Classic Boston Baked Cod recipe with a buttery cracker topping is easy to make, cooks quickly, and is absolutely delicious. Straight from my childhood in New England, this baked fish with Ritz crackers will become a family favorite for you too.
We all have those dishes that completely encompass our heritage, our childhood, our memories. This dish is one of those for me.
I grew up ordering this at restaurants all the time, and I truly love that it is now a family favorite when I make it at home.
Why baking fish with a cracker topping is a New England tradition
New England consists of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. These states encompass the northernmost coastline of the United States on the Atlantic Ocean.
I grew up near Boston. We boated and fished, and ate fish more often than not. Because most of these states are coastal, seafood was local, fresh, and affordable.
The fish I grew up on were haddock, flounder, and cod. Never polluck… my Grandmother, “That’s a chowdah fish” and she made us throw it back when we caught it fishing.
Baking fish with a crumbly cracker topping is the traditional New England way to do it, and you will find it in most seafood restaurants up there.
Ritz crackers are easy to find, cheap, and work so well because of how they soak up the butter and bake into this magically delicious blanket of yumminess on the fish.
And not only is this mix so tasty on its own that I could literally sit there with a spoon and eat it, but it also serves to protect the fish while baking.
See, if we just bake or broil our cod or whatever super lean white fish we are cooking, we run the risk of cooking it dry or overcooking thinner parts while we get the thicker parts cooked through.
Well, the cracker topping is the great equalizer. All parts of the filets are YUMMY good, perfectly moist, and amazing altogether in every bite under the buttery bed of crackers. Hence, the tradition.
How to bake cod
The steps for this recipe are thusly and are quite simple:
- Put your fish in a bake dish. If you can’t get cod, other mild, white fish work for this recipe too.
- Make your Ritz cracker topping and top the fish. While finding Ritz crackers should not be a problem, any buttery cracker (such as Town House), can serve as a substitute.
- Bake. 8-12 minutes is all it takes. Thinner filets of fish will cook faster; thicker will take a little longer.
Can other fish be substituted for cod?
Yes. If cod is not available, or too expensive, or not in season, any lean white fish may be substituted. Here are some suggestions:
- sea bass
- orange roughy
Using a fork to check for doneness is the best way with cooking any fish, especially white fish.
I suggest using a 13×9 bake dish, but any casserole dish will work. A skillet could be used too since it’s a quick cook and the oven temperature is not that high.
If for some strange reason Ritz crackers aren’t available (and I can’t imagine what scenario that could be), any “buttery” cracker will work.
This recipe reheats very well the next day. However, if you are at work and share a microwave with others… you know how microwaving fish goes… There is no hiding it.
More cod recipes
- German Baked Cod in Mustard Cream. This is another FAST dinner but elegant enough for a special occasion.
- Golden Zucchini Wrapped Cod. Served over yummy Garlic Cilantro Rice.
- Easy Dijon-Baked Cod over Swiss Chard. A healthy dinner idea.
- Coconut Cod with Pineapple Salsa. Light and crispy cod over coconut rice.
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Boston Baked Cod
- 1 lb cod or other white fish
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers (35 crackers) crushed
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 tsp fresh parsley minced
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Lay the fish in a 13×9 baking dish. Season very lightly with salt and pepper.
- Mix the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the cod.
- Bake at 375°F for 8-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) until the fish flakes with fork and crumbs are golden.
Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.