Does Cod Have Scales? The Truth About This Popular Fish

Cod is one of the most popular fish species that is widely consumed worldwide. Whether it’s in fish and chips, fish tacos, or fish stews, cod is a beloved fish that has a delicate and mild flavor, making it a great option for those who are not big fish lovers. However, there is one question that many people wonder about – does cod have scales?

What are scales?

Scales are a type of skin that covers the body of most fish species. These scales can vary in shape and size depending on the fish species, but they typically serve the same purpose of providing protection from predators and environmental factors while also helping to regulate the fish’s body temperature and maintain buoyancy.

Does cod have scales?

Yes, cod does have scales. However, these scales are small and thin, making them difficult to see or feel. The scales are also cycloid, which means they are smooth and round, providing less protection compared to other types of scales such as ctenoid scales, which have spines on the edges.

Why are cod scales less visible?

One reason why cod scales are less visible is that they are covered by a thick layer of mucus, which helps to reduce friction and drag as the fish swims through water. Additionally, the scales are small and thin, making them less noticeable compared to fish with larger, thicker scales such as trout or salmon.

What are the benefits of eating cod?

Cod is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a healthy food option. Some of the benefits of eating cod include:

  • High in protein: Cod is a great source of protein, with a 100-gram serving containing up to 20 grams of protein.
  • Low in calories and fat: Cod is a low-fat fish, making it a great option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Cod contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving brain function.
  • Good source of vitamins and minerals: Cod is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and phosphorus.

What are some popular dishes made with cod?

Cod is a versatile fish that can be prepared in various ways, making it a popular ingredient in many dishes worldwide. Some popular dishes made with cod include:

  • Fish and chips: A classic British dish made with battered and fried cod served with potato chips.
  • Bacalao: A traditional Spanish dish made with salted and dried cod, typically served with potatoes and onions.
  • Cod fish tacos: A popular Mexican dish made with grilled or fried cod served in a tortilla with vegetables and sauces.
  • Cod stew: A hearty and flavorful stew made with cod, potatoes, and various vegetables.

Can you eat cod skin?

Yes, you can eat cod skin, and it is packed with nutrients such as collagen and omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is important to make sure that the skin is thoroughly cleaned and cooked to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.


Although cod scales are small and thin, they do exist and are covered by a layer of mucus. Cod is a healthy and versatile fish that can be prepared in various ways and is enjoyed by many worldwide.

Common questions and answers about cod scales

  • Q: Do all fish have scales?
    • A: No, not all fish have scales. Some fish species such as catfish and eels do not have scales.
  • Q: Can you eat the scales on fish?
    • A: In most cases, it is not recommended to eat fish scales as they are tough and difficult to digest. However, some cultures may consume fish scales as a delicacy.
  • Q: How do you remove scales from cod?
    • A: To remove scales from cod, lay the fish on a cutting board and use a scaler or the back of a knife to scrape the scales from the tail to the head.


1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2021). Atlantic Cod Species Profile. Retrieved from

2. Healthline. (2021). Cod Fish: Types, Nutrition, Benefits, and Side Effects. Retrieved from

3. The Spruce Eats. (2021). 10 Best Cod Recipes. Retrieved from

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