Farmed Salmon vs. Wild Salmon: The Great Debate

Like most debates, the farmed vs. wild salmon debate is complex. When comparing farmed salmon vs wild salmon, we have to consider a multitude of factors, and even then it’s not possible to label one kind as “better” in all instances! In fact, there are so many factors to consider we won’t try to address them in one blog post (even our eyes would glaze over!). Here’s the first comparison post where we focus on taste and culinary factors of farmed vs. wild salmon. Stay tuned for other posts comparing cost, availability, sustainability/responsibility, nutrition and quality.


Which tastes better: farmed salmon vs wild salmon?

Farmed salmon tends to have a milder taste, and a more tender texture, which makes it more popular with a lot of people. Farmed-raised salmon also have big, fleshy sections of intramuscular fat that create easily flaked and moist pieces once cooked.

Wild Salmon has a much more pronounced and strong fish flavor, which is absolutely loved and sought after by many home cooks and chefs! However, the stronger flavor can sometimes be off-putting, so it is a matter of preference.

Which is easier to cook: farmed salmon vs wild salmon?

Generally speaking, farmed salmon is easier to cook. That’s because it tends to be fattier, with thicker fillets on average, making it more forgiving no matter the cooking application.

Wild salmon tends to be leaner with more muscle fibers, making it a bit firmer than farmed salmon. These attributes make it easier to overcook wild salmon so it’s dry, rubbery and extra forward on the “fishiness” factor.


Summary taste & cooking for farmed salmon vs wild salmon

For all of the reasons above, which are generalizations, many people prefer the taste and texture of farmed salmon. However, no matter if a fish is farmed or wild, a healthy fish will always create the best end product, and to some degree flavor and texture depends on the species, its diet, the specific farming practices and environment, etc.

Get to know our farm-raised, Icelandic salmon

Taste and Cooking: farmed salmon vs wild salmon

Farmed  Wild 
  • Generally more forgiving
    • The higher fat and thicker fillets make it harder to overcook
  • Milder flavor 
  • Buttery, more tender texture 
  • Can be certified parasite-free if raised in saltwater, and ready for raw or medium-rare cooking preparations 


  • Can be less forgiving difficult to cook 
    • Leaner fillets and less fat content mean wild salmon can be harder to cook just right
  • Stronger flavor 
  • Leaner and firmer texture
  • Recommended to cook wild salmon at least to medium to kill any parasites 
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