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pan-seared cod with bourbon sauce on a plate
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4.85 from 20 votes

Pan-Seared Cod with Kentucky Bourbon

This Pan-Seared Cod with Kentucky Bourbon features flaky white cod topped with a sweet bourbon sauce. And it’s ready in about 15 minutes!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 352kcal


  • 8 ounces cod fillets (2 fillets)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (1 oz)
  • 2 tablespoon bourbon (1 oz)
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • diced green onion, parsley, and or basil to serve (optional)


  • Pat cod dry and season with salt. Allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar and bourbon together and set aside. Keep the balsamic-bourbon mixture within arm's reach, so that you can grab it quickly when the honey is ready.
  • Pour honey into a small, heavy-bottom pot and turn heat to medium. In about 1-2 minutes, the honey should start to bubble. Stir it with a wooden spoon until the honey darkens in color and turns amber (about 3 more minutes).
    Note- The caramelizing honey will be EXTREMELY hot. Do not touch it or attempt to taste it at this point.
  • Carefully, standing back from the pot in case of splash-back, pour the balsamic and bourbon mixture into the pot with the honey.  Stir, and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Take sauce off the heat, and set aside.  
    If the sauce cools and thickens too much while the fish is cooking, simply set it back on the heat for about a minute, or until it heats up again.
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat. 
    Set cod in hot pan, and DO NOT TOUCH IT. Set a timer for 4 minutes, and don't touch the cod until the timer goes off. (If your butter smokes a little, lower the heat slightly.)
    Next, use a thin metal spatula to flip the cod. If it sticks to the pan, wait another 30 seconds. The fish will release when it's done cooking. Cook for another 4 minutes, and transfer to plates.
    Serve fish immediately with bourbon sauce, along with fresh herbs (optional).  



Recipe Variation: Substitute the honey for sorghum syrup (a thick syrup made from sugar cane) or molasses.


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg