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Difference between Roe and Caviar

Roe and caviar both refer to fish eggs. Although both are fish eggs and look alike they are different from each other! Let us see how they differ from each other and which one is the healthiest!


Roe or fish roe is the term for female fish eggs or male fish sperms. Generally, it refers to eggs of all marine animals. It is generally orange in colour and has a soft and squishy texture. It can be eaten raw or added as an ingredient to seafood recipes. Roe is obtained from a large number of different species of fish accordingly it is available in a variety of tastes, textures and prices.

It is rich in nutrition and tastes delicious so it is a preferred food for various health diets such as the Paleo Diet. It is also rich in micronutrients and anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids including Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D and is an affordable alternative to caviar as it is low in price than caviar.


Caviar is a salted, processed fish roe of particular species of fish, most likely the sturgeon i.e. It is exclusively made from the sturgeon fish eggs. Basically, it is a roe that is salted or cured and then placed in a tin for storage and aging. In some countries like Canada and the United States, it is exclusively made from the sturgeon fish eggs. So, if the eggs are not harvested from the right species of fish, the product is known as salted fish roe, not caviar.

Some of the sturgeon species whose caviar is eaten throughout the world include Beluga, Russian Osetra, Sevruga, American Osetra, Kalunga and Sterlet etc. In the preparation of caviar, the fish eggs are harvested from their ovaries and then passed through a meshed strainer in order to drain liquids and fats from them. After this, they are salted and cured in a container. It is generally eaten as a garnish or a spread.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between roe and caviar are as follows:

Roe Caviar
It is the eggs of female fishes present in their ovaries. It is the fish eggs that are salted and cured.
It refers to the eggs of all marine animals. It refers to salted and cured eggs of specific species of fishes that belong to the sturgeon family.
It is generally orange in colour. It is a black or silver in colour.
It is low in price than caviar. It is high in price than roe.
All fish roe or eggs are not caviar. It is a type of fish roe or egg.
It is high in fat that makes it highly perishable so it is not advised to store it in a refrigerator for long, instead it should be eaten on the same day it is thawed. It has a longer shelf life than roe as it is salted and thus can be stored in a refrigerator for around a month or more after it is opened.
It has a soft and squishy texture. It has a firm texture that turns into a smooth texture as it starts melting in the mouth.
It can be cooked wholly in salty water and eaten with bread. It can be deep fried and boiled.
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