Recipe: Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers

updated Feb 3, 2020
Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

I often forget how easy it can be to make fish a weeknight option. For some reason it carries an air of fuss, but when you’re in the kitchen with it, the ease of preparing it almost smacks you in the face. This recipe delivers on ease and flavor, serving up golden-brown fillets of cod with a buttery, briney pan sauce.

For the crispiest, golden-brown fish, make sure the fillets (whether you begin with fresh or frozen-then-thawed) are extremely dry. The light dusting of flour gives them a very thin crust and also helps thicken the pan sauce you make immediately after. While cod is suggested here, any thicker portion of white fish — be it tilapia, haddock, or halibut — can be swapped in with equal success.

Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    skinless cod fillets (about 1/2-inch thick), thawed if frozen and patted very dry

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/4 cup

    capers, drained

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, smashed

  • Torn fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, sprinkle the cod evenly with the flour, salt, and pepper on both sides. Add the cod fillets to the pan and cook until golden-brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and squeeze in the juice of the lemon. When it begins to bubble, add the capers, butter, and garlic and swirl over the heat until the butter is completely melted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately.