Frozen cod filet with lemon rounds and herbs

Cooking Cod from Frozen: 3 Ways to Get Perfect Results

Cooking Cod from Frozen: 3 Ways to Get Perfect Results

 

 

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Did you know you can cook cod fish directly from the freezer? It’s true—you can cook a warm, satisfying cod dinner without defrosting it first.

Cod is such a simple, nourishing fish, and it cooks up fast right out of the freezer. It also adapts well to pretty much any flavor profile. For us, these are all essentials on a hectic weeknight.

So, we’re sharing our favorite tips and a few simple tutorials that will show you how to cook cod from frozen. You’ll learn how you can use your oven, air fryer, or Instant Pot to create wholesome fish dinners straight from the freezer.

4 Tips for Cooking Frozen Cod

1. Don’t use thick cuts.

When cooking fish straight from the freezer, you’ll want to save the large cuts like whole sides of fish for proper thawing and cooking. There’s just too much room for error with those large cuts to cook them directly from the freezer, and you’ll risk uneven cooking throughout.

If you stick with cod fillets around six ounces and under one-inch thickness, you’re golden. (Your cod fillets will be, too, if you use the air fryer!)

2. No need to rinse frozen cod.

Some recipes may tell you to rinse your frozen cod before cooking it to get rid of ice crystals, but this step is unnecessary. If anything, it might leave your fish a bit waterlogged.

3. Use a flavorful sauce or even breading.

When cooking cod from frozen, you won’t want to skimp on the flavor. Try seasoning your frozen cod with our Herbs de Provence-based seasoning salt. Or, consider making a lemon and butter emulsion to drizzle over the top by including the two ingredients in the baking pan with the cod.

You can even bread frozen cod filletsyes, really! Simply brush oil onto the cod, and then sprinkle on seasoned breadcrumbs. Alternatively, par-cook your cod fillets for about five minutes (essentially defrosting them), then crust them with your breadcrumb or preferred breading mixture and finish cooking.

4. Cook it to an internal temperature of 145˚F.

You’ll know your cod is done when it flakes easily when pressed with a fork, and the flesh is opaque white and no longer translucent. In terms of doneness, the official FDA recommendation is an internal temperature of 145˚F as measured by a food thermometer, which will be a very firm piece of fish.

cod fish and chips plate with tartar sauce and lemon wedges

How to Cook Cod from Frozen – 3 Basic Recipes

It’s 100 percent safe to cook cod straight from the freezer, so long as you cook it at adequately high temperatures that keep it from “the danger zone.” This is the temperature range of 40°F to 140°F, where bacteria grow most rapidly.

So, slow cooking frozen cod is out, but nearly every other cooking method is fair game. Just make sure to cook your cod thoroughly.

Ready to get started? Here are some quick tutorials for how to cook cod from frozen based on your cooking method: oven, air fryer, and Instant Pot.

Oven

There isn’t much to baking frozen cod; all you have to adjust is the bake time. Whereas fresh cod might take 15 minutes, frozen will take around 20 to 25 minutes. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Season your cod to your liking, or whip up a quick sauce.
  2. Place cod fillets (about 6 ounces each) in a baking dish. Add the sauce if using. 
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes minutes, until the cod is opaque white, flakes easily, and features a golden brown top.

Air Fryer

If you’d like to achieve crispy, golden brown cod straight from the freezer, the air fryer is your friend. Make sure to keep the cod fillets from touching, leaving space for ample heat circulation.

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 390˚F. Season your cod to your liking, or even create a simple breading.
  2. Place cod fillets (about 6 ounces each) in the basket of the air fryer. Take care not to overlap the fish fillets. Air fry them for 12 minutes, or more if needed.
  3. The cod will be ready when it is opaque white, flakes easily, and has a crispy golden brown exterior.

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is such a handy tool for steaming fish; this is doubly true when that fish is frozen. You’ll have a flaky, warm fish dinner on the table in mere minutes with the Instant Pot.

  1. Place one cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Insert your steamer trivet.
  2. Season the frozen cod fillets (about 6 ounces each) to your liking. Place cod fillets on the trivet. You can also add a lemon slice and pat of butter to each fillet for flavor.
  3. Lock the Instant Pot lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 8 minutes (or less, depending on thickness).
  4. Do a quick release, and enjoy. The cod will be ready when it is opaque white, and flakes easily.

Make weeknight dinners a breeze with these super simple, straight-from-the-freezer cod tutorials. We hope they make life just a little bit easier.

 

Shop Seafood

Try the Seafood Box today to get a taste of our delicious, wild-caught salmon, lobster, scallops, and cod.

 

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Courtney Hamilton
Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
 
Check out more of her work at www.courtney-hamilton.com.