Can you eat bluefish? Super fresh is the tastiest!

Looking at a plate of cooked bluefish thinking Can you eat bluefish?

So, you’re going out to catch some bluefish for the first time.

Or you’ve just landed one and want to know whether you can eat bluefish?

You can eat bluefish. In fact they are a tasty fish if eaten fresh on the day of catching. Bluefish have a slightly stronger taste and the flesh is a little more oily but this means it’s packed with Omega 3 which have health benefits. Fry in oil, season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce for a tasty meal.

Want to catch bluefish from the pier? Check out our ultimate guide.

Are bluefish tasty? Can you eat bluefish?

Bluefish are very tasty fish, I love them.

But there are two key things you have to enjoy them at their best:

  1. You have to bleed the bluefish when you catch it to remove as much blood from the fish as possible. Click here to find out how.
  2. You have to eat them incredibly fresh – ideally hours after catching, and definitely on the same day.

Being a slightly more oily fish you will find the taste a little stronger compared to say a flounder or bass.

But this oil contains lots of Omega 3 which is very good for your health in the right amounts.

What does bluefish taste like?

I put bluefish in the ‘oily fish’ category.

Similar to mackerel or salmon, where there is a bit more fat in the fish, the flesh is quite delicious when cooked fresh and seasoned well.

It has a nice flavor of fish and you don’t need to add too much cooking oil when frying (my favorite way to cook bluefish).

Some find the taste of bluefish to be too ‘strong’, due t its oily nature and stronger fish taste. Part of this I suspect is also down to not eating it fresh enough.

Some anglers I’ve heard will soak the fillets in milk or vinegar to preserve the firmness of the fillets – I’ve never tried it but I hear the latter, in vinegar is good.

It’s called en escabeche which is commonly a way to preserve fish like mackerel or sardines – also oily fish – originating from Latin countries (Spain, Portugal, Latin America etc.).

Do bluefish have a lot of bones?

Bluefish do have a lot of bones, but are quite simply to fillet and provide good sized fillets for eating.

If you fillet the bluefish as you normally would, carefully following the spine and remove the fillet with care then all you will be left with is the pin bones down the centre of the fillet you’ve just cut off.

These are easy to remove, and if your fillet is large enough, you can just cut a long fillet off each side of the pin bone structure, leaving you with two nice, clean, boneless fillets for cooking.

What is the best way to eat bluefish?

One of the best ways to eat bluefish is to follow the steps below.

You’ll also see some pictures of a bluefish I cooked in this way.

It’s delicious and for anyone that worries about the fishy flavour of bluefish, the seasoning and additions here will solve that issue for you!

Before you cook your bluefish, make sure you bleed your bluefish.

Here are the steps for the best way to eat cooked bluefish:

  1. Bleed to bluefish as soon as you catch it
  2. Keep it on ice to eat that same day
  3. Fillet both sides of the bluefish and remove the pin bones
  4. Heat a frying pan, add a little oil
  5. Season the skin side of the fillets with salt
  6. Place the fillets in the hot oil
  7. When starting to crisp up on the skin side, add a knob of butter
  8. Baste the flesh side of the fillets with a little butter
  9. Season the flesh side with a little salt and pepper
  10. Flip the fillets over to cook the flesh
  11. Squeeze lime juice into the pan, add a splash of soy sauce
  12. Serve with steamed rice and greens, and a blob of oyster of hoi sin sauce on the side
Can you eat fillets of bluefish like this?
Frying fillets of bluefish
Bluefish fillets served on a plate - yes you can eat bluefish

Click here to learn about the best leader line material for catching bluefish.

Are bluefish healthy to eat?

Bluefish are very healthy to eat!

They are full of good nutrients and also tonnes of Omega 3.

you want to make sure that the waters in which you are fishing are free from any pollution of toxins, just to be on the safe side.

As the University of Maine puts it:

“Bluefish are an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and omega-3s, and a good source of magnesium and potassium.”


Does bluefish have a lot of mercury? Is bluefish safe to eat?

Bluefish is safe to eat but does contain higher levels of mercury than other similarly oily predatory fish like mackerel or albacore tuna.

So it is advised to consume it in moderation for some specific groups of people.

Here is health and consumptiion advice from the University of Maine again:

There is a consumption advisory for bluefish due to contamination from mercury, PCBs, dioxin, and other chemicals. The State of Maine recommends that pregnant and nursing women, women who may get pregnant, nursing mothers and children under 8 not eat any striped bass or bluefish. Everyone else should eat no more than four meals per year.


And the Wikipedia page also mentions a health advice warning at the bottom of the page.

By the same token, it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, but also in mercury and PCBs,[35] containing the high level of about 0.4 ppm of mercury on average,[39] comparable to albacore tuna or Spanish mackerel.[40] For that reason, the U.S. FDA recommends that young children and women of childbearing age consume no more than one serving per week (a serving size is about 4 ounces uncooked for an adult, 2 ounces for children ages 4–7 years, 3 ounces for children ages 8–10 years, and 4 ounces for children 11 years and older).[41]


Can you eat bluefish raw?

Bluefish is a fantastic fish to eat raw.

It is an oily, fatty fish, and fatty fish tend to be really good for sashimi.

Bluefish is very much like bonito in that the flesh ahs high fat and oil content, which makes the flesh similarly great for eating raw as sashimi.

Raw salmon is another fatty fish that’s used often for sashimi so if you like that, you’ll probably liek bluefish raw too.

My favorite way to serve it is:

  • after bleeding and filleting the fish that has been caught only moments ago…
  • and has been kept icy cool…
  • slice the skin off
  • very finely slice strips of the bluefish
  • place on a chilled plate
  • slice limes
  • squeeze lime juice all over the flesh
  • dip in light soy sauce
  • and enjoy… absolutely delicious!

Learn to catch bluefish from the pier. Check out our ultimate guide.

Can you eat bluefish skin?

You can eat bluefish skin, and it can be quite delicious when crisped up in a frying pan with some hot oil, and seasoned with salt. If you are eating it raw, I’d advise removing the skin and just have the lovely white fatty flesh, prepared in the way mentioned above.

Can you eat bluefish FAQs

Can I freeze bluefish?

Bluefish does not last well in the freezer compared to other fish fillets like salmon. It will likely be mushy after you’ve frozen it. If you have a big haul of bluefish and you have to freeze some, then I would dedicate those frozen fillets to making something like a fishcake where the fillet gets mushed up anyway.

How long does cooked bluefish last?

Don’t wait too long to consume your cooked bluefish fillet. Ideally, bluefish is consumed on the same day, it’s just better that way. You may notice a deterioration in the quality and taste of the flesh if you leave it overnight or a couple of days before you eat it.

You might want to explore an escabeche recipe, which is preserving the bluefish fillets in vinegar, like it is done with mackerel.

Should you soak bluefish in milk?

Some say soaking the bluefish in milk first helps to preserve the fish and improve the firmness and taste of the bluefish flesh. Many claim in removes the strong fishiness that you get in the fillet. I think this may be due to leaving it too long before cooking the fish, when it’s not at its freshest.

Do bluefish have parasites?

Many types of fish can carry parasites. And there are certain areas where it’s more likely to occur than others. Bluefish may carry parasites in their internal organs or larger ‘lice’ like parasites in gills and mouths of fish. It’s worth checking information for your local area and always check your fish.

Are snapper blues good to eat?

Snapper blues are just juvenile versions of bluefish and therefore have the same taste, texture and flavours as their fully grown older generations. They have oily flesh but perhaps not as fatty as older bluefish. They can be cooked in a very similar way to bluefish.

How do you clean and cook snapper blues?

Treat a snapper blue as you would a larger bluefish. Always bleed the fish out, remove the guts and wash the fish. Then place on very cold ice or in a cold fridge immediately. It’s best to cook and eat the snapper blues as soon after catching them as possible.