How to Remove Skin from Salmon

    How to Remove Skin from Salmon

    Need to learn how to remove salmon skin from salmon? Grab a knife and a cutting board, and we’ll show you.

    featured image for how to remove salmon skin; skin-on salmon on cutting boardTMB Studio

    Salmon is a fantastic protein for lunch or dinner. Not only is it one of those foods that naturally help lower your blood pressure, but it’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health. No wonder you have this fish on your grocery list!

    Only seeing skin-on options at the seafood counter, though? Fear not. Here, we’ll list the simple steps for how to remove skin from salmon.

    How to Take the Skin off of Salmon

    If you really hate the idea of removing salmon skin, ask the person working behind the seafood counter to do it for you. Some grocery stores will do this free of charge. If not, follow along with these easy steps.

    Step 1: Pat fish dry

    Overview of patting salmon dryTMB Studio

    Remove the salmon from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels.

    Step 2: Prep on a cutting board

    salmon on cutting boardTMB Studio

    Place the salmon on a clean cutting board. If your boards tend to move around a lot, lay a damp dish towel flat on the counter and place your cutting board on top. This should create a slip-proof cutting station.

    Step 3: Check for pin bones

    Remove large pin bones from salmonTMB Studio

    This step is more of a precaution. Normally, pin bones will be removed at the grocery store or market where you purchased the fish. Just in case they missed some, take a peek for tiny, opaque bones. If you run your finger along the fillet, you should be able to see the little bones protrude (if there are any).

    We used clean tweezers for this step, but you can also use clean needle-nose pliers.

    Step 4: Take the skin off the salmon

    Take the skin off the salmonTMB Studio

    At the corner end of the salmon fillet, place a sharp knife between the skin and the flesh. Angle the knife down toward the skin, and slowly slide the knife between the skin and the flesh. Once you’ve cut through about an inch, you can turn the knife so it’s parallel to the cutting board. Grip the skin for leverage, and slide the knife along the skin. This will help keep as much of the fish intact as possible. You shouldn’t see much of the meat coming off with the skin. Discard the skin once it’s removed.

    Editor’s Tip: Use any size knife you’re comfortable with. A steak knife or fillet knife works for individual portions of skin-on salmon, while a chef’s knife may be best for a whole salmon fillet.

    Step 5: Portion out the salmon

    Cut into single serve portions, cover and refrigerate until useTMB Studio

    If you purchased a large fillet of salmon to cut into single-serve portions, this is when you’ll want to portion it out. It’s easier to slice salmon into smaller servings once the skin has been fully removed. Cut the fish into 4 or 6 oz. fillets, marinate if you choose, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

    Once cooked, serve the salmon right away. Pair with any of these sides for salmon, like old-fashioned green beans or herbed baked spinach.

    FAQs About Cooking Salmon

    Can you eat salmon skin?

    Yes, salmon skin is edible. If you like a bit of crispy texture in your seafood dishes, it’s totally OK to leave the skin on your salmon.

    You’re not eating scales—those are removed before being sold at grocery stores or fish markets. The skin is just the protective outer covering of the fish where the scales grow. Once those scales are gone, however, you’re left with one of the healthiest parts of the salmon. The skin is one of the areas richest in those essential omega-3s.

    Is skin-off salmon better than skin-on salmon?

    There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s up to you! If you’re not a fan of handling raw fish, absolutely keep the skin on your salmon while you cook it. In fact, leaving the skin on the fish makes it easier to cook when you’re pan-searing salmon or grilling salmon.

    If either of these methods is your preferred choice, marinate or season your salmon fillets as normal. Once you’re ready to cook them, oil your pan and place the fish skin-side down. Once the skin crisps up, the skin will make the fish easy to grab with tongs and flip over for the remaining cook time. When the salmon is cooked through, place the fillets on a plate or a clean cutting board. Follow Step 4 above to easily remove the skin.

    For poaching or baking salmon, it’s best to take the skin off the salmon before cooking. This will prevent a weird gummy texture that can result from a skin-on fish baking in oil or butter.

    Can you use this method on other types of fish?

    Yes! You can use this method to remove the skin from any fish you purchase. Just remember to adjust the size of your knife based on the size of your fish. It will result in the easiest, smoothest cut.

    Baked Salmon Recipes We’re Hooked On

    Salmon with Creamy Dill SauceTaste of Home

    Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

    There’s nothing like fresh salmon, and my mom bakes it just right so it nearly melts in your mouth. The sour cream dill sauce is subtly seasoned with horseradish so that it doesn’t overpower the delicate salmon flavor. (Psst! Find even more tasty ways to cook salmon by checking out these grilled salmon recipes.) —Susan Emery, Everett, Washington
    Get Recipe

    Salmon With Brown Sugar Glaze Exps Botoh19 42919 B08 16 6b 6

    Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze

    I was not a salmon lover until I tried this recipe. Now it is one of my favorite dishes to serve friends. —Rachel Garcia, Arlington, Virginia

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    Salmon Patties with Lemon-Dill Sauce

    These cute little patties are a great way to get my whole family to enjoy salmon, even my toddler! And I love the fresh flavor the lemon and dill add. —Brandi Murphy, McMinnville, Tennessee

    Walnut Crusted Salmon Exps48999 Th143190b10 04 6bc Rms 2

    Walnut-Crusted Salmon

    Whenever I can get salmon for a good price, I always turn to this simple and delicious recipe. It’s good served with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, too. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah

    You’ll love these grilled salmon recipes, too.

    Miso Salmon Exps Ft19 204243 F 0905 1 3

    Miso Salmon

    I love miso salmon! It was the obvious choice for developing a healthy weeknight meal. This dish is full of Asian flavors and fresh, colorful veggies. And it’s so beautiful, it doesn’t feel like a meal that was thrown together quickly. —Ann Piscitelli, Nokomis, Florida

    Orange Pomegranate Salmon

    Orange Pomegranate Salmon

    A colorful, festive salmon dish makes an impressive addition to your holiday table—and it is as delicious as it is beautiful. What will no one guess? How easy it is to cook. I serve this with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for a showstopping meal that is wonderful for special occasions. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

    Thai Salmon Brown Rice Bowls Exps Sdfm18 170759 D10 06 1b 5

    Thai-Inspired Salmon Brown Rice Bowls

    This speedy salmon recipe couldn’t be any easier. The store-bought sesame ginger dressing saves time and adds extra flavor to this healthy dish. — Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, Florida

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    Salmon Loaf

    During the Depression, Mom’s tasty salmon loaf was a welcome change from the usual meat loaf everyone made to stretch a meal. I still like a lot of the make-do meals of those days, but this loaf is one of my favorites.

    Sage Rubbed Salmon Exps Sdon16 57297  D06 03 5b 3

    Sage-Rubbed Salmon

    If you’ve always thought of sage with turkey, try it with salmon for a little taste of heaven. We serve this with rice, salad and sauteed green beans. —Nicole Raskopf, Beacon, New York

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    Green Curry Salmon with Green Beans

    Like a lot of people here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, my boyfriend, Michael, loves to fish. When we have an abundance on hand, this is one way we love to cook salmon. —Amy Paul Maynard, Albany, Oregon

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    Rosemary Salmon and Veggies

    My husband and I eat a lot of salmon. One night, while in a rush to get dinner on the table, I created this rosemary salmon meal. It’s a keeper! You can also include sliced zucchini, small cauliflower florets or fresh green beans. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington

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    Lemony Salmon Patties

    Topped with a zippy white sauce, these little patties bake up golden brown in a muffin pan. They’re impressive enough for company but easy enough that I can prepare them any time we like. —Lorice Britt, Severn, North Carolina

    Lemon Garlic Salmon Steaks Exps 9x13bz20 35538 C10 01 2b 5

    Lemon-Garlic Salmon Steaks

    I always enjoy making this easy recipe for my husband, Jim. He absolutely loves salmon and garlic, and they go together so well in this recipe. —Mary Lynn Baronett, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

    Exps81139 Sd153320c12 09 4b 1

    Salmon Veggie Packets

    I feel the spirit of Julia Child when I make lemon-pepper salmon en papillote (in parchment). It’s the first French recipe I learned, and the delightful little packages are family-friendly. —Renee Greene, New York, NY

    Walnut And Oat Crusted Salmon Exps Thfm19 100797 C09 28 2b 3

    Walnut and Oat-Crusted Salmon

    I think this recipe gives you the most omega-3 fatty acid bang for your buck! —Cristen Dutcher, Marietta, Georgia

    Lemon Lime Salmon With Veggie Saute Exps47386 Th2237243a10 06 1bc Rms 8

    Lemon-Lime Salmon with Veggie Saute

    A fresh squeeze of lemon juice brightens so many flavors—acid is one of the most important influencers in how a dish tastes. If one acid is good, two is stronger: Add lemon and lime juice when you bake salmon, cooking the supporting cast of vegetables separately until crisp-tender. —Brian Hill, West Hollywood, California

    Sensational Spiced Salmon Exps Sddj19 28566 B07 17 3b 2

    Sensational Spiced Salmon

    A bold rub gives this quick seafood entree fantastic flavor. Paired with a green veggie and rice, my spicy salmon is a delightful weeknight dinner that’s special enough for company. —Michele Doucette, Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador

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    A British pub classic turns crown jewel when you add horseradish, panko and Worcestershire. You can also try it with white fish like cod or haddock. —Linda Schend, Kenosha, Wisconsin

    Salmon With Root Vegetables Exps Thd17 188340 B08 11 6b 3

    Salmon with Root Vegetables

    This cozy hash is loaded with protein and healthy fats that keep you going on busy days. We’ve been known to devour it at breakfast, lunch and dinner! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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    Scrumptious California Salmon

    California cuisine is all about balancing flavors. This recipe brings out the sweetness in orange juice and honey and balances it with the kick of ancho chili pepper and balsamic. —Dustin Anderson, Fillmore, California

    Citrus Salmon en Papillote

    Citrus Salmon en Papillote

    This salmon dish is so simple and easy to make yet so delicious, elegant and impressive. —Dahlia Abrams, Detroit, Michigan

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    Crumb-Topped Salmon

    Often we catch enough of our delicious Northwest salmon to send some to Michigan for my sister to enjoy. This crisp, lemony recipe is a tasty way to enjoy it. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington

    If you can’t catch your own, here’s the best salmon to buy.

    Ginger Salmon With Green Beans Exps Sdjj17 198867 D02 14 6b 4

    Ginger Salmon with Green Beans

    I developed this flavor-packed dinner for a busy friend who wants to eat clean. —Nicole Stevens, Austin, Texas

    Exps126992 Sd153322b04 08 6b 6

    Jamaican-Style Salmon with Coconut Cream Sauce

    We try to eat salmon a lot because it’s so healthy, and I love thinking of new ways to make it different and delicious. This dazzler is easy and is my go-to meal for company. —Joni Hilton, Rocklin, California

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    Easy Glazed Salmon

    It only takes four ingredients and a few moments of time to make this delightful main dish. —Tara Ernspiker, Falling Waters, West Virginia

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    Finnish Salmon and Dill Pie

    Being of Finnish heritage, I am always thrilled when I find a family recipe. This salmon and dill pie came tumbling out of one of my grandmother’s books. It will be a winner at any of your social functions. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

    Exps194095 Th163620c11 12 2b 5

    Oven-Roasted Salmon

    When I’m starving after work, I want a fast meal with no-fail technique. Roasted salmon is super tender and has a delicate sweetness. It’s also an easy wowza for company. —Jeanne Ambrose, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Exps99935 Th153344b06 16 9b 5

    Walnut-Crusted Ginger Salmon

    For those who aren’t wild about fish, this gingery salmon is a game-changer. Baking on foil makes for extra-easy cleanup. —Becky Walch, Orland, California

    Exps8831 Mrr153791b09 17 3b 2

    Baked Salmon

    I often make this very moist and flavorful oven-baked salmon for company because I can have it ready in less than half an hour. This baked salmon with lemon is well complemented by rice or a green vegetable and a tossed salad. —Emily Chaney, Penobscot, Maine

    Salmon With Balsamic Honey Glaze Exps98885 Sd2856494c12 04 5bc Rms 1

    Salmon with Balsamic-Honey Glaze

    Look no further—you’ve just found the first, last and only way you’ll ever want to fix salmon again. The sweet and tangy flavors blend beautifully in this easy-to-remember recipe. —Mary Lou Timpson, Centennial Park, Arizona

    Exps84738 Sd163617b02 04 9b 1

    Lemon Salmon with Basil

    At our house we opt for healthy foods, and this lemony salmon with basil is a knockout in the good-for-you category. We have it with asparagus or zucchini. —Shanna Belz, Prineville, Oregon

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    Ginger Salmon with Brown Rice

    Oh what fun it is to prepare a heavenly salmon with only five ingredients. My dressing serves as a glaze and a flavor-booster for the rice. —Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, Florida

    Exps47385 Thca163696c03 06 5b 1

    Citrus Salmon Fillets with Salsa

    Take lemony salmon fillets to the next level with a fresh, colorful homemade salsa. Just add a simple side of rice for a complete dinner. —Tiffany Hartpence, Lander, WY

    Sweet Mustard Salmon Exps57940 Thhc2238741c07 28 5b Rms 11

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    Lemon juice, mustard and brown sugar add something special to this salmon dish. —Cortney Claeson, Spokane, Washington

    Sesame Salmon With Wasabi Mayo Exps Cimzw20 133013 E09 02 4b 4

    Sesame Salmon with Wasabi Mayo

    I created this recipe to mimic the flavors of sushi. It’s remarkably simple and turns out well every time. —Carolyn Ketchum, Wakefield, Massachusetts

    Salmon With Horseradish Pistachio Crust Exps Thn17 203838 B06 21 1b 3

    Salmon with Horseradish Pistachio Crust

    Impress everyone at your table with this elegant but easy salmon that’s delicious and nutritious. You can substitute scallions for shallots if you like. —Linda Press Wolfe, Cross River, New York

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    Crusted Salmon

    These delicious salmon fillets are wonderful for company since they take only a few minutes to prepare, yet they taste like you fussed. I receive requests for the recipe every time I serve them.

    Exps138920 Thca153054c09 11 6b 2

    Seafood-Stuffed Salmon Fillets

    You could get stuffed salmon from a big-box store, but my fillets are loaded with flavor from crab, cream cheese and savory herbs. We love them. —Mary Cokenour, Monticello, Utah

    Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon Exps Sdfm17 24902 D10 07 4b 4

    Brown Sugar-Glazed Salmon

    Pop these protein-packed salmon fillets in the oven before whipping up a sweet basting sauce. This tangy entree cooks up in minutes making it a perfect meal for busy families and unexpected weekend guests. —Debra Martin, Belleville, Michigan

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    Pistachio Baked Salmon

    Next time you’re rushed by last-minute guests, try this fancy, flavorful salmon. With pistachios, brown sugar and dill, it’s a guaranteed hit. —Cathy Hudak, Wadsworth, Ohio

    Asian Style Salmon Packets Exps Thfm17 132640 B09 21 2b 2

    Asian-Style Salmon Packets

    My husband and I love salmon, so I’m always looking for fun ways to change it up. We both love the blend of heat and citrus, plus the foil packet makes for easy cooking and cleanup! —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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