Difference Between Halibut and Cod

Halibut and cod are two of the most popular and widely consumed fish species in the world. They belong to the same family of fish, Gadidae, but have many differences that set them apart from each other. The main differences between halibut and cod include their physical appearance, taste, texture, habitat, and nutritional value.

What is Halibut?

The name "halibut" comes from the terms "holy" and "flatfish," referring to the fish's habit of living and feeding near the water's floor in lakes and oceans. Both as game fish and table fare, they have widespread popularity. The biggest flatfish in the world, halibut can be either an Atlantic or Pacific kind. They are dark brown on top and off-white underneath, with tiny scales that aren't visible to the human eye. The countershading effect, which occurs when dark and light surfaces are juxtaposed, works wonderfully with this colour palette to make the halibut disappear.

During foraging, halibuts are known to come up off the sea floor to consume larger prey items, such as crabs, Pollock, fish, octopus, salmon, and sand lance. In addition to being low in fat, halibut is also a rich source of many nutrients. It's loaded with nutrients including proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It may be boiled, grilled, or deep-fried and has a solid, hard texture. It's challenging to smoke a halibut because of its low fat content.

What is Cod?

This fish, known as a demersal, prefers the cooler, deeper waters. Cod has a long upper mouth that stretches over its shorter lower jaw, as well as two anal fins and three rounded dorsal fins. In addition to a sandy brown to greenish back and white belly, these fish also have a white line that extends from above the pectoral fin all the way to the base of the tail fin. The Atlantic cod and the Pacific cod are the most prevalent types. The flesh is flaky, thick, and white, and the taste is subtle.

Cod liver oil, which is extracted from cod livers, is the most widely consumed fish by-product. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D, E, and A may all be found in cod liver oil. Scrod, made from young Atlantic cod, is the traditional mainstay of British fish and chips. The liver of a codfish is also delicious when canned and served as a snack.

Similarities: Halibut and Cod

  • Both are demersal fish

  • Both are high in vitamins, minerals, and proteins

Differences: Halibut and Cod

Physical Appearance − Halibut and cod are two of the largest species of fish in the Gadidae family. Halibut is a large, flat fish that can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds. Cod, on the other hand, is a longer and slimmer fish, reaching up to 6 feet in length and weighing around 200 pounds. Halibut has a white, firm flesh, while cod has a lighter color with a delicate, flaky texture.

Taste and Texture − Halibut has a sweet and mild taste, while cod has a more distinctive and slightly salty flavor. The texture of halibut is firm and meaty, making it ideal for grilling and baking. Cod, on the other hand, has a flakier and tender texture, making it better suited for poaching or poaching.

Habitat − Halibut and cod have different habitats, with halibut living in deeper waters in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Cod can be found in both colder and warmer waters, ranging from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea.

Nutritional Value − Both halibut and cod are considered to be nutritious fish, providing high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Halibut is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, while cod is high in vitamin B12. Cod also has a lower fat content compared to halibut, making it a healthier choice for those looking to maintain a low-fat diet.

The following table highlights the major differences between Halibut and Cod −




Physical attributes

Physical attributes Halibut has an off white underbelly and is dark brown on the top side, with small scales that are invisible to the naked eye. Cod has two anal fins and three rounded dorsal fins, with an upper jaw that extends over the lower jaw. They also have a white line running above the pectoral fin from the gill slit to the tail fin, and a have a sandy brown to greenish back and white bellies.

Cod has two anal fins and three rounded dorsal fins, with an upper jaw that extends over the lower jaw. They also have a white line running above the pectoral fin from the gill slit to the tail fin, and a have a sandy brown to greenish back and white bellies.


The halibut is categorized into the Atlantic halibut and pacific halibut.

Cod is categorized into Atlantic cod and the Pacific cod.


Halibut has a strong flavor

Cod has a mild flavor.


Halibut has a dense and firm texture.

Cod has a flaky and dense texture.


Halibut is available as steak.

Cod is available as fillets.


In conclusion, halibut and cod are two distinct fish species that offer different taste, texture, and nutritional value. Halibut is a firmer and meatier fish, while cod is flakier and has a more distinctive taste. Both species are widely consumed and are considered to be healthy food choices. When choosing between halibut and cod, it is important to consider one's personal taste preferences, cooking methods, and nutritional needs.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023

1K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started