This cod piccata is a quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy cod. The cod is coated in seasoned flour, then pan-fried and served with a delicious garlic, butter, lemon and caper sauce.

Cod piccata on plate with fork.

This cod piccata is just as easy and delicious as the chicken version. Cod is a lovely, sturdy fish that holds up well to flouring and pan-frying. It’s paired with a classic garlic, lemon and butter sauce (and optional capers).

What you’ll need

Ingredients to make cod piccata.

Cod – I love cod as it is a flavourful and firm fish that holds up well when pan-fried. That said, any white fish will work here. A thinner fillet of fish is the best option to ensure it cooks through well when pan-fried. For thicker cod fillets, you may wish to finish the fish in the oven briefly. Instructions are in the Recipe Card.

You can start with frozen cod fillets that have been completely thawed. To quickly thaw frozen fish, place in a plastic bag and place the bag into a large bowl of cold water.

Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is recommended, but bottled will work in a pinch.

Garlic – I love chunky garlic, but you can chop or mince to your preference.

Capers (optional) – You can use capers if you have and enjoy them or if not, simply omit.

Parsley – Either flat or curly parsley will work. Dried parsley will also work if fresh is not available.

Cornstarch – A bit of cornstarch is added to the flour mixture for dusting the fish. This helps to make a crispy coating. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you can omit it.

You’ll also need – butter, all-purpose flour, paprika, salt and pepper.

How to make cod piccata

Flour coating ingredients on plate.
1
Cod fillets on plate with half a lemon.
2
Cod after coating in the flour mixture
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  1. Add the flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt and pepper to a plate and stir to combine.
  2. Drizzle some lemon juice over the cod fillets to moisten.
  3. Dip the cod into the flour mixture, covering on both sides.
Floured cod fillets in hot skillet.
4
Cod fillets after flipping.
5
Adding lemon to the sauce in the skillet.
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  1. Add the floured cod fillets to a hot skillet with a bit of oil.
  2. Flip the cod when the underside is golden and cook the other side, then remove to a warmed plate.
  3. Melt the butter in the same pan, then add the garlic and capers. Add the water and the juice of half a lemon.
Adding parsley to the skillet with the sauce.
7
Finished sauce in skillet.
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Sauce poured over the cooked fish.
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  1. Scatter the parsley into the skillet.
  2. The finished sauce is ready for the fish.
  3. Pour the lemon sauce over the fish and enjoy!

Recipe tip!

The bright green parsley will darken as it sits in the warm sauce. If you want to keep the bright green colour, use the parsley as a garnish rather than adding it to the sauce.

Recipe video

What to serve with cod piccata

You can serve cod piccata simply with just a green vegetable or salad on the side. If you want to add a carb, a bit of rice or some roasted potatoes would be nice.

Cod Piccata on plate with fork.

Making ahead, storing and freezing

Fish is best served freshly cooked, as cooking ahead and re-heating can over-cook delicate fish. Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.

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Cod piccata on plate with fork.

Get the Recipe: Cod Piccata

This cod piccata is a quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy cod. The cod is coated in seasoned flour, then pan-fried and served with a garlic, butter, lemon and caper sauce.
5 stars from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 oz cod fillets, about 3-4 fillets, thinner, evenly-thick fillets recommended *see Note 1 below
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cooking oil, for frying

For the flour mixture:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Tip! The sauce cooks quickly, so it's best to have all the sauce ingredients measured and ready ahead.
  • On a large plate, stir together the flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a bit of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (A non-stick pan works well and will require less cooking oil. For any other type of pan, use a bit more oil to prevent sticking.)
  • Pat the cod fillets dry and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle the cod with some lemon juice from half a lemon. Press the moistened cod fillets into the flour mixture on both sides, then place into the hot skillet. Repeat with remaining fillets.
  • Cook the cod until the underside is nice and golden, then flip and brown the other side. Flip once more to ensure the fish is cooked through, then transfer the fish to a warm plate.
  • Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium. Add the butter and melt. Add the garlic, the capers and a splash of water and stir vigorously (or swirl the pan). Cook briefly until the garlic is softened (but not browned!) then remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Pour the warm sauce over the fish on the plate. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, if desired and serve immediately.

Notes

Note 1: Thinner cod fillets are recommended so that they will cook thoroughly in the skillet. If your cod fillets are thick, you may wish to cook in the skillet first, then transfer to a 350F oven briefly to finish cooking. 
You can start with frozen cod fillets. Thaw completely and pat dry. To thaw quickly, place in a plastic bag and place into a large bowl of cold water.
The bright green parsley will darken as it sits in the warm sauce. If you want to keep the bright green colour, use the parsley as a garnish rather than adding it to the sauce.
Fish is best served freshly cooked, as cooking ahead and re-heating can over-cook delicate fish. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe. You’ll also find step-by-step photos as well as a recipe video that you might find helpful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 197mg, Potassium: 513mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 723IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg
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