Haddock vs Cod: All You Need To Know

Reading Time: 7 minutes
Haddock vs Cod: All You Need To Know

Most kinds of seafood, especially fish, is widely popular throughout the different regions of the globe, where people make fabulous recipes and enjoy the protein-rich texture.

The most common types of edible fish are haddock and cod, infamous for their incredible taste and used to make chips, pies, tacos and more.

But how do you differentiate between haddock vs cod? Which one is ideal for regular cooking practices?

If you are curious about these questions, too, this article will explain everything you need to know about haddock vs cod. So let’s start.

What is Haddock?

Haddock fish

The haddock, are saltwater fish usually found in the North Atlantic Ocean and all the connected seas. They belong to the genus Melanogrammus and are the only species under this name. People, especially in Europe, catch haddock from the oceans to deliver all across the globe, where they get sold fresh, frozen or smoked.

You may also find a canned version of haddock at a departmental store, but it is better to opt for the other variants. Haddock filets are not known to survive extended cooking periods as they are thinner and burn quickly. If you have to experiment, do it in the summer season as they do not take too much time to cook like other animal meats.

What is Cod?

cod fish

On the other hand, cod is a common term used to refer to groundfish from the genus Gadus, except for Alaska pollock, Gadus Chalcogrammus. While people refer to various other fish like cod, it is not entirely correct. Taxonomists classified many species into the cod genus to later change them, creating a misconception.

The three currently called cod in the genus Gadus are Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, and Greenland cod. The first two are widely popular due to their exquisite taste and rich texture that elevate the dining experience. Atlantic cod commonly live in the deeper, colder parts of the Atlantic ocean, while Pacific cod reside in the eastern and western regions of the North Pacific.

History Of Cod And Haddock:

The history of these two fish types goes way back to the Viking period of 800 AD where people would carry cured cod around as food supply. Later the Portuguese got into the fishing business and started a new adventure in the 15th century. Due to its immense popularity in Portugal and neighbouring countries, cod brought a ton of revenue to the fish industry, making it an ideal business for years.

The trend continued up to the 17th and 18th centuries where new players kept entering the picture, strengthening the already enormous trade volume of cod. In 1973 however, Great Britain took control of matters and imposed laws that would make the cod trade impossible. Surprisingly, the rules didn’t work, and rather than decreasing; the exchange started to flourish even more. Discover more about the history of fish and chips on our food history section. 

In the early 20th century, Iceland emerged as a fishing powerhouse again, winning two dispute claims with the UK. Around the 1920s, the haddock fillet hit the market with a storm, and the community went nuts. It was widely popular and soon became a suitable replacement for cod in many renowned recipes by famous chefs.

But now, due to overfishing, the stocks are depleting at an alarming rate, causing a major global issue. Luckily cod and haddock reproduce often, where a single female can lay millions of eggs at a time. So given the time, their numbers can restore so we can keep enjoying delicious seafood.

What's The Difference?

Some key differences set haddock apart from cod when it comes to looks. To give you an informed idea, here is a brief breakdown:

  • Skin Colour: You can differentiate between a cod and a haddock easily by identifying the colour of their skin. Cod are usually grey-brown, especially the top part of the body. On the contrary, haddock are black or dark-grey. 
  • Size and Shape: Another prominent factor in differentiating between the two is the size and shape of the fish. Cod has a beefy body and is bulkier than haddock. Haddock are typically slim and relatively flat.
  • Lateral Lines: Moving on from the apparent differences, let’s discuss lateral lines (both fish have these lines along the side). The lines on cod are white or cream, while haddock has dark grey or black streaks.
  • Front Dorsal Fin: Dorsal fin is located on top of the fish’s body, near its head. This fin is long and pointy in haddock, while cod features a uniform fin length.

While we are on the subject of differences, cod and haddock both have different prices. Cod is generally more expensive than haddock, most probably due to price hike in the wake of overfishing. As reservoirs deplete, the rate of cod goes up significantly. Regardless, both are cost-effective food items affordable for the common man.

fish and chips

What's The Taste Difference?

You must be wondering about haddock vs cod taste, so it seems logical to include this section. Although both fish types are prevalent among the masses due to their exquisite taste, some differences set one apart. To understand these differences, we will discuss the taste of both fish separately. Take a look:

  • Cod Taste:

The taste of cod is mild where the dense white flesh seems flaky. Since there are no overwhelming components, chefs use cod in many community popular recipes. You may also have heard about the forever ongoing banter of haddock vs cod fish and chips where both parties with convincing points in favour of their preference.

Generally, cod is rich in calories, so that you may feel full after a quick snack.

Apart from cod meat, cod livers are also a great source of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, many manufacturers source cod liver oil from it known to have immense benefits.

  • Haddock Taste:

On the contrary, the taste of haddock is slightly sweeter than cod. Both fish often are used interchangeably, but since haddock are more forgiving in flavour, they are ideal for smoking. 

Unlike cod, haddock are rich in protein and offer a different range of vitamins to the consumer. Vitamin A, B12, B6 and B3 are some of the examples. The mild flavour and moist flesh make it more “fishy” than cod. You may have noticed that cod fillets are often thicker, while haddock fillets are slim and easy to cook. Many chefs label haddock as very similar to taste as another delicacy named halibut.

How Best To Use Both?

Since both fish offer the most fantastic taste, it is challenging to rate one higher than the other. Luckily in most cases, you can use them interchangeably in your recipes if only one is available. However, there are particular preferences in the culinary world where the uniqueness of both fish can shine brightly. 

For example, cod is more healthy than haddock, while haddock offers an elevated taste. So while preparing your food, you can pick and choose the ones that best suit your needs. If you’re making a curry, the flavourings of haddock can come in handy, and if you’re making fish and chips, the healthy nature of cod is ideal. 

The truth is, you may not even notice a difference in taste in both fish. The identification factor lies within the texture and shape of the meat, which in turn decides the ideal application in a recipe. You can opt for haddock whenever you need to fry thin fish fillets. And if you need juicy fillets filled with nutrition, cod is the way to go.

In no way we are saying that haddock is an unhealthy option. It has its benefits and rich proteins essential for the human body, but not as much as cod.

Additionally, it may be essential to note that haddock doesn’t fare well when salted in an attempt to preserve it. On the other hand, you can salt cod without any repercussions. 

To help you better understand the applications of each take a look below:

  • Cod cooking methods:

If you are craving the rich flavour of cod, you can prepare it in multiple ways. The most preferred method is grilling the fish for three minutes from each side. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake it in the oven with rice or another item. You can also broil, deep-fry with a fish fryer, or steam your cod to make it edible and tasty. 

  • Haddock cooking methods:

Similarly, you can prepare haddock through multiple cooking methods too. One of the most common is baking it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Other times you can broil, deep-fry, poach or pan fry the haddock to make crispy recipes. If nothing else seems enticing, you can always smoke the fish and make the experience exponentially better.

Conclusion:

If you’ve carefully read through the article, you now understand no clear winner here. Cod offers resources haddock doesn’t, but haddock has a flavour that more than makes up for it. So it is entirely up to you to choose your preferred fish or make use of both of them depending on the recipe you’re trying. 

We hope our detailed article helped you understand the cod vs haddock comparison, and now you can make an informed choice. Cheerio!

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Andy Canter

Andy

Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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