This baked fish recipe is perhaps the most ingenious use of gluten-free bread that we’ve seen yet. It not only harnesses the dry, crumbly texture of many gluten-free breads as a good thing by turning it into crumbs, it also offsets any potential lackluster taste by jumbling the bread crumbs with lemon zest and almonds. (Caveat: Not to knock gluten-free bread, as it’s come quite a long way in recent years, but we all know that there are some disappointing loaves out there. So when you encounter one, don’t begrudgingly shove it in your mouth and suffer in silence. Toss it in the freezer and save it for this.)

Four fillets of baked fish with almonds, lemon, and bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet.

Baked Fish with Lemon Bread Crumbs

5 / 5 votes
Baked fish is boring, yes? No. Not this lovely little weeknight number with bread crumbs that proves just how spectacularly tender and tasty baked fish can be.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories300 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet and the fish
  • 2 slices bread, (gluten-free, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, preferably raw
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, (preferably organic), zest finely grated and remaining lemon halved crosswise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • Four (6-ounce) fish fillets, such as Pacific cod, wild salmon, tilapia, arctic char, black cod, or trout


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Lightly slick a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan with olive oil.
  • Tear the bread into roughly 1-inch chunks, toss in a food processor, and grind until fine crumbs form. You should have about 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl. Toss the almonds coarsely in the processor and process until finely ground. Add to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Mix in the scallions, lemon zest (you should have about 4 loosely packed teaspoons), and 1 tablespoon oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the fish on the baking sheet, arranging it with the slightly curved side of the fillet facing up. Brush the fish with olive oil and squeeze the juice from the lemon halves over the fish. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the mustard lightly over the fillets.
  • Just before baking, divide the bread crumb mixture among the fillets, pressing the mixture onto the top of each fillet. Bake until the fish is springy to the touch and the bread crumbs begin to brown, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness (obviously this will take less than 10 minutes if your fish fillet is thinner than an inch). Transfer the baked fish to plates and serve right away.


Baked Fish With Lemon Bread Crumbs Variation

Swap walnuts or hazelnuts for the almonds.
Try orange zest in lieu of lemon zest.
Use any fish you fancy, whether sea bass or catfish or halibut or…well, you get the idea.
Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten-Free

Adapted From

Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 300 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 32 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gCholesterol: 80 mgSodium: 598 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Kristine Kidd. Photo © 2013 Kate Sears. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This baked fish with lemon and bread crumbs recipe is simple, easy, and gluten-free for those who need it to be. It makes a delicious weeknight meal or a grand weekend eat. It’s absolutely stunning when presented at the table, and even more divine when you sink your teeth into it. I used wild salmon fillets, followed the recipe exactly, and after 10 minutes of cooking I had a great dish. I served it with a green salad with a ginger lemon dressing and some roasted new potatoes. This recipe is a blueprint for amazing variations and I cannot wait to add my twists to it. I served it with Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc.

Simple ingredients combine to make a memorable dish. That’s how I feel about this baked fish recipe. My only problem with it was that 2 slices bread equaled 1 1/2 cups crumbs, and I only needed 1/2 cup. It also took 2 lemons to get enough zest. I used a coarsely ground Dijon mustard but next time I’ll try a smooth mustard. The end result was a very flavorful, flaky fish that everyone liked. I can’t wait to try different nut and citrus zest combinations.

I like the idea of cod, but I usually find the reality of it terribly bland. Cod with this topping was so delicious that I wanted to eat all 4 servings! I used panko instead of fine bread crumbs and thought the texture was perfect. Next time, I think I’ll use about twice as much mustard.

This was definitely impressive enough for any company! The flavors of the nuts, olive oil, and lemon worked so well together. I used tilapia fillets and the almonds and lemon, but can’t wait to try other nuts and orange zest. We could smell the nuts roasting and the lemon zest as the fish cooked. The 1 tablespoon oil mixed with the bread crumb mixture helped it to hold together on the fish fillets. The tilapia was a little thinner than the recipe suggested so I cooked it only 7 to 8 minutes. This recipe was easy enough for a weeknight meal, but had a sophisticated enough look for guests. I’ll go back to this recipe in the future.

I decided to whip this baked fish recipe up on a whim last night for dinner, which was very easily accomplished on super short notice. The only thing I needed to buy was a piece of fish. We opted for local blue cod, which is about 60% less expensive than halibut, which is what I really wanted. The cod was fantastic nonetheless! The bread crumb topping was particularly tasty, and all the flavors melded together well. I used whole grain mustard on the fish because apparently I don’t have Dijon in my fridge. It tasted great with the whole grain substitute. This all came together so quickly and easily, and there’s a lot of room for playing around with the different ingredients. I used a rustic, crusty bread for the topping (not gluten-free). I think it was important to use a heartier bread; it picked up the flavors of the other ingredients in the topping much better than sliced sandwich bread. In the future I’ll try gluten-free. Depending on which of the fish suggestions you choose, you might want to alter different components of the bread crumb mixture. For example, if I choose a fish that’s more strongly flavored than the mild white fish I chose, perhaps wild salmon, I might want to increase the amounts of lemon and scallions in order to match up to the flavor of the fish. The flexibility of this recipe is what’s really great about it. My cooking time was a bit longer, about 12 to 15 minutes in a 450°F oven. (My fillets were roughly 1 inch thick.) This dish has successfully worked its way into my dinner rotation.

This baked fish recipe is so easy to make. Just drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper, and mustard on fish (I used tilapia), grind up the bread crumbs, mix the almond mixture with some lemon zest, scallions, and oil, put it on the fillets, and bake. The bread crumb coating sealed in the juices of the fish. I had perfectly cooked, tender, juicy fish. I loved the flavors of lemon and nuts with the onion. Very simple, healthy, and fast.

A very easy, straightforward, and delicious baked fish recipe. I made it exactly as it was written, and it worked like a charm. I used tilapia and baked it for exactly 10 minutes. The fish came out perfect. Since I already had the oven hot, I made a side of sweet potato wedges in the oven. Nice combo. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Though it worked great with the tilapia, I’d love to try it out with salmon.

I don’t like making fish. I decided to try this baked fish recipe in the hopes that I’d find a recipe that’d make me want to cook fish, and I hit the jackpot! The flavors work really well together, each singing its own song and yet not overpowering the fish (I used cod). The crumb topping adhered nicely to the fish thanks to the olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. The timing in the oven was accurate. Definitely a winner.

This roasted fish recipe is surprisingly good for such a simple preparation, which is just how home cooking should be. My husband and I rated this as company-worthy, and really perfect for surprise midweek dinner guests. The best thing about this recipe is the technique. You can use a variety of fish, gluten-free (or not) bread crumbs, olive or coconut oil, different spices, citrus juices, herbs such as cilantro, spices including cumin, etc. Rub on, drizzle with olive oil, bake, perfection!

I used wild California sea bass, a nice mild yet meaty fish. It was absolutely delicious. Make sure to rub the oil all over the fish, top and bottom, and place on parchment paper or aluminum foil to make the cleanup extra fast. Adding a little chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, or dill to this recipe would be a nice addition, along with another splash of lemon juice and a little drizzle of delicious extra-virgin olive oil just before presenting to elevate the taste. Make this dish and, voila, your guests will think you’re a genius!

The crumb topping for the baked fish is easy to make and has wonderful flavor components. I think that this would be a great topping for a neutral-flavored fish. The mistake I made was putting it on top of a piece of wild Copper River salmon. I like that fish so much that I don’t want to do anything to it at all. I ended up taking the topping off of the fish, and eating it on the side. I look forward to using this topping on a different type of fish.

Our neighbor went fishing and we had so much that he gave us we’ve had to eat fish for 2 days now and will have the leftovers for lunch again tomorrow. We had this wonderful recipe tonight. The one change I made was to use almond meal (about 3 tablespoons) and then add in a handful of walnuts and put it all through the food processor just in case the almond meal alone didn’t give it enough crunch. Tasting the bread crumb mixture was the key. Between 10 and 15 minutes was the correct cooking time; the top was crispy, the fish moist, and everything so flavorful. The scallions were an added surprise to the crumb coating, and of course the lemon zest and quick squeeze of lemon are musts. All in all, this beats frying fish—which is a big thing in Louisiana—every time. Just delicious. It’s a keeper.

Cod combined with this topping makes a fish dinner worthy of praise from anyone who can appreciate a savory, nutty topping with lemon and scallion flavors coming through strongly. This dish was easy to put together and, for me, all the ingredients were already on hand. My cooking time exceeded the recipe suggestions by a couple of minutes but yielded moist, tender fish with a deliciously crisped topping. The mouth feel of crisp topping combined with tender fish was perfect. The mustard helped the mixture adhere to the fish while adding flavor. I look forward to trying this topping on other mild fish—it’s a dish that is perfect for weeknights and could definitely be served at a dinner party.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Amazing every time and a real star dish with my son. Making it again as I type this. Nice side of red cabbage coleslaw and home made wedges to go with it.

  2. 5 stars
    I have now made this recipe several times, using cod, halibut and even catfish – the only fish my husband will eat – I ask for thicker cuts. It is the best recipe ever! Healthier and better tasting than fried because you always get a delicious crunchy crust as opposed to the sometimes soggy things that happens when frying. I use my Cruisenart Mini-Food Processor (the homemade breadcrumbs are a must) so the clean up is minimal. You all rock!!

  3. 5 stars
    So delicious and so simple, it barely qualifies as cooking! I used sourdough bread for the crumbs and a lime because that’s what I had. Worked perfectly with ling cod and I suspect most fish would be just fine.

    I have lots of the crumb mixture stashed in the refrigerator; just another reason to make this again very soon. I’m looking forward to trying it with hazelnuts

    Thanks for this gem of a recipe!