Fish and Seafood, Main Dsh

Delicious Butter Baked Cod Like They Make In Iceland


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Butter Baked Cod With Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

The butter baked cod we ate on our trip to Iceland changed my “I hate fish” husband into a fan of the finny food. You might call it a “cod send” because I love fish! My mom was born and raised in Iceland, so I come by my love for all things seafood naturally!

During Lent, many people abstain from eating red meat as a small gesture of sacrifice. Some of those folks often think they don’t like fish, but it’s sometimes because they never learned how to cook it correctly. Restaurants don’t always cook fish properly, especially in land-locked parts of the country. But it is a simple culinary skill that’s easy to learn.

Nothing could be quicker or easier than this simple recipe for butter baked cod you do in the oven. Add lemon if you like, but Icelanders like their cod plain and sweet and served over a mound of mashed potatoes to catch every golden drop of butter. This dish is sometimes called “Poor Man’s Lobster.”

Three Good Reasons Frozen Fish Might Be A Good Choice

Today, fish is flash-frozen at its freshest and most nutritious possible moment. Many commercial fishing companies have amazing modern facilities for freezing fish right on the boat minutes after the catch. This method is used for ocean-caught fish and farm-raised fish as well.

The frozen fish you have on hand is super convenient, and you don’t have to make a special trip to the store to buy “fresh” fish. Fish is easy to defrost, and many types can go right from the freezer to the oven. If you have some fish in your freezer, you can quickly get a meal on the table because fish does not require long cooking times.

Frozen fish is often less expensive than fresh fish, especially if you live in the middle of the country, as I do. In today’s economy, we need to consider every possible advantage for saving money on groceries.

Not all “fresh” fish is actually fresh. Some fish you see in the case at the grocery store has been frozen and later defrosted. A reputable grocer will label it that way. Be sure to ask how long the fish has been on ice.

This list contains only highlights from an excellent article about fresh vs. frozen fish from the always smart and dependable website, The Spruce Eats. I love them. If you want more information, please read their informative post here.

Let’s Make Mashed Potatoes For Our Butter Baked Cod

The fish takes a short time to cook, so start the potatoes first. Here is my not-so-secret method recipe and tips for perfect garlic mashed potatoes!

Peel and cut up 2 pounds of russet potatoes and put them in a pot with a teaspoon of salt and barely enough water to cover the potatoes. Cook on medium heat until tender, then drain them thoroughly. This process should take about twenty minutes.

While the potatoes are still hot, put half a stick of butter (or more), about a scant cup of milk, and a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Garlic Base (add more to taste if you like) in the pot, put the lid back on, and let it all melt. (I’m shameless about how much butter I use in mashed potatoes.)

Yield: 4 servings

Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes

homemade mashed potatoes

Here is my recipe for classic, country-style garlic mashed potatoes. These potatoes are not diet food.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 pounds Russet or other floury potatoes, peeled and cut into evenly-sized pieces.
  • Water for cooking
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste.
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon roasted garlic base
  • 1/4 cup or more of butter
  • 1 cup milk, whole milk preferred.
  • 1 tsp pepper or to taste.


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into evenly sized chunks.
  2. Place in a pot with a lid and add water to barely cover the potatoes. Add salt.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife.
  4. Drain thoroughly; leave as little water as possible.
  5. Add butter and garlic base, replace the lid and let the butter melt.
  6. Roughly mash the potatoes, then gradually add the milk. You may not need all of it.
  7. Continue to mash the potatoes but do not whip. A few little chunks prove they are homemade!❤
  8. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if you like and by all means, dot with more butter if you want!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 868mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 7g

Use a hand masher, and don’t whip them—season to taste with salt and pepper. This recipe makes about four servings. Just look at all the yummy butter-cradling nooks and crannies! 😍

mashed potatoes with cod

There Is No Easier Way To Cook Fish Than Butter Baked

I use a lightly sprayed glass baking dish for this recipe. Cut the cod into serving-size pieces and pour one-half cup of melted butter over the fish. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika, then bake at 375 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. Melt another half cup of butter to drizzle over the fish and potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

I like to use pasta bowls when we have butter baked cod because they’re perfect for containing all the goodness of the melted butter. I suggest the very simplest steamed vegetable as a side dish. Fresh asparagus, broccoli, or green beans would all be beautiful, colorful, and nutritious additions to the plate.

butter baked cod served

How To Tell When Fish Is Cooked Properly

Do not overcook the fish. The number one mistake in preparing fish is overcooking it. It begins to dry out if it’s cooked longer and can get tough. Stop cooking when the internal temperature is 140 degrees F. Let it stand until it reaches 145 degrees, the recommended optimum temperature to serve fish.

No thermometer? No problem. The fish should be opaque and flake easily when a fork is inserted and lightly twisted in the thickest part of the filet. Remember, the fish will continue to cook for a little while after removing it from the oven.

Here is a photo of the butter baked cod left over after serving my husband and me. Look how moist and flaky the fish is. (No worries, he always finishes the potatoes!😉) Cod is such a mild fish; the leftovers would be perfect in fish tacos or used to stuff a baked potato. Haddock, pollock, tilapia, flounder, or red snapper will work equally well if cod is not available.

There are still a couple of Friday left in Lent. Here are two more of my favorite fish recipes, Incredible Glazed Salmon Dinner and Crunchy Buttery 10 Minute Tilapia. How about you? Do you love or hate fish? If you love it, please let us in on how you make it; we get so excited when you share your ideas!

Printable recipe:

Yield: 4 servings

Butter Baked Cod

butter baked cod

Here is a recipe for a simple and quick way to bake cod in butter like made in Iceland, where fish is the main protein served at every meal.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • One and one-half pounds of cod fillets either fresh or frozen. If you use frozen fish, it should be defrosted.
  • One cup butter, melted and divided.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or more to taste
  • Parsley for garnish, optional


  1. Spray or grease a baking pan. I prefer a glass pan.
  2. Arrange cod in a single layer in the pan.
  3. Pour half of the melted butter over the cod.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 140 degrees F.
  6. If you do not have a thermometer, test by inserting a fork in the thickest part of the filet and twisting it slightly. The fish should look opaque and flake easily.
  7. Serve over mashed potatoes and divide the other 1/2 cup of melted butter to drizzle over each serving.
  8. Garnish with parsley.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it on your social media! I would love for more people to try this delicious and easy-to-make recipe. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you! Shhh… Join our secret foodie group on Facebook

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  1. Made this tonight. Before I put it in the oven I sprinkled panko bread crumbs and grated Asiago cheese on top. It was delicious.

  2. I have made the baked cod and mashed potatoes.
    It was delicious.
    My husband said make it again soon.

  3. I thought the Poor Man’s Lobster recipe for cod/torsk was universal. Apparently not. The essential ingredient for lobster-like flavor is bay leaf! Lay bay leaves on top of the cod filets when they steam or bake in the oven with a tray of water below.


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