This Pan-Fried Cod is rich in omegas and full of nutrients for an incredible Whole30-friendly recipe. Make it in the skillet or air fryer for that crispy texture! These cod cakes make for a delicious appetizer or healthy meal! Oven-baked option included.
Tired of spring-inspired recipes yet? No? Well good, because neither am I! This pan-fried cod is truly one of my all-time favorite recipes, especially for spring. Lighter than traditional fish patties, it takes advantage of all the amazing fresh produce this time of year with a variety of fresh herbs and garlic that even picky eaters will love. Better still, it uses almond and coconut flour to make it both grain free-friendly and Whole30 compliant!
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or feeding a crowd, these cod cakes will meet nearly everyone’s dietary needs. The flavor is always a crowd-pleaser, and your guests will be shocked to learn they are actually good for them, too! As an appetizer option, these pair perfectly with Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Meatballs, Easy Paleo Salmon Cakes, and Ancho Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins.
These make for the perfect fish patties come lunch time. As a dinner, serve them up over zucchini noodles with marinara sauce, over rice, or on their own with a side salad. No matter how you plan to serve them, I suggest making a big batch to freeze and use for later. Then, when you’re ready, just defrost your fish patties and toss them on the skillet for an easy meal in minutes.
How to Make Pan Fried Fish Patties with Cod
Making a healthy meal truly doesn’t get much easier than pan-fried cod cakes. All you have to do is assemble your fish patties, toss them on a skillet, and eat! From start to finish, the whole process takes under an hour.
To start, prep the cod, and shred it into small pieces by using two forks or by placing into a food processor and pulsing a few times.
Place the fish in a large mixing bowl along with the eggs, flours, spices, and garlic, and mix well to combine the ingredients. Then, fold in the herbs!
PRO TIP – How do you keep fish cakes from falling apart? Place the cod cake batter in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
After chilling, scoop roughly ¼-⅓ cup of batter at a time, and roll it into a ball.
Shape the ball to form a 3-inch wide patty. Repeat this step until all of the batter has been used, and 6-7 cod cakes have been formed.
Next, set a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over high heat. Add oil to the pan. When the oil is sizzling, carefully place the fish patties in the pan laying away from you, and saute for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown in color.
Remove the cod cakes from the heat, and pat off any excess oil using a paper towel. Serve this pan-fried cod with lemon wedges and herb sauce, if desired!
PRO TIP: Use a neutral oil such as avocado oil or light olive oil to avoid overpowering the light flavors of fish and herbs.
No Stovetop? No Problem! Alternative Cooking Methods for Cod Cakes
If you don’t want to deal with the stress of hovering over a skillet (totally get it), feel free to make these pan-fried cod cakes without the pan. Depending on your preferences and kitchen tools, both oven baking and the air fryer work for these fish patties. For all three variations (skillet, oven, and air fryer), you’re going to follow the same steps to mix the fish cake batter, making sure to clean and chop the fish before combining the ingredients.
For the oven-baked method, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking tray with tin foil. Or, grease the tray well instead. Once ready, form the fish patties, and place them on the baking tray. Bake them on the center rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes and let cool.
Similarly, for the air fryer version, preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray it with cooking spray to prevent the cod cakes from sticking to the grate-lined basket. Roll the fish cake mixture into 6-7 fish patties that are 2-3 inches in diameter. Place in the air fryer for 4 minutes, flip them over, and cook for an additional 4 minutes before digging in.
The “Healthier” Way to Fry!
I know you’re thinking that there’s no way fried food of any kind can actually be good for you. The truth is that the word “fried” has gotten a bad wrap. Of course, plunging foods into buckets of oils is never a good thing. Luckily, this recipe uses a pan-frying (shallowing frying) method, lean fish, and healthy fat sources for a more nutritious recipe.
The ideal temperature for pan frying is between 350ºF and 375ºF. At these temps the surface of the food will cook almost instantly and the moisture from inside the food turns to steam (cooking the inside). The outgoing steam prevents excess oil from seeping into the food.
PRO “PAN FRYING” TIP – If the temperature is too low, the oil will seep into the food making it greasy and not very appealing. Use a naturally refined high smoke point oil like Avocado oil or Coconut oil!
Common Questions about Fish
What to look for when buying fish?
When purchasing or using fish in a recipe, a few key characteristics are important to pay attention to for ensuring the freshest catch. A fresh fish shouldn’t smell. If it smells “fishy” it’s not good. Color should always be bright and vibrant, not grey nor dull.
Do I have to clean store-bought fish?
Do not rinse fillets as it spreads bacteria. If the cod needs cleaning, use a damp paper towel to blot and clean gently. If using previously frozen cod fillets, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight (on a separate plate or container). Again, pat the cod with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
Health Perks of Eating Cod!
Not only is it a lean source of protein, cod is also rich in vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin B12, choline, niacin, iodine, phosphorus, and more. Also, while it does not contain as high of amounts as fatty fish such as salmon, cod can be a source of omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, consuming cod can help to lower the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and aid in weight loss. These are just a few of the benefits of eating pan fried cod, but if you’re still not convinced fried cod can be good for you or are looking for more detail, be sure to take a look at this article!
Honestly, this recipe is on repeat in my home all year long. I hope you love it as much as I do. If you do make it, I would love for you to share with me on Instagram or in the comments below!
Pan-fried cod cakes are rich in omegas, nutrients, and flavor! This Whole30-friendly recipe can be made in the skillet, air fryer, or oven making it perfect for any easy weeknight meal or party appetizer.
- 1 pound wild-caught Cod fillet, skin removed (see notes for substitutes)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 2/3 cup fine almond flour (use more if you have less fish)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut flour or oat flour (sifted works best)
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 small garlic cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs or 1/2 Tablespoon dried (basil, parsley, or oregano work best)
- Avocado, pure olive oil, or refined coconut oil for frying
- Sauce of choice for serving – optional. Ex: Aioli or Marinara sauce
- Lemon and herb for garnishing
- Clean and shred the cod into small pieces. Place into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs, flours, spices, and garlic to the bowl. Mix to combine.
- Fold in the herbs and refrigerate the bowl for 30 minutes.
- After chilling, scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the batter and roll into a ball. Then form the ball into a wide patty measuring between 2-3 inches wide. Repeat until you have 6-7 cakes.
- In a medium pan, heat a thin layer of neutral oil (refined avocado oil, refined coconut oil, or light olive oil) over medium-high heat until shimmering/sizzling. Add the cod/fish cakes and cook, turning once until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. See notes for substitute cooking methods. * If you are using a smaller pan, then work in batches, 3 at a time.
- Remove from pan and place on a cool plate. Pat off the excess oil with a paper towel. Serve with lemon wedges and sauce with herbs, if desired.
To Bake in the Oven:
- Follow through step 4 above. Place patties on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Place sheet in oven in center wrack for 20-25 minutes (rotating pan halfway) or internal temperature reaches 145F.
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
To Air Fry:
- Follow through step 4 above.
- Preheat the air fryer to 380F. Spray the grate with non-stick spray and lay patties on the grate. Spray the tops with an olive oil or avocado-based spray.
- Air fry for about 8 minutes (flipping the patties at 4 minutes and lightly spraying with oil) or internal temperature reaches 145F.
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
The ideal temperature for pan-frying is between 350ºF and 375ºF. This will ensure the surface of the food cooks almost instantly while the inside moisture steams to cook the inside. If the temperature is too low, the oil will seep into the food making it greasy and not very appealing.
If you don’t have access to quality cod fillet, canned tuna or fresh halibut may be substituted. Texture and baking times will vary. Cook to internal temperature of 145 F.
- Category: appetizer
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: appetizer, whole30-friendly, whole30, cod cakes, fish patties, light meal, seafood,
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