Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

updated Feb 16, 2024

This recipe is famous for a reason: It transforms rich, delicate black cod into sweet-savory deliciousness.


Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 14 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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There are many reasons to love black cod — it is sustainably fished, full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and wonderfully buttery when cooked. Here’s one more: Nobu restaurant’s miso-marinated black cod, a classic Japanese-influenced recipe that makes an easy, elegant dinner for guests or a quick main dish you can prep over the weekend.

This recipe is adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook, which my partner gifted to me many years ago after we visited Nobu’s restaurant and swooned over the omakase tasting menu. It’s a very simple dish; there is some advance preparation, but it’s easy and quick.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter
Quick Overview

Tester’s Notes

This recipe from Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is a timeless classic for good reason: It transforms rich, delicate black cod or sablefish into sweet-sweet savory deliciousness. I retested the recipe many, many times and made it as foolproof as possible, adding an option for broiling, which is now my preferred method for the following reasons:

  • Ease. Using the broiler means there’s no flipping and you just have to keep an eye on the fish toward the end as it’s cooking. With the stovetop method, you have to deal with a hot pan on the stove and trying to flip a very delicate fish.
  • Even browning. I found that the broiler did a better job at browning the fish and getting a few signature charred spots.
  • Fish size variations. Black cod fillets can run on the thin side, making searing 4 servings on the stovetop at the same time difficult unless you have a very large skillet. With broiling on a baking sheet, the size of the fish really doesn’t matter.
  • Cleanup. No pan to wash or stove to wipe down, just toss the foil!

If you liked the original method, we’ve got you! The stovetop searing and oven baking method is still an option in the recipe.

Christine, January 2024

Tips for Buying Cod

From an environmental standpoint, this recipe also gets high marks. I used wild-caught black cod from Alaska, which is rated a “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Prepared in this way, it is absolutely delicious.

Tips for Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

  • Prepare the miso marinade 3 days ahead. For best results, the fish needs to marinate for a few days. So, 3 days before cooking the fish, you make the 4-ingredient miso marinade. Then, marinate the fish in it, sealed in a covered container in the fridge.
  • After marinating, there are two cooking options. Broiling, or just a quick sear on the stovetop and then a few minutes in the oven. This makes a very light yet filling meal that is elegant and looks like it took a lot of work, but it really doesn’t. The miso marinade adds a sweetness to the silky and buttery black cod.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

What to Serve with Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

If you want to incorporate more fish into your diet, but are feeling a bit intimidated, this is an excellent recipe to try. It pairs well with simple vegetable recipes and rice (I cooked brown rice with a small amount of Thai black rice, which gives it a deep purple color and slightly nuttier flavor). Here are a few side dish ideas:

Nobu's Miso-Marinated Black Cod Recipe

This recipe is famous for a reason: It transforms rich, delicate black cod into sweet-savory deliciousness.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 14 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    white miso paste

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 4

    (4 to 6-ounce) black cod or sablefish fillets, preferably center cut

  • Kosher salt

  • Cooking spray or 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil


  1. Two to 3 days beforehand, make the miso marinade and marinate the fish. Bring 1/4 cup sake and 1/4 cup mirin to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds more to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add 1/4 cup white miso paste and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and whisk until the miso and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

  2. Pat 4 (4 to 6-ounce) black cod fillets dry with paper towels. Place in a plastic zip top bag or container wide enought to hold the fish in a single snug layer. Add the marinade and turn the fish to coat. Cover or seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

  3. When ready to cook, heat the oven based on the desired cooking option below. While the oven is heating, remove the fish from the marinade and gently brush off the marinade with your hands, leaving a thin film of marinade on the fish. Do not rinse or wipe off the marinade with paper towels. Lightly season the fish with kosher salt.

  4. Cooking Option #1: Broiling. Arrange a rack 6 to 8 inches from the broiler element, then heat the oven to broil. Cover a wire rack with aluminum foil, then fit onto a baking sheet. Coat the foil with cooking spray. Place the fish skin-side down (or smoother side down if skinless) in a single layer on the foil. Broil, checking every few minutes and rotating the baking sheet as needed, until the fish starts to flake and the top is dark golden brown and charred in spots (it's okay if the marinade that drips onto the foil burns), 8 to 12 minutes.

  5. Cooking Option #2: Stovetop Searing and Baking. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Place the fish skin-side-up (or smoother side up if skinless) in the pan in a single layer. Cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Slide a thin metal spatula under each piece of fish and carefully flip. Continue cooking until the second side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 5 to 10 minutes more.

  6. After both cooking methods, use a thin metal spatula to transfer the fish to plates. Check for and remove any pin bones from the fish before serving.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook.