Haddock vs Cod – 5 Key Differences Explained

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key point:

  • Cod has firm, dense, flaky white flesh with a mild, cleaner flavor than haddock. Haddock has a fishier taste, but its flesh is tenderer, crispier and slightly sweeter than cod.
  • While both types of fish are popular choices in fish and chip shops, cod is also served as imitation crabmeat, cod liver oil, and great for grilling. Haddock can also be eaten smoked or sun-dried and is perfect for frying.
  • Both cod and haddock are vulnerable due to global warming and the threat of overfishing. Cod has a hard time spawning in water that isn't cold enough, and haddock generally shrinks in size, making it difficult to fillet them properly.

Haddock and cod are both very popular white fish. Similar in body and nutrition, and similar in price, there are still some differences in appearance, flavor, and nutritional content. The main physical differences are in their colour, size, body shape, front dorsal fin and lateral line, while there are also some differences in taste and best time to eat.

One might wonder, then, whether the preference of one fish over another is simply a matter of tradition or personal preference. Why do some places use haddock for their fish and chips and others use cod? Does it really make a difference when you submerge it in the sauce? Which is better for grilling? How are they substituted or interchanged for each other? Let's address all of these questions below!

5 Key Differences Between Haddock and Cod

Haddock vs Cod: Physical Characteristics

Right now, the easiest way to tell cod from haddock is their color. Cod has greenish-brown or gray-brown spots. Haddock is gray or black, with slime-coated scales and a dark spot (called St. Peter's mark, devil's print or simply fingerprint) just above the pectoral fins. Cod has larger, fatter, thicker fillets and costs slightly more because it contains more meat.

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It can grow to 40 inches (1 meter) or longer, and weighs an average of 11-26 pounds (5-12 kg), with records reaching 220 pounds (100 kg). The much smaller haddock is 35-58 cm, even up to 112 cm, but usually no larger than 31 inches (80 cm). It usually weighs 1-5 lbs, but can go up to 37 lbs. Cod also have a similarly long dorsal fin and a rounded front dorsal fin.

Haddock has a long, pointed front dorsal fin. Both have lateral lines, but cod has a light cream or white line, while haddock has a black or dark gray line.

The cod fillets were thicker and firmer. They're great for grilling or searing because they're less prone to overcooking. Haddock fillets are thinner and more crumbly.

Haddock vs Cod: Taxonomy

Both species of whitefish belong to the true cod family, also known as cod or hake, but the similarities end there. The type genus of cod is cod, and there are 4 species, Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, Greenland cod and Alaskan cod (also known as walleye, snow cod or walleye cod). Haddock is a member of the genus Melanogrammus , which contains the single species aeglefinus .

Haddock vs Cod: Commercial use

The taste difference between these two white fish is subtle, so it's easy to interchange them with each other, and with halibut and flounder. Instead, the biggest differences lie in their texture, the best cooking technique or use, and the ideal time to eat them after catching them. Salt cod is a popular dish in Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and Scandinavia.

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Cod is one of the fish used to make imitation crabmeat. More versatile than haddock, it can be grilled and seared and is best eaten a few days after catch. Cod and haddock are both two of several types of fish used to make fish and chips and originated in England. However, haddock is usually eaten fresh, frozen, smoked or sun-dried, and because it cooks more quickly, it's perfect for frying.

Haddock vs Cod: Nutrients

Cod is higher in vitamins C, E, D, B1, B5, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and calories than haddock. Since cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D, it is an old remedy for rickets, arthritis and constipation.

Haddock is rich in vitamins A, B12, B6, B3, protein, 9 essential amino acids, phosphorus and choline, but no vitamin C. Both contain equal amounts of vitamin B2, vitamin K, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and are a good source of low-fat protein to replace red meat at 3% fat and 97% protein; a 100 g serving of cod Contains 17 grams of protein and haddock contains 20 grams of protein. Both are deficient in vitamin B9 (folate).

In general, cod has more vitamins, haddock is slightly richer in minerals, and 9 kinds of essential amino acids tryptophan, leucine, lysine, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, The content of valine and histidine is relatively high.

Haddock vs Cod: Fisheries

Haddock is fished in the North Atlantic and cod is fished in the Atlantic and Pacific, with the tastier Pacific cod being the most in demand globally compared to the sweeter Atlantic cod. Due to overlapping habitats, haddock is often polycultured with cod and other fish. While haddock is more popular in certain regions, cod is generally preferred for its better value, larger portions and a lighter fish and chips flavor. On the other hand, overfishing in the North Atlantic makes it necessary to harvest more Atlantic cod substitutes, including haddock.

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Haddock vs Cod: Availability

Both haddock and cod are listed as vulnerable fish. In the UK, fish and chips are a staple of the diet of its citizens, and numbers have been dwindling for some time. Because of fears, not only of fish shortages, but of job losses, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) listed them as endangered. The cause – overfishing and global warming. Cod thrives in colder waters, and as the North Atlantic warms, its ability to spawn has been hampered. On average, haddock is smaller than in the past because older species are caught.

Summary of haddock vs cod

rank cod haddock
size and shape Larger, fatter, thicker fillets Smaller, thinner, flatter fillets
color mottled greenish brown or grayish brown dark gray or black
dorsal fin rounded anterior dorsal fin; equal length dorsal fin tall, pointed anterior dorsal fin
lateral line Light dark
Classification True cod; Genus Gadus ; 4 species True cod; Genus Melanogrammus ; 1 species
taste and texture Firmer, denser, flaky white flesh with a milder, crisper flavor; Atlantic is sweeter, while Pacific is saltier The fish is more tender and the white flesh is crispier and slightly sweet
Nutrients Higher in vitamins and calories Higher in Minerals, Protein and 9 Essential Amino Acids
the most delicious Best eaten a few days after being caught Best to eat and fresh
cost slightly more expensive than haddock cheaper than cod
markets and food Fish and chips, imitation crab, salt cod; cod liver oil; versatile, good for grilling Fresh, frozen, smoked or dried; fish and chips; ideal for frying
Habitat Atlantic and Pacific north atlantic
replace or use Haddock, pollock, black cod, plaice, striped bass, hake, mahi mahi, grouper, tilapia, flounder cod, plaice, flounder, flounder, flounder


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My name is Rebecca and I have been a professional freelancer for nearly ten years. I write SEO content and graphic design. When I'm not working, I'm obsessed with cats and pet mice.

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