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Savoring the Ocean’s Bounty: What Does Mackerel Taste Like?

Mackerel comprises different Pelagic fish species and is well-known for its stripes and forked tails.

It has a reputation for its fishy smell, which makes it a less favorite, especially in restaurants.

Compared to other fish types, this one tends to get spoil soon and thus leave an offsetting meal.

Freshly caught Mackerel is a delight to have, while the ones that are not fresh leave an overwhelming fishy smell.

That said, what does Mackerel taste like? This post will reveal its taste profile, texture, and other crucial aspects.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Mackerel?

Mackerel has over twenty-one species belonging to the Scombridae family.

The distinct features of this fish species make it easy to recognize.

It lives in temperate and tropical waters and will find them mainly offshore.

They have stripes on its back, forked tails, and silver bellies.

Mackerel plays a vital role in commercial food.

Every year millions of these fish are harvested globally.

Besides humans, this fish species is consumed by other big fishes and seabirds.

Sharks, Tuna, Whales, and Dolphins survive on Mackerel.

You may prepare Mackerel in different ways because of its versatile taste.

Like any other fish, it’s rich in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Compared to salmon, Mackerel is relatively oily and has a fishy odor, especially when it’s not fresh.

Raw ones have less odor compared to cooked ones.

Unless you live near the sea, getting a fresh Mackerel seems less likely.

What Does Mackerel Taste Like?

Despite its fishy smell, Mackerel has excellent taste.

Some may say it tastes like tuna or salmon, which is true to some extent.

It has sticky yet firm flesh and is pretty tender when prepared on a hot grill.

Unlike other fish types, it has a sweet taste and is not salty, with a smaller number of bones.

Fewer bones make it easier to have without having to worry about choking on them.

Since it’s quite oily, it leaves a strong and savory flavor. Some may find it off-putting or overwhelming.

It has a distinct taste profile that can be a hit or miss.

You may opt for canned Mackerel since it has a milder flavor.

You may have it raw, like sushi or sashimi, if you plan to have it raw.

Raw ones have less odor and are mildly flavored. Ensure that it’s fresh by pressing its flesh.

If it bounces back, then it’s fresh and good to eat.

Or, check its gills- it should be vibrant red and devoid of discoloration.

Mackerel is known for its excellent nutritional value providing multiple health benefits.

Some of the benefits include:

  • It’s a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help improves your heart health.
  • Mackerel has lower mercury levels compared to other fish species. .
  • It’s protein-rich fish where a single fillet accumulates to 20gm.
  • Mackerel is also a rich antioxidant containing Selenium which is necessary for our daily diet. .

Because of its low mercury level, it’s safe to eat, and including this in your meal routine would be an excellent addition.

How to Cook and Serve Mackerel?

Mackerel and tuna share the same flaky texture allowing you to try different cooking methods, including baking, grilling, stir-frying, and stewing.

However, for this fish, we recommend grilling.

Because of its high oil content, grilling help creates extra crispiness while the inside flesh remains tender and moist.

All you need is to season with lime juice and salt, then proceed with the grilling process.

You may improvise the ingredients but ensure that it blends with the fish.

This grilling method helps retain its delicate flavor and, in the process, brings out the fish’s natural sweetness.

As stated earlier, Mackerel is known to have a fishy smell.

So, here is what you can do to eliminate the smell:

  • Before frying the fish, dip it in lemon juice for some minutes. Take it out and let it fry before putting it in the pan. Doing this help in getting rid of fishy odor.
  • Rub the Mackerel with salt over its body and let it sit for three to five minutes. Wash it off with water after and then proceed with cooking. This method is also effective in eliminating the fishy smell.
  • Ginger and seafood make an excellent combo. Here rub the fish with freshly crushed ginger and let it sit for half an hour before cooking. .


Mackerel may have an unpleasant smell, but it is a delight to have when cooked correctly.

Try to get fresh ones that have less odor and are good to eat.

Check its gills or press its flesh to see whether it’s fresh.

It’s affordable seafood that you can prepare in different ways.

Include this in your meal plan if you’re on a balanced diet, as it provides multiple nutritional values.

What Does Mackerel Taste Like? Does It Taste Good?

Learn about the taste of mackerel, a fatty fish with a distinct flavor profile, and whether it's considered delicious by seafood enthusiasts.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


  • Mackerel
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  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
  • Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!
Keyword What Does Mackerel Taste Like
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