Recently I noticed that fish fillets from several brands and also fish steaks shrink visibly after cooking. I was used to see this happen regularly with beef, but seeing this happening to fish is something new. Is it possible that the meat was soaked in water? How much could it increase its weight in this way?

1 Answer 1


Yes. Cheap seafood is frequently treated with sodium triphosphate which causes it to absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, "plumping" it. This causes it to shrink and become soggy when cooked.

In the USA, Canada and several other countries you can look on the label for sodium compounds to detect and avoid this.

  • Thank you for your answer. But I am afraid that the checking the ingredient label won't be enough. The packaging I still have home claims it is only frozen fish, nothing else, and this is the one that pushed me to ask this question. I can bet that the dull stuff that came out of the pot shrunk way more than 30%.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 14:51
  • Where are you located? Because if it's in the US or Canada, they're required to report that. If there's a nutritional label you can also check the sodium content. Without additives, you can't plump fish with water; it won't absorb more water than it already has.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:12
  • Mind you... if your fish is freezer-burned, it will release additional water and shrink when you cook it. That's pretty obvious, though, it'll be covered in ice crystals.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:13

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