Flounder vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare

Flounder and cod are both nutritious and popular. Due to this, it may not be easy deciding which one you’d like for your next meal. It may help to answer the question, what is better flounder or cod?

Cod is better than flounder because it contains more protein, less fat and a higher percentage of vitamins. Cod contains a larger number of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Cod has a firmer texture allowing it to be used in more cooking methods. Cod is more affordable due to its lower price.

This article will examine all the differences between the flounder and cod including a side-by-side nutrient comparison. In addition, I’ll compare their textures, tastes, costs, mercury levels and whether one can substitute for the other.

Flounder and Cod Nutrient Comparison

The table below is a nutrient comparison between flounder and cod.

Nutrient Cod, raw (4 Ounces) Flounder, raw (4 Ounces)
Calories 93 79
Fat 0.8 g 2.2 g
Protein 23 g 14 g
Omega-3 0.22 g 0.31 g
B-6 0.2 mg 0.1 mg
B-12 1.0 mcg 1.2 mcg
Thiamin 0.08 mg 0.02 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg 0.02 mg
B5 0.1 mg 0.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.2 mg
Niacin 2.3 mg 1.1 mg
Folate 7.9 mcg 5.6 mcg
Potassium 468 mg 181 mg
Magnesium 36 mg 20 mg
Phosphorus 230 mg 285 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg 23.8 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.3 mg
Selenium 37.5 mcg 30.2 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, flounder or cod?

Cod is healthier than flounder due to its larger number of vitamins and minerals. Cod contains less fat while providing more protein. Cod contains more B6, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, niacin, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium than flounder.

Flounder contains a wide variety of nutrients, just less numbers of each one. Flounder contains slightly more omega-3 fatty acids, B12, B5, phosphorus and calcium than cod 3.

Flounder and Cod Health Benefits

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Flounder and cod contain a similar amount of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep cholesterol levels lower and arteries healthy. Two of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 4.

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 to cod. If you’re interested in how many omega-3s black cod contains or just want to learn about it, check out my article, Black Cod Vs Cod – Is There A Difference?

B Vitamins

Flounder and cod contain many B vitamins. These include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). These B vitamins helps support the following:

  • Digestion
  • Red blood cells
  • Brain function
  • Energy levels
  • Nerve function
  • Cardiovascular health


Cod provides more magnesium than flounder. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep quality. More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable 5.

Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 6.


Flounder contains a little more calcium than cod. Calcium, like magnesium 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 7.


Cod contains almost 500 mg of potassium beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 8. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.

Flounder and Cod Tastes and Textures

Flounder has a mild to sweet taste. Its texture is fine and delicate with low levels of oiliness. Flounder is more flakier and can fall apart easier while cooking.

Cod has a mild, milky flavor. Atlantic cod may be slightly sweeter than Pacific cod. Many people say the texture of cod is similar to chicken due to its firmness. Cod has large flakes and is good for various cooking methods.

While flounder may not be as healthy as cod, what about cod vs tilapia? Check out the battle of these heavyweights in my article here, Cod Vs Tilapia – A Complete Comparison.

Can You Substitute Flounder for Cod?

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 flounder which is more difficult to find than cod. Therefore, can you substitute cod for flounder?

Cod can substitute for flounder due to their similar mild to sweet tastes. Cod has a firmer texture and doesn’t fall apart as easily as flounder making it okay to use for various cooking methods required for flounder.

Flounder can substitute for cod due to their similar mild to sweet tastes. If grilling, flounder can’t substitute for cod because the flesh falls apart easily compared to cod. Flounder can substitute for cod when frying, poaching, broiling and baking.

What is a good substitute for cod? Good substitutes for cod include:

  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Striped bass
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi mahi

What is a good substitute for flounder? Good substitutions for flounder include the following:

  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Branzino
  • Cod
  • Rainbow trout
  • Butterfish

Tastes matters more than texture when substituting but you may choose a certain fish if a certain cooking method has to be used. If you’re grilling, a fish like flounder won’t work well due to its flakiness and falling apart easily.

When substituting one fish for the other always 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 9.

Flounder and Cod 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. Therefore does flounder or cod have more mercury?

Flounder and cod contain similar mercury levels. They are listed on the FDA’s best choices in regards to mercury levels. The FDA recommends eating flounder or cod no more than two servings a week.

Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods, changing your dietary habits and how often to consume certain fish.

The Cost of Flounder and Cod

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

Flounder is more expensive than cod. The average cost for cod is $12.99 per pound while the average cost for flounder is $14.49 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked Freshdirect for the current prices of each.

  • Fresh, wild caught flounder fillet
    • $17.99 per pound
  • Fresh, wild caught cod
    • $16.99 per pound

I checked the local Shopright supermarket 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
  • Fish wild North Atlantic flounder fillet
    • $10.99 per pound

The availability of flounder will be more difficult to find in your local supermarket. You’d have a better chance finding it in a fish market or online.

flounder at the ocean bottom
Flounder at the ocean bottom

The Differences Between Flounder and Cod

What are the differences between flounder and cod?

Flounders are a group of flatfish species living and feeding on the bottom of oceans. Cod is from the Gadidae family and can be found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Flounders are typically brown with colored markings while cod is brownish with dark spots. Cod is larger than flounder but doesn’t live as long.


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 11.

The gulf, southern, summer and winter flounders are found in the western Atlantic Ocean. The European and witch flounders are found in European waters. The olive flounder can be found swimming in the North Pacific Ocean 12.

cod fish on ice
Regular cod


  • The color of the flounder depends on the habitat. Flounders are typically brown colored with various red, orange, green and blue markings on the body.
  • Cod is brownish with dark spots.


  • Flounder has an oval, flattened body with bulging eyes both located on one side of the head.
  • Cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.

Size and Weight

  • Flounder grows 12-36″ in length and weighs 3-11 pounds.
  • Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.


  • Flounder up to 27 years.
  • Cod up to 12 years.

Depending on the species of flounder, both of their eyes will be on the right or left side of the head. The following are some flounder species and what side of the head the eyes are located on:

  • Arrowtooth flounder – Right eyed, meaning both eyes are on the right side of the head.
  • Windowpane flounder – Left eyed.
  • Witch flounder – Right eyed.
  • Yellowtail flounder – Right eyed.
  • Winter flounder – Right eyed.
  • Summer flounder – Left eyed.

Species sources 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Blue Cod Vs Cod – A Complete Comparison

Halibut vs Cod: The Differences In Detail

Scrod vs Cod: There’s More To The Story

Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?


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: Flounder, raw[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  3. NOAA Fisheries: Pacific Cod[]
  4. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  5. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  7. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  8. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  9. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  10. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  11. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  12. Wikipedia: Flounder[]
  13. NOAA Fisheries: Summer Flounder[]
  14. NOAA Fisheries: Winter Flounder[]
  15. NOAA Fisheries: Yellowtail Flounder[]
  16. NOAA Fisheries: Witch Flounder[]
  17. NOAA Fisheries: Windowpane Flounder[]
  18. NOAA Fisheries: Arrowtooth Flounder[]
  19. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod[]

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