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Haddock vs. Halibut — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 1, 2023
Haddock is a smaller, lean whitefish with a distinctive dark lateral line, while halibut is a large, flat-bodied fish with mild, firm flesh.
Haddock vs. Halibut — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Haddock and Halibut


Key Differences

Haddock is a North Atlantic fish known for its light flavor and slightly drier texture compared to other whitefish. Halibut, the largest flatfish, is found in both the North Pacific and the North Atlantic and is prized for its firm texture and mild taste.
The haddock is easily identified by its black lateral line and a distinctive dark spot above the pectoral fin. Halibut, on the other hand, is often recognized by its sheer size, diamond shape, and the fact that one side is typically white while the other is dark.
In culinary contexts, haddock is popularly used in British fish and chips due to its flaky texture. Halibut, being thicker and firmer, is versatile in cooking, suitable for grilling, baking, or pan-frying without falling apart.
Economically, haddock is generally more accessible and less expensive than halibut, which can be one of the most expensive seafood options due to its size and the demand for its high-quality meat.
Regarding nutrition, both haddock and halibut are excellent sources of protein and low in saturated fat, but halibut tends to have a higher content of healthy omega-3 fatty acids due to its larger fat reserves.

Comparison Chart


Generally smaller fish
One of the largest flatfish species

Body Shape

Elongated with a dark lateral line
Flat, diamond-shaped body


Light flavor, slightly drier texture
Mild flavor, firm flesh

Common Uses

Fish and chips, smoking
Grilling, baking, pan-frying


More affordable
Typically more expensive

Compare with Definitions


A North Atlantic whitefish with a sweet taste.
The chef prepared smoked haddock for dinner.


Inhabits cold waters of the Pacific and Atlantic.
Sustainable halibut fishing is essential for ecosystem balance.


Recognizable by a dark spot on its side.
Fresh haddock was on sale at the fish market.


Popular for its mild flavor and versatility.
Halibut is a favorite for my grilling recipes.


Smaller and less fatty than similar fish.
I prefer the lightness of haddock in seafood soups.


Contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
For a heart-healthy diet, try including halibut.


Common in colder northern waters.
Haddock is a staple in New England seafood dishes.


A large flatfish known for its firm meat.
He caught a huge halibut on his fishing trip.


Often used in traditional British cuisine.
Fish and chips usually feature battered haddock.


Halibut is the common name for three flatfish in the genera Hippoglossus and Reinhardtius from the family of right-eye flounders and, in some regions, and less commonly, other species of large flatfish. The word is derived from haly (holy) and butte (flat fish), for its popularity on Catholic holy days.


The haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is a saltwater ray-finned fish from the family Gadidae, the true cods. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Melanogrammus.


Any of several large edible flatfishes of the genus Hippoglossus and related genera, of northern Atlantic or Pacific waters.


A silvery-grey bottom-dwelling fish of North Atlantic coastal waters, related to the cod. It is popular as a food fish and is of great commercial value.


A large flatfish of the genus Hippoglossus, which sometimes leaves the ocean floor and swims vertically.


A food fish (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) of northern Atlantic waters, closely related to and resembling the cod, but having a dark spot above each pectoral fin.


A large, northern, marine flatfish (Hippoglossus vulgaris), of the family Pleuronectidæ. It often grows very large, weighing more than three hundred pounds. It is an important food fish.


A marine fish, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, of the North Atlantic, important as a food fish.


Lean flesh of very large flatfish of Atlantic or Pacific


A marine food fish (Melanogrammus æglefinus), allied to the cod, inhabiting the northern coasts of Europe and America. It has a dark lateral line and a black spot on each side of the body, just back of the gills. Galled also haddie, and dickie.


Marine food fish of the northern Atlantic or northern Pacific; the largest flatfish and one of the largest teleost fishes


Lean white flesh of fish similar to but smaller than cod; usually baked or poached or as fillets sauteed or fried


Often served in steaks due to its size.
The restaurant’s special was halibut steak with a lemon butter sauce.


Important food fish on both sides of the Atlantic; related to cod but usually smaller

Common Curiosities

Can you substitute haddock for halibut in recipes?

Yes, but expect a difference in texture and possibly cooking time due to thickness differences.

What distinguishes haddock from other whitefish?

Haddock has a light flavor and is known for a dark lateral line and spot on its side.

Which fish is better for frying, haddock or halibut?

Haddock is traditionally preferred for frying, especially in dishes like fish and chips.

Is there a taste difference between haddock and halibut?

Yes, haddock has a sweeter, more pronounced flavor, while halibut is milder.

What's a good cooking method for halibut?

Grilling or baking are great methods due to its firmness.

What's the best way to cook haddock?

It's often smoked, broiled, or used in fish and chips.

Can haddock be used in soups and stews?

Yes, its flaky texture works well in soups and stews.

Why is halibut more expensive than haddock?

Halibut is larger, has firmer meat, and is often in higher demand, driving up its price.

Where is halibut commonly found?

In the cold waters of the North Pacific and North Atlantic.

Are haddock and halibut both healthy?

Yes, they are both low in fat and high in protein.

How can you recognize a haddock?

Look for the distinctive dark lateral line and a dark spot on the side.

How do you identify a halibut?

By its large, flat, and diamond-shaped body.

Why might someone choose haddock over halibut?

It could be due to preference for flavor, texture, or price.

What's a simple way to prepare haddock?

Baking with lemon and herbs accentuates its sweet flavor.

Which fish is larger, haddock or halibut?

Halibut is significantly larger than haddock.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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