Fish Cuts: A Guide to Different Styles

Fish Cuts: A Guide to Different Styles

Fish cuts come in various textures, tastes, and cooking times. Although some cuts are suitable for quick cooking techniques like frying, others are ideal for braising or slow cooking. Your tastes and the dish you’re aiming to make will ultimately determine the sort of fish and the cut you use.

Given all the varied considerations, it is understandable that many home cooks experience anxiety when purchasing fish. We’ve covered “Fish Cuts: A Guide to Different Styles” for you!

What are the most common types of fish cuts? 
We use these fish cuts in our day to day life. Nonetheless, we need to find out their names. Let’s learn about the most common fish cuts, which are super handy!

1. Filets

Fish Cuts

The flesh taken from the edges of the fish is known as a filet. The three filet varieties are entire, v-cut, and j-cut, with the last two becoming the most common. The pinned bone is carved out using both techniques. The nape, a little, thin, fatty portion of flesh on the bottom part of the filet, is likewise eliminated in a j-cut. Fish with larger filets can have their portions divided further.
The leftover filet pieces, sometimes known as “off-cuts,” are equally as excellent as the loins but are a little less consistent. Depending on the fish species, filet cuts can be found with or without skin and can be spiced, marinated, baked, roasted, or sautéed.

2. Loin

Fish Cuts

Fish don’t always have loins in the sense of a classic steak. The word “loins” for fish chops is merely a sales gimmick to cater to the crowd’s meat eaters. A loin cut is made from the fish’s filet, which is often from a large, rounded fish. It comes from the fish’s back, frequently from above the spine. 
The most frequent loins are marlin, swordfish, and tuna. The chunks of meat that make up a loin are thick, consistent, and boneless. Typically, they are exceedingly thick and dense. But because it takes more time to cut and edge them into those neat, uniform pieces, they also have a larger price tag.

3. Whole Fish

Whole Fish

The ability to stuff or season whole fish offers a degree of diversity that other fish cuts do not have, allowing for the creation of extraordinary, out-of-this-world flavors. Whole fish can be bought “gutted” or “dressed,” which refers to removing the viscera but preserving the head. 
It is also possible to pan-dressed, which involves gutting, scaling, and finning the fish while leaving the head intact. With this choice, the fish is ready to be fried whole.

4. Steak

Whole Fish

Portions of fish which have bone but are cut, keeping the spine parallel are called steak cut. Fishes over 10 pounds are cut into such pieces. Such pieces could be fried, baked or grilled.  

5. Bone in cut

Fish cut

Typically, the portion of a large fish’s back close to the tail is cut off and sold separately. 
This piece, which may feed several people, is great when seasoned and roasted. Although it’s not the most popular cut, the bone-in cut is still incredibly flavorful and is sure to please a large crowd during a dinner party.

Different styles of fish cuts
Your recipe and cooking method will depend greatly on your fish cut. You must learn about all types of cuts to be aware of many dishes! Let’s get to know about different styles of fish cuts!

1. Filet Chttps

Different styles of fish cuts

It is usually preferable to slice fish straight to the spine to obtain fish filets instead of parallel to the spine. Steaks or cutlets are symmetric concerning the spine prepared for fish cuts that frequently have a bone in them. The “frame,” made up of the residual bones and associated flesh, is frequently used to produce fish stock. The fish’s backbone is absent in filets, yielding less flesh than whole fish or fish steaks but are simpler to chew.

Solid big blocks are used to cut filets into specialty shapes such as “natural” cut filets, wedges, rhombuses, and tails. Pin Bones can or can not be removed, and filets can either have skin on them.

2. Butterfly Filet

Different styles of fish cuts

A butterfly is prepared by removing the fish’s head and slicing through to the belly’s back side. It is the filet that has been split open and stretched out into the style of a butterfly, as the name implies. In order to open the fish up like a book, the cut starts with a filet, which is made by slicing another side of the fish from behind the fish’s head. From there, the cut proceeds along the fish’s length, tapering toward the tail.

A linked butterfly filet is the result of repeating the procedure on the opposite side of the fish. The bones can then be taken out if you so choose. Salmon and halibut, two fish with huge, meaty filets, are popular choices for this cut. It works well for pan frying, baking, and grilling.

3. Paupiette

Here, the fish filet is smeared with stuffing, set flat on the table, wrapped, and tied with a thread to maintain its shape. Typically, a filet is rolled up and packed with fruits or vegetables.
A small piece of fish, such as tuna, soles, whiting, and sometimes anchovies, is packed, rolled, and fastened with thread in a traditional French dish called a paupiette.

4. Pocket Cut

Due to their big loins, fish like swordfish and tuna are excellent candidates for a pocket cut. Parallel to a butterflied filet, the pocket cut separates the fish into two pieces at the backbone rather than cutting through the entire fish. Before cooking, fill the pocket created by this cut with herbs, veggies, or other items.

5. Supreme


When a large fish filet is cut on a stand, it looks more scrumptious. A Supreme cut is a fish slice sliced from a filet at an angle and is regarded as the best fish cut. A block or bias cut creates a boneless supreme out of a filet or lion.

6. Tail


The fish’s fleshy back end nearest to the tail is called the tail. It is a pointy, meaty cut that is thick and substantial. Although less common than other cuts, this tail can still be a tasty and wholesome choice. Because the tail cut doesn’t have the same solid texture as other cuts, most people ignore it. But when properly prepared, the tail can be as delicious and tender.

Tail slices seasoned and roasted are a fantastic starter or main dish. Additionally, you can fry, barbecue, or bake tail slices. Depending on the kind of fish, the tail cut will be of different size and form.

7. Goujons

Goujons are approximately 8 cm long and 1 cm wide slices of fish filet. The filets of tiny fish like sole or plaice are used to make goujons. Basically, this cut is utilized for garnishing.

8. Darne


In this cut, a large, round, entire fish, such as cod or salmon, with the bone cut along and through it such, as 2-3 cm thick. The skin is typically left on tough cuts like salmon steaks, which may also just be scaled.

9. Canoed Filet

Complementary to the butterfly filet are used for canoed filets, primarily rainbow trout, mackerel, and herring. After being cut down the back, the fish remains with its head on before being gutted and fileted. As a result, the fish is left open in the shape of a canoe, which makes it ideal for stuffing and baking.

10. En Loregnette

En Loregnette

Long fish is typically used to make it. Remove the backbone while keeping the head filets in place. Roll each slice in the direction of the head, with the head serving as the grip and the two filets as the casque glasses.

What type of knives do you need for cutting fish?

A sharp knife is obviously the most important piece of equipment while cutting fish. Injury risk is reduced and clean cuts are ensured with a sharp knife. Additionally, it makes cutting less difficult and more fun. 

Let’s see which knives should be used while cutting fish.

  • Filet Knife

A long, slender knife with a bendable blade is a filet knife. Its name implies that it is specifically made for fish filleting. Without hurting the tender flesh, the knife can be manipulated around the bones to remove the skin.

A filet knife’s blade makes it simple to cut underneath the skin and down the meat’s vertebrae, preserving all of the edible portions. Professional seafood preparers and famous chefs alike utilize these filet knives because of their incredible efficiency.

  • Deba

The Deba’s substantial weight is advantageous because, with proper handling, its strong heel part can be utilized to cut or slice through the bones of small- to medium-sized fish and fowl.

Although Deba knives are frequently used to split apart fish, they may also be securely used to cut open fish heads. It is frequently used to break down and dress fish with small bones now clean and filet the entire fish. 

  • Boning Knife

Compared to a filet knife, a boning knife has a harder blade. It best separates bones from whole fish and other thicker fish pieces like steaks. A boning knife will nonetheless slide around bones and confined spaces while not being as elastic as a filet knife.

With the design, chopping through ligaments and soft tissue, taking meat from large bones, or dislodging microscopic fish bones may all be done precisely through this knife.

What should be kept in mind while cutting fish?

Fish cutting is an art. However, it would help if you kept in mind a few things for the perfect cut and your safety. These are a few pro tips that will help you!

  • On the hand holding the fish, curl your fingers under it to protect your fingertips.
  • Put on gloves that won’t cut you.
  • When slicing fish or removing skin from it, the blade should always be angled away from you.
  • If you have to look up while cutting, stop what you’re doing and take a break until you can finish the task with attention.

Do’s and Don’ts in Using Knives While Cutting Fish

Fish knives need to be cleaned after each usage, almost as much as whatever you do with the knife itself. Cleaning blades can prevent the rise of bacteria, increase their lifespan, and reduce the risk of accidents caused by slick or unclean knives.

  • After each usage, rinse the knife well and lay it flat.
  • Utilize a fresh, damp cloth to clean each side. Always clean the blade from the spine toward the front.
  • After cleaning a batch of fish, wash your knives by hand in warm, soapy water.
  • By hand, dry the knife from the spine toward the front using a fresh towel.
  • A sharp knife should never be dropped into soap water and left there


Since fish comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cuts. Take into account the kind of fish and the preferred cooking method when selecting a cut. You should really be able to comprehend the many types of fish cuts and their uses from the aforementioned material. So feel free to request or try out a particular cut the next time! 

Hopefully, this article in Fish Cuts: A Guide to Different Styles will help you!