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How To Debone Fish

Here's how to remove the bones from a fish while leaving it intact to cook whole.


  • Step 1: Lay the fish flat and run your knife just under the rib bones on either side to remove them.
  • Step 2: Gently scrape the surface of the meat with your knife blade on both sides to raise the pin bones; then use pliers or tweezers to remove them.
  • Step 3: Now you're ready to cook your fish. A stuffed whole fish makes an elegant meal for a special occasion.
  • FACT: Did you know? There are more species of fish in the world than the total number of amphibian, reptile, mammal, and bird species combined.
  • Step 4: Cut through the spine at the tail and head to remove it.
  • TIP: To keep your fish whole, cut down to the skin along the spine, but be careful not to cut through it.
  • TIP: Don't use a serrated or electric knife to debone a fish. It will shred the delicate flesh.
  • Step 5: Slice off any intact fins. To remove the dorsal fin, make a cut on either side and then pull it out.
  • Step 6: Lay the fish on its back and cut alongside the spine on either side to separate it from the meat. Sever the pin bones from the spine as you go.
  • Step 7: Use a filet knife, which is designed specifically for cutting fish. A long, thin, flexible blade that is very sharp will slide under tiny fish bones without tearing the meat.

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