Is Branzino or Salmon Healthier? A Detailed Comparison

As someone who loves fish and wants to eat healthy, I often find myself debating between popular fish options like branzino and salmon when I’m grocery shopping or ordering at a restaurant Both are delicious fish with plenty of nutritional benefits, but is one healthier than the other?

In this article, I’ll compare branzino and salmon side-by-side looking at aspects like nutrition facts, sustainability, taste, texture, preparation, and price so you can determine which is the healthier option for your needs.

Nutrition Profile

When comparing nutritional values branzino and salmon are fairly similar with some key differences.

Here’s how 3 ounces of cooked branzino and salmon compare nutritionally:

<table><thead><tr><th>Nutrient</th><th>Branzino (3 oz)</th> <th>Salmon (3 oz)</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Calories</td><td>87</td><td>175</td></tr><tr> <td>Fat</td><td>1 g</td><td>10 g</td></tr><tr><td>Saturated Fat</td><td>0 g</td> <td>2 g</td></tr><tr><td>Protein</td><td>18 g</td><td>22 g</td></tr><tr><td>Omega-3 Fatty Acids</td> <td>0.3 g</td><td>2 g</td> </tr><tr><td>Vitamin B12</td> <td>2% DV</td><td>50% DV</td> </tr><tr><td>Selenium</td><td>47% DV</td><td>61% DV</td></tr></tbody></table>

As you can see both fish provide high-quality protein and important nutrients. Salmon contains significantly more omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to heart health lower inflammation, and brain function. Salmon is also higher in vitamin B12 and selenium.

However, branzino is much lower in calories and fat, especially saturated fat. Per calorie, branzino actually provides more protein than salmon.

So in terms of pure nutrient density, branzino wins out. But salmon’s high omega-3 content is hard to beat if you’re looking specifically to increase intake of those healthy fats.


Both branzino and salmon can be farmed or wild-caught. Here’s a look at the sustainability of each type:

  • Farmed branzino – Branzino aquaculture systems in the Mediterranean have low impacts on the environment according to Seafood Watch. Branzino farming has a low risk for pollution or escapes.

  • Wild branzino – Some populations of wild Mediterranean branzino are overfished, while Atlantic branzino fisheries are well-managed overall. Choose wild branzino from sustainable sources.

  • Farmed salmon – Salmon farmed in open net pens scores poorly for sustainability due to pollution, chemical use and the potential for escaped fish to breed with wild salmon. Farmed salmon raised in closed containment systems gets better marks.

  • Wild salmon – Wild Alaska salmon is one of the most sustainable fish options, according to Seafood Watch. Well-managed quotas and healthy Alaska salmon populations make wild salmon a top pick. Other wild salmon fisheries vary in sustainability.

For both fish, I recommend choosing farmed varieties raised in closed systems or wild-caught from reputable sustainable fisheries. Overall, wild Alaskan salmon is one of the most eco-friendly options.

Taste and Texture

Salmon and branzino each have their own distinct taste and texture profiles:

  • Branzino – This fish has a mild, sweet flavor with a delicate flaky texture similar to flounder or haddock. It takes on the flavors of herbs, lemon and garlic very nicely.

  • Salmon – Salmon is richer in flavor with an oily texture. The flavor can range from mild in pink salmon to strong and salmon-y in king salmon. Sockeye is somewhere in between with bright orange flesh.

Which taste and texture you prefer really comes down to personal taste. I enjoy the lighter branzino for weeknight meals, while fattier salmon makes a nice change of pace for heartier weekend dinners.

Cooking and Preparation

Branzino cooks lightning fast since it’s so lean. Salmon’s oil content makes it a little more forgiving in the pan or oven.

Branzino cooking tips:

  • Cook branzino skin side down over medium-high heat 3-5 minutes until crispy skin forms
  • Finish cooking through in a 375°F oven 5-10 minutes.
  • Stuff whole branzino with lemon, herbs, garlic, capers, etc. and roast at 400°F 10-15 minutes.

Salmon cooking tips:

  • Pan-sear salmon skin-side down 6-8 minutes over medium heat.
  • Broil salmon 6 inches from heat 7-10 minutes.
  • Grill salmon over direct heat skin-side down for 5-6 minutes per 1-inch thickness.
  • Bake salmon at 400°F 10-15 minutes.

For easy weeknight meals, I often use thinner branzino fillets for their quick cooking time. Thicker salmon portions can develop more complex flavors with slower cooking so they’re nice for company.


Branzino tends to cost a bit more than salmon. Here are some average prices per pound:

  • Branzino fillets: $14-$20
  • Whole branzino: $18-$25
  • Wild salmon fillet: $12-$15
  • Farmed salmon fillet: $8-$12

Of course, prices vary regionally and by season. Less expensive farmed Atlantic salmon tends to be most budget-friendly. Splurge for wild-caught Alaskan salmon or specialty varieties like king salmon when you can.

The Verdict: Which is Healthier?

So is branzino or salmon the healthier fish option overall? The answer depends on what health factors are most important to you.

Salmon wins for omega-3 content. The high levels of heart-healthy fats in salmon are hard to replicate in other fish. Salmon also provides more vitamin B12 and selenium.

However, lean branzino is lighter overall and lower in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. Branzino provides more protein per calorie as well.

Both are good choices that provide high-quality protein and nutrients. Salmon offers more omega-3s while branzino is leaner. For the best balance, I recommend eating a variety of fish including both branzino and salmon, ideally wild-caught or sustainably farmed, as part of a healthy diet. Alternating between these nutrient-dense fish options gives you the benefits of each.

The key is to get those two to three servings of healthy seafood per week. Varying your choices helps you maximize the diverse array of nutrients different fish provide. The healthiest diet includes a range of fish like salmon, branzino, sardines, trout, and more.

So next time you’re picking out fish, go ahead and put both branzino and salmon in your cart! Enjoy branzino for its mild taste and light texture alongside salmon’s richness and omega-3s. By eating a variety of fish, you’ll get the best nutritional benefits seafood has to offer.

5 of The Healthiest Fish to Eat and 5 to Avoid


Is branzino a healthy fish?

Branzino fish is not only delectable but also a healthy choice. Packed with essential nutrients, it offers numerous health benefits. Branzino is an excellent source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Is branzino fish high in mercury?

These include tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. These fish should be avoided or eaten in moderation because they are known to contain higher levels of mercury. Branzino, on the other hand, is a low-mercury fish and is therefore a good option for expectant mothers.

What fish is healthier than salmon?

Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught) The tiny, inexpensive sardine is making it onto many lists of superfoods and for good reason. It packs more omega-3s (1,950 mg!) per 3-ounce serving than salmon, tuna, or just about any other food; it’s also one of the very, very few foods that’s naturally high in vitamin D.

Is branzino fish healthy?

It is highly sought after for its tender flesh, mild flavor, and versatility in various culinary preparations. Branzino fish is not only delectable but also a healthy choice. Packed with essential nutrients, it offers numerous health benefits. Branzino is an excellent source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Is eating salmon beneficial?

Salmon is beneficial for health and is part of a healthy and balanced diet. Salmon has vitamin D, healthy fats, calcium, selenium, iodine, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein.

Is branzino good for You?

Branzino is packed with protein and vitamin D, a nutrient involved in immune functioning, glucose metabolism and calcium absorption. Worth noting: This is a small fish, and the bones are easy to remove, so it’s often cooked whole, whether roasted in a pan or oven or grilled.

What is branzino fish?

Branzino fish traces its origins to the coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea. This delicate and flavorful fish has been a staple in Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. It is highly sought after for its tender flesh, mild flavor, and versatility in various culinary preparations. Branzino fish is not only delectable but also a healthy choice.

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