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The 12 Best Similar Substitutes for Orange Roughy

When cooking up rarer fish, many chefs may be excited to try out a dish that includes the orange roughy fish on the ingredient list. However, since the orange roughy population has been threatened by overfishing over the last few decades, it has been relatively hard to find and can be expensive. So, what can you use instead of orange roughy?

After doing extensive research, here are the best things to use as a substitute for the orange roughy to make some delicious meals.

Several people buying fish at an indoor market

1. Haddock

Orange roughy are known for being firm, mild-flavored fish when cooked and eaten, which is why, when looking for a substitute for this fish, you should look for a firm, mild-flavored fish. Haddock is such a fish, and it is described as tasting really close to orange roughy.

2. Cod

When replacing orange roughy, choose a fish with moist, flaky meat that holds up well while being prepared and cooked. Cod is pleasing since it is one of the very best white fish, has a milky taste, is often used in various recipes, including fish and chips, and sports a dense, flaky texture.

It is also low in calories while being a terrific source of selenium, vitamin B12, and healthy protein. There really aren’t many downsides when it comes to using cod as a substitute for orange roughy.

3. Halibut

Halibut has a very similar texture and meat thickness to the average orange roughy fish, with a highly sought-after, meaty, sweet taste to it. This fish is such a great choice to go with since it is almost always available to buy year-round, but bear in mind that it usually tastes the best when bought between March and September.

People might pick this fish, even if it isn’t as similar to orange roughy as others, since it is healthier in some ways than other options on this list. For instance, halibut has twice the potassium and far more vitamin D than tilapia, and halibut has higher amounts of vitamin A, E, D, B2, and B6 than cod.

Some fish may be higher in other vitamins and nutrients, but halibut is a very healthy choice. It also has a mild taste, is low in mercury, and isn’t overpoweringly fishy in flavor.

Cooked Orange Roughy on a Plate

4. Flounder

White fish can either be categorized into the round or the flat family, and flounder belongs in the white flat fish family, like halibut, turbot, and sole. Now, this flatfish may not be as healthy as other options, but it is still mild, not overly fishy in flavor, and easily available to purchase.

This bottom feeder is a good orange roughy substitute, and it may be more affordable than most fish on this list.

5. Sole

This fish is on multiple lists for sharing similarities with the orange roughy. Sole fish has a flavor that is almost indistinguishable from orange roughy. Sole is a mild, firm textured flatfish, with a nearly sweet flavor, so it will work nicely with recipes that ask for a fish with those kinds of characteristics. It’s hard to go wrong with sole since it is almost identical in terms of texture, meat, and flavor.

Related The 6 Best Substitutes to Sole Fish.

6. Sea Bass

Sea Bass is a great fish that sports a delicate and extremely mild flavor that is pretty close to orange roughy. Sea bass has a meaty, flaky texture and luckily, doesn’t taste a lot like ammonia. Sea bass has a buttery fat and fishy taste, something that is not found in most white fish species. For both sea or freshwater bass, this fish is usually lower in caloric content and a straightforward source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and selenium.

Freshwater sea bass has different amounts of specific vitamins than saltwater seabass, however, so a chef could compare the pros and cons before deciding which type to go with. Sea bass is very good taste-wise, is a wild yet not endangered fish, and although it may seem like a pain, it is actually easy to find this type of fish, especially in fish markets.

Cooking sea bass in a pan

7. Tilapia

Although not as nutrient-rich as some other fish, tilapia is a very serviceable and common stand-in for orange roughy. It is possibly the most mild-tasting fish that can be used in cooking, and it isn’t fishy in taste at all. Its meat carries a mild sweetness, is not hard to prepare, and goes well with a lot of various flavor profiles due to its mildness.

8. Red Snapper

Red snapper doesn’t just share a similar coloring with orange roughy, it is also very close to the original fish in flavor. It is rated highly worldwide as one of the best-tasting fish to eat and is often compared to tilapia, salmon, cod, or flounder in flavor and texture.

There are a lot of different types of snapper, but the red snapper is the best type of snapper to use as a substitute for orange roughy. It is a lean fish with a moist, sweet, mild flavor. It also has a firm yet delicate texture.

9. Blackfish

Blackfish is a good substitute for orange roughy due to its flavor, mildness, and its firm texture. You can find this fish at most fish markets, though the cost will vary depending on the time of year and the availability of the fish.

10. Ocean Perch

Not only does the ocean perch have a close flavor to orange roughy fish, but it also is found in the same family of fish species. Both orange roughy and perch listed are deep-sea fish that are part of the slimehead family. Don’t let the kind of gross name be a deterrent, as ocean perch are still a delectable substitute for orange roughy.

11. Pollock

Some may misinterpret the smaller size of pollock fish as something that will prevent them from using it as a substitute for orange roughy, but this is a misconception. This fish is very close to orange roughy in taste, and since it is a smaller breed of fish, their meat generally holds and carries low amounts of harmful contaminants. This is a win-win ingredient for any aspiring chef.

However, you will need to keep in mind the portion sizes you are serving, as you may want to put two pollocks on the plate when using it as an orange roughy substitute so your guests don’t go hungry.

12. Lobster

Okay, this isn’t really a fish, and it is very expensive, but I thought I would include it just in case.

Both orange roughy and monkfish have been called “the poor man’s lobster” because their tastes and textures are similar to lobster. Replacing the fish meat with lobster meat can both spice up the cooking process and make for an exquisite meal.

Overall, there are many types of fish that you can use as a substitute for orange roughy.

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