Haddock Vs Cod – What’s The Difference?

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If you’ve ever had fish and chips then it’s likely you’ve enjoyed the flavor of either haddock or cod. Both species are two of the most popular white fish enjoyed around the world thanks to their delicious flavor and versatility in the kitchen. 

While both haddock and cod live in similar areas and come from the same fish family, their tastes and textures aren’t the same, and they can be used differently in the kitchen to create unique meals.

So, what’s the difference between haddock and cod? Haddock has a slightly fishier flavor and more tender texture than cod, which is firmer and holds up well to grilling. Cod is a little more expensive than haddock, but both are an affordable option for the home cook.

Read on to learn more about the difference between haddock and cod and the best ways to prepare them to highlight their flavors and textures. 

Do Haddock And Cod Taste Different?

Since haddock and cod come from the same fish family and are often found in the same places, you might assume that the taste would be identical.

However, this is not the case. While both fish are quite lean and have white flesh, they do taste slightly different

When it comes to taste, cod has a very mild, delicate taste. It doesn’t taste fishy and some people even think it is a little bit sweet.

This fish is the perfect option for people who want to eat more seafood, but who don’t necessarily want a really strong taste. 

Haddock has a slightly stronger flavor than cod, though it still isn’t as overpowering as other fish on the market.

It isn’t as sweet tasting as cod but is a favorite whitefish of chefs because it is mild enough for most people to enjoy, but still has a nice seafood flavor. 

Many chefs consider haddock to have a closer flavor to another whitefish called halibut. All of these fish are mild and delicious.

The flavors of haddock and cod aren’t that difference and some folks may not even notice much in terms of taste.

If you have a recipe that calls for cod and you only have haddock, for the most part you will be able to use them interchangeably in terms of the flavor profile. 

Do Haddock And Cod Have Different Textures?

The biggest difference you’ll find between haddock and cod is in their texture. While they do taste slightly different, with haddock having a slightly stronger “fish” flavor, where you will really see a difference is in how they look and feel. 

Cod Filet Texture

Codfish fillets have large flakes and a tender-firm texture. They hold up well to grilling and searing since they are thicker and firmer than some other fillets.

Pacific cod fillets have a higher moisture content, which makes them less suitable for battering and frying. 

When raw, their flesh is a translucent white-pink color, and as it cooks it will turn more of an opaque white. When properly cooked it is moist, flaky, and firm.

Thanks to its mild flavor it pairs well with many types of sauce and side dishes, making it super versatile to use in the kitchen. 

Haddock Filet Texture

Haddock fillets have a medium-sized flake and a more tender texture once cooked. Though still a little firm, these fillets are more delicate than cod fillets.

They are often a little thinner than cod filets and so they will cook through more quickly. 

Just like cod, haddock fillets are translucent white when raw and turn slightly more opaque as they cook.

There is a small layer of connective tissue that covers the haddock flesh, but this doesn’t impact the taste or texture, though it is a good way to tell the fish apart when they are raw. 

What’s The Difference In Price Between Haddock And Cod?

While both fish are quite affordable, cod generally tends to be a little more expensive than haddock, often costing about 1 dollar more per pound.

This difference in price may be due to overfishing, which makes them more expensive to source. 

Either way, both haddock and cod are affordable options for people who are looking to add more fish to their cooking repertoire. 

Are Haddock And Cod Used Differently In The Kitchen?

When it comes to cooking with haddock and cod, the texture is going to determine whether or not the fish will hold up to a particular cooking method.

Since cod fillets are generally a little thicker than haddock fillets, they are a little more forgiving when it comes to cooking time

Summer is a great time to experiment with cooking haddock and cod since they don’t take as long to cook as animal meats, they have a light flavor, and they go well with fresh summer flavors like citrus and herbs

Best Ways To Cook With Cod

Thanks to its thicker texture, cod holds up well to more aggressive cooking techniques such as grilling and pan frying, without too much worry about overcooking. Some of the best ways to prepare cod include: 

  • Try grilling it on the BBQ. Brushed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and quickly grilled on the barbecue. You will want to grill it for about 3 minutes per side. You can also baste it with butter as it cooks to keep it from drying out and imparting some rich, buttery flavor to the fish. 
  • Try baking your cod in the oven. Baking cod in the oven is a great way to develop some rich flavors in your dish without overcooking the fish. 
    • To bake your cod in the oven, you will want to preheat it to 400°F, brush with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. 
  • Try broiling your cod in the oven. You will want to brush it with some oil and season it with salt and pepper first. You will want to broil it about 3-4 inches away from the element for 7-10 minutes until it just starts to easily flake with a fork.
    • It’s great plain and served with a delicious sauce. Or you can get creative and search for some herbs and spices to add to the mix. Try using a curry spice rub or jerk seasoning. 
  • Try deep-frying your cod. While Pacific cod may not be the best option for deep frying, Atlantic cod holds up well to being battered and fried. It has a mild taste, so making fish and chips from cod is perfect for those who are new to eating seafood. 
  • Try steaming your cod. If you’re looking for a more delicate way to cook your fish, then steaming it is a great option. There are a couple of different styles you can try, such as en papillote or in a steamer basket. 
    • For fish that is an inch or thicker, steam for about 10 minutes. If it is thinner than 1 inch you will want to steam for about 7 minutes
  • Try sauteing or pan-frying your cod. One of the simplest methods for cooking your cod is to saute or pan-fry it in butter. You can put a light coating of flour on the fish for an extra crispy crust or keep it plain. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.
    • One of the best ways to saute your cod is by cooking it in butter on one side at medium heat. Leave the fish undisturbed for 5 minutes until it easily comes away from the pan when you slide a spatula underneath. The bottom should be caramelized.
    • From there you can turn the heat to low, add butter to your frying pan, and spoon it over the top of the fish until the flesh turns an opaque white. Remove from the frying pan and enjoy. 

Best Ways To Cook With Haddock

You can use many of the same cooking methods from above to cook your haddock, but remember that since the fillets are thinner that the cooking time will need to be reduced.

Since it has a stronger flavor, there are lots of ways to get creative with haddock in the kitchen.

  • Try baking your haddock in the oven. Like cod, haddock holds up well to baking, though it will need less time in the oven. 
    • A great way to preserve the moistness of the haddock is to bread it before baking. You can also coat it in olive oil, salt, and pepper with a small piece of butter on top if you prefer it plain.
    • Cook at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes or until the meat is opaque and flakes easily. Remember that fish continues to cook a little bit after it is out of the oven, so err on the side of less is more to prevent overcooking and a dry mouthful of fish.
  • Try broiling your haddock in the oven. Broiling your haddock is a great choice for a super quick cooking time and a little bit of crispiness on the outside of the fish. You can get creative with your toppings or keep it plain. There are tons of recipes to try. 
    • You will want to have your top rack about 6 inches from the top element. It will take about 6-8 minutes for the haddock to cook. Look for the opaque color and easily flaked texture to indicate it is done. 
  • Try deep-frying your haddock. This fish is one of the best around when it comes to making fish and chips. It has a great flavor and the texture holds up well to frying. Haddock is one of the chef-preferred fish for battering and frying. 
  • Try poaching your haddock. Poaching is a very gentle cooking method where the food is placed in water, milk, broth, oil, or butter and slowly cooked at a low temperature. 
    • This style helps preserve the moist texture of the fish and can impart some delicious flavors from the broth or oil.
    • You will want to bring your poaching liquid to a very gentle simmer on low heat then add your fish and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Make sure you add salt to the liquid to impart lots of flavor to your fish. 
  • Try pan-frying your haddock. Another tasty option for cooking haddock is to pan-fry it in oil. Dusting your haddock in flour or cornmeal can give the fillet a great crunchy texture. Remember that haddock fillets are thin and can cook very quickly.
    • You will want to season your fillet with salt and pepper before cooking. A basic way to pan-fry your haddock is to heat your skillet over medium-high heat then add your cooking oil. Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side and then remove from the heat.
  • Try smoking your haddock. Smoking fish is a classic preservation method and imparts tons of flavor into a mild-tasting fish. It holds up well to hot or cold smoking and you can get creative with your spice rubs and the types of wood you use to smoke for different flavors. 

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over some of the main differences between haddock and cod, let’s take a look at a few related questions we thought you might’ve had while reading this article!

Is cod or haddock better for fish and chips?

Most chefs will choose haddock over cod for their fish and chips thanks to its delicate texture and more robust flavor.

However, when it comes down to it, both fish are going to make a great choice for fish and chips since they hold up well to deep frying and have relatively mild flavors.

Is haddock a good substitute for cod?

In most cases, haddock is going to be a great substitute for cod as long as you don’t mind the slightly stronger flavor.

The only recipes where haddock won’t work as well as cod are ones where you grill or steam the fish since the texture isn’t as good for those preparations. 

Can you substitute cod for haddock?

Just as haddock can be subbed for cod in most recipes, you can substitute cod for haddock in most preparations. Unless you are smoking or poaching the cod, in which case it doesn’t hold up quite as good as haddock. 

Also, if you want to deep-fry your cod make sure you are using an Atlantic instead of a Pacific variety. The Pacific cod tends to have more moisture, which makes it less suitable for deep-frying since it can leak moisture into the batter. 

Where do haddock and cod come from?

Both of these fish can be found in the Atlantic Ocean. Haddock is found along the east coast of North America from Cape May, New Jersey all the way up to Newfoundland, Canada.

They can also be found in abundance on the other side of the Atlantic North of the English Channel. 

There are both Atlantic and Pacific varieties of cod. That Atlantic variety can be found between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina all the way north to the coasts of Greenland. 

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, they are found from the Bay of Biscay on the western coast of France all the way to the north to the Arctic Ocean in areas around Iceland and the Barents Sea.

The Pacific variety is a popular choice for eating and can be found all the way from the Bering Sea to the coast of California in depths down to 3000 feet

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