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Halibut vs. Flounder: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 18, 2023
Halibut is a large flatfish in the flounder family, while flounder is a general term for several species of flatfish.

Key Differences

Halibut is a specific type of flatfish that belongs to the Pleuronectidae family. This family is also known for various flounder species. Both halibut and flounder have a unique anatomy, with both eyes located on one side of their body. This adaptation allows them to lie on the seabed with their eyes facing upwards.
While flounder can refer to several species of flatfish, halibut specifically references the larger members of this family. Halibut are typically found in colder northern waters, including the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
In contrast, flounder species can be found in oceans worldwide. For culinary purposes, both halibut and flounder are prized for their delicate, flaky white flesh.
However, due to the larger size of the halibut, it often yields thicker steaks compared to the thinner fillets of the flounder.

Comparison Chart


A specific type of large flatfish.
A general term for various flatfish species.


Typically colder northern waters.
Oceans worldwide.


Generally larger.
Smaller in comparison.

Culinary Usage

Yields thicker steaks.
Provides thinner fillets.

Scientific Classification

Part of the Pleuronectidae family but specific to larger members.
Several species within the Pleuronectidae family.

Halibut and Flounder Definitions


A species prized for its white, flaky flesh.
Halibut steaks are often served in upscale restaurants.


A flatfish with eyes on one side of its body.
Flounder camouflage well on sandy or muddy ocean floors.


A large flatfish primarily found in northern oceans.
The chef prepared a delicious grilled halibut for dinner.


A term encompassing several species of flat marine fish.
We spotted various types of flounder during our snorkeling trip.


A marine fish in the genus Hippoglossus.
The Pacific halibut is a popular catch for many fishermen.


A fish that can be found in oceans worldwide.
Different species of flounder thrive in diverse marine habitats.


A fish belonging to the Pleuronectidae family.
Halibut and flounder are relatives within the same family of fish.


A fish often consumed for its delicate taste.
The restaurant's special tonight is pan-seared flounder.


A bottom-dwelling fish with eyes on one side of its body.
The unique anatomy of the halibut allows it to easily camouflage on the seabed.


A species belonging to the Pleuronectidae family.
Flounder and halibut share many anatomical similarities.


Any of several large edible flatfishes of the genus Hippoglossus and related genera, of northern Atlantic or Pacific waters.


To move clumsily or with little progress, as through water or mud.


A large flatfish of the genus Hippoglossus, which sometimes leaves the ocean floor and swims vertically.


To act or function in a confused or directionless manner; struggle
"Some ... floundered professionally, never quite deciding what they wanted to do" (Steve Olson). See Usage Note at founder1.


A large, northern, marine flatfish (Hippoglossus vulgaris), of the family Pleuronectidæ. It often grows very large, weighing more than three hundred pounds. It is an important food fish.


Lean flesh of very large flatfish of Atlantic or Pacific


Marine food fish of the northern Atlantic or northern Pacific; the largest flatfish and one of the largest teleost fishes


Is halibut a type of flounder?

Yes, halibut is a specific, larger species within the flounder family.

Which is bigger, halibut or flounder?

Halibut is generally larger than other flounder species.

Can I substitute flounder for halibut in recipes?

Yes, but expect a difference in thickness and potentially flavor.

What's a unique feature of halibut and flounder anatomy?

Both have both eyes located on one side of their body.

Is it true that both halibut and flounder can camouflage on the ocean floor?

Yes, their unique anatomy allows them to blend in with the seabed.

Are halibut and flounder fished commercially?

Yes, both are popular catches for commercial fishing due to their culinary value.

Do halibut and flounder have scales?

Yes, like many fish, they have scales.

Which is more popular in culinary dishes, halibut or flounder?

Both are popular, but halibut is often considered a premium choice in many restaurants.

Where are halibut commonly found?

Halibut are often found in colder northern waters.

Are there different species of flounder?

Yes, flounder is a term for several species of flatfish.

Do both halibut and flounder have a similar taste?

Both have a delicate, white flesh, but halibut is often considered richer.

Is halibut a saltwater fish?

Yes, halibut is a marine fish.

Why are halibut steaks thicker than flounder fillets?

This is because halibut are generally larger fish than flounder.

What's the primary difference between halibut and flounder?

Halibut refers to specific, larger flatfish, while flounder is a general term for several species.

How can I identify a halibut from other flounder species?

Besides size, halibut often has a more pronounced, arrow-like shape.

Are halibut and flounder healthy to eat?

Yes, they are both good sources of lean protein and other nutrients.

Are halibut and flounder the same?

No, while halibut is a type of flounder, not all flounder are halibut.

Are both halibut and flounder bottom-dwelling fish?

Yes, both lie on the seabed with eyes facing upwards.

Which is more expensive in restaurants, halibut or flounder?

Typically, halibut is more expensive due to its size and flavor.

Can I find flounder in freshwater habitats?

No, flounder are marine species found in oceans.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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