Lemony Baked Cod With Wild Rice and Fennel

Need a beautiful and thoughtful meal that requires zero side dishes? This lemony cod, warm fennel salad, and wild rice combo may be just what you need tonight.

Plate of wild rice with lemony cod and fennel salad.

Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

I’m both uncertain and certain about fish. I’m uncertain which day fish night fell on at my house growing up. If I had to guess, maybe on a weekend. I am fully certain that I loathed fish night. My grandmother did everything she could to get me to eat fish—she even cut them into bite-sized pieces that resembled chicken nuggets.

Despite these memories, at some point in my life I decided to like fish. I imagine this is how many people come to like fish, through adulthood.

For this recipe, I lean on cod, a light and mildly sweet fish that lends itself to the caramelly notes of fennel tossed with golden raisins, sliced almonds, and fresh lemon juice. Both the cod and fennel salad sit on a bed of earthy wild rice. Cook this meal for a grown-up family dinner or for a special gathering with friends.

Two plates of wild rice, cod, and warm fennel salad.

Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

How to Cook Wild Rice

I used a blend of wild and brown rice, which is a bit easier to come by at the grocery store than just wild rice. The rice bakes for roughly 50 minutes, then the cod is laid on top, and together they bake for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s a long bake, but most of it is hands off.  

Tips for Buying Cod

This recipe calls for portioned skinless cod fillets—they are the perfect single servings. Fresh cod should be firm to the touch, not spongy, overly soft, or dry. It should be slightly wet, but never slimy. Look for fillets that are about the same size so that they cook at the same rate.

If using frozen cod, follow the package instructions for thawing. It’s generally best to thaw it in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, use it right away rather than let it sit in the fridge.    

Can’t find cod? Use pollock, tilapia, haddock, or mahi-mahi.

Lemony cod with warm fennel salad on top of wild rice.

Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

How to Tell Cod Is Perfectly Cooked

I suggest baking the cod for 15 to 20 minutes; however, oven temperatures vary or your fish may be thicker or thinner than mine, so check the fish for doneness at the 15-minute mark. When perfectly cooked, it should feel firm when lightly pressed and will flake easily when prodded with a fork.  

Last Tip: Be Prepared!  

Prepare all the ingredients—plump up the raisins, squeeze the lemon juice, and slice the fennel—as soon as you pop the rice into the oven. Everything comes together quickly at the end so having the ingredients ready to go makes it go faster and smoother.

Cod over wild rice on white plate.

Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

More Delicious Cod Recipes to Try

Lemony Baked Cod With Wild Rice and Fennel

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 70 mins
Total Time 85 mins
Servings 4 servings

This recipe calls for a wild rice blend—I use a wild and brown rice blend. Need to get dinner on the table sooner? Switch to a faster cooking long-grain white rice, which will take 25 to 30 minutes to cook through. Using just wild rice? Set the oven to 350°F and cook it for a total of 1 hour 25 minutes. Either way, add the cod when there is 15 to 20 minutes left.


For the rice:

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1 cup uncooked wild and brown rice

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the cod:

  • 4 fillets skinless cod (about 1 pound)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the fennel:

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (fronds reserved for garnish) 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves, tightly packed

  • 1 lemon, quartered, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  2. Cook the rice: 

    In a 9x13-inch baking dish (glass, ceramic, or metal works), stir 2 cups boiling water, the wild rice blend, dried parsley, and salt. Immediately cover the dish tightly with foil and place it in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

    Wild rice blend and boiling water in baking dish.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

    Tightly cover the baking dish with foil.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

  3. Prepare the cod:

    While rice cooks, pat the cod dry with paper towels and evenly season both sides with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the butter and lemon juice. Set them aside. 

  4. Fluff the rice and add the cod: 

    At the 50-minute mark remove the rice from the oven and give it a good stir—be sure to get the edges and spread it back into an even layer. Lay the cod on top of the rice and drizzle the lemony butter mixture over each fillet. 

    Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the rice around the edges of the dish. Cover the dish tightly with foil and pop it back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cod is cooked through. It will transform from translucent to opaque and gently flake when prodded with a fork. A thermometer poked into the center should read 145°F.

    Place the cod on top of the partially cooked rice.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

  5. Meanwhile, plump up the raisins:

    In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup boiling water and the golden raisins. Let the raisins plump up for at least 5 minutes. Drain the raisins into a colander or fine set in the sink and set aside. 

    Plump up holden raisins in a small bowl.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

  6. Make the warm fennel salad: 

    In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the sliced fennel, salt, and black pepper. Sauté the fennel until it starts to soften just a little, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. The fennel and shallots should be tender, but not browned or mushy.

    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, and lemon juice, and stir until the honey is dissolved. 

    Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the plump raisins, almonds, and lemon dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, black pepper, or honey. Fold in the parsley.

    Saute fennel in skillet.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

    Toss the warm fennel salad with the lemon dressing, raisins and parsley.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

  7. Plate and serve: 

    Plate some rice on a plate with a fillet of cod and warm fennel salad on the side. Garnish with fennel fronds, if any, and serve with quartered lemons to squeeze on the cod.

    To store leftovers, separate the cod, fennel salad, and rice into separate containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Because the fish will reheat at a different rate than the rice, heat them separately in the microwave.

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us a review in the comments! 

    Cod over wild rice on white plate.

    Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
630 Calories
27g Fat
58g Carbs
49g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 630
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 977mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 133mg 664%
Calcium 173mg 13%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 1321mg 28%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.