Halibut vs Cod: The Differences in Detail

If you have ever wondered whether cod or halibut is different, you have come to the right article. Let’s examine their differences.

Halibut is longer, weighs more and contains more mercury than cod. Halibut provides more B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids while cod contains a higher number of minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. Halibut tastes slightly sweeter than cod and has a firmer texture.

This article will examine all the differences including a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll compare their tastes, textures, mercury levels, costs and if you can substitute for the other.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Halibut and Cod Nutrient Comparison

Halibut dinner on the left and cod on the right.
Halibut dinner on the left and cod on the right

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about food comparisons including halibut and cod. I purchase and consume cod almost every week. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine them closely.

The table below compares the nutrients between halibut and cod:

Nutrient Cod, raw (4 Ounces) Halibut, raw (4 Ounces)
Calories 93 103
Fat 0.8 g  1.5 g
Protein 23 g  21 g
Omega-3 0.22 g  0.25 g
B-6 0.2 mg  0.6 mg
B-12 1.0 mcg  1.2 mcg
Thiamin 0.08 mg 0.05 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg 0.03 mg
B5 0.1 mg 0.3 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.1 mg
Niacin 2.3 mg 7.3 mg
Folate 7.9 mcg 13.6 mcg
Potassium 468 mg  493 mg
Magnesium 36 mg  26 mg
Phosphorus 230 mg  267 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg  7.9 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.4 mg
Selenium 37.5 mcg  51.7 mcg

Nutrient sources 1 2

After examining the nutritional table above, it’s easy to see both fish contain many vitamins and minerals.

Halibut is better than cod because it contains more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Halibut contains a higher number of B6, B12, B5, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus and selenium. 

It surprising because most people would have guessed cod. For good reason due to cod’s high nutritional value also. Cod contains more thiamin, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc than halibut.

Consuming each fish is healthy and you can’t go wrong with the vitamins and minerals provided by both fish.

Halibut Health Benefits

Halibut dinner with rice and vegetables.
Halibut dinner with rice and vegetables

A good serving of halibut contains many B vitamins like folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and niacin. These B vitamins helps support the following:

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

Halibut contains much more selenium than most fish. Selenium helps to protect the following:

  • Immune system
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive issues
  • Thyroid health

Halibut provides slightly more omega-3 fatty acids than cod. Why are omega-3 fatty acids so important? 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 3.

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

In addition to being a great source of healthy vitamins, halibut provides you with a healthy dose of magnesium. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving your sleep quality. More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable 4.

Cod Health Benefits

Cod dinner with potatoes.
Cod dinner with potatoes

Cod contains more than double the amount of calcium than halibut. 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.

In addition it’s helpful with the release of enzymes and hormones needed for most body functions. A recent study showed calcium supplementation can lower diastolic blood pressure significantly 5.

Both fish contain almost 500 mg of potassium which is beneficial for reducing sodium intake because it helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 6. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.

Halibut and Cod Taste and Texture

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.

Halibut also has a firm texture and is mild but it’s sweeter than cod. Halibut is a thicker cut of fish than cod.

Halibut tastes better than cod due to its stronger, sweeter flavor. Cod’s taste is more mild. Halibut is a leaner, less fatty fish which is delicious fried or sautéed. 

My Poll and Taste Test at Home

I wanted to get the opinion of real people like you and me. Therefore, I wanted to conduct my own research and contacted my clients, readers and members of food groups I belong to. I asked them which of the two fish they preferred.

  • 49% said they preferred the taste of halibut.
  • 44% said they preferred the taste of cod.
  • 7% said they had no preference, or it depended on their mood.

I then set up a blind test taste at my home. I prepared both fish fillets the same way using the same seasonings. Three out of four people, 75% chose the halibut over the cod. They said the flavor was better.

Cooked halibut and cod.
Cooked halibut and cod Pin to Pinterest

Halibut and Cod Substitutions

Sometimes you won’t have the exact fish for a recipe, or the seafood section of the supermarket doesn’t have what you need.

Halibut and cod can substitute for each due to their similar firm textures and mild to sweet taste. Halibut can be cooked using the same methods as cod like searing, poached or slow-roasted.

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 7.

Halibut and Cod 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 8.

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.

Halibut has more mercury than cod. Cod is listed on the FDA’s best choices and halibut is listed as a good choice regards to mercury levels.

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

Halibut vs Cod: The Difference

The average cod grows to 27-34 inches and 6-12 pounds while halibut can grow up to eight feet long and weight up to 200 pounds. Cod is found in the colder waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Halibut spends most of its time in the Central Gulf of Alaska and can be found down to California.

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 9.

Halibut can grow to be up to eight feet long and weigh up to 200 or even 400 pounds. Halibut is one of the largest saltwater flatfish out there 10.

The Cost of Halibut and Cod

Kevin Garce checking prices of catfish and seafood in his local supermarket.
Checking prices of cod catfish bass and seafood in my local market

The cost of either halibut or cod will differ depending on the location, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught.

Halibut is more expensive than cod. The average cost for cod is $11.49 per pound while the average cost for halibut is $25.99 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

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

  • Fresh, farm raised halibut
    • $21.99 per pound.
  • Fresh, wild caught halibut
    • $29.99 per pound
  • Fresh, farm raised cod
    • $9.99 per pound
  • Fresh, wild caught cod
    • $12.99 per pound

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Scrod vs Cod: There’s More To The Story

Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

Halibut vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic and Pacific, halibut[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  4. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of supplementary calcium on blood pressure in healthy adult women aged 18-30 years in Tehran, Iran[]
  6. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  7. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  8. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  9. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  10. University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Halibut[]

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