Coconut-Crusted Cod Filets Recipe

Do you ever miss the crunchy, flaky, delicious fish sticks from your childhood? We're talking about the kind from the frozen aisles that your parents would heat up for dinner on rushed evenings. Secretly you loved those dinners, and from time to time you miss those crispy sticks of fish. Sure, you can always make a trip to the frozen aisle, but why not make them homemade this time?

Breading your own fish is both easy and healthy, and best of all, customizable. For example, in this recipe shared by developer Michelle McGlinn, flaky cod is crusted with subtly sweet coconut and crispy panko. The result is a crunchy filet with a hint of sweetness and a flaky interior. It's a seriously grown-up fish stick, but this time, you don't have to dunk it in tartar sauce. 

These filets are delicious paired with rice or on top of a salad and make an excellent make-ahead option for meal prep. And if you have fish stick-loving kids? This might just be a winner for them, too.

The ingredients needed for coconut-crusted cod filets

Cod is an affordable fish that is easy to cook and neutral in flavor. Because of this, it's a great candidate for breading and frying. Cod is one of the most widely accessible fish, but if you can't find it (or simply don't like it), you can swap for tilapia or use shrimp instead. From there, you'll want to grab some salt, lime, and cayenne — if you'd prefer it more mild, just use cracked black pepper. Grab some canola or vegetable oil for frying. You won't need much, just enough to fully coat the bottom of the pan. For the breading, you'll need flour, egg, panko, and shredded coconut flakes. Opt for unsweetened coconut to avoid a dessert-y fish.

Season the fish

Before breading, season the fish filets so they have a layer of flavor underneath the crust. Don't overthink it, just sprinkle some salt and cayenne onto the fish, then squeeze some lime on top. Do this just a few minutes before breading the fish so that the lime doesn't start "cooking" the cod with its acidity.

Breading the fish

Set up a breading station on your work surface. Have your cod ready to go, then have a bowl or plate of flour, a shallow bowl of beaten egg, and a third bowl with the panko and coconut. Dredge the fish in the flour first, shaking off any excess, then dunk it completely in the egg. Once fully coated, dredge the fish in the coconut mixture and press the flakes into the fish to adhere. The fish should be completely covered in panko and coconut.

Frying the coconut crusted cod

If you've made chicken Milanese or piccata before, you'll be a pro at this. While the cod is thicker than a cutlet of piccata, it cooks quickly, meaning that it can be pan-fried in just a little bit of oil. The tricky part is getting the heat just right so that the coconut turns golden brown around the same time that the cod is done. Too hot, and the delicate coconut will burn. Heat the oil until hot but not smoking, then add your filets. The oil should sizzle when the fish is added. Cook on either side for about 3-5 minutes, or until the coconut is crispy golden brown.

Serving the cod

As mentioned before, these filets are great for pairing with coconut rice, topping leafy salads, or stuffing into tacos. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and reheat in the oven or air fryer to keep the crust crispy. If you microwave the fish, the crust won't be quite as crispy, so we recommend taking a few extra minutes to heat the fish in higher heat. And if you do want to eat these fish-stick style, keep the homemade theme going and dunk the cod into a tangy homemade tartar.

Coconut-Crusted Cod Filets Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
In this recipe, flaky cod is crusted with subtly sweet coconut and crispy panko. The result is a crunchy filet with a hint of sweetness and a flaky interior.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cod cut into pieces on plate
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound of cod filets, about 3-4 filets
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus 1 pinch
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Oil, for frying
  1. Sprinkle each cod filet with salt, lime, and cayenne. Use your hands to spread the seasonings across each filet, coating as much as possible.
  2. Arrange a dredging station: Place flour in one bowl, the egg in another bowl, and the panko and coconut flakes in a third bowl. Add a pinch of salt to the panko mixture and lightly combine.
  3. Dredge the fish into the flour, then coat completely in egg. Press the cod into the panko mixture, coating each side of the cod completely. Set aside.
  4. Fill a cast iron skillet with ¼ -inch of oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering. To test, add a coconut flake to the oil. If it sizzles and browns, the oil is ready.
  5. Place the cod filets into the skillet, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Cook until crispy and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  6. When each side of the cod is golden brown, remove the fish from the skillet and place on a paper-towel lined sheet tray. Serve warm.
Calories per Serving 610
Total Fat 39.0 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 88.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 38.6 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Total Sugars 1.7 g
Sodium 511.7 mg
Protein 27.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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