemon parmesan cod recipe is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Tender, flaky cod is smothered in a bright and comforting sauce for an elevated weeknight meal.

You may also like my Fish Tacos or Creamy Lemon Garlic Parmesan Shrimp next.

a skillet with creamy lemon parmesan cod and a serving spoon

Why you’ll love it

This juicy cod in cream sauce is ready in just 30 minutes, so it’s a great meal to add to your rotation when you’re craving something other than chicken. The luxurious sauce is perfectly balanced with notes of garlic, lemon, and parmesan, yet it’s simple to make.

Even if you’re not a fan of fish generally, this creamy garlic cod will change your mind! Cod is a mild white fish that isn’t overpowering. It has a slightly sweet flavor to it, which is what makes it so appealing. That also means it’s a great introduction to seafood.

What you’ll need

  • Cod – we’re using fillets of this mild, versatile North Atlantic fish
  • Flour – it’s so the fish doesn’t stick to the skillet and can brown quickly. Also, it helps thicken the sauce.
  • Butter – for pan frying and the base of the sauce
  • Garlic – another layer of savory flavor
  • Heavy cream – it enhances the silky texture of the sauce and adds rich flavor
  • Lemon juice – this bright citrus quality perfectly complements fish
  • Italian seasoning – my go-to all-purpose blend of dried herbs in a single jar
  • Parmesan – always grate your own for best taste and meltability
  • Parsley – for a pop of freshness and herb flavor
ingredients for creamy lemon parmesan cod in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • Use a Microplane zester to get that perfect dusting of parmesan to melt effortlessly into the sauce.
  • Here is the cast iron skillet I use and a silicone spatula to flip the fish.
  • I like this butter dish because it has markings right on it to easily measure it out.

How to make creamy lemon parmesan cod

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

pan searing cod in a skillet and making garlic butter lemon sauce

Cut the cod fillet into 4 pieces. Season with salt & pepper, and dredge in flour. Add two-thirds of the butter to a skillet. Once hot, add the fish and cook for a couple of minutes per side, then transfer it to a plate. Let the skillet cool a bit, then add the remaining butter.

adding parmesan and parsley to a skillet with creamy sauce and returning cod to the pan

Stir in the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon flour, cooking for a minute. Add in the heavy cream, lemon, and Italian seasoning, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the parmesan and parsley. Return the cod, and finish cooking it until flaky, taking care not to overcook it.

Helpful tips

  • Cod is easy to overcook, so be mindful of suggested cooking times. It’s done when it flakes easily with a fork and is opaque vs. translucent.
  • Don’t worry if the cod breaks apart a bit when you try to flip it. It’ll still taste good even if it doesn’t look perfect!

Substitutions and variations

  • Add in some capers to make this a creamy cod piccata!
  • If you happen to have some fresh dill or chives, they would make a tasty addition to the sauce.
  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream for something lower fast because the sauce is likely to curdle due to the lemon.
  • Another mild white fish such as halibut would work well.

What to serve with creamy lemon cod

Leftovers and storage

  • Stove any leftover cod for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat so as to not dry out the fish or separate the sauce.
  • I don’t recommend freezing it. The texture of fish and sauce won’t come out the same!
a plate with creamy lemon parmesan cod, mashed potatoes, and green beans

If you made this creamy cod recipe, please leave a star rating and review below! You can also tag me on Instagram if you made this or any S&L recipe.

a skillet with creamy lemon parmesan cod and a serving spoon
5 from 2 votes

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Cod

This creamy lemon parmesan cod recipe is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Tender, flaky cod is smothered in a bright and comforting sauce for an elevated weeknight meal.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound cod see note
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour + extra for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Instructions 

  • Let the cod sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so prior to starting the recipe if possible. Cut it into 4 equal pieces. Season each piece with salt & pepper then coat in flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan heat up for a few minutes. Once the pan is hot, add the cod and cook for 2 minutes/side. Transfer the cod to a plate (use a spatula as it falls apart easily).
  • Take the skillet off the burner for a minute or so to let it cool a bit.
  • Add the remaining butter to the skillet over medium heat. Once it's melted, stir in the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon flour and cook for about a minute.
  • Stir in the cream, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Add the cod back into the pan and let it finish cooking for a few minutes (be careful not to overcook especially if you've got very thin pieces). It should flake easily with a fork. Spoon some sauce over top and season with extra salt & pepper as needed.

Notes

  • A bit over a pound of cod will work fine. 
  • Don’t recommend subbing the cream as the lemon juice is likely to curdle it and the sauce won’t thicken as well. 

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 365mg, Potassium: 573mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1377IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 178mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    5 stars
    Best cod I’ve ever eaten. Absolutely delicious recipe. Thank you very much

    1. Natasha says:

      That makes me so happy, Manny!! 😀 Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I added dill to mine. Super easy and quick, yet tastes so upscale! This was my first time cooking cod like this and the notes in the recipe were very helpful.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much, Amanda!! I’m so glad it worked out!! 😀