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How to Skin Salmon

Prep Time2 mins


  • Long, thin bladed sharp knife.


  • Select a sharp knife with a blade as long or longer than your fillet is wide. Position the fillet on your cutting board with the tail (narrow end) of the fillet opposite your dominant hand (if you're right handed, tail on the left.) Put the fish close to the edge of the board and the board at the edge of the counter.
  • Some salmon fillets have a very thin flange of flesh that runs along the long uneven side. You might want to cut it off in about a 1" strip because it can dry out very quickly when cooking. Don't get rid of it though, it's very tasty! Simply cook it separately or for much less time.
  • Firmly grip the tail of the fillet using a dry paper towel. It's very slippery and the towel allows you to have a stable hold. You'll be using one fluid cutting motion to cut between the flesh and skin, pulling on the tail the entire time.
  • Position your knife so the handle and your hand are clear of the counter. This allows you to keep your knife blade perfectly level with the board while cutting down the length of the fillet without the bulk of your hand forcing the blade upward or downward.
  • Hold the blade vertically, but angled toward the fillet. While holding the tail with the paper towel, make a cut about 1" inward from the end of the tail, through the flesh and to, but not through, the skin. Don't remove the knife, but move it forward, while flattening it level in between the flesh and skin. Still pulling on the tail and keeping your blade level, cut swiftly and smoothly between the flesh and the skin of the fillet. Don't stop once you start. Follow through until the cut is complete and the blade is free and out the wide end of the fillet.
  • Pull out the skin. Your fillet is now ready for cooking or portioning.


  • Do a pretend cut to make sure your fish, hand and knife are positioned properly
  • Keep that knife blade level
  • Once you start, don't stop
  • The whole thing only takes about 10 seconds or so