Cod vs Pollock

Pollock fish offers a mild, slightly sweet flavor, similar to cod and haddock. It's delicious in dishes like fish and chips, soups, and casseroles. Let's get into it, and by the way, welcome aboard fishing enthusiasts! Today, we're setting sail on a culinary adventure to pit two seafood heavyweights against each other: Cod and Pollock. Whether you've reeled them in yourself or spotted them at your local fishmonger, these two species have likely crossed your path. But regarding taste, texture, nutrition, and sustainability, which tips the scales? In this post, we'll be your navigators on this deep-sea dive into Cod and Pollock. Let's get started, shall we?

Cod vs Pollock

What is Cod?

Cod is a type of saltwater fish that is popular in many types of cuisine worldwide. It's known for its mild flavor, low-fat content, and dense, flaky white flesh. Cod is often the fish of choice for fish and chips due to its large, flaky chunks and ability to hold up well when fried.

There are two common types of cod: Atlantic cod, which is found in colder waters such as the North Atlantic, and Pacific cod, found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific Ocean. Cod is a great source of lean protein and is rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Regarding sustainability, cod fishing practices have been a concern due to overfishing. However, efforts have been made to manage and conserve cod populations, with some success. When purchasing cod, choosing cod from a sustainable source is recommended.

Health benefits of eating Cod?

Cod is not just a delicious fish; it's also packed with numerous health benefits, making it a great addition to a balanced diet. Here are some of the key health advantages of consuming cod:

  • High in Protein: Cod is an excellent source of high-quality protein, essential for maintaining muscle mass and promoting growth and repair in the body.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Cod contains essential nutrients like vitamin B12, iodine, and selenium. Vitamin B12 is crucial for nerve function and DNA and red blood cell production. Iodine supports thyroid health, while selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant.
  • Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: While not as high as fatty fish like salmon, cod still provides a decent amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These fats reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Low in Fat and Calories: Cod is a lean fish that's low in fat and calories, making it a great choice for those watching their weight or following a low-calorie diet.
  • May Support Heart Health: Thanks to its omega-3 content and low levels of saturated fat, eating cod may help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
  • Good for Brain Health: The nutrients found in cod, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, can support brain health and potentially slow cognitive decline.

what is pollock

What is Pollock?

Pollock is a saltwater fish found in the northern parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It's a member of the cod family, which is why it's often compared to its more famous cousin. There are two main species of pollock: Atlantic Pollock and Alaska (or Pacific) Pollock.

Alaska Pollock is the most commonly consumed of the two, especially in the United States. It's frequently used in commercial food products like fish sticks, imitation crab meat (also known as surimi), and fast food fish sandwiches due to its mild flavor, lower cost, and firm, white flesh that holds up well to different cooking methods.

Pollock is not only versatile and tasty, but it's also a good source of lean protein, vitamin B12, phosphorous, and omega-3 fatty acids. Like cod, it's a low-fat, low-calorie fish, making it a healthy choice for those watching their weight or following a balanced diet.

As for sustainability, Alaska Pollock is considered one of the best-managed and most sustainable fisheries in the world, thanks to strict regulations and careful management practices. However, choosing pollock from a certified sustainable source is always recommended to ensure you're supporting responsible fishing practices.

Health benefits of eating Pollock?

Pollock is not only a versatile and tasty fish, but it's also packed with several health benefits that make it a nutritious addition to your diet. Here are some of the main health advantages of consuming pollock:

  • Excellent Source of Protein: Pollock is rich in high-quality protein, which is important for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Pollock provides many essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. Vitamin B12 is crucial for brain function and the formation of red blood cells, while phosphorus plays a key role in bone health.
  • Heart-Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Pollock contains omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health by reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of heart disease.
  • Low in Fat and Calories: Pollock is a lean fish, meaning it's low in fat and calories. This makes it an excellent choice for those on a weight-loss diet or anyone looking to maintain a healthy weight.
  • May Support Brain Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in pollock can help promote brain health and may even slow cognitive decline.
  • Good for Bone Health: Pollock is a good source of phosphorus, one of the key minerals needed for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

pollock vs cod taste

Cod and Pollock as food

Regarding the dinner table, cod and pollock are versatile fish that can be prepared in many ways. Whether you prefer grilling, baking, frying, or steaming, these two types of fish can adapt to your favorite cooking method while delivering a delicious taste.

Cod is known for its mild, slightly sweet flavor and dense, flaky texture. It's a popular choice for fish and chips but also excellent in chowders, casseroles, and baked dishes. Cod pairs well with various seasonings and sauces, making it a flexible ingredient for various cuisines. It's high in protein, low in fat, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12 and iodine.

On the other hand, Pollock has a more delicate flavor and lighter texture than cod. It's often used in processed form for products like fish sticks, surimi (imitation crab meat), and fast food fish sandwiches. However, fresh pollock is similar to cod-baked, grilled, or fried. Nutritionally, pollock is comparable to cod, offering a good dose of protein, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

In terms of sustainability, both fish have their pros and cons. Cod stocks have been overfished in the past, particularly Atlantic cod. However, efforts have been made to manage and restore these populations. As for pollock, especially Alaska Pollock, it's generally considered one of the most sustainably managed fisheries in the world.

When choosing between cod and pollock, consider factors like flavor preference, intended recipe, nutritional needs, and environmental impact. Both offer many benefits and can be a healthy part of a balanced diet.

Why is Pollock so cheap?

Pollock is so cheap because it is plentiful and easy to catch. It's not as popular as other fish, so there's less demand for it, keeping the price low. Plus, it's often used in affordable foods like fish sticks and imitation crab. Other factor that contribute to Pollock being so cheap are:

  • Abundance and Sustainability: Pollock is one of the world's most abundant fish species. Particularly in Alaska, it's managed tightly to ensure its population remains sustainable. This abundance and careful management mean there's a steady supply of pollock, contributing to its lower cost.
  • Feeding Habits: Pollock feeds mainly on planktonic crustaceans, and as it grows, it begins to feed on larger prey like small fish and squid. This diet doesn't require significant energy or resources, making pollock a relatively inexpensive fish to nurture in the wild.
  • Processing and Usage: Pollock is frequently used in processed form for products like fish sticks, fast food fish sandwiches, and imitation crab meat (surimi). The high demand for these products ensures a consistent market for pollock, allowing fisheries to maintain lower prices.
  • Lower Fat Content: Compared to other fish like Pacific cod, pollock has a lower fat content, leading to a softer texture. While this makes it less appealing to some consumers, it also contributes to its more affordable price.

However, despite its lower cost, pollock doesn't skimp on nutritional benefits. It's a good source of lean protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids.


How do you tell the difference between Cod and Pollock?

While cod and pollock are both white fish that can be used interchangeably in many recipes, some distinctive characteristics can help you tell the difference between the two:

  • Appearance: Raw cod typically has a more opaque, whitish color than pollock, which tends to be more translucent and grayish. Cod also has a thicker, firmer texture, while pollock is softer and more delicate. In terms of shape, cod fillets are usually thicker and have a classic "fish" shape. In contrast, pollock fillets are thinner and more elongated.
  • Taste and Texture: Cod has a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a dense, flaky texture. On the other hand, pollock has a more delicate flavor and a lighter, more tender texture.
  • Fish Skin: You can identify the fish by color if the skin is still on. Cod generally has a mottled, brownish skin, while pollock's skin is darker, almost black, with a silver or white belly.
  • Lateral Line: The lateral line (a sensory organ along the side of the body) is another distinguishing feature. This line is pale or white in cod and curves noticeably above the pectoral fins. In pollock, the lateral line is straight and less prominent.
  • Location and Sustainability: Cod is found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, overfishing makes Atlantic cod populations less robust than once. Pollock, especially Alaskan pollock, is considered one of the most sustainably managed fisheries in the world.

Pollock vs. Cod habitat

Cod and Pollock are found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans but inhabit different areas and depths.

  • Atlantic Cod: This species is native to the colder parts of the North Atlantic. They inhabit various types of bottom habitats, from sandy flats to rocky outcrops, and their depth range varies widely, typically between 20 and 200 meters. Still, some have been found as deep as 600 meters.
  • Pacific Cod: In the North Pacific Ocean, Pacific cod are more abundant in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. They tend to inhabit the continental shelf and upper slope, with a 0 to 900-meter depth range. Still, they are most commonly found between 100 and 300 meters.
  • Atlantic Pollock: This species is found in the North Atlantic, from North Carolina to Greenland, and from the Barents Sea to the Bay of Biscay. They usually inhabit the water column rather than the seafloor and are typically found at depths of 30 to 180 meters.
  • Alaska Pollock: Also known as Walleye Pollock, this species is found throughout the North Pacific, with the largest populations in the eastern Bering Sea. They inhabit both the water column and the seafloor and are typically found at depths of 30 to 500 meters.

Which is better, Cod or Pollock?

Choosing between cod and pollock depends on your taste preferences, dietary needs, and sustainability considerations. Cod offers a mild, slightly sweet flavor and firm texture. At the same time, pollock has a savory, delicate taste and a softer texture. Both are excellent protein sources. Cod is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and Alaska pollock is abundant in B vitamins and selenium. In terms of sustainability, Alaska pollock is often cited as a more sustainable choice. Ultimately, the decision may hinge on personal taste and commitment to sustainable seafood.