Miso Cod

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

This is a variation on the classic dish found in many modern Asian-inspired restaurants. The miso bath both flavors and cures the fish. Don’t be afraid to try this out on your family; roasted cod fillets are supremely easy to make and please almost everyone (even if they think they don’t like fish). If you can’t find or afford the fish suggested here, ask your fishmonger to suggest penny-wise firm white fish fillets that can be substituted.–Susie Cover

LC Channeling Your Inner Nobu Note

Restaurateur Nobu first popularized this intriguing miso marinade for fish, which lends an intensely rich, caramelized taste and toothsome texture to an ordinary catch. Go ahead. Channel your inner Nobu.

Miso Cod

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 6 reviews
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  • 1 cup mirin
  • 2 cups white or yellow miso paste
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Four (6-ounce) fillets black cod (may substitute Pacific cod or halibut)
  • Canola oil


  • 1. In a small saucepan, warm the mirin over medium heat. Do not allow it to boil. Add the miso and stir until completely incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  • 2. Pat the 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.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. Transfer the fillets to a platter or individual plates and serve.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This is a simple and elegant 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 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.

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.

Extremely simple and tasty recipe, perfect for a weeknight. For those that do 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.

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° 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.


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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. I have had this dish at Asian restaurants and love it. I don’t cook much because I have long work days, but when I do, I like easy recipes. I plan to make this dish, but when I saw the large amounts of each ingredient it sounded like way too much for just 4 fillets. What am I not getting?

    1. Beverly, the large amounts are simply so that you have sufficient marinade to slather the fillets with the mixture. You need to completely coat the cod so that it properly soaks up the sweetly salty mixture in order for the taste transformation to take place.

  5. My parents always made miso salmon growing up. With cod, it seems, for some reason, like a more delicate, grown-up version. Not to mention, EEEaazy! Can’t wait to give it a go!

  6. I was just reading about miso the other day. Now I know what color to buy! Thanks so much and can’t wait to try this.

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