I like fish. But oily fish cooking smells differ tangibly from their taste. As such, I never cook oily fish, I'll buy smoked mackerel or a tin of sardines. Salmon is an exception.

I was wondering if anyone who had any tips to minimise oily fish cooking odour.

Is it the skin? Does removing the skin help?

  • Freshness plays a role.
    – moscafj
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 21:20
  • The fresher a fish is the less, "fishy" it'll smell. The odor comes, from old fish. Fresh fish usually smells very nice and subtlety of sea water.
    – Jade So
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


My experience is that techniques which cause the oils to become aerosolised, microscopic droplets suspended in the air, are the most problematic.Those techniques tend to be those that use higher temperatures and shorter cooking times.

On that basis I avoid frying fillets of oily fish or cooking them under the grill/broiler. Instead I look for recipes where the fish is cooked more slowly and is enclosed or covered to reduce the degree to which aerosolised particles of oil can circulate in the home.

Techniques include:

  • poaching
  • Cooking en-papillote
  • roasting at lower temperature over a veg base.

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