I imagine something like boiling causes most of the oil in oily fish to be released into water.

What about steaming and poaching? I would imagine it is the same because by the time the entire fish is cooked the temperature reached would still cause the oils to come out being the cause of more lean tasting fish.

Would I be right?


1 Answer 1


Neither boiling, poaching nor steaming causes oily fish to lose “most of” its oil. I would expect all of them to release a similar amount of oil, with poaching (correctly done) probably resulting in the least amount released.

  • 1
    Poaching has a chance of washing away oil … but it can be done at a lower temperature than steaming, so maybe it’s less likely to overcook and will render less fat? (Although there may be a temperature range for which poaching is closer to boiling and renders more than steaming)
    – Joe
    Sep 20 at 13:24
  • @Joe Yes, poaching is done at a lower temperature than the other two. It also involves less rapid heat transfer than steaming and less mechanical action than boiling.
    – Sneftel
    Sep 20 at 13:43
  • @Sneftel how can you know how much fish oil remains? Whenever I cook a soup, stew or anything with a wet heat method you can see all the oil be released into the water. This applies to meat and chicken as well. So if you dispose of the water you dispose of most of the fat? Are you saying this is incorrect, how do u know this it seems quite observable to me. Sep 20 at 14:30
  • 3
    @JamesWilson You can see that some oil has been released, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all, or even most, of the oil has been released.
    – TripeHound
    Sep 20 at 14:46
  • Exactly. And indeed most of the fat is still in there. If you'd like to test it out, try boiling/steaming/whatever a chunk of adipose tissue (the fatty white areas in raw meat). Then roast the chunk for a while until it's dry and hard. See how much fat is released during the second process.
    – Sneftel
    Sep 20 at 15:32

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