Cod Alternatives: The 12 Best Substitutes


Even though cod is healthy, there is a few reasons why someone would want to find alternatives. It may be availability, price or something as simple as wanting a different taste or texture for today’s meal. Therefore, what fish are similar to cod?

The following are the best cod alternatives:

  1. Black cod
  2. Pollock
  3. Haddock
  4. Halibut
  5. Grouper
  6. Tilapia
  7. Silver Hake
  8. Striped bass
  9. Mahi mahi
  10. Gurnard
  11. Whiting
  12. Monkfish

This article will list the replacements and compare their tastes, textures and cooking methods. In addition, I’ll examine and include a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients.

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Cod Alternatives

1. Black Cod

Black cod is another name for sablefish but is not part of the cod fish family. Black cod are mostly found near Alaska in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

Why black cod is a good replacement for cod:

  • Black cod provides more omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
  • Black cod has a white flesh.
  • Black cod may add more buttery flavor than the milder cod.
  • It’s easy to find similar size fillets.
  • Even though black cod contains more mercury than cod it’s still listed as a good mercury choice.

Cooking comparison between black cod and cod:

  • They can be cooked using similar methods like roasting, grilled, poached, broiled and fried.
  • Black cod can be cooked longer and doesn’t dry out as fast due to its higher fat content.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw black cod and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Black Cod, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 166
Protein 15.1 g 11.4 g
Total fat 0.57 g 13.0 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 1.33 g
Potassium 351 mg 304 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 29.8 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2

If you’re counting calories be aware black cod contains over twice the amount as cod.

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2. Pollock

Alaska pollock is found in the North Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic pollock is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean near the Gulf of Maine to the western Scotian Shelf.

Why pollock is a good replacement for cod:

  • Pollock provides more omega-3 fatty acids and minerals.
  • Pollock’s flesh is a light color similar to cod but not as white.
  • Pollock has a similar mild and non-fishy taste.
  • Pollock costs less than cod.
  • Pollock has similar mercury levels.
  • Pollock has similar calories per serving.

Cooking comparison between pollock and cod:

  • They can be cooked using similar methods like roasting, poached, broiled and fried.
  • Cod’s texture is firmer and is better for grilling or searing.
  • Cod has larger flakes.
  • Pollock is fattier and won’t dry out as easily.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw Atlantic pollock and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Atlantic Pollock, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 78
Protein 15.1 g 16.5 g
Total fat 0.57 g 0.82 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.38 g
Potassium 351 mg 302 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 51 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 3

3. Haddock

Haddock is found on both sides of the north Atlantic Ocean. On the east coast they are found from New Jersey up to Canada. Many haddock are found near the Gulf of Maine. 

Why haddock is a good replacement for cod:

  • Haddock has slightly fewer calories.
  • Haddock’s flesh is white and similar to cod.
  • Haddock’s flavor is less mild but not over powering.
  • Haddock and cod costs are similar.
  • Haddock has similar mercury levels.

Cooking comparison between haddock and cod:

  • If grilling, haddock isn’t a good substitute because the flesh falls apart easily compared to cod.
  • Cod’s texture is firmer and is better for grilling or searing.
  • They can be cooked using other methods like baking, poached, broiled and fried.
  • Cod has larger flakes.
  • Haddock fillets are mostly smaller.
  • Haddock cooks quicker.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw haddock and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Haddock, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 63
Protein 15.1 g 14.2 g
Total fat 0.57 g 0.38 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.12 g
Potassium 351 mg 243 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 9.3 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 4

4. Halibut

Halibut is one of the largest saltwater flat fish. Halibut are mostly found in the Central Gulf of Alaska. 

Why halibut is a good replacement for cod:

  • Halibut has a similar number of calories.
  • Both have a similar mild taste and firm texture.
  • Halibut’s flesh is light colored and similar to cod.

Cooking comparison between halibut and cod:

  • Halibut is typically a thicker cut of fish so using the same size fillet as cod is easy.
  • They can be cooked using the same cooking methods like searing, roasting, grilling, baking, poached, broiled and fried.
  • Cod has larger flakes.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw halibut and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Halibut, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 77
Protein 15.1 g 15.8 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.13 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.18 g
Potassium 351 mg 370 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 5.9 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 5

5. Red Grouper

Red grouper are found in the west Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and down to Brazil. They are reddish brown to reddish and pink. They have large mouths and are part of the same family as sea bass.

Why red grouper is a good replacement for cod:

  • Red grouper has a mild flavor and firm texture similar to cod.
  • Red grouper has large flakes like cod.
  • Red grouper’s flesh is light colored and similar to cod.
  • Red grouper is nutrient dense.

Cooking comparison between red grouper and cod:

  • Red grouper is more difficult to overcook.
  • Expect smaller fillets because red grouper is a smaller fish than cod.
  • Less cooking time for red grouper.
  • They can be cooked using the same methods like grilling, searing, roasting, baking, broiled, poached and fried.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw grouper and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Grouper, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 78
Protein 15.1 g 16.5 g
Total fat 0.57 g 0.86 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.22 g
Potassium 351 mg 411 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 23 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 6

6. Tilapia

Tilapia is a common name for numerous species of cichlid fish. Since 2002, tilapia is the 4th most consumed fish in the United States. 

Why tilapia is a good replacement for cod:

  • Both have a similar mild taste and is not fishy.
  • Tilapia’s flesh is light colored and similar to cod.
  • Tilapia costs less than cod.
  • Tilapia has a similar amount of mercury.

Cooking comparison between tilapia and cod:

  • Tilapia can be cooked using the same cooking methods as cod.
  • Tilapia is more tender and may fall apart easier.
  • Tilapia fillets are smaller than cod.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw tilapia and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Tilapia, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 82
Protein 15.1 g 17.2 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.42 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.15 g
Potassium 351 mg 256 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 8.5 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 7

7. Silver Hake

Hake is a term for a number of species related to cod. Silver hake are mostly found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from South Carolina up to Newfoundland. Many people in the U.S. call hake whiting.

Why hake is a good replacement for cod:

  • Hake has a similar flavor and texture to cod.
  • Hake’s flesh is light colored and similar to cod.

Cooking comparison between hake and cod:

  • Expect smaller fillets when using hake. 
  • Hake will cook faster than cod.
  • Hake holds up well and the same cooking methods can be used like grilling, searing, roasting, baking, broiled, poached and fried.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw hake and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Hake, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 77
Protein 15.1 g 16 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.10 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.21 g
Potassium 351 mg 212 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 41 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 8

8. Striped Bass

Striped bass are originally from the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Gulf of Mexico. They range from the western Atlantic St. Lawrence River down to northern Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why striped bass is a good replacement for cod:

  • Striped bass has a similar mild, non-fishy taste.
  • Striped bass flesh is light colored and flaky similar to cod.
  • Both have large flakes.
  • Striped bass is close in size and weight.

Cooking comparison between striped bass and cod:

  • Striped bass can be cooked using the same cooking methods as cod.
  • Both have similar sized fillets.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw striped bass and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Striped Bass, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 82
Protein 15.1 g 15.0 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.98 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.64 g
Potassium 351 mg 218 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 12.8 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 9

Find out what fish are good substitutes for sea bass in my article, Sea Bass Substitutes: 10 Healthy Alternatives.

9. Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi can be found worldwide. Some of the common places include the following:

  • The west coast of North and South America
  • Hawaii
  • The Atlantic coast of Florida and Africa
  • The Gulf of Mexico
  • The Pacific coast of Costa Rica
  • Indian Ocean
  • South China Sea
  • Southeast Asia
  • Caribbean

Approximately one-third of the U.S. Mahi Mahi comes from the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The remaining comes from the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

Why mahi mahi is a good replacement for cod:

  • Mahi mahi has a similar mild taste. The darker area will have a fishier taste.
  • Both fish have a lighter colored flesh.
  • Both have large flakes.

Cooking comparison between mahi mahi and cod:

  • Mahi mahi can be cooked using the same cooking methods as cod like baking, grilling, roasting, poaching and frying.
  • Finding or trimming similar size fillets is easy.
  • Trim away the darker area to get rid of the fishier taste.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of mahi mahi and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Mahi mahi, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 72
Protein 15.1 g 15.7 g
Total fat 0.57 g 0.60 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.10 g
Potassium 351 mg 353 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 12.8 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 10

Check out the best replacements for trout in my article, Trout Replacements: The 12 Best Healthy Substitutes.

Mahi mahi cooked dinner on a plate
Mahi mahi dinner

10. Gurnard

Gurnards are mostly found in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and more readily available in Great Britain but can be found in the U.S. They are also known as sea robins.

Why gurnard is a good replacement for cod:

  • Gurnard has a mild flavor and firm texture similar to cod.
  • Gurnard’s flesh is light colored and similar to cod.

Cooking comparison between gurnard and cod:

  • Expect smaller fillets because gurnard is a smaller fish than cod.
  • Less cooking time for gurnard.
  • Gurnard can be cooked using the same cooking methods like grilling, searing, roasting, baking, broiled, poached and fried.

11. Whiting

Whiting is in the family Gadidae and is known as Merlangius merlangus.

Why whiting is a good replacement for cod:

  • Whiting has a mild flavor and soft but firm texture.
  • Both fish have a lighter colored flesh.

Cooking comparison between whiting and cod:

  • Whiting can be cooked using the same cooking methods as cod like baking, grilling, roasting, poaching and frying.
  • The texture may become mushy if it’s cooked at the incorrect temperature or length of time.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of whiting and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Whiting, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 77
Protein 15.1 g 16 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.10 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.21 g
Potassium 351 mg 212 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 41 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 11

12. Monkfish

Monkfish are native to the eastern coast of North America from Quebec down to Florida. They are more common up north than south. 

Why monkfish is a good replacement for cod:

  • Monkfish has a mild flavor and non-fishy taste.
  • Monkfish flesh is light colored similarly to cod.
  • Monkfish has a firm texture and holds together well.
  • Finding larger fillets is easy.

Cooking comparison between monkfish and cod:

  • Monkfish can be cooked using the same cooking methods as cod.
  • Monkfish will hold together better and is better for slow cooking.

Macro comparison

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of some nutrients contained in 3 ounces of raw monkfish and raw cod.

  Cod, raw (3 ounces) Monkfish, raw (3 ounces)
Calories 70 64
Protein 15.1 g 12.3 g
Total fat 0.57 g 1.29 g
Omega-3 0.17 g 0.22 g
Potassium 351 mg 340 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg 6.8 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 12

Additional Resources 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Read Next – More Cod Articles!

Sea Bass vs Cod – Is One Better? Let’s Compare

Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod – What’s The Difference?

Pacific Cod vs Sockeye (Pacific Salmon) Which Is Better?

Alaska Pollock Vs Cod: A Comparison – Which Is Better?

Cod Vs Tilapia – A Complete Comparison

 

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  1. USDA: Fish, cod, Atlantic, raw[][][][][][][][][][][]
  2. USDA: Fish, sablefish, raw[]
  3. USDA: Fish, pollock, raw[]
  4. USDA: Fish, haddock, raw[]
  5. USDA: Fish, halibut, Atlantic and Pacific, raw[]
  6. USDA: Fish, grouper, mixed species, raw[]
  7. USDA: Fish, tilapia, raw[]
  8. USDA: Hake Steaks[]
  9. USDA: Fish, bass, striped, raw[]
  10. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mahimahi[]
  11. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mixed species, whiting[]
  12. USDA: Fish, monkfish, raw[]
  13. Wikipedia: Tilapia[]
  14. USDA: Fish, tilapia, cooked, dry heat[]
  15. University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Halibut[]
  16. NOAA: Pacific Halibut[]
  17. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Pollock[]
  18. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood guide – Pollock[]
  19. NOAA Fisheries: Sablefish[]
  20. Alaska Seafood: Black Cod[]
  21. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Striped bass[]
  22. Wikipedia: Mahi-mahi[]
  23. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Mahi Mahi[]
  24. NOAA Fisheries: Pacific Mahimahi[]
  25. NOAA Fisheries: Red Grouper[]
  26. Wikipedia: Red grouper[]
  27. NOAA Fisheries: Silver Hake[]
  28. Wikipedia: Hake[]
  29. Wikipedia: Red gurnard[]
  30. NOAA Fisheries: Monkfish[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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