When I’m at a restaurant, I almost always look for cod. That being said, I like to change things up too, I had haddock just recently and I must admit, it was delicious! So I thought, let’s compare them.
Cod vs Haddock: How to Tell the Difference Between These Popular White Fish
Cod and haddock are two of the most common white, flaky fish found in grocery stores and restaurants. While they have some similarities, there are important differences between cod vs haddock in terms of appearance, taste, texture, and uses.
Cod and haddock belong to the same family of white fish, but they come from slightly different regions and have distinct qualities when it comes to cooking. This guide covers everything you need to know about choosing between cod vs haddock.
Where Does Cod vs Haddock Come From?
Cod and haddock are both members of the family Gadidae along with other whitefish like pollock, hake and whiting. But they live in different parts of the northern Atlantic Ocean.
The majority of the cod supply comes from the North Atlantic around Norway, Iceland, and New England. It’s fished from the Arctic waters all the way down to Cape Cod. Cod is also farmed.
Haddock is more abundant in the North Atlantic near Iceland, Norway, and the British Isles. The premium haddock caught in US waters comes from the New England fishing banks, especially Georges Bank off Cape Cod.
How to Identify Cod vs Haddock
If you want to know how to tell cod vs haddock apart when buying, check for these unique physical characteristics:
- Cod is grayish-brown with spots and a straight lateral line down its white side. It has a protruding chin barbel.
- Haddock is dark gray or black with a dark lateral line and distinctive black dot on each side by the gills. No barbel.
Haddock also tend to be smaller, around 2 feet long while cod can grow over 5 feet. Cod live longer, haddock grow faster. Both have 3 dorsal fins and a forked tail.
When buying fillets, cod will be thicker while haddock is thinner with more tapered ends. The only way to truly know is if “cod” or “haddock” is printed on the label.
How Does the Taste of Cod vs Haddock Compare?
The flavor of cod vs haddock is noticeably different:
- Haddock is considered sweeter and more delicate, with a flakier texture and buttery taste when cooked.
- Cod has a slightly rougher texture and very mild, clean whitefish flavor. Cod tends to be less expensive than haddock.
So in a comparison of cod vs haddock taste, haddock wins for its sweeter, more seafood-like flavor. But both absorb other flavors well when seasoned and prepared.
Nutrition Facts: How Healthy is Cod vs Haddock?
Cod and haddock are both high in lean protein and low in fat, calories, carbs and cholesterol.
A 3-ounce cooked serving of haddock contains:
- 80 calories
- 17g protein
- 1.3g fat
The same portion of baked cod has:
- 70 calories
- 15g protein
- 0.7g fat
Haddock has slightly more omega-3 fatty acids than cod, but both provide vitamins like B12, niacin, selenium and phosphorus.
Overall, cod vs haddock is a draw when it comes to nutritional value – they’re both healthy low-calorie protein sources.
How to Cook Cod vs Haddock
When cooking, cod and haddock fillets can be used interchangeably in many recipes like fish tacos, seafood stews and baked fish dishes.
But their different textures lend themselves to some different preparation methods:
- Haddock works well with dry heat cooking like broiling, grilling, sautéing and baking. The prime choice for fish and chips.
- Cod holds its shape better when poached or stewed in moist heat recipes like chowders, curries, and soups.
Haddock is a little more finicky and delicate, so take care not to overcook it. Cod is firmer and flakes nicely when fully cooked through.
For blackened, spice-rubbed or heavily seasoned fish, cod works better. For buttery, lemony baked fish, go with haddock.
Popularity of Cod vs Haddock
Haddock tends to be more expensive and less readily available than cod.
Its signature sweet, delicate flavor makes haddock the more sought-after choice. Most diners and chefs prefer the taste and texture of haddock.
However, improvements in fishery management have helped cod populations rebound. Both are good sustainable choices but cod may be cheaper and easier to source for restaurants and home cooks.
Common Questions About Cod vs Haddock
Still have questions about the differences between cod vs haddock? Here are answers to some common queries:
Is cod fish the same as haddock?
No, cod and haddock are two distinct species. They are in the same family but have clear differences in appearance, flavor and uses.
Can you use cod as a haddock substitute?
Yes, cod can replace haddock in most recipes, though the flavor and texture will be somewhat different. Other substitutes for haddock are pollock, halibut, or sole.
Is cod or haddock healthier?
Cod and haddock have very similar nutritional profiles. Both are lean, low-calorie fish packed with protein and healthy fats, and low in carbs. Haddock contains slightly higher omega-3s.
Is haddock more expensive than cod?
Typically, yes. Haddock costs more per pound due to higher consumer demand from its sweet flavor and tender texture. But cod is also considered a premium whitefish.
Which is better cod or haddock?
This depends on your preferences! Haddock has a sweeter, more delicate flavor. But cod is just as tasty when seasoned well, holds its shape better, and is often cheaper. Both are great fish choices.
Want some more fishy choices? Check out Pollock vs Haddock
The Bottom Line on Cod vs Haddock
Now that you know the distinct qualities of cod vs haddock, from appearance to taste to nutrition to cooking uses, you can decide which of these white fish is best for your recipe or budget. While some seafood connoisseurs insist haddock is superior, both of these healthy, sustainable whitefish have their advantages. The choice between cod vs haddock comes down to your flavor, texture, and cost preferences.
I like cod just a little bit more than haddock, so for me, cod is on the menu! What’s your favorite one between the two? Tell us about it in the comments below!