How to Soak Fish Before Cooking

Purchase fish from an open-air seaside market to get the freshest catch.
Purchase fish from an open-air seaside market to get the freshest catch. (Image: Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you love the taste of fresh fish, but do not love that fishy taste that sometimes accompanies the fillet, soak the fish before you cook it. The soaking process will help remove some of the oils, aroma and unpleasant fish flavor, while still allowing the true taste of the fish to emerge during the cooking process. If you are hosting a dinner party, leave at least one hour for the fish to soak before you plan on preparing your fish dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Milk
  • Lemon
  • Spices (optional)

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Rinse the fish thoroughly under cold water, whether you are using a fillet that has already been cut or a whole fish.

Place the fish in enough milk or water that it completely covers the fish. Some people like to soak their fish in milk, while others prefer water with lemon. The milk may leave a milder taste than if you soak the fish in water. Additionally, some people like to add their spice mixture into the milk. Either way the fish should be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Place the fish in the fridge for a half-hour to one hour for thawed fish, or overnight for frozen fish. Consider what works best for your recipe.

Remove the fish and rinse thoroughly. When you are ready to prepare the dish, remove it from the water or milk, rinse under cold water, and cook your dish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some people also like to add salt to the water. If so, use a ratio of 1 tbsp. of salt per 1 cup of water.


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