Panko-Crusted Baked Haddock

Panko-Crusted Baked Haddock

If you love fried fish but you'd rather not have to deal with the oil and hassle of frying, this delicious baked haddock with a crispy panko crust is the recipe for you. If you can't find haddock, other mild white fish like cod and catfish also work very well in this recipe.

Serve the fillets with wedges of lemon or a homemade tartar sauce or rémoulade and add a side of baked french fries or roasted potatoes for a satisfying meal. For a lighter dinner, serve the fish fillets atop a bed of arugula or with some simple steamed vegetables. Or stuff the fillets into buns with all the fixings for a wonderful fish sandwich. So many possibilities!

Make It a One-Pan Meal

If you want to get your vegetables in and ensure that the fish won’t stick to the pan, place the fillets on a single layer of vegetables tossed with oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Make sure that they’re quick-cooking veggies like onions, zucchini, pencil-thin asparagus, or chopped kale. Thinly slice the onions and zucchini, aiming for no thicker than 1/8 inch (slicing them on a mandoline can help, but a nice sharp knife does the trick too).

What Is Haddock?

Haddock is a bottom-feeding, salt-water, firm white fish that is most comparable to cod. It has a more delicate texture, less fat, and slightly stronger in flavor than cod, but is still quite mild. Like cod, haddock is a common choice for baking, broiling, and deep-frying due to its robust flake. You can even throw it into soups like fish chowder, and it will retain its form.

How to Shop for Delicious—and Sustainable—Haddock

When shopping for haddock, look for firm white fillets without blemishes. The fish should smell like the sea—not overtly "fishy." Frozen haddock fillets are also an excellent choice for this recipe. Whether you're starting from fresh or frozen, try to choose fillets that are all about the same size and thickness so they cook at the same rate.

In terms of sustainability, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommends choosing haddock caught in the United States and looking for fish that’s certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. A good sustainable substitute for haddock is wild-caught Pacific cod (also marketed as Alaskan cod), which would be excellent in this recipe.

Recipe Tips

  • Make fillets for sandwiches: If you plan to use the baked fillets for sandwiches, just cut them into bun-sized portions before you coat them with the crumbs. Serve the fillets in toasted buns with potato chips or fries.
  • Use panko: Panko is a specific brand of Japanese breadcrumbs and they make for a wonderfully light and crispy coating. If you prefer a finer coating, pulse the panko crumbs in a food processor a few times or use regular breadcrumbs.
  • Keep an eye on salt: This recipe calls for homemade Creole seasoning, but you can also swap in your favorite store-bought variety. If the blend you use is very salty, skip or cut back on additional salt when seasoning the fish.
  • Oil the baking sheet: To ensure that the fish does not stick to the baking sheet, grease the pan well with oil or cooking spray.
  • Follow the 10-minute rule: If you’re using another type of fish with thicker fillets (catfish, for example) and are uncertain how long to bake the fillets, you can follow the 10-minute rule. Measure each fillet at its thickest point, and then bake it 10 minutes for every inch. So a fillet that’s 1 1/2 inches at its thickest point would be baked at 450 F for 15 minutes.
  • Know how to test for doneness: To test a piece of fish for doneness, insert a fork into the center of the thickest fillet. Twist and lift. The fish from the center should flake easily and appear opaque. To be absolutely sure your fish is cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer, which should register 145 F at the thickest part of the fillet.

Panko-crusted oven-fried haddock on a plate with orange slices

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

“This recipe was a breeze to put together, making it an easy, delicious weeknight meal. The seasoning was perfect, and panko was a great alternative to standard breading. It really didn’t need a sauce; a squeeze of lemon juice brightened it up nicely. If you can’t find haddock, you can use cod or catfish.” —Colleen Graham

Panko-crusted oven fried haddock on a white plate A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray, or oil, for the baking sheet

  • 4 (6-ounce) haddock fillets, defrosted if frozen

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or a similar seasoning salt blend

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Ingredients for panko-crusted haddock recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. 

    Rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and brushed with oil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack 

  3. Lightly sprinkle the fish fillets all over with salt and pepper. Keep in mind that if your Creole seasoning (or other seasoning blend) is quite salty already, you can skip or reduce the salt in this step. You can always salt at the end if needed.

    Haddock sprinkled with seasoning before breading and baking

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Put the flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Combine the panko crumbs and parsley in another wide, shallow bowl. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs with the mayonnaise and Creole seasoning. You will have to whisk for a minute or two to ensure the mayonnaise doesn't leave clumps.

    Bowls of flour, panko, and egg mixtures for haddock

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Dip a fillet in the flour, coating thoroughly. 

    Haddock fillet dredged in flour

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Then dip the fillet in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.

    Flour-dredged haddock fillet dipped in egg and seasoning mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Next, roll the fillet in the panko crumb mixture, pressing lightly to help crumbs adhere to the fish. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

    Haddock fillets in a bowl with panko and parsley

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Arrange the fish in the prepared baking pan. For pieces with a long, thin "tail," tuck the thin parts under the fillet. They should be uniform in thickness so they will cook evenly.

    Panko-crusted haddock fillets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Bake the fish until the breading is slightly browned and the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 18 to 22 minutes. The baking time depends on thickness, so adjust for very thin or thick fillets. 

    Panko-crusted oven-fried haddock fillets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Serve with lemon wedges, along with the seafood sauce of your choice, like homemade tartar sauce or rémoulade. Enjoy.

    Panko-crusted oven-fried haddock on a plate with mixed greens, tartar sauce, and sliced orange

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack 

Recipe Variation

  • If you're looking for a buttery twist, substitute 1 1/2 cups of crushed Ritz crackers or similar buttery crackers for the panko.

Helpful Links

  • Before You Buy Seafood at a Supermarket
  • How to Buy and Cook Fish for Perfect Results
  • Pantry Basics and Staples

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