Alaska Pollock and cod share some of the same waters and similarities. You may be choosing between the two or are curious about their differences. Let’s answer the question, which is better Alaska pollock or cod?
Cod is better than Alaska Pollock due to its higher percentage of protein, minerals and lower cholesterol. Cod contains a higher number of thiamin, iron, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. Cod is slightly sweeter and its flesh holds together better when cooked.
This article will examine all the differences between the two fish including a side-by-side nutrient comparison. In addition, I’ll compare cod and pollock tastes, textures, cooking methods, mercury levels and whether one can substitute for the other.
As a Certified Health Coach, many of my clients ask me about seafood. In addition to coaching clients about pollock and cod, I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both fish for over 20 years.
Alaska Pollock vs Cod: Nutrition Comparison
The table below lists the nutrients for both fish, cod and pollock, per four ounces.
|Nutrient||Cod, raw (4 Ounces)||Alaska Pollock, raw (4 Ounces)|
|Fat||0.8 g||0.9 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 g||0.2 g|
|Cholesterol||49 mg||69 mg|
|Protein||23 g||19 g|
|Omega-3||0.22 g||0.28 g|
|B-6||0.2 mg||0.07 mg|
|B-12||1.0 mcg||1.8 mcg|
|Thiamin||0.08 mg||0.03 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.07 mg||0.09 mg|
|B5||0.1 mg||0.2 mg|
|Iron||0.4 mg||0.3 mg|
|Niacin||2.3 mg||1.3 mg|
|Folate||7.9 mcg||3.4 mcg|
|Potassium||468 mg||375 mg|
|Magnesium||36 mg||57 mg|
|Phosphorus||230 mg||215 mg|
|Calcium||18.1 mg||13.6 mg|
|Zinc||0.5 mg||0.4 mg|
|Selenium||37.5 mcg||21.9 mcg|
Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. Cod contains more of some nutrients while pollock contains more of others. Therefore, let’s examine if one is healthier.
Cod is healthier than Alaska Pollock due to its larger percentage of protein and minerals. It also contains less cholesterol and saturated fat. Cod provides a higher percentage of thiamin, iron, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and selenium.
Alaska Pollock is no slouch and contains a large number of nutrients as well. It provides more omega-3 fatty acids, B6, B12, riboflavin, B5 and magnesium. How do these nutrients benefit health? The next section of this article explains how.
I wrote an article which compared Atlantic Pollock which has a different amount of nutrients. Check out that article, Atlantic Pollock vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare.
Alaska Pollock and Cod Health Benefits
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Cod and Pollock provide a similar number of omega-3s, Pollock a little more. Why does omega-3 fatty acids matter so much?
Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep arteries healthy. One way they accomplish this is by keeping bad cholesterol low and good cholesterol high.
Two of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 4.
In addition, they help keep the blood vessels healthy by reducing inflammation, plaque build-up, triglycerides and can help keep the heart rhythms more normal.
Studies suggest omega-3s can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
I recently wrote an article comparing black cod and cod. If you’re interested in how many omega-3s it contains or just want to learn about it, check out my article, Black Cod vs Cod – Is There A Difference?
Cod and pollock contain many vitamin B. These include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). Vitamin B helps support the following:
- Red blood cells
- Brain function
- Energy levels
- Nerve function
- Cardiovascular health
Pollock provides more than cod. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep related issues like insomnia. Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels 5.
More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 6.
Both fish contain good amounts of selenium, cod a little more. Studies 7 show selenium may help to protect the following:
- Immune system
- Heart disease
- Cognitive issues
- Thyroid health
Like magnesium, calcium is important for blood pressure and the heart. Cod provides more than pollock.
Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 8.
Cod provides more than pollock. Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 9. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.
Cod Fish and Pollock Fish Mercury Levels
The FDA and the EPA have warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often to consume them 10. This is especially important for pregnant women, breastfeeding or for young toddlers and infants.
They established a list of best choices, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Let’s take a look at pollock and cod mercury levels.
Alaska Pollock and cod contain similar mercury levels. They are listed on the FDA’s best choices in regards to mercury levels.
Always check with a physician prior to eating new fish, pollock, cod, foods, changing your dietary habits and how often to consume certain fish.
Alaska Pollock vs Cod: Tastes and Textures
Pollock and Cod Tastes
The way a fish taste plays a huge decision when deciding between two fish to eat for recipes. Therefore, let’s take a close look at the difference between the taste of the two fish
Pollock has a milder flavor than cod. Cod’s flavor is slightly stronger and a little sweeter.
Alaska Pollock has a mild, non-fishy taste. It is good for people who dislike a fishy taste.
Cod has a mild, non-fishy taste. It also has a mild to sweet flavor. It is good for people who want to avoid a fishy tasting seafood or strong taste.
The difference between their tastes are not large, and most people wouldn’t consider them to be much different. A side-by-side taste test may be necessary to pick out the difference, so that’s what I did.
I setup a blind taste test at my home. Both fish were seasoned and followed the same recipes. Out of four people, three chose the cod over the pollock.
I conducted more original research on taste by polling my readers, clients and people in food groups I belong to. I asked them, Alaska Pollock vs cod, which tastes better?
- 54% said they preferred the cod.
- 46% said they preferred the pollock.
Pollock and Cod Textures
Cod is firmer than Alaska pollock’s tender to firm texture. The firmer texture holds together better when grilling or searing. A cod fillet is thicker than Pollock and both have large flakes.
A properly cooked cod is flaky, firm and moist. The Pacific cods have more moisture to them than Atlantic cods. Their fillets have large flakes and are thicker than many others.
Pollock is flaky and tender. Pollock fillets are a little thinner and doesn’t hold together as well when cooked.
Sometimes you won’t have the exact fish for a recipe, or the seafood section of the supermarket doesn’t have what you need. Especially Pollock, which is more difficult to find of the two fish. Therefore, let’s examine if one fish can substitute for the other.
Cod can substitute for Alaska Pollock due to their similar mild tastes although the textures are sightly different. Substituting cod increases the methods of cooking including grilling due to it’s firmer texture. They both can be fried, baked, broiled or poached.
Pollock can substitute for cod due to their similar mild tastes. It can be used for many of the same cooking methods as cod like frying, poaching, broiling and baking. Pollock is more tender and will fall apart easier when cooking.
Good substitutes for cod include:
- Striped bass
- Mahi mahi
Good substitutions for Pollock include the following:
When substituting for either fish try to stick to the following:
- Same size and weight.
- Stick with similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
- Stick with skinless or skin when the recipe calls for one.
- Texture is more important for certain cooking methods. Like using a firmer texture when grilling 11.
Alaska Pollock and Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance
Let’s take a detailed look at the difference between the two fish.
Alaska Pollock and cod are both from the Gadidae family and are different species. Cod is a longer fish and weighs more than Pollock. Pollock is darker and has speckled spots. Cod is brownish with dark spots and a lateral line. They are both found in the North Pacific Ocean, but cod is also found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Pollock is sometimes used as scrod. If you’re interested in learning about scrod, check out my article about it, Scrod: There’s More To The Story.
Another name for Alaska Pollock is walleye pollock 12.
Pollock and Cod (Including Pacific Cod) Scientific Classifications
- Alaskan Pollock is from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and Gadus chalcogrammus species.
- Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and species are morhua (Atlantic cod), macrocephalus (Pacific cod) and ogac (Greenland cod).
Alaska Pollock is found throughout the North Pacific Ocean. They are most common in the Bering Sea.
Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine. Pacific cod is found in the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to California in the east and to the Sea of Japan in the west.
- Alaskan Pollock has dark speckled spots with a charcoal like coloring and slightly pale on the belly.
- Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.
- Both fish have the typical long, narrow body shape and have three dorsal fins.
Size and Weight
- Alaskan Pollock average 12-20″ in length and weighs 1-3 pounds.
- Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.
- Alaska Pollock lives up to 12 years.
- Cod lives up to 12 years.
The cost of either fish will differ depending on the location, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught while fishing.
Cod fish cost more than Alaska Pollock. The average cost for wild caught frozen cod is $7.21 per pound while the average cost for wild caught frozen Alaska Pollock is $4.77 per pound.
I did some original research on costs by visiting stores and checking their prices.
First, I checked Freshdirect online for the current prices. I was only able to find one type of the fish.
- Fresh, wild caught cod
- $16.99 per pound
I checked the local Shopright supermarket, in store and online, and found the following prices.
- Fresh wild caught Alaska cod fillet
- $8.99 per pound
- Fresh wild North Atlantic cod fillet
- $12.99 per pound
I checked Walmart and found some frozen fillets of each fish.
- Fresh, wild frozen Pollock (Alaska)
- $4.77 per pound
- Fresh, wild frozen cod
- $7.21 per pound
The availability of Pollock will be more difficult to find in your local supermarket. You’d have a better chance finding pollock fish in a local fish market or online. They typically come as skinless fillets.
If you have any questions about this article, cod or pollock, don’t hesitate to email and notify us. You can find an email on our contact page. We’ll do our best to reply as soon as possible.
Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Alaska, pollock
- NutritionData: Fish, pollock, walleye, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Selenium
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus)
- NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Alaska Pollock