Can You Eat Fish Skin

In this article, we will answer the question “can you eat fish skin” and also discuss the benefits of eating fish skin and related topics.

Can You Eat Fish Skin?

Yes, you can eat fish skin as long as they are properly cleaned, descaled, and properly cooked.

Fish skin is an edible thing and commonly known as a traditional dish in South East Asia. Fish skin is known to be high in nutrition and an excellent addition to any diet. 

Fish skin that can be consumed are the skin of salmon, sea bass, branzino, snapper, flounder, and mackerel. You better avoid eating skate skin because it has thorns-like barbs in it. 

Aside from safety concerns, it is avoided to eat tuna skin which is tough and thick. Furthermore, avoid eating monkfish and swordfish which have thick and leathery skin. 

What Is Fish Skin Made of?

The fish skin is made of two distinct layers, viz and outermost layer, the epidermis and inner layer dermis. 

The skin is the outermost covering or wrapping of the body, so it is the most exposed part of the body to the environment. The skin plays an important role as the first line of defense. 

In most fish, the skin is well adapted for protection from injury and disease. It functions also for respiration, excretion, and osmoregulation. 

The epidermis layer of fish skin is composed of many layers of flattened and moist epithelial cells. The innermost layer is called stratum germinativum made up of active columnar cells and continuously divided by mitotic division. 

The epithelium of the epidermis consists of a variety of glands, which are:

  • Mucous glands : secrete slippery mucus which contain lipoprotein
  • Poison glands : secrete poisonous substances to protect themselves from the enemy for defense.
  • Photophores : produce light, mostly found in deep-sea fishes.

Moreover, the dermis layer lay down beneath the epidermis and contains blood vessels, nerves, connective tissues, and sense organs. 

This layer is well supplied by blood vessels, therefore it also provides nourishment to the epidermis. If you want to know more details about the structure of fish skin, please click here

What Can Be Made From Fish Skin?

Fish skin has been widely used as a gelatin which can be used in the preparation of fresh and smoked salmon. 

Gelatin from fish skin has low gelling strength and temperatures, it has a good swelling capacity that allows it to be used in capsules of controlled drug release. 

Fish skin is also used as a collagen and has various applications in both medicine and cosmetics. High in proteins and peptides show promising bioactivity and also used as seafood flavors for soups or surimi and to create new edible food coatings that can extend the shelf life of food products. 

In Asia region, fish skin can be made into a healthy snack for your kids. Crispy salmon skin or salmon skin chips can be a favorite snack. In fact, fish skin is also served as a topping for salad, soups, and with white rice. 

The Following are the menus using fish skin:

  • Noodle soup with fried fish skin
  • Pickled fish skin
  • Creamy salted egg fish skin
  • Fish skin salad

Not only served as a dish, fish skin also can be used as a fish leather. Fish leather is famous in many countries. It doesn’t smell of fish but it smells of leather. During the tanning process, the scales are removed but the pattern of scale pockets still remains. 

It gives a gorgeous texture with a shiny surface. The tanning process will give protection of fish skin from decay, which means that genuine leather can last a long time. Some people also said that fish leather is stronger than cow leather for its thickness because of the fibers within it. This leather is perfect for wallets and card cases. 

What Does Fish Skin Taste Like?

If fish skin is cleaned and properly cooked, the taste will be very tasty!

When you fry your fish skin in a deep frying pan and give them some seasonings, the taste will be savory, crunchy, and crispy. But, there are types of fish skin that are pale in color, mushy, and very fatty. This kind of fish skin never gets crispy, so it is not an option for those who want to enjoy crunchy fish skin as a snack.  

What Are the Benefits of Eating Fish Skin?

Eating fish skin can help you to reduce inflammation because it is a great source of Omega-3. 

Fish is known to have a low-fat high quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B2, Vitamin D and Vitamin E, a great source of minerals, rich in calcium and phosphorus. Based on its high nutritional content, fish skin has several benefits, such as:

  • Help maintain and rebuild skin
  • Boost your nutrient intake
  • Improve heart health
  • Contribute to muscle growth

Further, flavored fish skin snacks that are popular in Asian cuisine are typically deep-fried, salted and high in fat. Therefore, if you have any heart disease and high blood pressure, you should avoid them and not consume it excessively. 


In this article, we have answered the question ““can you eat fish skin” and also discussed the benefits of eating fish skin and related topics.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.