Miso Cod

This miso cod is made by marinating fish in a mixture of mirin, miso, and sugar before pan-searing, a method originally made popular at Nobu.

A piece of cooked miso cod in a stainless steel skillet that is resting on a white board next to an orange napkin.

Restaurateur Nobu first popularized this intriguing miso cod, which relies on a miso marinade for fish to lend an intensely rich, caramelized taste and toothsome texture to an ordinary catch. Go ahead. Channel your inner Nobu.–Renee Schettler

Miso Cod

  • Quick Glance
  • (8)
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 8 reviews
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In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the mirin. Don’t allow it to boil. Add the miso and stir until completely incorporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar to the mirin and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Pat the fish fillets dry. Place in a baking dish and generously slather both sides with the miso mixture. Cover the dish with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Uncover the fish and wipe off the excess marinade with paper towels. Add the fillets to the hot pan and sear until golden brown and caramelized on the bottom, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Be careful, as the fish can scorch and blacken quickly because of the sugar in the coating.

Transfer the fillets to the prepared baking sheet, carefully turning them seared side up. Bake until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the fillets to a platter or individual plates and serve immediately. Originally published January 23, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Frankly, I didn’t expect this dish to be as delicious as it turned out to be. Upon tasting the marinade paste, my husband wasn’t impressed and my thoughts were that it was okay but not fabulous. Were we in for a surprise!

After the cod was marinated for 24 hours, the excess marinade rubbed off, the fish seared until caramelized (about 2 minutes) and then baked for just over 6 minutes, wow!

The caramelized bits that fell off were my favorite part of the whole thing. They were amazing! It’s true that the fish actually cures, as evidenced by the change in texture. The fish itself was very flavorful. If you want to try fish “candy” or fish “bacon” (in a good way!), maybe try this with a thin fish such as sole so the entire thing caramelizes. You can bet I’ll be trying that.

I first had this dish at Nobu in NYC. Then I made it at home using Nobu: The Cookbook. This version of the recipe works very well and is a convenient variation to Nobu’s original recipe since you marinate the cod for only 24 hours rather than 3 days.

I wasn’t able to find black cod in my market so I substituted a nice thick Pacific cod. This worked very well—the flavor was quite comparable to Nobu’s version and the fish turned out nice and flaky. Baking time was several minutes longer than 7 minutes, most likely due to the thickness of the cod.

This is a simple and elegant fish recipe that requires relatively little work. I love ordering miso cod in restaurants, and it’s nice to have a recipe for it so I can replicate the dish at home.

The only amendment I’d make would be to use a little bit less sugar in the recipe, perhaps cutting down to 3/4 cup or so, depending on your taste. Do indeed pay attention to the fish while cooking—the sugar does cause the fish to blacken quickly!

I served this with some steamed brown rice and roasted broccoli, and it made for a nice light and healthy meal.

I had the original miso-marinated black cod at Nobu back in the ’90s when the dish was first invented and I still think of the experience with fondness. The sweet-salty miso marinade wasn’t overpowering or even obvious but was an excellent counterpart to the rich unctuousness of the fish. I’ve had this at other places since, but Nobu did it best. So of course I had to test this recipe out.

I had to make a few adjustments. There was no black cod to be found at my local fish market and I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase the endangered Chilean sea bass/Patagonian toothfish, so I settled on good ole North Atlantic cod. All they had were fillets, so there was no skin for me to sear as was the case with the original. I also had a big bucket of red miso and was too lazy to go out to the Asian grocery for white or yellow miso. As red miso is saltier than the white/yellow kinds, I used only half of what was recommended in the recipe. I ended up putting the raw fish directly into a 400°F oven on greased foil for 13 minutes. The fish turned out much firmer than regular oven-baked cod—almost like it had been dry-cured. The marinade had done its job and drawn out a lot of moisture from the fish. It was a little salty for my taste though, so next time I’d make sure to wipe off the majority of the marinade, then moisten another paper towel to get the rest.

Great recipe—I tried it again with whole mackerels and got equally delicious results.

Extremely simple and tasty recipe, perfect for a weeknight. For those that love the taste of fish, this is perfect as its seasoning doesn’t overwhelm the fish. I’d even think that it’d be delicious with a steak fish such as shark.


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  1. This is fantastic! I had red miso. Per the other commenters here, I used 1 cup instead of 2 and then, I used 1/2 cup of honey because it has less tenacity to burn. Whole family enjoyed. My 9 year old who doesn’t like fish, gobbled it up! Thank you!

  2. Very good. It is actually an easy dish. Cod is better if it stays in the miso for at least 24 hours. I like it.

  3. Made it with catfish because it’s more environmentally conscious to eat them!! Still delicious, the marinade is spectacular.

  4. Thank you Renee, I guess I will have to prove it to myself and follow the recipe as I didn’t notice anyone else commenting on the volume.

    1. You’re right to question things, Beverly. I, too, hate to use more expensive ingredients than necessary. But since cod fillets tend to be rather large, I’d recommend making the full amount. I really hope you love this recipe as much as we do.

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