Baked Fish with Breadcrumbs

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Baked fish with breadcrumbs can be prepped in 5 minutes and cooks in under 15 minutes for a fast and delicious weeknight dinner. Golden brown crispy breadcrumb topping adds so much flavor to the delicate, flakey white fish underneath.

The breaded fish is on a blue plate with a scoop of rice pilaf.

The easiest way to make a baked cod super delicious is to add butter and breadcrumbs.

Who can resist that golden brown crispy breadcrumb topping with melted butter drizzling down the sides??

Pair it with a simple rice side dish and your favorite green veggie for a fast and easy family dinner that is ready in no time at all.

Why This is the Best Recipe

The FDA recommends that most American families eat at least two servings of fish per week. Baked cod is listed among their "Best Choices" and is a budget-friendly option for serving seafood to your family.

As you're looking for the best way to prepare whitefish for your family, I think this is the best baked fish with breadcrumbs recipe because:

  1. Kid-Friendly: Many kids struggle to enjoy the texture of cooked fish. The golden brown crispy breadcrumbs on top help improve the texture and flavor of the dish for picky eaters.
  2. Well Seasoned: The breadcrumb mixture is seasoned with a heavy hand of spices for the grown-ups but is still a family-friendly balance.
  3. Easy to Prep & Cook: With just a few minutes of time to prep it and 15 minutes to cook it, this is a perfect recipe for a busy night dinner.


The ingredients to make baked fish with breadcrumbs are on the counter.

Baked fish with breadcrumbs only needs a few simple ingredients:

  • White Fish: I recommend buying fresh cod or flounder from the seafood department of your grocery store. They are both budget-friendly fish options but should be consumed the same day you buy them. If you prefer to use a frozen fish, you can use your favorite frozen white fish fillets but see my make ahead notes below for more tips.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: These plain breadcrumbs have excellent crunch when baked. If you can't find them, you can substitute plain breadcrumbs. Italian seasoned breadcrumbs would work fine in a pinch.
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic Salt
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper: The breadcrumb topping has a slight kick but is not too spicy. If you're sensitive, you can omit this just fine.

Prep the Fish

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and lay the fish fillets in an even layer.

Brush the tops with the olive oil.

There is plenty of seasoning in the breadcrumbs mixture, but now would be a good time to sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the fish, too.

I happen to keep a jar of this Friday Fish Fry Seasoning in my pantry because it has salt, pepper, and a hint of lemon in it. It's just perfect for this recipe but not essential.

The cod filets are in a baking dish and seasoned.

Season the Breadcrumbs

Add the panko breadcrumbs to a small mixing bowl.

Grate the lemon over the top and add the garlic salt, paprika, and cayenne. Stir it all together until well combined.

Melt the butter and pour it into the breadcrumbs. Mix it all together with a fork until the breadcrumbs are well-coated in butter.

The breadcrumbs have lemon zest and spices on top.

Assembly Instructions

Spoon the seasoned panko breadcrumbs evenly over the fish fillets.

Gently pat them into place so they form a crust.

The fish filets have the breadcrumb mixture spread on top.

Baking Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Bake the fish for 12 - 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the thickest portion of the fish registers 145°F with an instant-read thermometer.

The cod has been baked and is a crispy golden brown.


I love the flavor of this breadcrumb mixture with baked cod but there are several different variations you could play with:

Baked Flounder with Breadcrumbs: Substitute flounder fillets for the cod.

Lemony Baked Fish with Breadcrumbs: There's a definite lemon flavor to this dish but if you really love lemon, you could squeeze more fresh lemon juice over the fish itself before adding the breadcrumbs on top. Slice a fresh lemon and add the slices to the baking dish, they'll flavor the fish from underneath as the juices run under each piece.

Baked Fish with Fresh Chives: Add fresh chives to the breadcrumb mixture for a boost of onion flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

This recipe is best served fresh from the oven once you've baked it. I do not recommend prepping the fish in advance or trying to freeze it.

That said, you can make your own dinner kit by prepping the following items to save time:

  1. Prep the Breadcrumbs: You can pre-season the breadcrumbs and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Keep them separate from the fish so they stay crispy.
  2. Buy Frozen Cod: You can keep frozen cod fillets in your fridge. They will likely be a little bit more watery than fresh cod from the seafood department as they bake. So you may want to bake them for a few minutes without the breadcrumbs and then add them half way through baking. This lets the moisture evaporate in the oven a bit.

Serving Suggestions

The crispy cod filet is on a blue plate with a scoop of rice pilaf.

To make this easy baked fish with breadcrumbs a full family dinner, you only need a few simple side dishes to pair with it.

I recommend my Instant Pot rice pilaf because the delicate butter flavor pairs perfectly with the lemony bread crumbs on the fish.

I also like serving it with parmesan roasted asparagus or my favorite air fryer green beans for a simple green veggie on the side. You could season either one with a shake of the same Friday Night Fish Fry seasoning for more flavor.

I just love this recipe for feeding picky eaters because on the off chance you've got a kid at the table that doesn't enjoy breadcrumbs, you could leave it off one fillet just for them.

Season and bake the fish as directed and then just serve it with a dipping cup of this delicious homemade tartar sauce instead.

More Fish Recipes

Trying to serve your family more fish dinners? Here are a few of my very favorite ideas:

📖 Recipe

The breaded fish is on a blue plate with a scoop of rice pilaf.

Baked Fish with Breadcrumbs

5 from 1 vote
Crispy baked fish with breadcrumbs takes just 5 minutes to prep and cooks in 15 minutes or less. This light seafood dinner recipe tastes great when served with rice pilaf and an easy green veggie.
TOTAL TIME 20 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
COOK TIME 15 minutes
YIELD 4 servings


  • 4 fish filets like cod or flounder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter melted


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the fish fillets in a single layer inside. Brush the tops of the fish with olive oil and set aside.
  • Add the breadcrumbs to a small mixing bowl and add the lemon zest, garlic salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir it together until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir it in with a fork until the breadcrumbs are well coated.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the tops of the prepared fish. Gently pat them into place.
  • Bake the fish for 12 - 15 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish registers 145°F when tested with an instant read thermometer.

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The photo collage shows the baked fish with breadcrumbs on top on a blue plate next to the fish in a baking dish.

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