Haddock Vs Cod – Their Differences Uncovered

Haddocks and Cods are two of the firm, flaky and mild-tasting groundfish species that are welcome in most popular fish eateries worldwide. Even while they’re close neighbors and kin – as both prosper in cooler waters – the two fish species are dissimilar in various ways. So, what’s the difference between haddock vs. cod?

Learn their differences below.

Haddock vs. Cod – Appearances

Both Haddock and Cod consist of lines down their sides, often known as lateral lines. The line on a Cod is white or cream in color, while that on a Haddock is black or dark grey. Their skin colors also vary, particularly on their upper half. Haddocks have black or dark grey skin, while Cods are speckled grey-brown in color.

In terms of body size, Haddocks are generally smaller and thinner with a long and pointed frontal dorsal fin. Cods are bigger and fatter with the dorsal fins of roughly the same length. Cod fillets are thick, unlike Haddock fillets that seem rather thin and flat.

There are also some differences between the two regarding the jaw structure. Haddocks have a more protruded upper jaw  relative to their lower jaw, but their mouth is smaller than the one seen in Cods. Both fish have the same number of ray fins, though.

Cod vs. Haddock – Habitat

Understandably, both Haddock and Cod belong to the cold-water fish family. They mostly reside in hake, Pollock, ling, and freshwater burbot.

The two fish species can be found offshore in the North Atlantic waters. However, as far as habitat goes, Haddocks live in deeper waters compared to Cods.

Even if both fish species are cold-water fish, it’s easier to catch plenty of Cods in shallow waters. Haddocks thrive in deeper waters, approximately 25-27 fathoms deep. Furthermore, Haddocks are more adept to cooler habitats with less saline waters.  

 Haddock vs. Cod – Taste & Flavor

Both Haddock and Cod have a lean and firm white flesh, but their flavor isn’t identical from an experienced chef’s perspective. Knowing the differences in flavor between the two fish can help you decide between a Haddock recipe and a Cod recipe. A Haddock has a more flavorful taste and a fishy flavor with a bit more sweetness.

Also, Haddocks have thinner and flatter portions that are less white in appearance. The Haddock “loin” is the only exception, which has a thick and slightly cylindrical portion chopped from the back of the fish. In terms of texture, Haddocks are generally softer-textured and more fragile compared to Cods, especially in the months of summer.

Cods, on the other hand, have a milder and cleaner taste. Cod fillets are firmer and thicker, with a milder flavor that makes it versatile for your preferred seasonings. Cods produce a flaky and tender texture when cooked. Unlike Haddocks that cook through quickly, Cods don’t overcook easily. Cods are ideal for grilling or searing whilst Haddocks are great for frying.

Haddock or Cod – Which is Better?

In all honesty, Haddock and Cod are both versatile and delicious white fish. They look pretty much identical, but they’re easy to tell apart if you understand their differences. When it comes to Haddock or Cod, it all boils down to how you cook it and your flavor preference. You might want to go with Haddock if you wish to cook homemade fish and chips. But if you’re craving pan-seared or grilled fish, you better opt for Cod.

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