Pan Fried Cod in a basil and citrus butter sauce. This is so easy to make, and it’s perfect for a special dinner or even a quick and light lunch. Chunks of pan fried cod are cooked in a citrus butter basil sauce!
This recipe has been updated since it’s original post date
Cod is one of my favorite fish, next to salmon and this pan fried cod is perfect for dinner. It looks fancy but It’s super easy to make and only takes about twenty five minutes. Cod is especially perfect for this recipe because of its firmness and ability to stay whole as it cooks.
The first step is to make the marinade and let the cod soak in it for a while. This is where that fresh citrus flavor comes from. The longer you marinade the better the flavor, so I suggest at least an hour. To cook the cod, you’ll need a good non-stick pan. Sear the cod on each side for about 3 minutes and then place it into a warm oven while you make the sauce.
FAQ’s about making pan fried cod
This is a really simple recipe with only a few fresh ingredients to hunt down. If you can’t find cod, you could use any firm white fish such as halibut, monkfish, rockfish or sea bass. Salmon, my favorite fish of all time would work well too but just make sure it’s Copper River Salmon for the best quality! Cod is also a great fish for any occasion and makes the best fish and chips! If you haven’t cooked cod before see my post about how easy it is to cook cod.
I always tend to use salted butter just because of the added flavor, but if you’re watching your salt intake go with unsalted.
You could but the results will be nowhere near as good if you skip the fresh basil!
Cod is a firm fleshed fish meaning it won’t break apart like other thinner fish like tilapia or dover sole. That’s why cod make the best fish and chips and makes it easy for the batter to stick to the fish. Cod also flakes really well and is very easy to cook
more great fish recipes
Pan Fried Cod in a Citrus and Basil Butter Sauce
- 2 8 oz white cod filets
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup olive oil divided
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- Salt and black pepper
- Fresh basil
- Lay the cod filets in a shallow pan or baking dish.
- Zest 1 orange and 1 lemon and add zest to the fish.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange and lemon you just zested and add to the top of the fish.
- Add ¼ cup of the olive oil. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a large oven safe saute pan heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil until hot.
- Carefully shake the excess marinade from the fish, saving it, and drop the fish into the pan.
- Season the fish with some salt and black pepper.
- Cook over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes and then flip and repeat on the other side.
- Place the fish into the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.
- In another smaller pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter and add the sugar and remaining leftover marinade from the fish.
- Slice the remaining orange in half and squeeze the juice into the pan.
- Bring to a boil whisking regularly until the sauce has thickened slightly and reduced by almost half.
- Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to the pan.
- Add about ¼ cup of finely shredded basil leaves to the sauce and the remaining 1 tbsp of butter whisking until the butter melts.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Bring the fish from the oven and place on your plate. Spoon some of the thickened sauce over it.
- Add more basil if desired and serve with rice or quinoa o the side.
You had me at basil butter sauce, what a killer meal!
Gerry, what a gorgeous dish…bursting with bright flavors this is a perfect Springtime meal. I would love to try it soon. Pinned for later. Have a wonderful weekend, Catherine
This looks delicious! I should really cook with fish more often!
Can’t wait to try this…..sounds delish!
This sounds delicious! I have pinned it and hope to make it this weekend. Your photos are stunning. To enter the giveaway, do you just leave a comment or did I miss something in the post? Thanks!
Beautiful pan and the cod with basil butter sauce looks amazing!
I adore cod in any form but this sounds particularly delicious! Pinning!
I love this recipe! It looks so pretty and delicious.
I’ve been looking for a yummy recipe for fish. I’m a novice at cooking fish so is helpful. Sounds like dinner to me.
Basil butter – YUM! The recipe AND the cookware are gorgeous!
Can’t wait to give this one a try with the oranges and lemons from the backyard!
This cod! This sauce! I want to pour that sauce on the cod AND my face! Can’t wait to try this recipe! Pinned!
Gorgeous photos! I really need to master cooking fish :)
Basil and orange – I can’t say I’ve tried this combination before, but something tells me I’d be all over it. What a perfect way to cook fish – and in a rather nice looking pan!
This recipe looks so fresh, bright, and delicious
That sauce looks so delicious and I am a big fish fan so yum! Thanks for the chance.
I’m always looking for new ways to prepare fish, and this recipe looks amazing! And I have my fingers crossed, hoping to win a shiny new pan :)
The recipe look sgreat.
Can’t rate the recipe as I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds fantastic! Love citrus and basil with fish (ok – LOVE citrus and basil!). Definitely trying this over the weekend. Found your blog through Elise at Simply Recipes.
Not sure how to enter the giveaway, but would love to … could use a new saute pan. Will check your blog again when I have more time to check out your other recipes.
Glad to have you visit Cathy!
I love fish and with basil and citrus, it’s a hands down,winner. Love the pans also. Do you have to enter somewhere to win the pan?
A comment is how you enter Patricia :)
The food and photos are amazing
Thanks Harmony :)
I brought this to a dinner and it was a hit! It’s light, refreshing, and satisfying all at the same time. I added some paprika before serving for a little kick. Will definitely be making it again thank you!
Hi Rachel, thanks for the feedback, it’s really important and i’m so glad you liked it. Love the paprika touch!
Thanks for sharing the recipe! I tried it last night and it was excellent. I did have to add a little more sweetness to the sauce, went with some honey instead of more sugar, guessing my citrus was much more tart. But overall a wonderfully flavorful dish.
Yum! Looks like the perfect springtime meal. I have this bookmarked for tomorrow night. We have to mark National Grilled Cheese Day with some chicken avocado grilled cheese sandwiches tonight.
zested – not tested.
Oh my goodness this makes me want to go to the kitchen right now (and do what, I don’t know haha)!! Looks amazing!
Having lived for many years in New England, I do love cod and shall try this recipe for Meatless Monday. Thanks for the inspiration.
Basil butter sauce? Yes, please! This will be my dinner tomorrow night!
Not a fish fan, but think I could like this!
I would feel like Queen of the Kitchen if I had such gorgeous cookware!
Wow, I cant wait to try this recipe. We love cod and who doesn’t LOVE butter??? Thanks for the opportunity to win a pan. Good Luck y’all!
Umm, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love butter Lynn ;)
Made this last night came out great using orange roughy.
Great Renda, I love the feedback :)
I made this recipe, loved the idea of. Citrus and basil but instructions were complicated to follow. I loved the flavor of the recipe, husband did not.
Hey Ronda, glad you liked the flavor and I really appreciate the feedback :)
Trying it out now sounds great and tasty will comeback with feedback
This was a fantastic recipe . Bright and very citrusy.
I started by quartering a sweet potato and baking it at 400 degrees for 20 min on both sides. I also added half of a chopped onion when frying the fish. Additionally, rather than placing the fish in the oven while making the sauce, I fried the fish and made the sauce at the same time – both took 8 minutes. I sliced the potato and combined everything along with roughly a cup of quinoa. I’m going to try the dish with carrots and perhaps some red peppers for color nex time.
Awesome Courtney and I love the way you adapted it! Thanks :)
This was very tasty. I would omit the sugar next time. I rarely make recipes with sugar, but included a scant tbls of brown sugar in this one. I feel it would def., be sweet enough for us without. Adding this to my go to fish recipes.
Thanks for the feedback Rachel!!
Wonderful flavor! Thanks for this recipe!
Thanks Kay, glad you liked it!
So good! By far my favorite fish dish.
Great recipe substituted haddock for cod and paired with dry Riesling
Love the pans also. Do you have to enter somewhere to win the pan?
What is the nutritional values, particularly sodium
This recipe was a huge hit with me and my visiting 89yo dad. I grow my own basil and needed to use some up. I can’t have cow’s milk so I used Miyoko’s Vegan Butter instead. (Could that be why it did not thicken up all that much?) Regardless, we could not get over how flavorful the citrus sauce was! Fresh basil MAKES IT. We paired the fish with steamed broccoli and a sweet Riesling. Come to find out, the sauce was amazing over the broccoli as well. I think we will make this recipe one more time before my dad flies home! =) Thank you.
I just came across this recipe & would love to try it out! Do you think I could skip the frying fish in the pan and instead cook it in the oven (low and slow, or high and quick)? Thank you so much!
Hi Petra, a fish like cod is best seared at a high heat in my opinion to get that nice crust on the outside. You could cook this in the oven but it might take a good bit longer to complete.
I’m not a huge fish person but this recipe caught my eye and now I plan on making it. Looks delicious and light. Great for a summer meal.
Absolutely delicious. Perfect summer dinner. Whole family loved it!