Can you eat fish without gutting?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you eat fish without gutting?” We will also discuss the proper way to eviscerate and store fish safely and talk about the benefits of eating fish.

Can you eat fish without gutting?

Yes, you can eat fish without gutting. One way to do this is to cut fillets from the fish without having gutted it first, but the experience is needed for this type of filleting to avoid contamination.

Many people also choose to consume small fried fish without removing the guts. However eating whole fish without gutting it can be dangerous and indigestible because it has toxins, parasites, and bacteria that can cause you food infection.

What are the guts and the dangers of eating fish without gutting

Guts are the internal organs of fish as well as other animals. In the case of fish, these organs include the heart, gonads, kidneys, and also intestine. At the time of fishing, fish are not always fasting and usually die with the residues of their food in their body.

Like humans, fish also have intestinal flora and the presence of waste in the digestive tract can ferment, generating dangerous products for our ingestion.

Consuming fish that has not been gutted can be dangerous due to the presence of E.Coli and Listeria M. which can cause foodborne infections with symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, mental confusion, and loss of appetite.

Another risk of consuming fish this way is the presence of parasites. Many fish have parasites in their digestive system. With the death of the fish, they take advantage and spread among other tissues, contaminating the fish meat with toxins.

How to eviscerate and store fish safely?

To eviscerate a fish it is important to have a good knife and a flat surface to help with stability. The fish guts are not edible and must be discarded. Before starting the process it may be good to wear latex gloves to protect your hands.

One method of gutting a fish is:

  • Remove the scales by rubbing both sides of the fish with a spoon or the back of a knife.
  • Make a cut in the belly of the fish by cutting from the base of the tail to the beginning of the head.
  • Remove the guts, roes, and gills by pulling firmly.
  • Rinse the inside of the fish with cold running water until the water runs clear.
  • Dry the fish with a paper towel, cut the fins and it is done.

After removing the viscera it is possible to store the raw fish in the fridge or freeze it, but processing it can increase its durability as well as improve flavors added by spices, salt, and smoke.

The possibilities for processing fish are diverse: drying, salting, smoking, and freezing, among others. The table below illustrates the safe duration of the fish according to the way it was treated:

TreatmentApproximate expiration date
Refrigeration2 days
Freezing3 to 8 months
Brine2 to 3 weeks in fridge
Dry salting6 to 12 months
SmokingUp to three weeks in the refrigerator
Fryied3 to 4 days
Cooked3 days

The correct storage associated with evisceration allows the longest useful life of your fish regardless of the way it is stored. For raw fish, storing at room temperature is not feasible as the fish would not last less than a day.

For other forms such as cooked, salted, or smoked it is possible to store at room temperature but the reduction of temperature will act as an ally in the conservation of your fish.

What are the benefits of eating fish?

Since the discovery of the benefits of omega 3 for the heart and memory, fish has been hailed as healthy food, especially those rich in fats such as salmon and sardines.

Fatty fish also have other benefits such as

  • They reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
  • They help to reduce bad cholesterol.
  • They are a leaner meat option compared to other meats and do not have large amounts of saturated fat.
  • Help relieve swelling and pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • They are allies in the fight against acne for the vitamins they provide.
  • They help you sleep better because they have vitamin D.
  • Improve vision and eye health, providing necessary oils for the region.
  • They can ease symptoms of depression by acting mildly as a type of antidepressant.


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you eat fish without gutting?” We have also discussed the proper way to eviscerate and store fish safely and talked about the benefits of eating fish.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


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.