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What temp is cooked ling cod?

Ling cod is a popular fish found along the Pacific coastline of North America. It is valued for its flaky white meat and mild flavor. Knowing the proper cooking temperature for ling cod ensures that the fish is cooked through without becoming dry or overcooked.

What is Ling Cod?

Ling cod (Ophiodon elongatus) is a species of fish belonging to the greenling family Hexagrammidae. It is found in cold temperate waters ranging from Alaska to Baja California. Ling cod can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 80 pounds. However, the average size caught by fishermen is 2-3 feet and 10-20 pounds.

Ling cod live near rocky bottoms at depths of up to 1300 feet. Juvenile ling cod start their lives as females and then transform into males around the age of 4 years. The males stake out nesting sites and attract females to spawn. Ling cod can live up to 20 years.

Ling cod are bottom-dwelling ambush predators. Their diet consists mainly of fish, octopus, squid, crab, and sometimes smaller sharks and rockfish. Their large mouths allow them to swallow prey whole.

The meat of the ling cod is white, thick and flaky with a mild, sweet flavor. It’s considered a premium fish for its versatility and lack of “fishy” taste. Ling cod is sold fresh, frozen, and smoked. It’s also a popular sport fish.

Recommended Cooking Methods

Ling cod can be prepared using almost any cooking method – baking, broiling, grilling, frying, or poaching. The flesh holds together well making it a good fish for soups, chowders, fish tacos, and fish and chips.

Here are some recommended cooking methods for ling cod fillets or steaks:

  • Baking – Brush fillets with oil or butter and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
  • Broiling – Broil 4-6 inches from heat for 8-12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Grilling – Grill fillets over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Pan-frying – Fry in oil or butter for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
  • Poaching – Gently simmer fillets in poaching liquid for 4-6 minutes.

Proper Internal Temperature

Cooking ling cod to the proper internal temperature helps ensure safety and prevents overcooking. Ling cod should be cooked to an internal temperature between 140-145°F. At this temperature, the fish will be opaque and flake easily with a fork.

Use a food thermometer to accurately determine the internal temperature. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the fillet, taking care not to touch any bones. Refer to the thermometer for the reading.

Visual cues can also help determine doneness. The flesh should turn opaque and become firmer. Use the “flake test” – gently part the flesh with a fork and see if it flakes and separates easily.

Doneness Temperatures

Here are some key internal temperatures for ling cod doneness:

Internal Temperature Doneness
130°F and below Raw
140-145°F Medium rare to medium
160°F Well done

At 140-145°F, the ling cod will be moist, tender and flaky. Temperatures above 160°F will result in dry, stringy meat.

Cooking Tips

Follow these tips for moist, tender ling cod fillets:

  • Thaw frozen ling cod in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
  • Pat fillets dry with paper towels before cooking to prevent steaming.
  • Use a non-stick pan or lightly grease the pan with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Cook ling cod over medium or medium-high heat. High heat will toughen and dry out the meat.
  • Turn fillets gently with a fish spatula to keep them intact.
  • Allow a rest time of 2-5 minutes after cooking before serving.
  • Check for doneness early and remove from heat when internal temperature reaches 140-145°F.
  • Baste or brush fillets with butter, oil or sauce towards the end of cooking for added moisture and flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Ling cod has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with many ingredients and sauces. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Top grilled or baked ling cod with lemon butter, tartar sauce or chimichurri.
  • Serve with fresh salsa, pico de gallo or pineapple salsa.
  • Make fish tacos with sautéed ling cod, shredded cabbage, pico and chipotle crema.
  • Add ling cod to chowders, seafood stews and cioppino.
  • Make ling cod fish and chips served with coleslaw.
  • Stuff ling cod with crab stuffing and bake.
  • Poach ling cod in tomato broth with olives, garlic and herbs.


Ling cod is a versatile, mild fish that should be cooked to an internal temperature of 140-145°F for best results. Use a food thermometer to accurately check the temperature. At this doneness, ling cod will become opaque, firm and flake easily when tested with a fork. Overcooking will result in dry meat. Following basic tips for moist heat cooking methods will keep ling cod tender and juicy. The mild flavor pairs well with a variety of sauces, salsas and other flavorful ingredients. Refer to the proper internal temperatures and techniques in this article to enjoy delicious ling cod fillets or steaks.