Nostril to Caudal: Fish Skin Crisps Recipe

For the last two months, we’ve talked about ways to eat every part of a fish—except the fillets. We’ve been through cheeks, collars, brains, whole heads, eyes, throats and tongues; hearts, intestines, stomachs, esophagi, air bladders, visceral fat, and livers; eggs, milt, spinal cords, spleens, and kidneys; and fins, scales, and slime. But, after all those somewhat complicated (and borderline gross) recipes, I thought I’d round out this series with the easiest one and my own entry point into eating the whole fish.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make your fish skin crispier, you’re not alone. Frying fish skin isn’t overly difficult, and most people can master golden-brown edges, but it can be tricky to maintain that same consistency all the way through the middle. Crispy fish skin is dependent on the right oil temperature and the amount of moisture in the skin before it’s fried. Dehydrating the skin first will help it puff up to three times its size when dipped in hot oil. When done right, fish skin can crisp up like pork cracklins. When done incorrectly, it’s as soggy as a wading boot. Fish skin chips are great as a stand-alone appetizer along with tartar sauce  or as a crispy topping for other dishes.

Time to make

30 minutes


Fish skins with all scales and flesh removed
Grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Special equipment

Scaling tool
Frying pan


  1. Start by removing any scales and flesh.
  2. Dip skin in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Gently remove and lay out on baking paper.
  3. Dehydrate in a dehydrator or oven set to low. They’re ready when completely stiff.
  4. Drop the dehydrated skins into grapeseed oil heated to 375 degrees F. Fry for 10 seconds and remove.
  5. Season and enjoy!