Recipe for Smoked Cod

smoked cod with lemon on a mat and napkin

Try this smoked cod recipe for a unique smokey flavor

This smoked cod has all the good aspects of baked cod, it’s moist, flakey, and full of bright flavors from the marinade.  Better and more unique than baked cod, this recipe for smoked cod adds a light smokey flavor that I’m sure you’ll love.  The recipe is also a relatively quick smoke; cod is quick to defrost and the smoke only takes a couple hours.   Fresh smoked cod is a healthy choice for dinner, and tastes great to boot.

All about the marinade in this recipe for smoked cod

Marination adds some moisture to the fish, which is important because smoking is a naturally dehydrating process.  We want our fish nice and moist after cooking, with a hint of smoky flavor.

The three key elements of this marinade are sweetness, tang, and salt.  I chose Vernors for the sweetness, it’s a unique Michigan ginger ale.  Unlike most dry ginger ales, Vernonr’s leans a bit more in the sweetness and fizz.   You can substitute regular ginger ale or other light colored sodas, just avoid any weird flavors.  

For saltiness I used soy sauce, it’s kind of an obvious choice for fish and is flavor neutral enough to mesh with the other ingredients.  

For tanginess, I used lemon juice.  I also recommend squeezing a fresh lemon over top of the fish just before eating.

What sides go well with smoked Cod?

I recommend a starch for your primary side.

  1. I served my smoked cod with wild rice.  Its native to Michigan, and not technically rice at all.  That said, wild rice cooks just like regular rice and is eaten in the same way.  The color is beautiful and wild rice is more flavorful on its own relative to plain white rice.   
  2. Turmeric yellow rice.  This is one of my most popular side dishes, and is super easy to make.  You can buy yellow rice packets at the store, but this is cheaper and honestly better.
  3. Baked or roasted potatoes.  This will give the meal more of a barbeque feel, and you can load up the potato with cheese and sour cream.  

I also recommend adding a little fruit or something sweet and vibrant.   I served my smoked cod with crisp cubed granny smith apples.  They add a bright note that really elevates the fish.

How long does it take to marinate smoked cod?

When marinating cod, you’re really just trying to add flavor and a bit of extra moisture to the fish.  Many smoker recipes have extended marination times, but that will overpower the subtle flavor of the cod.

I only marinate cod for an hour to an hour and a half.  If you need to delay cooking, take the fish out of the marinade after an hour and store in another container.  

Should I use a meat probe on smoked cod?

I find that cod filets are too thin and breakable for my standard smoker meat probes.  So I used a digital kitchen thermometer to periodically check the cod’s temperature.  It made a much smaller puncture hole and didn’t disturb the fish.   This is a pretty quick smoke, so you won’t have to do too much work.

How long should I smoke cod for?

This recipe for smoked cod took a couple hours to smoke.   Everyone’s smoker is a bit different, so make sure your fish passes 140F before pulling.

What temperature should I smoke cod to?

You should smoke your cod to 140F (60C).   Anything more and you risk making the fish rubbery and unpleasant, and anything less isn’t safe to eat.   If you smoke the fish too hot and too long, you’ll just end up with fish jerky!

Use aluminum foil or a foil tray to smoke your fish

Good fish is flakey and tender after cooking.  If you try to smoke this fish directly on the grates of your smoker, you’ll probably make a mess of the fish trying to scrape it off the grill.

Instead, put down some aluminum foil or use a disposable foil pan.   I opt for the foil pan because there’s no fuss with crumpling up the foil or trying to support it when picking up the fish.  I buy big packs of these trays at Costco for all my smoking projects.

Can I meal prep or store smoked cod?

I would not recommend trying to make this meal multiple days in advance.  The texture of the fish will go rubbery, and it won’t reheat well.  Cod is pretty quick to defrost and cook, and I recommend cooking it in time to eat fresh.  Smoking takes a bit longer than other cod meals, so if you need a fast weeknight meal, check out my fish rice bowl below.

smoked cod on a plate with wild rice and apple

Other fresh seafood meals to try:

Fish is such a healthy protein, and tastes great.  Here are a couple other fish based meals I enjoy:

  1. Salmon and Kale Salad:  This is a weeknight staple for me during the summer.   Grilled salmon is amazing, and I grow an absolute ton of kale in the summer.
  2. Fish rice bowls:  Think rice bowl with fish, and it goes great with an ear of street corn!
  3. Corn Tortilla Tostadas:  I love making shrimp tostadas, they’re healthy and quick to make with countless topping options.

Enjoy smoked foods? Try some of our other smoker meals

  1. Smoked Fireball Pineapple:  Smokey cinnamon pineapple is great, and goes great with fish!  You can prep this sweet dish at the same time as your smoked cod, making it a great pairing.
  2. Pit Boss Pork Belly Bacon:  Everyone loves bacon, and this homemade bacon is actually way better than store bought bacon.  You’ll be proud to serve this bacon to family and friends. 
  3. Smoked spatchcocked chicken:  Chicken is another healthy protein, and this recipe is perfect for juicy, evenly cooked whole chicken.

How to make this smoked cod recipe

smoked cod with lemon on a mat and napkin

Recipe for Smoked Cod

This recipe for smoked cod is quick and easy. You'll love the smokey, citrusy cod.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 208 kcal


  • 1 Smoker
  • 1 disposable foil tray or aluminum foil


  • 2 Cod Filets, defrosted

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ginger ale I used Vernors
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed


  • Rinse your defrosted cod and pat dry.
  • Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough for the ingredients and cod.
  • Add cod to the marinadate, submerging it fully in the marinade. Refrigerate in the fridge for about an hour.
  • Preheat your smoker to a low temperature, around 180F (82C). If you’re using a pellet tube, start it now. If you have a water tray, fill it now.
  • Grease a foil tray or sheet of foil and lay out your fish.
  • Smoke until the fish reaches 140F (60C). Serve and enjoy!


Calories will vary a bit depending on your marinade


Serving: 4ozCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 14.7gProtein: 32.3gFat: 1.1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 10018mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 13.4gCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cod, Fish, Smoked
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutrition Facts
Recipe for Smoked Cod
Serving Size
4 oz
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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