Halibut vs Cod: The Differences in Detail
Halibut and cod are two popular and healthy varieties of fish. Both cod and halibut are saltwater fish. However, the similarities stop there. If you have ever wondered whether cod or halibut is different, you have come to the right place. What’s The Difference between halibut and cod?
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 between halibut and cod. I’ll include 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.
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Halibut and Cod Nutrient Comparison
The table below compares the nutrients between halibut and cod:
|Nutrient||Cod, raw (4 Ounces)||Halibut, raw (4 Ounces)|
|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|
After examining the nutritional table above, it’s easy to see both fish contain many vitamins and minerals. Therefore, which is healthier, halibut or cod?
Halibut is healthier 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.
Seafood is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.
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Halibut Health Benefits
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
- 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.
Cod Health Benefits
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 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. If you had to pick one, what tastes better cod or halibut?
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.
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. Therefore, can you substitute halibut for cod?
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.
What is a good substitute for cod? Good substitutes for cod include pollock, haddock, halibut, striped bass, tilapia and mahi mahi.
What is a good substitute for halibut? Good substitutions for halibut include rainbow trout, cod, flounder and White Sea bass.
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. 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 halibut or cod have more mercury?
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. The FDA recommends eating cod no more than two servings a week and halibut once per week .
Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.
Halibut vs Cod: What’s The Difference?
What are the differences in size and habitat between halibut and cod?
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.
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 10.
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 11.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, halibut primarily live in the Central Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak Island. Deep-sea fishing for halibut is a popular sport in Alaska 12.
(How To make Halibut Video)
The Cost of Halibut and Cod
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. Which is more expensive, halibut or cod?
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 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
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- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic and Pacific, halibut[↩]
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[↩]
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of supplementary calcium on blood pressure in healthy adult women aged 18-30 years in Tehran, Iran[↩]
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[↩]
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[↩]
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[↩]
- Wikipedia: Cod[↩]
- Mass.gov: Learn about Atlantic cod[↩]
- University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Halibut[↩]
- NOAA: Pacific Halibut[↩]