Should you wash fresh fish before cooking?

Should you wash fresh fish before cooking

If you’re like most people, you probably think that washing fresh fish before cooking is a good idea. After all, it can’t hurt, right? Wrong! Washing fish before cooking it can actually make it less delicious. Here’s why:


There are different schools of thought when it comes to washing fresh fish before cooking. Some people believe that it is necessary in order to remove any dirt or impurities, while others contend that it actually decreases the fish’s flavor and texture. So, what is the best course of action?

There are a few things to consider when making your decision. If the fish you’re using is wild-caught, it’s likely that it has been exposed to more contaminants than farm-raised fish. This is because wild fish live in their natural habitat and are not kept in tanks or pens. As a result, they may be more likely to pick up bacteria from the water or sediment.

On the other hand, farm-raised fish are typically raised in controlled environments and are less likely to be exposed to contaminants. They are also usually cleaned before they are packaged and sold. For these reasons, some experts believe that washing farm-raised fish is unnecessary.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to wash your fish is a personal one. If you’re concerned about the possibility of contaminants, you may want to give your fish a quick rinse before cooking. If you’re more concerned about preserving the flavor and texture of the fish, you may want to skip the washing step altogether.

The Case for Washing Fish

If you buy fresh fish from the store, you might be wondering if you should wash it before cooking. The answer is that it depends. If the fish is wild-caught and freshly caught, then you can cook it without washing it. However, if the fish is farm-raised, then you might want to wash it to remove any chemicals or preservatives.

It’s the industry standard

While some might think that washing fish before cooking it is unnecessary, it is actually the industry standard. This is because fish can often be exposed to bacteria and other contaminants, and washing it before cooking can help to remove these.

Of course, you should always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw fish, and cook it properly to ensure that any bacteria are killed. However, washing the fish itself can also help to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

It gets rid of bacteria

While you might think washing fish under running water is enough to clean it, this actually isn’t the case. Fish is covered in a slime layer that protects it from parasites and bacteria, and this slime layer also happens to be a great breeding ground for bacteria. Washing fish under running water can actually spread bacteria from the fish to your sink and countertops.

The best way to clean fish is to actually soak it in a vinegar solution. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar will kill any bacteria on the fish, and it’s also effective at removing any blood or guts that may be remaining on the fish.

It gets rid of slime

Yes, you should wash fresh fish before cooking it. Many people believe that washing fish will make it taste more watery, but this is not the case. In fact, washing fish helps to get rid of slime and bacteria that can cause fish to taste bad.

When you wash your fish, be sure to use cold water and a mild soap. You can also rinse your fish under cold running water. Once you have rinsed your fish, you can pat it dry with a paper towel.

Washing fish is especially important if you are going to eat the fish raw. Raw fish can contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning. However, even if you are going to cook your fish, it is still a good idea to wash it first. This is because bacteria can spread from the fish to your kitchen counters and utensils.

The Case Against Washing Fish

If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant, you know that the chef never washes the fish before cutting and serving it. In fact, washing fish can actually diminish its flavor and texture. So if the experts don’t do it, why should you?

It can remove the fish’s natural protective coating

You should not wash fish before cooking it because doing so can remove the fish’s natural protective coating. The mucus on the surface of the fish helps to protect it from bacteria and other contaminants, and washing it off can make the fish more susceptible to these things. In addition, washing the fish can cause it to break apart more easily during cooking, resulting in a less than optimal finished product.

It can spread bacteria

If you choose to wash your fish before cooking, do so with cold water and don’t use soap, which can spread bacteria. Fishmongers typically give whole fish a final rinse before packaging them to sell. Rinsing fillets is often unnecessary and can cause the fish to absorb water, resulting in less flavorful meat.

It can make the fish taste wet

Contrary to popular opinion, you should not wash your fresh fish before cooking it. In fact, doing so can actually make the fish taste wet and can cause the fish to lose its natural flavor. If you must wash your fish, be sure to do so immediately before cooking and use only cold water.

So, Should You Wash Your Fish Before Cooking?

It’s common to see recipes that call for fish to be rinsed in vinegar or lemon juice before cooking. Some home cooks even go as far as to soak fish in saltwater for hours before cooking. So, what’s the verdict? Should you wash your fish before cooking it? Let’s find out.

It depends on the fish

It depends on the fish. If it’s a whole fish, you’ll want to give it a good rinse both inside and out under cold water. This will help remove any slime or bacteria that may be on the surface. If the fish has been cut into steaks or fillets, you’ll only need to rinse the outside. Washing fish that has been cut open isn’t necessary and may actually remove some of the Flavoring agents in the flesh.

It depends on your personal preference

Some people say that washing fish before cooking it will help to remove any bacteria and make it safer to eat. However, other people believe that this is not necessary and that washing the fish will actually cause it to lose some of its natural flavor. There is no right or wrong answer, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you do choose to wash your fish before cooking it, be sure to use clean water and dry it thoroughly afterwards before cooking.


Based on the information above, it seems that washing your fresh fish before cooking it is not necessary, and may even decrease the quality of the fish. If you are still worried about bacteria, cooking the fish thoroughly should kill any harmful bacteria.

James Lewis

James Lewis is a food and cooking blogger who loves to share his delicious recipes with the world. He has a passion for good food, and he enjoys trying new dishes and flavors. James is also a big fan of traditional comfort foods, and he likes to cook up nostalgic meals for his friends and family.

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