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Blackened Cod

Simple pantry seasonings and a quick pan-sear is all it takes to make this delicious blackened cod recipe.

Blackening seasonings are a great way to impart lots of flavor without calorie-laden ingredients like butter and mayonnaise when it comes to seafood.

This blackened cod is tender and flaky with wonderfully big and bold smoky flavor in under 15 minutes!

Pan-seared blackened cod over quinoa.

You know when you go to any typical casual seafood restaurant and they give options for cooking the catch of the day either blackened, grilled or fried?

Guess what I always pick?

Blackened for the win!

Blackened fish is just so much tastier than any other preparation in my opinion.

The blackening seasoning brings so much flavor without any additional calories or dietary concerns (dairy, gluten, etc.) it’s just a no brainer.

And since we’ve established in this air fryer cod recipe that I think wild-caught cod is a seriously underrated fish, I thought I would share this simple blackened cod recipe.

It’s cheaper than other wild-caught fish (like salmon or halibut), more widely available and still very nutritious yet seems overlooked in the seafood world.

So here’s to another cod recipe to celebrate this dinner-worthy fish!

Cod filets on a plate with blackening seasoning and avocado oil next to a cast iron skillet.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS BLACKENED COD RECIPE

Quick and Easy – Made on the stove-top, after rubbing with the blackening seasoning, the fish only takes about 6-7 minutes total to cook! It’s even quicker than this bacon-wrapped salmon although both are great quick and easy fish dinners.

Accessible – No need for special blackening mixes, the blackening rub used on the cod is easily put together with spices I guarantee you have on hand already.

Delicious and Healthy – There’s no lack of flavor in this cod and it’s a great protein-rich, low calorie main dish that can be part of almost any diet.

Cod filets on a baking sheet with blackening seasoning.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE BLACKENED COD

  • cod – I always look for wild-caught seafood and thankfully wild-caught cod is usually easy to source!
  • avocado oil
  • blackening seasoning

Let’s break down the spices used for the blackening seasoning.

If you already have a blackening rub at home, feel free to use that instead but if you’re like me and just make your own, here’s what you’ll need:

  • smoked paprika
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • brown sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • dried basil
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano

The list may look long but these are all very commonplace spices you probably have in your spice cabinet!

Feel free to double or triple the amounts in the recipe too so you have some leftover and can use on another blackened recipe.

Cooked blackened cod on a plate in the background with a piece of blackened cod on a serving dish with quinoa, lime and cilantro.

HOW TO MAKE PAN-SEARED BLACKENED COD

Pat the cod filets dry then place on a large baking sheet. Brush both sides of the filets with half the avocado oil.

In a small bowl, mix the spices together with a spoon.

Rub the seasoning all over the fish making sure to coat both sides of the cod.

Heat the remaining avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Once hot, place the cod in the skillet (work in batches if they don’t all fit at once) and cook until blackened on each side, about 3-4 minutes.

Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the cod filets. Mine were relatively thin and only needed 3 minutes per side.

If you happen to buy cod loin filets however which are from the thicker middle section of the fish, you may need 4-5 minutes per side.

The cod will be flaky and opaque when fully cooked. Be gentle with the spatula when flipping as cod has a tendency to fall apart easily.

CAST-IRON VS. NON-STICK SKILLETS FOR MAKING BLACKENED FISH

I prefer my cast iron skillet all day long over a non-stick one when making blackened fish.

It’s also how I make blackened salmon and blackened shrimp not just this cod.

Nothing gets as hot as cast iron does which makes it great for getting a nice crust on whatever is being cooked in it.

Non-stick will work just fine if it’s all you have but if you have the choice, use cast iron!

Overhead shot of blackened cod recipe with a fork.

CAN I BAKE BLACKENED COD?

You certainly can make this in the oven but traditionally, blackening fish is done in a skillet on the stove-top.

The high heat helps sear the outside of the fish and create that gorgeous seasoned crust, the hallmark of any blackened fish.

If you prefer baked fish, simply season the cod the same way and place it on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake at 350°F until it’s done.

CAN I GRILL BLACKENED COD?

Again, you can but it’s not the recommended method. Cod is particularly susceptible to flaking apart as it cooks so the grill can prove difficult.

If you’re careful with a large spatula, however, it is possible.

How to make tender, flaky blackened cod in a skillet.

IS BLACKENING SEASONING THE SAME AS CAJUN SEASONING?

The two are similar but cajun seasoning tends to be spicier.

Oftentimes people confuse blackened fish (or anything blackened) to be spicy. The truth is it’s more smoky than spicy.

While there is a tiny bit of heat in a blackening spice rub thanks to the cayenne pepper, it’s really more flavor forward than spice forward.

The cayenne pepper plays a heavier role in a cajun seasoning blend whereas it’s more of a background player in a blackening blend.

As noted in the recipe below, you can adjust the cayenne pepper amount to your level of preferred spiciness in this recipe.

CAN I MAKE THIS WITH OTHER FISH?

Absolutely!

The blackening seasoning and this pan-sear method can be applied to almost any fish you like.

Cod is a flaky, mild flavored white fish.

Halibut, sablefish, flounder, sole, haddock and pollock would all be good substitutes that fall in line with cod’s texture and flavor.

Blackened cod fish recipe with pomegranate salsa over quinoa.

HOW TO SERVE BLACKENED COD

You can enjoy the cod as is with a simple grain and vegetable for an easy meal. Quinoa is pictured here for a nutritious and easy side dish.

The spicy blackening seasoning also goes really well with bright flavors from lime, cilantro and a salsa.

Shown here is my pomegranate salsa recipe served on top of the fish. This is a great option for winter whereas this mango habanero salsa would be excellent during the warmer months. Or, this heartier mango black bean salad can be used as a combination side dish and fish topping.

This jicama salad with mango and a honey lime cilantro dressing would also be a great pairing.

If you’re doing a taco night, blackened cod is perfect for that! Tuna tacos and cod fish tacos are some of my favorites.

You can also turn a blackened cod filet into a simple fish sandwich. Make a quick tartar sauce (you can find one in this air fryer fish stick recipe) and enjoy on your favorite bun.

If you want to go the fish and chips route, but in an unconventional way, serve the cod with some jicama fries or crispy purple sweet potato fries and your favorite dipping sauce. Yum!

MORE SEAFOOD RECIPES TO ENJOY:

Air Fryer Scallops
Lobster Mango Avocado Salad
Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon
Tart Cherry Glazed Ahi Tuna Kabobs

blackened cod

Blackened Cod

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

A simple blackened cod recipe using pantry staple blackening seasonings and a quick skillet pan-sear method on the stove-top. Great for use in tacos or served as the main course.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound wild-caught cod
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (substitute coconut sugar for paleo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust for heat preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Combine spices in a small bowl.
  2. Place the cod filets in a single layer on a large baking sheet and pat dry.
  3. Brush 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil onto the cod coating both sides of the fish.
  4. Rub the seasoning mixture onto the cod coating both sides in as even a layer as possible.
  5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Once hot, add the fish in a single layer and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side until blackened and cooked through. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of filets.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 26g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen

Liza

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

What a fantastic cod recipe. The spice mix for the coating is so tasty, and I'm going to try it with halibut as you suggested in your recipe variations. Another winner from Running to the Kitchen!

Rachna

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

I love fish and cod is a favourite. This recipe is super simple and looks delicious. Going to be made on rotation in my home.

Amanda Wren-Grimwood

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Such a gorgeous dish packed with so much flavour. Perfect for summer eating.

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Saturday 15th of January 2022

Oh wow, this looks so delicious. My family is going to devour it!

Mairead

Saturday 15th of January 2022

I love the addition of dried thyme, organo and basil to this blackening seasoning. It's so delicious and adds so much flavor to the cod fillets. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

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