Food & Nutrition

Cod vs. Haddock: What are the differences?

Back in my day, whenever you went to get a quick fish and chips, there was a critical choice to make: Cod or Haddock. For me, it was always Haddock, bit I completely understand why somebody would prefer Cod. 

There are several places on the internet that answer this question, but some of them don’t include the specifics about the nutritional value of each and some are just outright misinformed. But, seeing as though so many of you are looking for this answer, we thought we’d do some research and take some time to write an article about the differences between Cod and Haddock.

So here it is. The battle of the fish: Cod vs Haddock. 


Where Do They Come From?

Both Cod (Gadus morhua) and Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are found mostly in the North Atlantic Ocean and particularly in colder waters off the coasts of North America and Europe. You’ll mostly find fishermen and trawler boats out in the Gulf of Maine, the North Sea, and the Barents Sea looking to catch at least one of the two profitable fishes. 


Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Cod and haddock are fairly similar but quite different in terms of their physical characteristics, so they are fairly easy to identify them.

Cod is typically larger in size but very a very similar size to Haddock. On average they are about 3feet long and roughly between 5kgs and 7kgs, but some Atlantic deep see fish have been measured much bigger than that. Compared to Haddock, they also have a more elongated body shape and protruding lower jaw which gives them a particularly pouty look. They also have dark green or brownish back with a lighter underside.

Haddocks, are generally slightly smaller than Cod and are on average about 2 feet and weigh over 5kgs. So a not a very big difference in size. They do however, have a slimmer body, a pointed snout, and a dark grey or black lateral line along their sides which makes them easy to separate from the cod. 


How Much Do They Cost? 

There is limited data to know exactly the average price of Cod vs Haddock because there are loads of different variables. Firstly, the markets use a bartering system and most fish is purchased on a wholesale discount basis. The price also depends on the abundance of each fish and depends entirely on the location where the fish is being purchased. 

In 2021 the data that is available shows that the price of Cod per kg was between £2.50 and £4 on average. Haddock was pried slightly above Cod with a top range of £5.60 up to nearly £6. Since the 2010’s haddock has increasingly become scarce in the north sea and the price has caused an increase in haddock being replaced by Place in many restaurants. 

If you consider that a chicken costs about £1.50 per kg, then both Haddock and Cod are fairly expensive foods. 


Do Cod and Haddock Taste Different? 

They certainly do! Much different! Cod has a very mild, clean flavour with a subtle sweetness that comes through at the end. Its meat is tender, moist, and delicate, often described as having a buttery texture. Due to the thicker meat and larger scales, the fish is much preferred when frying (for fish and chips). It also holds together much better for a stew, curry and Cod is often prepared by being baked in a sauce. 

Haddock has a  slightly stronger and more pronounced flavour compared to cod, and is more ‘fishy’. Its meat is also tender and flakes really easily so doesn’t hold together so well in stews. Haddock is usually seasoned heavily, grilled, smoked fish, cream chowders, and also a good choice for fish and chips! 


Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Fish, in general, is super healthy for you and Cod and Haddock are no different. Both are excellent sources of lean protein and contain a load of healthy natural fats. Each also provides essential nutrients such as vitamins B12 and D, selenium, and phosphorus as long as those special omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to building a healthy heart and boosting your cognitive function. 

There are slight differences in their nutritional composition though. In general, does have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to haddock but as a compromise, Haddock contains much more vitamin B6 and magnesium (will give you much more energy and is great for an active lifestyle). If you’re in any doubt about which one to have, why not have both?


Final thoughts: Cod Vs Haddock

So, those are the facts. Cod is slightly bigger, has fleasher meat which contains more Omega 3 fatty acids, while Haddock is smaller, has a stronger flavour and contains lots of B vitamins and essential minerals. 

In short, there are a few differences between the two, but not as many as you may think. Each are fantastic for a balanced diet and which one you choose is almost completely down to personal preference, or how you’re going to cook it. 

If you liked this article, then be sure to comment below or share it wherever you get your social media kicks. 

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