Cod piccata is a wonderful seafood dish that combines pan-seared cod with salty capers, garlic, and sliced lemon in a buttery white wine sauce.  This dish is great for weeknights since it can be ready in about 30 minutes but is also great for gatherings and holidays!

Cod piccata in white plate on brown table with parsley and lemon wedges in the background.

Piccata is one of my favorite ways to prepare food because it’s so loaded with flavor you’d never know how easy it is!

The fish is pan-seared and topped with a buttery combination of garlic, capers, and lemon and comes together in about 30 minutes.

This cod piccata recipe calls for fresh cod which is so mild in flavor it can be enjoyed by those who are on the pickier side when it comes to seafood.

Cod piccata goes perfectly with a bed of garlicky sauteed spinach and rice.

Ingredients shown: olive oil, white wine, lemons, garlic, butter, capers, chicken stock, flour, cod, and parsley.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325f and set a rack to the middle level. Slice 4 cloves of garlic and rinse 3 tablespoons (this helps get rid of a bit of the extra salt) of capers.  Mince 3 tablespoons of parsley, and cube 5 tablespoons of butter.  Cut 2 large lemons into 8-10 slices and the rest into wedges for serving. Add 3/4 cup of flour to a plate or shallow bowl. Trim 1 1/2 pounds of cod into 6-8 inch long pieces and pat the fillets dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge the cod pieces in the flour and set them aside on parchment paper.  Save the flour for use later on in the recipe.

Cod piccata recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Heat a large nonstick pan to a touch less than medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Sear the cod fillets in the pan until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.  
  2. Once the fillets are seared, move them to an oven-safe platter lightly tented with foil.  Repeat the process for the remaining fillets taking care to not overcrowd the pan and using a touch more olive oil and butter, as needed. Once all the cod pieces are seared, place the platter in the oven and turn off the heat.  This will keep the cod nice and hot as you prepare the sauce.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Dredge the remaining cubed butter in the remaining flour and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic and a touch more olive oil. Saute the garlic for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden, then add the capers and cook for 1 minute longer.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Add 3 ounces of dry white wine and 1 cup of low-sodium chicken stock and bring the heat up to high.  Use a wooden spoon to gently scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge the brown bits.  Boil for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce reduces by half.
  2. Turn the heat down and add the lemon slices.  Simmer for 2 minutes longer.

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. Add the floured cubed butter to the pan and use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir and emulsify the sauce.  Taste test and adjust salt and pepper.  If more lemon flavor is desired, squeeze one of the serving wedges into the pan.
  2. When satisfied with the sauce add the parsley to the sauce.

Recipe process shot collage group number five.

  1. Remove the cod from the oven and pour the sauce over the fillets.  Serve with the remaining lemon wedges and enjoy!

Overhead shot black platter with cod piccata.

Top tips

  • Fish. This recipe calls for cod which is widely available in most grocery stores.  If you can’t find cod, substitute pollack or haddock, but the cooking time may vary.  
  • Wine. We used a dry white wine (sauvignon blanc) for this recipe.  If you prefer to not use alcohol, simply omit it.  
  • Equipment. Like most fish, cod is delicate so be gentle when pan-searing it. We recommend using a nonstick pan, and a fish spatula to move it from the pan to the platter.
  • Method. In our chicken piccata recipe, we return the chicken to cook in the sauce at the last step.  Since cod is more delicate than chicken, we don’t use this method and rather keep the cod warm in the oven, then pour the sauce directly onto the fish when ready to serve. This will help to keep the fillets intact.  

A cut piece of cod piccata in white plate.

More seafood recipes

Here are a few more of our favorite seafood recipes.  We hope you enjoy them!

If you’ve enjoyed this cod piccata recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Cod Piccata

5 from 15 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Cod piccata with salty capers and bright lemons in a buttery white wine sauce is easy to make and can be ready in 30 minutes.

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 pounds cod
  • 3 tablespoons capers rinsed
  • 2 large lemons 8 slices and rest cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley minced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 3/4 cup flour will not need all of it
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 ounces dry white wine
  • 5 tablespoons butter unsalted, cubed, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325f and set a rack to the middle level.
  • Trim any large cod fillets into approximately 6-8 inch long pieces. Pat the fillets dry and season both sides of all pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge the cod fillets in the flour and set aside on parchment paper. Save the flour for use later in the recipe.
  • Heat a large nonstick pan to a touch less than medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter to the pan. Sear the fillets in the pan until cooked through (approximately 3-4 minutes per side) then set aside on a platter lightly tented with foil. Do not crowd the cod fillets in the pan Work in batches, using a bit more olive oil and butter as required for each batch.
  • After all of the cod pieces have been cooked, place the platter in the oven and turn the heat off. This will keep the cod warm when you make the sauce.
  • Using the same pan, turn the heat to low and add the garlic and a touch more olive oil. Saute until golden ( about 1-2 minutes) then add the capers and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan and turn the heat to high. With a wooden spoon dislodge all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce reduces by about half. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the lemon slices. Simmer the sauce for 2 more minutes.
  • Roll the butter cubes in the remaining flour and add them to the pan. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, stir the sauce to emulsify. Taste test and adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice levels if required.
  • When satisfied with the taste of the sauce, add the parsley to the sauce, then remove the platter from the oven and pour the sauce over the cod fillets. Serve with remaining lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Cut any large pieces of cod into 6-8" long pieces.  You should have approximately 4-6 pieces.
  • Use a nonstick pan (fish is delicate and can stick) and an adequate amount of oil and butter for each batch of cod and do not crowd the fillets in the pan.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to three days and can be reheated in the oven at 325f covered until warm or on the stovetop at low heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 41.2g | Fat: 28.7g | Saturated Fat: 11.2g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 459mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wonderful fish dish. Easy to follow, well explained.
    I’ve learned to only use a fraction of garlic and butter for my personal preference. Your recipes in general feel very familiar; following them ensures the results are predictable and consistent.
    Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    This is delicious. We made this and instantly it is my wife’s favorite seafood dish. Thanks for all the great instruction.

    1. 5 stars
      Jim, how about a cod fish cake recipe. This time of the year most delis had them on the counter on LI.

      1. I can hardly wait to make this at Easter with the crock pot ham! I will let you know how I liked it! 💗

  3. 5 stars
    Made this as written and it was awesome. Never thought of doing a cod piccatta but it is perfect. Thanks for the great recipe

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to make/try piccata for a while and your video inspired me to make this. It was soooo delicious, although I’d reduce to 6 lemon slices next time so everyone can customize the lemon on their plate.

    Served with roasted potatoes and broccolini. I topped the broc with some sauce and it was an easy 10 😋

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Just found you and I’m dying to try every recipe I’ve seen so far – and I’ve been binge watching! Growing up, pasta night meant Chef Boy Ar Dee at my house, but I lucked out. My very good friend’s mother was a fantastic Italian cook. So many of the recipes I’ve seen on your site and on your YouTube channel remind me of the amazing meals she set out for us.pure joy!
    The last one I watched, pasta con broccoli, reminded me most. She did hers with rigatoni and finished with dollops of ricotta.
    Your recipes are inspiring and tasty and your delivery on camera makes your audience feel relaxed about giving them a shot.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    G

    1. Hi Gail, I’m so happy you found my channel and really appreciate you watching the videos. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes and really appreciate this comment!

  6. 5 stars
    I really enjoy your recipes and love watching your YouTube videos. This one looks like another one of your delicious recipes to try this week!
    Just a comment on the lemon…when I want more lemon flavor, I use a rasp to finely grate some lemon rind into the dish (I only use an organic lemon for this!). It adds a lovely lemon flavor without the additional liquid of more juice.

    1. Hi Phyllis, thanks for the comment and so happy you’re enjoying the videos and recipes! Adding lemon zest is a great idea and definitely amps up the lemon flavor!