This creamy lemon pepper cod is an easy baked cod recipe that features a delicious creamy lemony sauce. Whether you want to include more fish in your diet or you’re looking for a simple yet elegant main to serve your guests, this baked lemon pepper cod with creamy sauce will make you happy. Here’s my recipe with step by step instructions.
Truth be told, this simple cod recipe is great for entertaining. Cod fillets only take 10 minutes in the oven, and you can make the sauce ahead. Let your guests mingle while enjoying a glass of wine while you disappear into the kitchen for 10 minutes. Warm up the sauce as the cod bakes and 10 minutes later you will be bringing to the table a delicious lemon pepper cod.
I like to keep the sauce in a saucepan and allow each guest to pour it over the fish fillets on their plates. You choose whether you want to have it all together in a saucepan to share, or if you prefer to divide it into smaller sauce bowls and give each guest their own.
Lemon pepper cod ingredients
This baked lemon pepper cod is very simple. The ingredient list is short and fuss-free:
- Cod fillets – choose according to your preference and budget, as any cut will do. As you can see in these pictures I have used a cheaper cut from the tail. If you can buy fillets from the middle section of the fish, it will obviously be nicer, but even a cheaper cut does the job. Fresh is fantastic, but frozen is also good, that’s what I buy most of the time.
- Cream – we’re talking heavy whipping cream, the thick one, over 30% fat. This is best for its sweetness and smoothness, and it has a nice thickness that makes for a rich creamy sauce.
- Lemon – since we’re using both juice and zest, choose organic lemons to avoid pesticide residue on the peel.
- Black pepper – freshly cracked is the absolute best, if available. I have a thing for Kampot pepper which I brought back from Cambodia.
- Garlic – will be used to lightly flavour the cream.
- Salt – I have used salt flakes, but regular table salt will also do.
Step by step instructions
- Sprinkle some salt and freshly cracked black pepper over both sides of the cod fillets, then drizzle some lemon juice all over the top side of each fillet.
- Bake the cod fillets in the preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. If unsure, better to have the fish on the slightly uncooked side than to overcook it. Check with a fork and if it’s flaky it’s good to go. When ready, take the cod out of the oven and sprinkle some lemon zest over it.
- As the fish is baking, add the cream to a saucepan and set on medium heat. Peel and halve the garlic, and add it to the cream. Stir in the lemon zest, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. When the mixture reaches boiling temperature, add the lemon juice and lower the heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, it will thicken by reduction. Remove from the heat and take out the garlic cloves.
- Plate the fish fillets and pour the creamy sauce all over.
Looking for inspiration to include more fish into your diet? You may like one of my other fish recipes:
- Skagenröra, Swedish shrimp salad – a creamy shrimp salad perfect to top toasties or a baked potato.
- Smoked salmon carpaccio – a delicious starter option made with smoked salmon marinated in lemon juice.
- Baked rainbow trout with lavender – a delicate way to prepare a fresh catch.
- Salmon penne alla vodka – a creamy salmon pasta recipe that is easy and delicious.
- Italian shrimp cocktail – shrimps in a creamy vodka sauce for a lovely appetizer.
Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later and let me know if you have any comments about this baked cod with a creamy lemon pepper sauce.
Baked cod in a creamy lemon pepper sauce
For the baked cod fillets
- 6 cod fillets about 125 g each
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- salt & black pepper
For the creamy sauce
- 500 ml whipping cream 30% fat
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Sprinkle salt and freshly cracked black pepper over both sides of the cod fillets, then drizzle some lemon juice all over the top side of each fillet. Bake the cod fillets in the preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for 10 minutes, or until cooked through (see notes below). When ready, take the cod out of the oven and sprinkle some lemon zest over it.
- As the fish is baking, heat the cream in a saucepan. Add the garlic, peeled and halved. Stir in the lemon zest, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. When the mixture reaches boiling temperature, add the lemon juice and lower the heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, it will thicken by reduction. Remove from the heat and take out the garlic cloves.
- Plate the fish fillets and pour the creamy sauce all over. Add black pepper or extra lemon zest if desired.
- If unsure about the fish doneness, better to have it on the slightly uncooked side than to overcook it. Depending on the thickness of the fillets, the fish may take slightly less or slightly more than 10 minutes. Check with a fork and if it's flaky it's good to go.
- For the sake of flavour balance the creamy sauce calls for a specific amount of both lemon zest and juice, but there is no fixed rule as to how much you should sprinkle over the fillets prior to baking. For an easier job, zest the lemon first, then halve it and squeeze it. It is easiest to zest a whole lemon than two halves.