The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Fish

updated Jun 3, 2022
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Perfect air fryer salmon plated with a side salad.
Credit: Photo: Christine Han | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Cooking fish may seem a bit intimidating at first. What kind of fish should you buy? How do you keep it from sticking to the pan? But once you take the plunge, the rewards are delicious. Knowing when the fish is ready takes a little know-how, and we’re here to help.

According to the USDA’s Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Guide, cook fish until the center reaches 145°F on an instant-read or meat thermometer.

There is another way some people gauge the doneness of fish when they do not have a thermometer. They cut the piece of fish in the thickest part and look at the texture.

The fish should be opaque (not translucent like when it’s raw) and break easily into flakes when you nudge it with a fork. Of course, this is not as accurate as using a thermometer, but it can be helpful.

More Fish-Cooking Tips from The Kitchn

Once you’ve mastered the art of cooking fish to the right temperature, you can experiment with various cooking techniques.

When the heat of summer rolls around, try cedar plank grilled salmon. Or, if you prefer indoor cooking, get acquainted with pan-seared mahi-mahi. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Read on for more fish-cooking tips.

Safe Cooking Temperatures for Chicken, Beef, Pork, and More

Developing the habit of taking the temperature of your favorite pan-seared salmon, pork chop, or roast chicken is the first step in becoming a better cook.

It just takes the guesswork out of making dinner for friends and family so you can enjoy a main course cooked to perfection every time. If you’re seeking more safe cooking temperature know-how, then look no further than the links below.