How to Start Liking Fish

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Regardless of if you never ate fish as a child or never really liked it, it’s great that you’re considering adding fish to your diet. Eating fish has a ton of health benefits!

But that begs the question: how to start liking fish?

Here’s a guide to help acquire a taste for fish.

How to Start Liking Fish

It might not seem easy, but it can be done.

Buy Filets – Not Whole Fish

If the idea of having a whole fish on your plate makes you uncomfortable, there’s an easy work-around. Buy filets of fish when you’re first introducing the seafood to your diet. Fish steaks will work too. 

You can confront the idea of having a whole fish on your plate later on when you get more comfortable with the food.

fish plate with vegetables

Don’t Eat Oily Fish

The key to start liking fish is to introduce fish to your palate gradually. You don’t want to start off with eating oily fish.

Oily fish smell and taste pungent, and it is this characteristic scent and flavor that drives many away from eating fish.

The first fish you should eat is either a tilapia, a cod, or a rainbow trout. These have a neutral flavor (as long as they’re fresh).

When you get used to the consistency of fish, you can consider trying out richer fish.


The older the fish is, the higher its TMA content, and the more intense it smells and tastes. Whenever you buy fish, make sure you get a fish that is as fresh as home-cooked meals or freshly picked fruit.

Cook It Outdoors

If you dislike the smell of fish or hate the idea of it leaving your kitchen (or entire home) smelling like fish, you can cook it outdoors.

When you cook fish on your ranch or stovetop, you are essentially heating the natural oils in it and releasing them into the air. This is why fish’s smell intensifies when you begin cooking it.

To overcome this, all you have to do is get your grill going and cook the fish on the grill. Besides leaving your home smelling as welcoming as before, grill-cooked fish is intriguing and scrumptious.

If you don’t have a an option to cook or grill food outdoors, you can wrap the fish in parchment paper before cooking. The parchment will trap the aroma in it, leaving you with nothing to worry about.

table with food

Try Eating Fish Sticks

If you’ve tried fish before and were upset by its taste and texture, you could try eating some fried fish sticks.

Don’t get frozen, processed fish sticks from the store. Buy some fresh fish, dredge and bread the fish, then fry it. Enjoy it with some tartar sauce (making it is a lot easier than you’d think) and some slaw.

As you get used to the taste of the crunchy snack, you can consider pan-frying some fish. If you’re feeling confident, you can experiment with fish and try out any of the thousands of recipes on the internet you find intriguing. 


Be careful not to overcook the fish. Overcooked fish has a house-permeating smell and a much stronger flavor so much so that someone who’s not eaten a lot of fish will hate.

Add Fish to Your Favorite Meals

This isn’t as bad as it may sound. Mild fish are easy to cook and are very versatile. 

If you like tacos, you could add some grilled tilapia to them instead of making the usual chicken or beef filling. 

Burgers are a delicious fast food that almost everyone enjoys. You could replace the beef patty with a patty that incorporates white fish into it.

Some even like to add fish to their mac and cheese. While adding tuna to the pasta may be too much for someone that hasn’t eaten a lot of fish, you could add any white fish to get the hang of the texture of fish in your food.

Use Plenty of Spices When Cooking

If you like your food hot and with a hit of bold flavors, don’t be afraid to marinate your fish with spices. You could also rub some spices into the fish if you don’t want to make a marinade.

Fish absorbs flavor a lot more than chicken or beef, so be careful with how much spice you add to your dish since it may just get too hot to handle.

Once you get the hang of cooking fish, you will understand how much spice is the right amount.

fish plate with vegetables

Reward Yourself When You Start to Like It

You don’t want to go to a restaurant to try eating fish for the first time. It may ruin your night, and you may end up spending a lot and not eating much (or at all).

When you realize fish isn’t that bad, you should embrace your newfound taste by going to a nice restaurant and treating yourself to it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Eat Fish?

Per a review published by the British Nutrition Foundation, eating fish can protect you from cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of obesity and diabetes, in addition to offering a ton of other benefits.

What Should I Avoid When I First Start Eating Fish?

Getting right into eating salmon, mackerel, or anchovies isn’t the right way to go if you want to start liking fish. Those fishes smell pungent and have a strong fishy flavor.

Can I Take Fish Oil Supplements Instead of Eating Fish?

While fish oil supplements offer similar benefits as eating fish, they can also have side effects, including belching, heartburn, nausea, dysentery, rashes, and nosebleeds. Furthermore, if you accidentally take too many of the supplements, they may suppress your immune system and make you fall sick.

What Is the Best Way to Make Fish Less Fishy?

Making a lemon marinade is by far the most effective way to cut the intense flavor of fish. Submerging fish in milk before cooking also helps tone down the characteristic smell and make the fish taste good.

6 Tips for Cooking Fish (so it Actually Tastes Good!)


Now that you’ve gone over all you need to know about acquiring a taste for fish, all that’s left for you to do is head to the store and buy some white fish to cook and enjoy. 

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.