What Does Cod Taste Like? Three Top Chefs Weigh In!

When you hear the word cod, you probably think of cold, lean fish. But that’s not all cod is… Cod is famous for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other fish. It’s also a good source of vitamins B1 and B9, as well as minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

It’s commonly known as the “king of fish,” and it’s probably the easiest fish to cook. Get it right, and cod will taste like butter. Get it wrong, and it’s just fish. We asked our expert panel of three top chefs to explain the taste of cod and share tips on what cod goes well with. Their tips covered a lot of ground, so check out our ultimate cod taste guide.

What Is Cod?

Cod is found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. It lives in deep waters but can be caught at depths as shallow as 60 feet. The most important cod fisheries are located off the coasts of Iceland, Norway, Canada, and the United States.

The fish has two main types: Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus). The Atlantic cod is smaller than its Pacific cousin but has oily flesh that makes it ideal for salting and drying. Cod can be cooked simply by pan-frying it or baking it with butter or oil. It can also be smoked or pickled to preserve it longer.

The fish is usually sold as fillets or steaks with the skin on one side. Cod flesh is white and flaky, with a mildly sweet taste. Cod has less fat than most other types of fish—just 0.3 grams per serving—but it’s also one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In the United States, cod is a popular ingredient in New England-style chowders and fish cakes. In Iceland, it’s often served with potatoes and melted butter. In Norway, it’s sliced thin, cooked, and served with eggs for breakfast or dinner.

Cod isn’t just for cooking! You can use its gelatinous skin to make vitamin A-rich cod liver oil or make a nutritious face mask for your skin. Its bones make good fertilizer for your garden if you bury them in the ground when you get home from the store.

Why is cod fish so popular? Cod is so popular because it’s a great-tasting fish that is easy and quick to prepare. It’s mild and has a rich, buttery flavor and a nice flaky texture. Cod is versatile and goes well with many vegetables, sauces, and garnishes (rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, etc.)

Now that you know what cod fish is and why it is so popular let’s discover what it tastes like!

Cod Flavor Profile

What does cod taste like? Atlantic cod has a delicate, creamy, milky taste with a slightly fishy and nutty aftertaste, while Pacific cod is slightly firmer, chewier, and more savory. Cod does not have much fat, so it tends to be dry when not cooked in sauce. Combine cod with creamy ingredients to make it sweet and buttery.

Is cod fish strong tasting? The taste of cod is described as mildly sweet and has a mild, almost flaky white flesh, similar to salmon. However, cod can vary in taste depending on where it’s caught. Some types of cod have a much richer flavor than others. For example, the Atlantic Cod or European Cod is considered one of the best tasting varieties because it’s not as oily as other kinds of fish. The Pacific Cod has a more delicate flavor and is the next best tasting type of cod.

See also: What Does Flounder Taste Like? Is It Sweet or Fishy?

Does cod taste sweet? Yes, cod is indeed sweet due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. It has a mild flavor that complements other flavors well.

If you’ve never had cod before, you might be surprised at how mild tasting it is. In fact, the taste of cod is often compared to that of salmon because both fish have a similar texture. Cod is also very low in mercury compared to other types of fish. In addition, it’s a sustainable fish that’s harvested very carefully by fishermen, so there’s not much bycatch (fish that die when they’re thrown back into the sea).

Why Is Cod So Tasteless?

While cod has a mild, slightly sweet, and creamy flavor with a fishy aftertaste, it is not tasteless. If your cod is tasteless and chewy, it is overcooked. Cod contains less fat than other fish, say salmon or tuna, so it needs to be cooked with flavorful ingredients and sauces. Try cooking cod with parsley, green beans, and tomatoes to make it juicy and tasty!

Cod Texture – Is Cod Chewy or Flaky?

Cod texture is firm and flaky with high moisture content. It does not contain much fat, so it tends to be dry and chewy if not cooked in sauce. Cod also has a nice flaky texture. Properly cooked cod is flaky but not chewy, it should melt in your mouth.

Cooking With Cod – What Does Cod Go Well With?

Cod can be eaten cold in salads or sashimi or grilled as a whole fish; it’s also used to make soups (e.g., bouillabaisse), stews, casseroles, and stir-fries. It can also be made into fish balls, fish sticks, and fish fingers. Cod can also be used to make pâté and pastas such as fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti Bolognese, macaroni cheese, etc.

What is the best way to cook a piece of cod? The best way to cook cod is by baking or frying it. Cod fillets are large enough that you can easily bake them whole in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius) until they flake easily when tested with a fork. 

If you don’t want to mess up your oven, try frying your cod fillets in a skillet instead. You’ll get that delicious crispy texture on the outside of the fish without having to turn on your oven.

While cod is easy to prepare, there are some things you should know before frying up your next batch. The first thing is that cod doesn’t have much flavor on its own, so you’ll need to add some extra spices or ingredients to bring out its flavor for cooking (cod goes well with parsley, oregano, thyme, and curry powder). Most chefs recommend adding lemon juice or tomatoes as part of the cooking method. You can also pan fry it with butter, grill it with olive oil or boil it in water with lemons.

See also: Is Shrimp A Fish, Shellfish or Meat? What Are Shrimp Classified As?

One of the best ways to cook cod is to braise it in a little bit of butter and herbs and serve it with buttered toast. This cod with herbs recipe makes enough for two people, or you can freeze the rest for later. It’s delicious with a side of grilled vegetables.


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek, white part only
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed (or dried sage)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (such as pinot grigio)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 pound cod fillets, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and leeks, and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add wine and herbs; cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the cod, celery, and parsley; simmer until the fish is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork, about 8 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon cod mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish; drizzle with butter.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

How do you make cod not taste like fish? To make cod not taste like fish, cook it in a pan with butter, oil, and seasonings such as garlic, onions, and herbs. You can also serve cod with vegetables such as potatoes and carrots to get an extra sweet flavor.

Flavors That Go With Cod

Cod is a mild-tasting fish, so it goes well with many foods – vegetables, other fish, sauces, herbs, and spices. Cod also goes well with rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, and mashed potatoes. It is best to pair cod with vegetables to make cod juicier and more flavorful.

What veg goes well with cod? Here is a list of vegetables that go well with cod:

  • Tomatoes 
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Arugula
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers

What goes good with cod for dinner? Cod is a fish that’s best served with lemon juice, olive oil, and chives. You can also serve cod for dinner with mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, a side salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta, or serve cod with boiled potatoes and fresh tomatoes.

Cod Health Benefits

Is cod fish good for you? Cod is very good for you as it contains Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium that keep you full for longer and prevent diabetes, obesity, liver, and cardiovascular diseases. Cod fish also stabilizes cholesterol levels and can be used as a meat substitute due to its high protein content.  

Cod was an important source of food for early men, including the Vikings and the Vikings’ descendants, the Icelandic people. The Vikings were well known for their cod fishing expeditions.

See also: What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like? And How To Use It!

Cod is ideal for those trying to lose weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. Cod does not have much fat, so it is easy to digest. Cod also prevents diabetes, obesity, and liver diseases. Cod contains all the amino acids necessary for the body, and the amount of protein is not inferior to meat products. However, since cod is not very high in iron, you should mix it with meat or other iron-dense foods if you have anemia.

Since cod contains fatty acids, it can prevent cardiovascular, neurological, oncological diseases, and joint pain. It has been proven that regular cod consumption reduces bad cholesterol and relieves hypertension.

You can get a number of benefits from eating cod fish, such as:

  • Cod is a good source of protein.
  • Cod is good for your heart.  Cod is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease. These fatty acids are also known to reduce inflammation in your body and improve blood flow, which helps to keep your arteries healthy.
  • Cod is high in vitamin B1 and B9, which support your nervous system and brain function.
  • Cod is a good source of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Cod contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin that protects against cancer-causing free radicals.


You might be wondering why people love cod so much! Well, the reason behind it is its taste. Cod is also known for being very sweet and mild in flavor, making it a great choice for people trying to eat more fish. It also has a nice texture, making it easy to eat with your hands.

Cod is a versatile fish that’s easy to cook and can be prepared in many different ways. It can be grilled, baked, fried, or used in stews and casseroles. Next time you bite into a piece of cod, you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s actually quite soft. That’s because cod is very high in protein, but it also has a lot of gelatin, which makes the fish more tender than other types of fish that don’t have as much.

We strongly recommend adding cod to your diet to enjoy its mild, sweet flavor and numerous health benefits.

See also: 40+ Blue Foods – Ultimate Blue Foods, Drinks, Snacks List

Cod Taste FAQ

What does fresh cod taste like?

Cod is a very mild, sweet, and slightly dry fish. When cooked in sauce, it’s rich and buttery, with a slightly sweet taste. It has a firm texture, with an almost flaky quality to it, although it can be quite soft if overcooked. Cod also has a slightly fishy aftertaste, reminiscent of the ocean.

Does cod have a strong taste?

Cod does not have a strong taste. Cod is mild, and it’s also not very oily. It’s a little on the firm and flaky side and has a more delicate fishy flavor than other types of fish. Cod is like a clean sheet of paper – it absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it’s been cooked with, so it can be garlicky, savory, salty, buttery, whatever you want it to be.

Is cod expensive? How much does cod cost?

Cod is not an expensive fish. In the USA, one pound of cod fillet costs $11.99, which is slightly cheaper than salmon ($13.99). The price of cod can change depending on the availability (declining or increasing stocks) and demand.

What are cod’s health benefits?

Cod is a good source of vitamin B1, which is important for maintaining good vision, proper nervous system function, and normal blood sugar levels. It also contains a number of other vitamins and minerals, including B9 (folic acid), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and phosphorus.

What to serve with pan-fried cod?

Serve pan-fried cod with mashed or roasted potatoes, broccoli, or cauliflower. You can also serve pan-fried cod with some lemon wedges and a side salad (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives).

Does cod taste like tilapia?

Cod flavor is similar to tilapia as they both are sweet and creamy, with a slightly fishy aftertaste. However, cod is slightly firmer than tilapia, but the two fish can be used interchangeably.

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