How To Scale Fish Like a Pro? | 7 Easy Steps

ByDaniel RogersMarch 22, 2021

What is more delicious than eating fish? almost nothing. but at the same time, there is nothing worse than having a messy countertop full of fish scales, right?

That’s why in this handy step-by-step guide we will be showing you how to scale fish like a pro!

How to Scale a Fish Without a Scaler?

How to scale fish
How to scale fish

Scaling a fish is an easy task. All you need to do is to follow these simple steps.

Required Tools

  • Parchment paper or a newspaper (protective layer)
  • Running water
  • Disposable gloves
  • A knife


Step 1-Use Cold Water For Rinsing The Slime Off The Fish.

  • To hold the fish firmly, you need to take the slim off or grip the fish using a dry rag or towel.

Step 2- Keep Rinsing To Loosen The Fish Scales

  • After you remove the slime, keep washing the fish to loosen the fish scales on both sides.

Step 3-Place The Fish On The Protective Covering

  • Using a protective layer while removing scales will keep the cutting board or your countertop clean.

Also check, What are the Benefits of Oysters? | 7 Healthy Advantages

Step 4-With Your Non-dominant Hand Grip The Fish Tightly From The Tail

  • Lay your fish above the protective cover.
  • Grasp the tail firmly while removing scales to prevent slipping .
  • Fines and scales can be sharp. So wearing protective gloves is recommended.

Step 5-Hold The Knife and Spin It to its Dull Side.

  • Next, use the blunt edge to take off the scales.
  • Grip the blunt edge at 45 degrees angle.
  • Place the knife-edge right up against the skin of the fish close to the tail fins.

Step 6-Scraping the Fish.

  • Rake the kitchen tool backside over the fish side. You have to move from the tail to the head. while doing, even, long strokes.
  • During scraping, apply a little pressure, you will find the scales pop off.
  • Keep working till you remove all the scales from this fish side.
  • Turn the fish over, and repeat.

Step 7-With Cold Water Rinse the Scales Residue.

  • After taking removing scales, grip the fish under running water to completely remove the leftover scales.
  • For those types of fish with tough-skin, you can work with the knife’s sharp edge. But make sure your blade will scrape over the scale’s top and not within the fish delicate flesh.

How To Scale Fish With Other Techniques?

1-Take Off the Skin Before Cooking

Take off the skin before cooking
Take off the skin before cooking

Required Tools

You need to consider some essential features when buying a cheese knife set.


  1. Flat the fish on the cutting board.
  2. With your sharp knife, take off all the fish skin involving the scales. Cut near to the skin to avoid wasting any fish.

2-Cook the Fish Before Removing the Skin.


  1. Start Cooking fish before removing the fish skin and scales.
  2. When the fish is done, take off the fish skin. as the heat will loosen it, making it easy for you to clean it.

3-Use a Fish Scale Remover

Using The Fish Scalers Instead Of The Knife
Using The Fish Scalers Instead Of The Knife

A fish scaling tool (aka fish scaler brush) is a special tool designed for scaling fish. They look like extreme hairbrushes and have jagged metal edges. Here are the right steps for scaling fish with a fish scale remover.

Also read , How to Hone Your Knife? | Easy Guide

Required Tools

  • Stainless steel fish scaler or electric fish scaler
  • Running water
  • A protective layer ( parchment paper)


  1. Grip your fish firmly by the tail.
  2. Next, with the fish scaler, Continue scraping the entire fish.
  3. After that, clean fish well.

It would help if you worked against the scale’s direction. Using long, even strokes will make the scales peel easily.

Now you knew the right ways to get a perfectly clean, scaled fish, it is time to move to the second step: gutting!

Cleaning and Gutting Fish

Cleaning And Gutting The Fish
Cleaning And Gutting The Fish

Required Tools

  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • fish fillet knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spoon
  • Running water
  • A proper trash bin

Read more , How to Care for Your Paring Knife?


Step 1- Slide the Knife Tip Within the Vent of the Fish.

  • Line the fish over a stable cutting surface with the belly facing you.
  • Lean the fish at an angle of 45-degree, and the head faces far from you.
  • Make the fillet knife edge face the head of the larger fish. then slide the fish fillet knife end within the fish anus. Counting on the fish size, you can Insert the knife end from 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) within the vent.

The vent is the lower part of the underside of the fish. In contrast, the anus is the tiny opening close to the tail’s bottom part. It always has various colors from the remaining vent of the delicious fish.

Step 2-Cut the Way Up Toward the Neck.

  • Hold your knife firmly and continue moving it up and down with a distance of 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) as you slide it along the fish opening.
  • Keep cutting until you reach 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) under the fish’s mouth.
  • You should avoid going deep within the belly of the fish while cutting it. If the intestines rupture, the fish inside will be messy.

Step 3-Open the Stomach and Take off the Guts and Intestines.

  • Without you rip the cut, slightly start spreading both fish sides at the vent with a 2–6 inch (5.1–15.2 cm). With your fingers, pinch the organs where they are linked to the head.
  • Continue pulling the organs gently out at the root. Then take off the guts and intestines. Check the body cavity to see if there is any organ residue. If there are, take them off with your hand.
  • Throw them in a proper trash bin. Physically taking off the guts, gills, and intestines should be an easy task. There should be no much resistance, and the task will not require a knife to cut anything.

Step 4-Extract the Kidney of the Fish Spine (If Found)

  • Some big fish come with a tiny kidney on the interior of the spine close to the middle part.
  • Search for a small organ that has a bean shape. If there is a kidney, extract it with a spoon.

Step 5-Rinse the Fish Under Running Water and Clean the Stomach Cavity.

  • Grip the fish in a big sink with the vent-side up. Turn on a cold water tap and open the fish stomach.
  • Allow the water to run through the stomach cavity of the fish. Simultaneously, with a spoon or your hand, scrub the inside walls of the fish. This step will take off any organ residue and make the flesh clean.
  • Keep cleaning fish for at least one minute. You do this to ensure reaching each portion of the fish’s stomach cavity.

You may also like the best electric knife sharpeners review.

FAQ about How To Scale Fish

1-How Can You Clean and Care for Fish Scalers?

Fish scalers can be similar to other fishing gear pieces. Cleaning and storing them correctly is necessary if you want them to last for a long time.

If you use metal brass fish scaler, you should usually use freshwater for rinsing it. This step will remove any debris and dirt. After that, coat it with a layer of protective oil/spray. to avoid rust and corrosion during storage.

If you use a fish scale scraper with a wooden handle, do not immerse the wooden portion in water. You have to keep it dry.

2-Is It OK to Eat Fish Scales?

Yes, you can eat them. But it will not be a tasty one. Actually, in some dishes, the fish scales can be cooked. But, it is advisable to do this with large fish with stubborn scales.

3-Do I Have To Take Off the Salmon Scales?

A lot of individuals eat salmon fillet skin, especially if it is crispy. However, you should remove the scales when you buy the fish. You should know how to scale fish with a butter knife or fish scaler tool.

4-Do I Have to Rinse Frozen Fish?

Before you cook frozen fish, wash it with cold water first. This step helps you to take off the frost or ice before you cook fish.

Read more , How to shuck oysters without an oyster knife

Final Thoughts

You should consider that the odor of the fresh fish can be terrible. Therefore it is better to use a perfumed dishwashing liquid to wash all the equipment you used during each process.

And now we expect you to perfectly know how to scale fish like a pro!

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Daniel Rogers

My name is Daniel Rogers, a 35-year-old enthusiast of the kitchen.From the moment that I entered the kitchen, I have been passionate about cooking and baking. This passion made me eager enough to know more about the kitchen tools that I use. The older I become, the more I become knowledgeable about kitchen tools. When and how to use a special tool in the kitchen becomes my hobby.I read a lot about many brands, tried some of them by myself, and gathered sufficient information about the others.