Kosher Fish List

A guide to choosing a kosher fish.

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The list below should only be used as a general guide only. A kosher and a non-kosher fish may have the same name. To be sure that your fish is kosher, check for fins and scales (scales must be removable either by hand or with a knife without ripping the underlying skin).

Shopping for kosher fish can be fairly confusing. The biblical injunction – only fish with fins and scales – sounds fairly straightforward. And it is easy to remember that shellfish – including such popular items as lobster, shrimp and mussels – are verboten for the kosher-observant.

However, the reality for modern fish-buyers is complicated, and not just because later commentaries elaborated that you must be able to remove the fins and scales without tearing the fish’s skin. Whereas once upon a time people ate mostly locally fished foods and chose from a limited array of options, nowadays the fish available in supermarkets (and at specialized fish stores) comes from all over the world, and often is sold pre-cut and prepackaged.

Other modern-day issues:

*It is not uncommon for fish to be labeled improperly, whether deliberately (a phenomenon called “species substitution”) or by accident.

*Fish often have multiple names.

*Fish that are otherwise kosher are often caught and processed together with non-kosher fish, which means there may be some cross-contamination.

For these reasons, the Orthodox Union (the world’s largest kosher-certification agency), which used to publish a kosher fish list, stopped doing so in the early 2000s. According to an article on the group’s website, “common names” for fish are often unreliable, with several different types of fish referred to as “red snapper.” And knowing Latin names isn’t much help, according to the OU:

The problem is that fish sellers never refer to fish by Latin names, and have generally no knowledge of the correct Latin name for a fish! In one case, we asked a kosher fish store the Latin name of a certain (kosher) fish and the Latin name provided was that of a completely different, non-kosher fish!!!”

One other issue to keep in mind: While the Conservative movement regards swordfish and sturgeon as kosher, most Orthodox sources do not.

Please use our Most Common Kosher Fish list as a general guide, rather than authoritative sources – particularly if you are strictly observant or are cooking for someone who is strictly observant.

One last thing to remember about fish: It is not kosher (according to Orthodox interpretation; Conservative sources have dropped this rule) to cook or serve fish and meat together. The fish-meat separation rule is less stringent than the dairy-meat separation, however.

Fish is pareve, neither meat nor dairy, so there is no need to have special fish dishes or utensils. However, you should wash the dishes and utensils before using them for meat. Also, there’s no requirement to wait a set length of time between eating fish and meat (although some rabbinic sources require washing hands, rinsing your mouth or cleansing your palate in some other manner); in fact, fish is often served as a first course in a meat meal.

Common Kosher Fish

Albacore (See Mackerels)

Alewife (See Herrings)

Anchovies

Angelfish and butterfly fish

Barracudas

Atlantic Pomfret or Ray’s Bream

Bass (See Sea Basses, Drums, Sunfish, and Temperate basses)

Blackfish See Carps and Wrasses

 

Bluefish or snapper blue

Bluegill (See Sunfish)

Bonefish

Bowfin Includes bowfish, freshwater dogfish, and grindle

Butterfish Includes Pacific pompano and harvestfish

Caviar (Must be from a kosher fish)

Chinook salmons See Trouts

Codfish

Blue whiting or poutassou

Dolphin fish or mahi mahis  (Not to be confused with the mammal called dolphin or porpoise, which is non kosher.)
Flounders (includes halibuts, soles and turbots, not including European turbot):

Starry flounder


Summer flounder or fluke

Yellowtail flounder

Winter flounder, lemon sole, or blackback

Bigmouth sole

Dover sole

English sole

Fantail sole

Yellowfin sole

Pacific turbot

Curlfin turbot or sole

Diamond turbot

Greenland turbot or halibut

Haddock (See Codfish)

Halibut (See Flounders)
Herrings
Alewife or river herring

Atlantic and Pacific herring

European sardine or pilchard

Glut herring or blueback

Hickory shad

Pacific sardine or pilchard

Thread herrings

Shads

Spanish sardines

Jewfish (See Sea basses)
John Dory
Ladyfish, or tenpounder
Lake Herring (See Trouts)
Largemouth bass (See Sunfish)

Mackerels and tunas
Albacore tunas


Bonitos


Mackerels


King mackerel or kingfish

Skipjack tunas

Spanish mackerels, cero, and sierra
 tunas 
NOT INCLUDING snake mackerels

Mahi mahi See Dolphin fish

Marlin

Mullets Includes mullets and amaamas, mountain mullets or dajaos, and uouoa

Perches, includes pike perch, sauger, walleye, yellow perch, and yellow or blue pike

Pikes, includes pickerels and muskellunge

Pilchard (See Herrings)

Pollock (See Codfish)

Porgies and sea breams, includes pinfish, scup, and sheepshead

Sablefish or black cod

Salmon

Sardines

Scorpionfish

Sea bass

Sea chubs, includes Bermuda chug or rudderfish, halfmoon, and opaleye

Smelts, includes capelin and eulachon

Snappers

Kalikali

Muttonfish or mutton snapper

Onaga

Opakapaka

Red snapper

Schoolmaster

Yellowtail snapper


Sunfish

Bluegill

Crappies or calico basses

Freshwater basses

Largemouth bass

Rock bass or red eye

Smallmouth bass


Warmouth

Surfperches

Tarpon
Tautog See Wrasses

Temperate basses (includes giant California sea bass,striped bass or rockfish, yellow bass, white bass, and white perch)

Tilapia

Tilefish (includes ocean whitefish)

Trouts and whitefish

Salmon
Atlantic salmon

Chinook, king or spring salmon

Chum, dog or fall salmon

Coho or silver salmon

Pacific salmons

Pink or humpback salmon

Sockeye, blueback or red salmon

Trouts

Arctic char

Brook trout

Brown trout, rainbow trout or steelhead

Chars


Cutthroat trout, golden trout


Lake trout

Tuna

Turbot (some species, see Flounder)

Whitefish (See Tilefish and Trouts)
Whiting (See Codfish, Drums, and Hakes)

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fish-list-hp.jpg

The list below should only be used as a general guide only. A kosher and a non-kosher fish may have the same name. To be sure that your fish is kosher, check for fins and scales (scales must be removable either by hand or with a knife without ripping the underlying skin).

Shopping for kosher fish can be fairly confusing. The biblical injunction – only fish with fins and scales – sounds fairly straightforward. And it is easy to remember that shellfish – including such popular items as lobster, shrimp and mussels – are verboten for the kosher-observant.

However, the reality for modern fish-buyers is complicated, and not just because later commentaries elaborated that you must be able to remove the fins and scales without tearing the fish’s skin. Whereas once upon a time people ate mostly locally fished foods and chose from a limited array of options, nowadays the fish available in supermarkets (and at specialized fish stores) comes from all over the world, and often is sold pre-cut and prepackaged.

Other modern-day issues:

*It is not uncommon for fish to be labeled improperly, whether deliberately (a phenomenon called “species substitution”) or by accident.

*Fish often have multiple names.

*Fish that are otherwise kosher are often caught and processed together with non-kosher fish, which means there may be some cross-contamination.

For these reasons, the Orthodox Union (the world’s largest kosher-certification agency), which used to publish a kosher fish list, stopped doing so in the early 2000s. According to an article on the group’s website, “common names” for fish are often unreliable, with several different types of fish referred to as “red snapper.” And knowing Latin names isn’t much help, according to the OU:

The problem is that fish sellers never refer to fish by Latin names, and have generally no knowledge of the correct Latin name for a fish! In one case, we asked a kosher fish store the Latin name of a certain (kosher) fish and the Latin name provided was that of a completely different, non-kosher fish!!!”

One other issue to keep in mind: While the Conservative movement regards swordfish and sturgeon as kosher, most Orthodox sources do not.

Please use our Most Common Kosher Fish list as a general guide, rather than authoritative sources – particularly if you are strictly observant or are cooking for someone who is strictly observant.

One last thing to remember about fish: It is not kosher (according to Orthodox interpretation; Conservative sources have dropped this rule) to cook or serve fish and meat together. The fish-meat separation rule is less stringent than the dairy-meat separation, however.

Fish is pareve, neither meat nor dairy, so there is no need to have special fish dishes or utensils. However, you should wash the dishes and utensils before using them for meat. Also, there’s no requirement to wait a set length of time between eating fish and meat (although some rabbinic sources require washing hands, rinsing your mouth or cleansing your palate in some other manner); in fact, fish is often served as a first course in a meat meal.

Common Kosher Fish

Albacore (See Mackerels)

Alewife (See Herrings)

Anchovies

Angelfish and butterfly fish

Barracudas

Atlantic Pomfret or Ray’s Bream

Bass (See Sea Basses, Drums, Sunfish, and Temperate basses)

Blackfish See Carps and Wrasses

 

Bluefish or snapper blue

Bluegill (See Sunfish)

Bonefish

Bowfin Includes bowfish, freshwater dogfish, and grindle

Butterfish Includes Pacific pompano and harvestfish

Caviar (Must be from a kosher fish)

Chinook salmons See Trouts

Codfish

Blue whiting or poutassou

Dolphin fish or mahi mahis  (Not to be confused with the mammal called dolphin or porpoise, which is non kosher.)
Flounders (includes halibuts, soles and turbots, not including European turbot):

Starry flounder


Summer flounder or fluke

Yellowtail flounder

Winter flounder, lemon sole, or blackback

Bigmouth sole

Dover sole

English sole

Fantail sole

Yellowfin sole

Pacific turbot

Curlfin turbot or sole

Diamond turbot

Greenland turbot or halibut

Haddock (See Codfish)

Halibut (See Flounders)
Herrings
Alewife or river herring

Atlantic and Pacific herring

European sardine or pilchard

Glut herring or blueback

Hickory shad

Pacific sardine or pilchard

Thread herrings

Shads

Spanish sardines

Jewfish (See Sea basses)
John Dory
Ladyfish, or tenpounder
Lake Herring (See Trouts)
Largemouth bass (See Sunfish)

Mackerels and tunas
Albacore tunas


Bonitos


Mackerels


King mackerel or kingfish

Skipjack tunas

Spanish mackerels, cero, and sierra
 tunas 
NOT INCLUDING snake mackerels

Mahi mahi See Dolphin fish

Marlin

Mullets Includes mullets and amaamas, mountain mullets or dajaos, and uouoa

Perches, includes pike perch, sauger, walleye, yellow perch, and yellow or blue pike

Pikes, includes pickerels and muskellunge

Pilchard (See Herrings)

Pollock (See Codfish)

Porgies and sea breams, includes pinfish, scup, and sheepshead

Sablefish or black cod

Salmon

Sardines

Scorpionfish

Sea bass

Sea chubs, includes Bermuda chug or rudderfish, halfmoon, and opaleye

Smelts, includes capelin and eulachon

Snappers

Kalikali

Muttonfish or mutton snapper

Onaga

Opakapaka

Red snapper

Schoolmaster

Yellowtail snapper


Sunfish

Bluegill

Crappies or calico basses

Freshwater basses

Largemouth bass

Rock bass or red eye

Smallmouth bass


Warmouth

Surfperches

Tarpon
Tautog See Wrasses

Temperate basses (includes giant California sea bass,striped bass or rockfish, yellow bass, white bass, and white perch)

Tilapia

Tilefish (includes ocean whitefish)

Trouts and whitefish

Salmon
Atlantic salmon

Chinook, king or spring salmon

Chum, dog or fall salmon

Coho or silver salmon

Pacific salmons

Pink or humpback salmon

Sockeye, blueback or red salmon

Trouts

Arctic char

Brook trout

Brown trout, rainbow trout or steelhead

Chars


Cutthroat trout, golden trout


Lake trout

Tuna

Turbot (some species, see Flounder)

Whitefish (See Tilefish and Trouts)
Whiting (See Codfish, Drums, and Hakes)

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