After buying an entire fish from the supermarket, I was wondering if it is better to clean an entire fish before or after putting it to a freezer for storage (not long, abound a few days)?

Or the solution depends on the kind of fish? Today I bought some butter fishes. Before, I have bought porgy, bluefish, mackerel, pomfrey, ...

Thanks and regards!

3 Answers 3


Yes the fish should be cleaned and prepared before being frozen. Reference: http://www.helpwithcooking.com/food-storage/freezing-fish.html

  • Thanks! I wonder whether the contact with water during cleaning the fish will not be good for storing the fish in the freezer?
    – Tim
    Dec 19, 2011 at 2:17
  • @Tim The ice will actually protect the fish from air. Here is another good source on this: fishcooking.about.com/od/howtochoosefreshfish/qt/…
    – JSideris
    Dec 19, 2011 at 2:26
  • It has been my experience when buying commercially frozen uncleaned fish is that cleaning it as it unfreezes and starts to rot is truly upsetting. Not recommended!
    – Doug
    Dec 22, 2011 at 1:27
  • I would never buy a commercially frozen uncleaned fish. If you're going to buy an uncleaned fish it better be freshly slaughtered.
    – JSideris
    Dec 22, 2011 at 2:36

I'd say it depends on the type of fish, and how you plan cooking it. I prefer scaling and cleaning the fish before freezing. This way I'm only storing what I will be eating and have no need to worry about additional smells and bacteria in the freezer and whilst defrosting.


Absolutely must be cleaned before freezing. I grew up on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain where my father was a commercial fisherman, shrimper, boat builder. We never, froze fish without gutting and scaling them. Same with shrimp - at least take the heads of but best to take black "vein" out and remove shells.

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