How to Descale Salmon

April 8, 2023

If you’re looking to make crispy skin salmon, you need to descale the fish first. This process is quick, easy, and a surefire way to make a crispier version of the fish.

What To Do

The first step is to remove the anal fins, which are pair of fins near the bottom of the fish. Using a sharp knife, cut these off and discard them.

Next, place the fish skin side down on a chopping board. Coat the tail end of the fillet in salt to give you a good grip and stop it from slipping, then cut between the flesh and skin in the opposite direction from the tail.

Now you can begin to carefully remove the scales from the fish, one at a time. It’s a messy job, but you’ll find that the scales will eventually loosen and fall off once you rinse it off under cool water.

What You Should Do

To start, hold the salmon skin-side down in your hand with your other hand firmly holding it to keep it from moving. Keeping the skin tight, use a sharp knife to make a small incision in the skin at the tail.

Once this incision is made, use your other hand to pull the skin away from the flesh. Repeat this process, working in small sections of the fish, until all of the scales are removed.

The gray area under the skin is a layer of fatty tissue that contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It’s safe to eat, but can have a fishier taste than the rest of the fish. It can easily be removed before cooking, or it can flake off with a fork once the fish is cooked.


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