Keta vs Sockeye Salmon: What’s The Difference?

Keta and sockeye salmon are different fish species, but many people don’t recognize all of the differences at first glance. They may seem similar, but there’s more than meets the eye! So, what are the differences between keta salmon and sockeye salmon?

Sockeye salmon are a silvery blue-green color while keta are red and green. Sockeye has less cholesterol and more protein than keta salmon. While sockeye salmon contains more sodium than keta salmon, neither contain carbs. A serving of keta and sockeye salmon has similar amounts of fat and calories.

Now that you know more about sockeye and keta salmon and how they are different, you may be wondering what the fish look like and their taste and texture. In addition, I’ll examine the nutritional facts, mercury levels and costs of keta and sockeye salmon.

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Disclaimer: Some 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.

Keta Salmon

Keta salmon is more commonly known as chum salmon or dog salmon. It belongs to the species of pacific salmon, and its scientific name is Oncorhynchus keta. They live for about 3 to 5 years and can grow to be up to 3.6 feet long.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), keta salmon typically weigh 8 to 15 pounds, although they can weigh up to 35 pounds 1.

Keta salmon are silver and blue-green, although all of their colors tend to shift and blend. Additionally, some fish have darker spots while others do not. However, as keta move from saltwater to freshwater, their colors change from silvery green-blue to dark olive.

Keta salmon live in salt water, but they spawn in freshwater. Each year some travel into freshwater areas to reproduce.

Now that you know about the basics of keta salmon, you may be wondering about the nutritional facts and how they are typically cooked in homes and at restaurants.

Keta Salmon Nutrition Facts

A 4 ounce piece of Keta salmon that has no seasonings and is skinless contains:

  • 136 calories
  • 4.3 grams of Fat
  • 84 milligrams of Cholesterol
  • 57 milligrams of Sodium
  • 23 grams of Protein

Keta salmon has no carbs in it when it has no seasonings on it and is served skinless 2. However, some seasoning and additions to Keta salmon dishes do have carbs in them, so take that into account when you calculate the nutritional details of your salmon dish.

Keta Salmon Taste

Keta salmon has a very mild and delicate flavor, and the meat itself is very moist when cooked properly. It kind of tastes like a mix of halibut and salmon.

The fish has a pink and firm flesh when it is uncooked. Keta salmon is lean. In other words, it does not have much fat on it, but it is dense.

How Keta Salmon is Cooked

Keta salmon is typically roasted or grilled because of the firm flesh and its mild flavor. It is very lean meat that does well when cooked at lower temperatures than other meats.

It’s also delicious when broiled, poached, sautéed, smoked, or steamed. It is also sometimes incorporated into sushi dishes.

sockeye and keta salmon


Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon is a species of pacific salmon that typically live for 3 to 7 years. They are otherwise known as the red salmon or the blueback salmon. Its official scientific name is Oncorhynchus nerka.

They can grow to be up to almost 3 feet in length and weighs up to 15 pounds. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 3, sockeye salmon are smaller than many other salmon species. They typically grow to be 18 to 31 inches long while weighing 4 to 15 pounds.

Now that you know more about sockeye salmon, you may be wondering how to cook it and its nutritional facts 4.

Sockeye Salmon Nutrition Facts

A 4 ounce piece of sockeye salmon has:

  • 149 calories
  • 5.3 grams of Fat
  • 58 milligrams of Cholesterol
  • 88 milligrams of Sodium
  • 25 grams of Protein

Sockeye salmon doesn’t contain any carbs when it is skinless and unseasoned, but many sockeye dishes do have carbs because of the extra items added to the plate. If you’re aiming for a carb-free diet, salmon could be a good option 5.

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

Sockeye Salmon Taste

Sockeye salmon is quite flavorful and rich with a very fishy taste. The meat is dense and buttery because it has a high-fat content and an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. Although it is a fairly fatty fish, it does not contain as much fat as beef.

How Sockeye Salmon is Cooked

Cook it at high temperatures that are between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While generally cooked in the oven, sockeye salmon can also be grilled or broiled.

sockeye vs keta salmon

What is the Difference Between Sockeye Salmon and Keta Salmon?

Sockeye salmon and keta salmon do have many similarities, but they also have many differences. Sockeye salmon look very different from keta because one is red and green (except in freshwater) while the other is silvery blue-green 6.

They have a similar amount of calories when cooked, unseasoned and skinless. In addition, neither of them contains any carbs, but they do vary in their measurements of cholesterol, sodium and slightly in omega-3 fatty acids.

Check the next section below for a detailed nutrient comparison.

However, they do have similar levels of fats and calories. The specific amount varies on the portion size of the fish and the species of fish you are eating at the time.

Because sockeye salmon and keta salmon have very different flavors, you must cook them differently. You can cook keta with a variety of methods. Keta salmon tastes like a mix of halibut and salmon. 

Sockeye is typically cooked in the oven and has a very distinct fishy flavor.

Sockeye salmon are typically served in smaller portions than keta because they do not grow as big 7. This size difference is one of the reasons why the nutritional facts and the claims of sodium and cholesterol levels above may look a little odd.

Now that you know the differences and similarities between sockeye and keta salmon 8, it is up to you to decide what kind of fish you want to eat.

I recently compared the differences between Atlantic and Pacific salmon, it’s more than just the oceans. Check out my article about the largest difference, Atlantic vs Pacific Salmon: What’s The Difference?

Keta vs Sockeye Salmon: Nutrient Comparison


Keta Salmon, raw

(4 Ounces)

Sockeye Salmon, raw

(4 Ounces)

Calories 136 149
Fat 4.3 g  5.3 g
Protein 23 g  25 g
Omega-3 0.80 g  0.96 g
B-6 0.45 mg  0.82 mg
B-12 3.4 mcg  5.32 mcg
Thiamin 0.09 mg 0.15 mg
Riboflavin 0.20 mg 0.23 mg
B5 0.85 mg 1.21 mg
Iron 0.62 mg 0.49 mg
Vitamin A 34.02 mcg  55.57 mcg
Niacin 7.93 mg  9.64 mg
Folate 4.54 mcg  6.80 mcg
Potassium 486 mg  416 mg
Magnesium 25 mg  34 mg
Phosphorus 320 mg  291 mg
Calcium 12.47 mg  10.21 mg
Zinc 0.53 mg 0.52 mg
Selenium 41.4 mcg  33.8 mcg

Examining the table above it’s easy to see both fish are full of nutrients 9. To compare the two, let’s answer which one is better, keta or sockeye salmon?

Sockeye salmon is better than keta due to its higher number of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Sockeye contains a larger percentage of B6, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, B5, niacin, folate and magnesium. Sockeye also contains more protein, vitamin A and less cholesterol than keta.

Although keta is no slouch and provides many nutrients. Keta contains more iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Although it doesn’t have more omega-3s, it still provides a good number. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy because they help keep bad cholesterol low and improve the health of blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lowering blood pressure.

While keta may not be as healthy, what about cod vs salmon? Check out my article here, Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

Keta and Sockeye Salmon Mercury Levels

The FDA has issued warnings regarding mercury levels in fish. They also provide recommendations about how often to consume them 10. This is especially important for pregnant women and young, developing children.

The FDA and EPA have established a list of fish that are best and good choices based on their mercury levels. They also list fish which should be avoided. Therefore does keta or sockeye salmon have more mercury?

Keta and sockeye salmon 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.

When fish eat other fish in the ocean, more mercury builds up in their bodies over time. Bigger fish have more mercury in them than other smaller fish. Keta and sockeye grow to about the same size which is one reason they’ll contain similar mercury levels.

Mercury is especially harmful to children to consume because they are in crucial stages of development both physically and mentally.

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

The Cost of Keta and Sockeye and Salmon

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

Keta salmon is slightly more expensive than sockeye salmon. The average cost for keta salmon is $20 per pound while the average cost for sockeye is $19 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, Costco and other supermarkets for the current prices of each.

  • Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon
    • $20 per pound.
  • Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon
    • $18 per pound
  • Wild Alaskan Keta salmon
    • $19 per pound
  • Wild Alaskan Keta salmon
    • $21 per pound

To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.

Read Next – More Salmon vs Fish Articles!

Atlantic vs Wild Salmon: Which Is Better?

Pink vs Red Salmon: What’s The Difference?

Tuna vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

Halibut vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

Trout vs Salmon: Is One More Healthier Than The Other?

Shrimp vs. Salmon: A Complete Comparison

Char 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. NOAA: Chum Salmon[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, chum, salmon[]
  3. Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Sockeye Salmon[]
  4. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, sockeye, salmon[]
  5. FDA: Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw[]
  6. University of Washington: Studying Sockeye Salmon[]
  7. Salmon University: Species, Salmon[]
  8. Alaska’s Wild Salmon[]
  9. FDA: Seafood Nutrition Facts[]
  10. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]

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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