Halibut Vs Salmon: Key Differences

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Halibut vs Salmon



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Finding the best fish in terms of taste, size, and health benefits can be challenging. This post will compare and review halibut and salmon in terms of taste, size, color, texture, and nutritional facts and determine which is best for your recipe.

Hopefully, this serves as a map when choosing between halibut vs salmon. But in a nutshell, what are the differences between halibut and salmon?

Halibut is lean with a mild, sweet taste. It is flaky and firm, with a tender texture, while salmon has a firm texture and tastes smoky, salty, sweet, and buttery. Halibut is also larger and more expensive than salmon.

Let’s quickly look at the two fishes in detail!

What Is Halibut?

Halibut is a large, flaky, white fish native to the northern Pacific ocean. It has a mild flavor and can be prepared in many different ways.

Halibut is often used to substitute for swordfish in sushi dishes, stews, or casseroles. The halibut is a bottom-feeding fish that feeds on crustaceans and other bottom-dwelling organisms.

Because of this diet, halibut is known to contain high levels of mercury and should not be eaten frequently by children or women who are pregnant or nursing.

But on the bright side, it is super nutritious, which makes sense given its history of being proclaimed as holy food. It’s packed with omega-3s, suitable for your heart and brain, with vitamins A and B12.

See Also: How Long To Bake Halibut In The Oven (At 400, 325, 350, 375)

What Is Salmon?

Salmon is a kind of fish that has many nutritional benefits to offer. It is high in protein and tastes great as well. In addition to its nutritional value, salmon is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids suitable for the heart.

The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of salmon per week for optimal heart health!

Furthermore, salmon comes from the ocean and has a reddish-orange color. It can be grilled or baked, but it’s best eaten raw with just salt and pepper. This fish has a mild flavor, so it goes well with many different foods: salads, pasta dishes, and even pizza!

The most common types of salmon are Atlantic (wild) and Pacific (farmed), both of which have similar nutritional properties.

Salmon can be prepared in numerous ways:

Baked whole on top of vegetables like onions and carrots; sautéed with butter or oil over medium heat until cooked through; smoked over wood chips at low temperature for several hours before serving.

Sadly, farmed salmon has been shown to contain high levels of toxic chemicals in its flesh.

See Also: What Herbs Go With Salmon Fillets? (8 Salmon-Friendly Herbs)

Halibut Vs Salmon: Major Differences

The table below shows the key differences between salmon and halibut:

ColorThey can be dark brown, dirty yellow, white, or even have a blue or green tint.The fish is pink, orange, or red
Taste And TextureHalibut is lean with a mild, sweet taste. As it is flaky and firm, with a tender textureA firm texture and tastes smoky, salty, sweet, and buttery
Mercury LevelsHalibut has a mid-range mercury levelsSalmons are relatively low in mercury content
Nutritional ValueNutritious but not like salmonMore nutritious and beneficiary
PriceHalibut is pricey. The average cost is $25.99 per poundSalmon is far less expensive than halibut, and The average salmon costs about $12.49 per pound
SizeHalibut is larger and flatNot that big

Most species of halibut have eyes on either side of their head, which gives them an advantage when it comes to seeing predators in nearly 360 degrees. In fact, these fishes are so well-equipped to spot danger that they can see almost as well behind them as they can in front!

Now, you might be thinking that this makes both fish equally adept at escaping predators. However, the two types of fish have one significant difference that distinguishes them regarding survival: the placement of their eyes.

For example, salmon (usually) keep their right eye on the right side of their head and their left eye on the left side — just like we do. On the other hand, halibut keeps both eyes on one side of their face.

While you might think this makes halibut better equipped to look for danger than salmon are, that’s not precisely true: both species of fish can spot predators from all angles thanks to having eyes all around their heads.

This difference means that halibut are better equipped to stay still and blend in with the ocean floor environment than salmon. Additionally, halibut is available year-round, but salmon is available only in the spring and summer months.

And when it comes to uses, halibut also captures the upper hand since they are mild taste; they have more flexibility in flavor combinations. On the other hand, salmon has a strong taste that many people love, but some people find it overpowering.

It goes well with citrus-based sauces like lemon or lime juice and pairs nicely with rice or stir-fry vegetables. If you enjoy bolder flavors in your food, you probably prefer salmon over halibut.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Fish Is Highest In Mercury?

Fishes with a higher mercury content are:

  • Shark
  • Ray
  • Swordfish
  • Gemfish
  • Orange roughy
  • Ling
  • Southern bluefin tuna
  • Barramundi

Do Big Halibut Taste Good?

Both big and small halibut taste good. However, the best-tasting halibut are between 10 and 20 inches long and weigh 10 to 20 pounds. Although, the bigger ones are better for cooking. On the other hand, small halibut are best in ceviche or with some sweet fruit like pineapple.

Bigger halibut are great for grilling, searing, or even roasting whole. So go ahead and try it! Whether you get a big one or a small one, you can’t go wrong.

How Old Can A Halibut Be?

By record, the oldest halibut up to date is a female halibut of 42 years caught off the coast of Alaska, Petersberg, weighing about 495 pounds. However, the oldest male is only 27 years.

Why Is Basa Fish Banned?

Basa fish is banned in several countries because it is not healthy. Basa fish is high in mercury levels, and the practices used to farm the fish can be harmful to the environment. Some of these farming practices include pesticides, antibiotics, and even arsenic.

In addition, studies have shown that basa fish can contain traces of human medicines and even banned drugs. This is due to runoff from pharmaceutical plants in Vietnam, where most basa fish are farmed.

What Is The Ugliest Fish In The World?

Blobfish! The Blobfish is so ugly that most researchers and psychologists consider it a cute case. They are not only hideous, but they are also fussy eaters. It isn’t easy to find a picture of a Blobfish that doesn’t look photoshopped, but I assure you that they are real and not flattering.


When deciding between salmon or halibut, there’s nothing like having the facts at your disposal, precisely what we did above. Both fish are very similar in many ways.

The nutritional value and cooking process allow one to stand out over the other. Many believe that salmon’s taste is better than halibut, but this depends on how you like your fish cooked.


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