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All the Different Cuts of Fish

All the Different Cuts of Fish

As one of the most versatile foods, fish can be prepared in a variety of ways – particularly in a variety of cuts. When ordering salmon at a restaurant or visiting your local seafood market, you might’ve noticed that there are a handful of cuts to choose from – whether that be fillet, butterfly fillet, loin, or other. Just like beef and steak, the number of ways to prepare fish are practically endless. Different cuts of fish have different tastes and different cooking methods, processes, and times. So depending on which type of cut you decide to go with, you’ll need to make sure to match the cut with the correct cooking style/time.

The cool thing about fish is that almost every part of the fish is usable – the tail, the head, the belly, etc. You’ll just need to know how to properly prepare and cook each part of the fish. One good tactic is continually working towards creating a diversified portfolio of fish recipes and seafood-centered meals. The more practice you have with different cuts of fish, the better you’ll be at extracting the flavors and enhancing the quality.

Different Cuts of Fish

Below, we have listed and described six different cuts of fish – whether that be different cuts of salmon, tuna, etc. – so that you’ll be more knowledgeable on which parts of a fish you’d prefer to cook/buy the next time you’re out.

Whole Fish

Although not really a cut, whole fish is still a very popular method to cook a fish. And while most chefs and experienced at-home cooks may prefer whole fish, it may not be the best choice for those with less experience – as it is more messy, intricate, and typically difficult to prepare. But it also adds a level of versatility that other cuts of fish don’t really have, such as being able to stuff or season it to create unique, out-of-this-world flavors.

Whole fish can be purchased as “gutted”/”dressed”, meaning that the viscera is removed but the head is still intact. It can also be pan-dressed – where the head is still intact but the fish has been gutted, scaled, and finned. This option prepares the fish to be cooked whole.


As the most popular cut of fish, fillets are cut from the sides of the fish - made by cutting the meat away from the bone alongside its length. In addition to being boneless, fillet fish cuts are also quicker to cook than other thicker cuts. Fillet cuts of fish can either be prepared as skin-on or skin-off, and can be cut further into pieces called “portions” or “pieces.” Fillets are versatile, fun to cook, and easy to find in the grocery store!

Butterfly Fillets

Similar to the fillet fish cut, butterfly fillets are easy to cook and fun to eat. Usually used for small freshwater fish, butterfly fillets are made up of two fillets that are connected at the middle by skin/backbone. So, when spread out, it takes the shape of a butterfly. This type of cut is best suitable for pan-frying or baking.


A loin is a thick cut of meat taken lengthwise of a large fish, such as tuna or swordfish. Thick and flavorful, this cut of fish is typically boneless and skinless.

Fish Steak

A fish steak is a cross section cut of a large fish, made perpendicular to the spine. Typically cut from larger fish such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, fish steaks are left with the vertebrae, bones, and skin intact. Although it can be cooked a variety of ways, fish steaks are perfect for grilling.


Normally cut and sold separately, the backend of the fish, closest to the tail, is cut and served/sold bone-in. Although this is a much less common cut of fish, the tail is still very flavorful, particularly if well-seasoned.

Buy Different Cuts of Fish at Pure Food Fish Market

At Pure Food Fish Market, we offer the freshest selection of fish and seafood – and yes, different cuts of fish galore! If you’re looking for salmon in particular, well we’ve got you covered. Our selection of different cuts of salmon include Northwest King Salmon Fillets, Northwest King Salmon Steaks, Northwest King Salmon Tails, as well as their Alaskan King Salmon counterparts. Not to mention Whole Northwest King Salmon and Whole Alaskan King Salmon as well! Shop with us today to order fresh seafood with overnight delivery!

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