Cod Vs Tilapia – A Complete Comparison

Cod and tilapia are both nutritious white fish. Choosing between the two for your next meal may not be an easy decision. It may help to answer the question, what is better cod or tilapia?

Cod is better than tilapia due to its higher number of vitamins and minerals. Cod contains less calories and fat than tilapia while providing more omega-3 fatty acids. Cod has a firmer texture and larger flakes making it beneficial for various cooking methods.

This article will examine all the differences between the two fish including a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll compare their tastes, textures, substitutes, mercury levels and costs.

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Cod and Tilapia Nutrient Comparison

Below is a nutrient comparison of cod and tilapia.

Nutrient Cod, raw

(4 Ounces)

Tilapia, raw

(4 Ounces)

Calories 93 109
Fat 0.8 g  1.9 g
Protein 23 g  23 g
Omega-3 0.22 g  0.20 g
B-6 0.2 mg  0.1 mg
B-12 1.0 mcg  1.7 mcg
Thiamin 0.08 mg 0.04 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg 0.07 mg
B5 0.1 mg 0.5 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.6 mg
Niacin 2.3 mg  4.4 mg
Folate 7.94 mcg  27.22 mcg
Potassium 468 mg  342 mg
Magnesium 36 mg  30 mg
Phosphorus 230 mg  192 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg  11.3 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.3 mg
Selenium 37.5 mcg  47.4 mcg

Nutrient source: Nutrition Value 1 2

The table above compares the major nutrients, minerals and vitamins side-by-side. After examining the numbers above, which is healthier, cod or tilapia?

Cod is healthier than tilapia due to its greater number of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, less fat and calories. Cod provides a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals than tilapia including B6, thiamin, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. 

Although tilapia is no slouch and contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids 3. Tilapia contains more B12, B5, iron, niacin, folate and selenium than cod. Both fish have the same number of protein and riboflavin.

While tilapia may not be as healthy, what about cod vs salmon? Check out the battle of these heavyweights in my article here, Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

Health Benefits of Cod and Tilapia

Seafood like cod and tilapia are heart healthy 4. Due to their omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium, they benefit cholesterol, blood pressure and help lower the risk of heart disease 5.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Why are omega-3 fatty acids so beneficial? Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep bad cholesterol low, increase good cholesterol and keep arteries healthy. Two of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 6.


Potassium is beneficial for combating high sodium intake because it helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 7. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.


Magnesium is also beneficial for the heart and helps to lower blood pressure. It achieves this by helping the blood vessels to relax and controls other nutrients like potassium and calcium 8.


Calcium, like potassium is important for blood pressure and the heart. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels.

In addition it’s helpful with the release of enzymes and hormones needed for most body functions. A recent study of adult women showed calcium supplementation can lower diastolic blood pressure significantly 9.

Seafood is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.

If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.

Cod vs Tilapia: Tastes, Textures and Color

Tilapia doesn’t have a strong fishy taste compared to other fish. It’s mild tasting and maybe even a little sweet. For this reason tilapia is a popular choice and it’s a perfect canvass for a variety of flavors and spices.

When raw, tilapia is a pinkish-white color but turns mostly white when cooked. It’s very tender and falls apart easily. However, the results may change depending on how the fish was cooked.

Atlantic cod may be a little sweeter and softer than Pacific cod but both have a mild, milky flavor. The flesh has a firm texture with large flakes. Many people say the texture comes closest to chicken compared to other fish.

Cod’s firm texture makes it a pleasure for various different cooking methods.

Cod vs Tilapia: Can One Substitute for the Other?

There are times when you go to the supermarket the type of fish you need for a recipe isn’t going to be available. You may have a freezer full of cod and need to use them. Therefore, you may ask the question, can you substitute cod for tilapia?

Cod and tilapia can substitute for each other when cooking seafood due to both having a mild taste, although they have slightly different textures. They both can be cooked using the same methods like baking, grilling, broiling and pan frying.

When substituting one type of fish for another 10, try following these tips:

  • Pick similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
  • Always choose the same weight and size.
  • If the recipe calls for skinless, choose skinless and visa versa.
  • When grilling a firm texture is more important.
  • Substitute a fatty or lean fish for the same.

What fish can replace cod? Fish that can replace cod:

  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Mahi mahi
  • Striped bass
  • Black cod
  • Grouper
  • Tilapia

What can I substitute for tilapia in a recipe? The following fish can substitute for tilapia in a recipe:

  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Snapper
  • Tilefish
  • Striped Bass
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Flounder

Cod and tilapia can be cooked the same ways. The following are different ways to cook cod or tilapia:

  • Pan seared.
  • Pan grilled.
  • Pan fried.
  • Baked.
  • Poached.
  • Slow roasted.
  • Grilling.
  • Broiling

Cod and Tilapia Mercury Levels

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the EPA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and consuming them 11. This is especially important for pregnant women, breastfeeding or for young toddlers and infants.

They established a list of best and good choices of fish based on their mercury levels. They also have a third section which are choices to avoid because they have the highest mercury levels. Therefore does cod or tilapia have more mercury?

Cod and tilapia have similar levels of mercury. Both fish are listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. They recommend eating no more than two to three servings a week.

Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.

The Cost of Cod and Tilapia

The cost of either cod or tilapia will differ depending on your location, supermarket, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught. Which is more expensive, cod or tilapia?

Cod is more expensive than tilapia. The average cost for farm raised cod is $9.99 per pound while the average cost for farm raised tilapia is $6.99 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked my local Shoprite Supermarket and other markets for the current prices of each.

  • Fresh, farm raised cod
    • $9.99 per pound.
  • Fresh, wild caught cod
    • $12.99 per pound
  • Fresh, farm raised tilapia fillet
    • $6.99 per pound
  • Fresh, farm raised kosher tilapia fillet
    • $6.99 per pound

Cod vs Tilapia: What’s The Difference?

What are the differences between cod and tilapia?

Cod is a saltwater fish while tilapia are mainly freshwater fish. The average tilapia grows to 14 inches and weighs 5-6 pounds while the larger cod grows to 27-34 inches and 6-12 pounds. Tilapia inhabit streams, ponds, rivers and lakes while cod is found in the colder waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Tilapia is mainly a freshwater fish. They were originally farmed in their native Africa. They are fast growing and are farmed in many parts of Asia and elsewhere. The three main species are Blue tilapia, Nile and Mozambique 12.

Tilapia mainly inhabit ponds, streams and rivers. The Mozambique grow the largest in length and the Blue tilapia and Nile weight the most.

Cod is a saltwater fish. There are three species including Atlantic, Pacific and Greenland. Cod inhabit the colder waters, more north, of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans 13.

The average off shore cod is 51 inches long and weighs 55-75 pounds. Cod found closer to the shoreline are smaller and can range from 27-34 inches long 14.

Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Scrod vs Cod: There’s More To The Story

Halibut vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

Shrimp vs. Salmon: A Complete Comparison


Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, tilapia[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  3. USDA: Fish, tilapia, cooked, dry heat[]
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Benefits of salmon eating on traditional and novel vascular risk factors in young, non-obese healthy subjects[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Trace minerals in tilapia fillets: Status in the United States marketplace and selenium supplementation strategy for improving consumer’s health[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  7. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  8. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of supplementary calcium on blood pressure in healthy adult women aged 18-30 years in Tehran, Iran[]
  10. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  11. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  12. Wikipedia: Tilapia[]
  13. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  14. Learn about Atlantic cod[]

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