Home Ingredients Fish What Does Haddock Taste Like? A Complete Guide

What Does Haddock Taste Like? A Complete Guide

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Haddock covered in sauce

Haddock is a saltwater fish and is a member of the cod family. It has a characteristic black thumbprint on each side of its body and reaches between one to three feet at maturity. Although the haddock is very popular in the United Kingdom, it is also eaten in other parts of the world, including the United States. In Boston, MA a popular menu item is scrod, a young, fresh haddock.

As haddock pops up on more restaurant menus and in markets around the world, you may be wondering what do haddock taste like? Are they worth your money? Let’s dive in and find out.

What Does Haddock Taste Like?

Haddock is a mild, slightly sweet tasting fish without an overpowering fishy flavor. Its white flesh is lean, with low levels of oiliness, and fine flakes that are firm and tender once cooked. It is an excellent fish for kids and those that don’t like to eat strong tasting, fishy seafood like anchovies or mackerel.

Haddock taste

Compared to cod, haddock has a slightly stronger flavor profile, although they are quite similar. Few could tell these fish apart once battered, cooked, and served on a plate. The two fish tend to get used interchangeably when used for fish and chips in the U.K.

However, a cod fillet will usually be firmer and thicker than a haddock. The haddock’s flake is more delicate than cod, and its meat tends to have a drier appearance. In the kitchen, a good rule of thumb is to fry haddock as they cook quickly. Cod can be seared, grilled, or fried; thanks to its thickness, it won’t overcook as easily.

Summary of haddock flavor

FeatureDescription
FlavorMild
TextureDelicate
FishinessLow
OilinessLow
Color (cooked)White

Best flavors to pair with haddock

Like many other types of seafood, cooking with minimal seasoning is a good option. Subtle additions of flavor should lift the dish, not overwhelm it. Of course, rules are meant to be broken, so if you want to add a strong hit of paprika or chili, who are we to judge.

  • paprika
  • garlic
  • creole seasoning
  • parsley
  • basil
  • onion
  • lemon
  • dill

Recommended side dishes

Whether you’re eating out, or cooking in the kitchen at home, haddock has certain side dishes that it pairs with perfectly. Here are a few recommended options:

Pier and Cleethorpes, United Kingdom
The Pier is famous for its fish and chips.

How to cook haddock

A delicious way to cook fresh haddock is to beer batter them and serve with chips. The combination of beer and all-purpose flour makes a thick, creamy batter. The secret to making tasty batter is to whisk the ingredients thoroughly until all the lumps are gone. Once everything is well combined, allow it to sit on the bench for ten minutes until the bubbles are gone.

Battered haddock and chips
Battered haddock and chips should always be accompanied with tartare sauce.

Whether you decide to shallow or deep fry comes down to your personal preference. Shallow frying will conserve your oil supplies as you’ll only add around half to one inch of oil to the pan. If you choose to shallow fry, remember to turn the fish halfway through cooking.

Prep Time: 15 Cook Time: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups beer (IPA works well)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 4 haddock fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon, to serve

Method

  1. Add beer to a large bowl, then pour one cup of flour, whisking until smooth. Add the remaining flour, chipotle powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk until smooth, then allow to sit for ten minutes.
  2. Add enough vegetable oil to fill a skillet ½ to 1″ high — heat on medium-high temperature for 5 minutes or until hot.
  3. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel then season with salt, pepper. Dredge the fish in batter until completely coated then carefully add fillets to the oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the cooked fish onto a plate lined with paper towels. Sit for five minutes before serving with lemon wedges and a side of chips.
Fresh fish fillets
Select fresh haddock by visiting your local fishmonger.

Recommended Cooking Methods

Smoking, sauteing, frying, grilled, broiling, baking, and steaming are all suitable methods for cooking haddock.

Alternative names for haddock

Depending on its size, haddock has a range of names:

WeightName
Under 1 1/2 poundsSnapper haddock
1 1/2 to 2 poundsScrod
Over 2 poundsLarge

Frequently asked questions

Is haddock very fishy tasting?

Haddock is a white fish that is mild in taste compared to “fishy tasting” fish such as mackerel or anchovies. When compared to cod, it has a slightly stronger flavor.

Is haddock expensive?

Haddock is considered a relatively cheap fish compared to other popular types of fish like swordfish, tuna steaks, or salmon. However, as stocks continue to diminish, scarcity will drive prices upwards.

Further reading:
What does red snapper taste like?
What does flounder taste like?
What does catfish taste like?
What does grouper taste like?

Final words

Are you considering trying haddock for the first time? If you are, then rest assured this seafood is mild, and you’re likely to enjoy it. What I enjoy about haddock is that it isn’t too oily. If you’re trying to eat a low-fat diet, then this is an excellent light option.

People often compare haddock to cod. They share a similar flavor profile, both being from the cod family. However, haddock has a more defined fishy taste with a finer, drier flake.

Haddock’s popularity as an ingredient in fish in chips has placed a significant strain on the fish stocks in the North Atlantic ocean. If you’d prefer to choose a fish that has more sustainable numbers, then you may prefer eating barramundi, salmon, or sardines.  

Have you tried eating haddock? Did you enjoy its taste? Let us know in the comments below.