White Perch vs Cod – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare

White perch and cod are two popular fish people love to cook with. They both have different tastes, nutritional values and textures. When deciding for your next meal, you may wonder, what is the difference between white perch and cod?

Cod tastes milder and less fishy than white perch. Cod provides a higher percentage of protein, less cholesterol, fat and calories. They are different families and species of fish. White perch is silvery and cod is brownish, longer and weighs more. White perch costs less per pound. 

This article will include a side-by-side comparison of all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients contained in both fish. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, mercury levels, costs and if one can substitute for the other.

As a Certified Health Coach, many of my clients ask me about seafood. In addition to coaching clients about perch and cod, I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both fish for over 20 years.

Cod on the top and white perch on the bottom.
Cod on the top and white perch on the bottom

White Perch and Cod Nutrition Comparison

Below is a nutrient comparison of both fish per four ounces:

Nutrient Cod (4 ounces) White Perch (4 Ounces)
Calories 93 134
Total Fat 0.8 g 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g 1.3 g
Protein 23 g 21 g
Cholesterol 49 mg 107 mg
Sodium 135 mg 46 mg
Potassium 468 mg 346 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.4 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg 27.22 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2 3

Calories

White perch contains more calories per four ounces. If you’re looking for a diet low in calories, cod is the better choice.

Vitamin

Cod contains vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, vitamin A and folate. White perch contains more vitamin D and is lower in minerals.

Fat

White perch contains much more total fat, fatty acids, , monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Cod nutrients and benefits compared to salmon.

White Perch and Cod: Tastes and Textures

One of the most important things people takes into consideration when choosing a fish is its taste. Let’s examine the tastes of the two fish.

White perch and cod both have a mild to sweet flavor, although white perch can taste fishier. Cod has a buttery taste which white perch doesn’t have. They both have a firm texture although white perch is flakier and falls apart easier.

Depending on the area the perch was caught the taste may be somewhat fishy. The texture is moist, flaky and firm.

Cod has a non-fishy mild taste. The mild taste can be sweet at times and is good for people who don’t like a fishy tasting seafood. It’s texture is firm, flaky and moist if cooked properly. Pacific are moister than Atlantic.

I conducted original research on taste by polling my clients, readers and members of food groups I belong to. I asked, white perch vs cod, which one tastes better?

  • 61% said they preferred the cod.
  • 39% said they preferred the perch.

To conduct more taste research I set up a blind taste test at my home. Both fish were cooked and seasoned the same way. The results of the poll was 50/50.

How to catch and cook white perch.

Substitutions

When preparing recipes for dinner it’s not always possible to locate the type of fish in a market or while fishing. If you have some only one of the two fish you may wonder if you can substitute for the other.

Cod can substitute for white perch due to their similar mild to sweet tastes although white perch’s flavor is stronger and sometimes fishier. Cod has a firm texture allowing a wider variety of cooking methods like grilling. Both fish can be grilled, baked, roasted, poached, fried, chips or seared. 

Other cod substitutes include the following:

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

The best white perch substitutes are:

  • Tilapia
  • Snapper
  • Sole fillets
  • Lake trout
  • Branding

When substituting either fish 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 4.

If you’re wondering how salmon compared in omega-3s and nutrients check out my article, Salmon: Is One Better?

cod fish photo.
Cod fish

Cost

The costs for fish will vary depending on how the fish are caught fishing. A fish caught in the ocean will definitely be more expensive than farm-raised.

When purchasing fish, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Let’s take a close look at the prices of each fish.

Cod is more expensive than white perch. The average cost for fresh cod fillet is $12.25 per pound while the average cost for fresh perch fillet is $9.00 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I conducted research on costs by visiting various stores and checking their prices.

First, I checked Whyte’s Fishery online and found the following prices:

  • Fresh wild cod
    • $12.50 per pound
  • Fresh fillet perch (white)
    • $9.00 per pound

I then checked my local Shoprite supermarket and was only able to find one.

  • Fresh, farm Atlantic fillet
    • $11.99 per pound
Kevin Garce checking the prices of mackerel and other seafood at his local market.
Checking the prices of cod and other seafood at my local market

Mercury Levels

The EPA and FDA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 5. This is especially important for young infants, developing children and pregnant women.

They established a list of best fish, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. 

White perch and cod have similar levels of mercury. They are both listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. 

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

If you’re interested in finding about how sea bass compared, check out my article, Sea Bass – Is One Better? Let’s Compare.

White Perch vs Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance

let’s look at the differences between the two fish.

White perch and cod are from different families and species. The average cod is longer and weighs more than white perch. White perch are silvery while cod is brownish. White perch are found in freshwater rivers, lakes and in brackish waters. Cod is a salt water fish and found in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. 

Scientific Classifications, Families, Species

White perch are from the moronidae family, morone genus and the species M. americana.

Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and the species include:

  • Morhua (Atlantic cod)
  • Macrocephalus (Pacific cod)
  • Ogac (Greenland cod)

Bass?

White perch are not perch. They are completely different families than perch and are closely related to bass. They are also not the European perch which has a different habitat and species.

Cod fillet with vegetables.
Cod fillet with vegetables

Habitats

White perch are native to the Atlantic coast. They can be found from Nova Scotia down to South Carolina. Perch can be found in the Great Lakes, they prefer low-salinity estuaries and frequent coastal rivers and lakes.

Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine. Pacific 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 6.

Colors

  • White perch are silver with a grayish body. They have a whitish belly and a dark gray to black back.
  • Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.

Appearance

  • Perch are small with a highly domed back. They have a faint dusky lateral line, a mildly forked tail and a deep notch in their dorsal fin.
  • Cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.

Size and Weight

  • White perch grows an average of 7-10″ in length and weighs almost one pound.
  • Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.

Age

  • White perch lives up to 17 years.
  • Cod lives up to 12 years.

Fishing

Check your local regulations on fishing months, sizes and limits. Typically white perch are so prolific, there are few regulations.

Good baits for them include grass shrimp, small minnow, bloodworms and night crawlers. They will sometimes bite anything or be picky. Grass shrimp is mostly a top choice.

Various different lures may be used for perch instead of bait. Consider soft plastics, tiny crank baits, shad darts and small spinnerbaits.

White perch fishing tips.

Species Resources 7 8 9 10 11 

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Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Cod Alternatives: The 12 Best Substitutes

Cod vs Chicken – Which Is Healthier? Let’s Compare

Rainbow Trout vs Cod: Which Is Better? Let’s Compare

Cod vs Mahi mahi – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare

Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod – What’s The Difference?

Halibut vs Cod: The Differences in Detail

  1. Nutrition Value: Cod, raw[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  3. Nutrition Value: White perch fillets, white perch by Turbo Ice[]
  4. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  5. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  6. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  7. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod[]
  8. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide[]
  9. USGS: Morone Americana[]
  10. Sea Grant University of Wisconsin: White Perch[]
  11. Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Maryland Fish Facts[]

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