Can you eat fish guts?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat fish guts?”, and how to cook fish offal?

Can you eat fish guts?

Yes, you can eat fish guts but it is a risky business. The skin, visceral fat, and entrails of the fish may contain toxins such as PCBs and dioxin. 

The FDA and the EPA do not recommend eating the fish guts, kidneys, liver, and head. Instead of eating the fish guts, you can use the fish intestines as bait or compost. 

It takes only 7-10 days for the fish scraps to be fully decomposed in the soil and make their nutrients available to the plants for growth.


Fish liver can be as heavy as the fish fillets. The fish liver is commonly used in recipes like pâté, foie gras, and terrine. The names may sound fancy but the preparation is quite simple. 

For most recipes, the liver is tossed in a mixture of butter and spices and spread on toast or crackers. The liver of edible fish is a great source of important polyunsaturated fats such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


The heart of a fish tastes best when lightly cooked. Herat is a lean meat organ due to which it turns tough and rubbery when cooked for prolonged periods. The key is to cook the fish heart on high heat for a short time.

One way to cook fish heart is by tossing it in a mixture of oil and spices and threading it on a skewer which is grilled. Fish heart cooked by this method has a smoky flavor that pairs well with a tangy sauce.


The intestine of the fish should be of premium quality if they are supposed to be cooked. The general pre-requisites involve dumping the fish intestines in a brine solution for seven days. Then the intestines are tossed in olive oil and steam cooked until soft. 

The tender fish intestine is then cut into the shape of penne pasta or macaroni and is topped with swordfish bacon, butter, and egg yolk before serving.

Stomach or esophagus 

The cooking process of the fish stomach resembles the socking process of the fish intestine. First, the fish stomach is dumped in brine for about a week for disinfection.

The decontamination process follows the washing step to get rid of the salt residues. The washed fish stomach is then tossed in olive oil and vacuum bagged to be cooked at 85 degrees in the oven for about 35 minutes.

A thorough examination of the stomach before the brining is very important. Because the fish stomach is commonly contaminated with worms and parasites.

Air bladder

Cod bladders are salted, boiled, and stewed for decades. The air bladder of a fish boasts a mild flavor with a gelatinous texture and is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.

Other than boiling, frying is another popular cooking method for air bladders of fish. To make the bladder chips, the bladder is blanched until softened and translucent, then, fried in hot oil until it swells like a bubble.

Visceral fat 

Visceral fat is a common occurrence in farm fish and some wild fish with good body weight. Visceral fat of fish is rendered and filtered to be used as a butter substitute. The rendered fat can be used to make desserts, sauces, and a variety of other dishes.

Recipe for fish offal


1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as organic canola or safflower

Salt as per taste 

A mop of your choice

Lemon Pepper: In a small mixing bowl, whisk ¼ cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, zest of one lemon, and ½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns until well-combined.

Herb: In a small mixing bowl, whisk ¼ cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soft herbs such as cilantro, tarragon, or dill, minced until well-combined.

Asian: In a small mixing bowl, whisk, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce until well-combined.


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  1. Toss the collars in oil and some salt. Then spread on the preheated broiler.
  1. Place 3-4 inches from the element and broil for 5-7 minutes, until nice and brown.
  1. Flip and broil for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  1. Remove from the heat and immediately brush with the mop of your choice, flip, arrange on a serving platter, and brush the other side.

Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.

Can you eat fish and ice cream together?

Can you freeze trout?

Can you cook frozen fish in the microwave?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat fish guts?”, and how to cook fish offal?


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