How To Fillet A Salmon

Do you love salmon fillet and king salmon sushi? Yes? Great, because we also love salmon steaks and sushi. But do you know how to fillet a whole salmon and how to skin a salmon fillet? If not, don’t hesitate to read ahead to learn the detailed methods of how to fillet a salmon and how to take the skin off the fillet. We’ll give you two different ways to fillet salmon for steaks, curry, pan-frying, and every other recipe. 

Before we dig into the methods of how to fillet a coho salmon or king salmon, you must know how to clean salmon. Click here to watch the easiest way of cleaning any fish. Now that you know how to prepare salmon for filleting let’s move ahead with our filleting salmon methods.

How to Fillet Salmon Fish? 

For filleting salmon for sushi, steak, or anything, you will need the following kitchen tools,

  • Salmon Fillet Knife
  • A pair of scissors 
  • Tweezers or kitchen pliers (for removing scales) 
  • A chopping board 
salmon fillet

No matter which method you are going to use for filleting salmon fast, the first three steps are,

  1. Cut the Fins: Cut all the small fins with scissors.
  2. Cut Behind The Gills: Using an ultra-sharp saltwater fillet knife, make a precise cut exactly behind the gills and stop cutting by the spine.

How to Cut a Salmon Fillet? (Method # 1)

If you don’t know how to fillet salmon for sushi or steaks, follow the method below, and you will become a pro in filleting salmon fish.

sushi on plate, a girl with sticks in hand with black nailpolish
  1. Make a 90o Turn: Turn the knife by 90o soon after cutting behind the gills. Hold the knife with the sharp edge facing the tail. Make sure the knife blade covers the whole salmon width at this point. 
  2. Slide the Knife Smoothly: Start moving the knife along the spinal cord, cut the fillet up to the tail, and then separate it. 
  3. Repeat on the Other Side: Flip the fish and follow the same steps on the other side to achieve the second fillet. 
  4. Remove Rib Bones: Take one fillet and remove the rib bones by sliding the knife beneath them. Keep your knife as near bones as possible and slide smoothly. 
  5. Remove Belly Fat: As soon as you reach the belly fat when removing ribs, remove both belly fat and rib bones in a single cut. 
  6. Clean the Fillet: Align the corners by trimming any extra skin and fats on the corners to give a clean shape to the fillet. 

To watch a video of the same method.

YouTube video

How to Fillet King Salmon? (Method # 2)

Follow this effortless salmon filleting method if you want to know how to fillet a salmon steak, 

  1. Cut near the Dorsal Fin: Using the cut behind the gills, make an incision right near the spine, passing by the dorsal fin. And stop cutting when you reach the tail. 
  2. Cut behind the Ribs: Start cutting the fillet through the incision while using the rib bones as a guide to cut behind them. Using ribs for filleting in the correct direction will result in negligible meat wastage. 
  3. Separate the Fillet: Continue the above step until you remove the fillet from the rib bones. There is no need to pull this step in a single cut, and it is better to use smaller blade strokes. 
  4. Remove Scales and Belly Fat: Remove the dorsal fin scales by cutting the meat in that area. And cut the extra belly fat attached to the fillet. 

Flip the salmon and repeat the exact method on the other side to get two whole salmon fillets. 

Watch a video of the same method.

YouTube video

How to Debone a Salmon Fillet? 

Now that we have discussed how to fillet a salmon, let’s move ahead to the method of removing pin bones from those amazing and big fillets, 

  1. Make Pin Bones Visible: Run the dull edge of your best salmon fillet knife on the thickest part of the fillet to make the pin bones visible.
  2. Remove Scales with the Tweezers: Now, use the tweezers to remove the scales. Keep cleaning the scales off the tweezers in between. 

Here, you have a freshly filleted salmon with no scales. You can wash it and use it right after deboning without removing skin if you plan to roast or pan fry the fillets. 

How to Remove Skin from Salmon Fillet? 

If you want to know how to skin salmon fillets or any other fish, this is the easiest method you can ever find. 

  1. Place Fillet on a Dry Surface: Place the salmon fillet on a flat surface with its skin on the lower side.
  2. Make a Small Cut: Cut a small piece of meat on the fillet’s narrow (tail) side. Ensure not to separate this little meat from the skin. 
  3. Remove the Skin: Use the small meat piece to hold the fillet in place. And start sliding the knife with the skin to separate the fillet from its skin.
removing skin from salmon fillet

It is a very simple step because you only need to run the blade with the skin smoothly, and you will have a skinless salmon fillet in no time.


Q1: What is the ideal size of filleting knives for salmon? 

Filleting knives with a blade size between 7-8 inches are undoubtedly perfect for filleting salmon. However, a bigger or smaller blade will also do the job unless it has a dull edge. 

Q2: Is a manual or an electric fillet knife better for filleting salmon? 

You can use electric and manual knives to fillet salmon for sushi. However, manual knives are ideal for filleting a few salmon because cutting several fish with a manual knife might become a tiring effort. So, if you are filleting salmon in bulk quantity, then using the best electric fillet knife is way better. 


Filleting becomes a breeze when you know how to fillet a salmon. And once you start filleting fish at home, you will be enjoying every second of it. You can cut the fillet into steaks or small skinless cubes for fish curry or leave them as a whole fillet to pan-fry and enjoy the tastiest salmon steaks on your table. 

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