6 Ways to Cook Seafood Without That Fishy Smell Taking Over Your Home

cooking fish without the odorAs much as you may love cooking and eating a seafood dinner at home, one part of the experience few enjoy is the fishy odor that has a tendency to linger long after the meal is finished. If you've avoided making some of your favorite dishes for fear of smelling them for days afterward, we've got solutions for you!


We asked chefs, cookbook authors, and home cooks to share their tried-and-true strategies for preparing fish without its scent permeating their homes or apartments. The following are their top six tips that should help eliminate that often-pervasive aroma.

1. Start with the freshest fish available. This may seems obvious to some, but it bears repeating: Start with fresh fish!

"You have to make sure the fish is super fresh, so buy it the day you're going to cook it," explains Suzanne Andrews, founder of Functional Fitness. "I learned that from my Italian grandmother. Season fish with onion powder, garlic powder, and some Italian bread crumbs. Cook some fresh garlic and onions and set aside. Heat up a pan with a little bit olive oil until the oil is hot. Place fish in pan and cook until done, about five minutes each side. Add garlic and onions. All you will smell is delicious!" 

Nancy Stampahar of Life in Nancy's Kitchen agrees. "The older fish becomes, the more it smells," she says.

2. Roast it. Chef Freida Hirsch of HelloFresh says roasting fish in the oven, versus cooking it on the stove top, helps. 

"You can slow-roast fish at lower temperatures to keep it from overcooking," she explains. "This works best with fattier, less delicate fish though, like arctic char or salmon, as lighter fishes can dry out quickly."

Cookbook author Jules Clancy of The Stone Soup agrees and suggests adding some lemon and butter before wrapping it in foil and baking it in your oven.

Speaking of lemons...

3. Citrus will diffuse odors. Have an orange or lemon on hand? These fruits are also known to combat odors.

"I learned a trick once to quickly remove bad smells indoors: Peel wide strips of zest off of citrus fruits and quickly snap them in half to release the citrus oils into the air, as if you were making an old-fashioned," says Hirsch. 

Stampahar also recommends rubbing fresh lemon wedges on fish "to cut the smell."

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4. Put potpourri and herbs to use. Sandra of Sanci Travels says a great way to avoid fish odor is by gently boiling some of your favourite potpourri in a small pot of water. 

"For a more natural smell, gently boil a couple of twigs of fresh rosemary herb also in a small pot of water," she says. "Finally, burning your favorite candle at the same time as cooking fish will suck in all the odor."

Lemongrass and citrus-scented candles are recommended.

5. Vinegar to the rescue. "My husband absolutely loves fish, but I could not stand the smell that lingers before or after, so over the years I've tried everything until recently I discovered vinegar," says home cook Crystal Etienne. "Just put a small amount in a small candle holder around the house -- and like magic it's gone. It works miracles."

6. Baking soda absorbs unwanted odors. Leaving out a couple of little bowls of baking soda overnight after cooking fish is a really simple but effective way to tackle the lingering odor, advises James McLoughlin of home cleaning platform Helpling.

"Baking soda is amphoteric, meaning it can react with substances as an acid or a base, so it will work to neutralize most unpleasant odors in the home. By morning, the baking soda will have caused the fish smell to dissipate."

Don't wait until you dine out to enjoy your favorite seafood fare. Try these suggestions and you'll find that the scent is gone long before your meal.



Image via iakovfilimonov/shutterstock

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