How to Make Fish Stock (Video plus Recipe)

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist Broth, Stock, and Soups, Main Courses, VideosComments: 93

fish stock

In all my years helping folks transition their wayward eating ways back to the tried, true and traditional, I have discovered that making fish stock consistently ranks as one of those kitchen activities with a  “ain’t no way I’m going to do that” sign attached to it.

So, here I am doing a videoblog on making fish stock!   Have I lost my mind?

Probably, as those of you who read this blog regularly have already discovered!

Seriously, though, making fish stock is a very important activity that should be incorporated into the routine of any cook focused on nutrient dense cooking.

Fish stock is the most nutritious stock that you can make.   Not only is it the most nutrient dense, it is also the most inexpensive and the quickest!    In addition, it tastes the best too, in my humble opinion (I’m sipping a cup of red snapper stock as I type this)!

I just LOVE fish stock.  Perhaps this is from my travels in Asia back in 1988-89 when I would have a cup nearly every morning as part of my traditional Japanese breakfast (I did not see fish stock in China, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere, just not where I was).

Making fish stock is very simple and easy.   A few quarts of water, a fishhead or two (plus some bones if you have them) and some vinegar.   A gallon of fish stock will only set you back about $2 and be ready in only 4 hours.   This compares with $20 or so for the leftover bones of a pastured chicken (and 24-48 hours of simmering) or $10-20 for 5 lbs of grassfed beef bones (and 48-72 hours of simmering).

Don’t get me wrong – I make ALL kinds of stock.   Each one has its own unique flavor and adds something special to your cooking repertoire of soups and sauces.

Fish stock, though, genuinely ranks as the most healing of all stocks.  “Fish stock will cure anything” and “Good broth will resurrect the dead” are both South American proverbs.

Unlike other types of stock, fish stock contains thyroid strengthening properties when the fish heads are included in the broth making process.   Who doesn’t need a thyroid boost with the crazy, stressful lives we all lead today?

So, find yourself a quality fish monger in your city or town and make this vitality strengthening food for yourself and your family!

Fish Stock


3 quarts of filtered water
2 lbs of fish heads and bones (fish heads alone will suffice)*
1/4 cup raw, organic apple cider vinegar
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to taste

*Do not use oily fish such as salmon for fish stock or you will stink up the whole house!   Only use non-oily fish such as sole, turbot, rockfish or, my favorite, snapper.   I’ve also used grouper in a pinch, but the stock does not taste nearly as good.


Place water and fish heads/bones in a 4 quart stockpot.   Stir in vinegar while bringing the water to a gentle boil.   As the water first begins to boil, skim off any foam that rises to the surface.   It is important to remove this foam as this is impurities and off flavors.   Reduce heat to a simmer for at least 4 hours and no more than 24 hours.    Cool and then strain into containers for refrigeration.   Freeze what you will not use in one week.

Click here for an article on how to make fast fish stock in minutes from bonito flakes.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (93)

  • QFMVCunctator

    How do you recommend finding a fishmonger? Are there certain kinds of fish less suitable for stock than others, i.e. farm-bred fish vs. wild?

    October 14th, 2010 1:12 pm Reply
  • Erin

    Yes, I'm curious about this as well as I have heard disgusting stories of the fish farms, particularly in China, that dump a bunch of hormones in the water and cram them all together so that disease spreads easily. Reminds me of the way they raise chickens. Sarah, can you provide us with some more information regarding this? Thanks!

    October 14th, 2010 2:13 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Yeah, I've been meaning to make this for weeks. FYI, Whole Foods will sometimes give away their fish heads and bones for free, if you just call and tell them when you're coming and ask them to reserve them. So I'm going to call and get some. This makes it basically free to prepare! I read about it in NT awhile ago and know that many people in my family could really use it.

    October 14th, 2010 3:22 pm Reply
    • Tina Coyle

      The Whole Foods in our area is the only place I can get fish heads and bones of any quality. They do not give them away, but sell them for $1 a pound. They are in big demand though, I find it’s best to call ahead and ask them to set some aside for me.

      July 14th, 2012 9:01 am Reply
      • gwong

        I wish. Whole foods in my area, Pasadena and I think Rosemead, so probably all of LA. sell them for $4.99 per lb.

        February 4th, 2013 10:16 pm Reply
  • Pavil The Uber Noob

    Make sure your fish parts are from wild caught fish.

    October 14th, 2010 3:46 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    You definitely do not want to use farmed fish for making stock or eating for that matter. Farmed fish are fed grain pellets – digusting!

    It's hard to find wild caught fish in my land-locked state of Colorado much less finding wild caught fish heads and bone – I've already tried when I started GAPS diet 10 months ago.

    I do a veggie broth now because I can't afford pastured chickens or chicken feet and the beef bone broth has to cook forever and my husband hates the smell of it.

    We do eat canned sardines and anchovies. Not as good as fish broth but we do what we can.


    October 14th, 2010 3:51 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Yes, get wild fish for sure!! I can only imagine the scum that would come up when you bring the stock to a boil if you used farm raised fish!

    Kate, thanks for the tip about Whole Foods giving away the fish heads and carcasses. That is a wonderful thing to know.

    To find a fish monger, call fish markets around your town and ask. Ask your friends who have boats and do fishing (if you live near the water). Also, if you have small restaurants with excellent gourmet food, ask them where they get their fish locally.

    October 14th, 2010 4:32 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I have been calling all over the city of Grand Rapids, Mi for fish heads – everybody gets their fish already deheaded! In fact, the manager of the local Family Fare seafood dept would like to know where you get your red snapper for only $2/lb! She would have ordered whole whitefish and sold the head to me for, I think, $7/lb (the cost of the fish itself)!

    October 14th, 2010 4:33 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    I get the HEADS for $1/lb .. the snapper fillets are significantly more! LOL

    You will have to keep trying to find a business that gets the whole fish! That is scary that so many places just get the fillets anymore. Sounds like you will have to go outside the box on that one. Do you know anyone from an ethnic neighborhood – perhaps someone from the Caribbean Islands .. they eat fish heads regularly from what I imagine and these ethnic areas would know where to get this type of traditional food.

    October 14th, 2010 4:43 pm Reply
  • Sara

    Decided to look for a fish shop after seeing your post today and I found one not too far, I called and asked them specifically about fish heads and she said he just got done throwing them in the dumpster!! If I had only called a few hours earlier :( But at least now I know where to go, so next week I should be able to get some possibly for free!!

    October 14th, 2010 8:04 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Oh, that's a good idea about going to restaurants. There are a couple of upscale sushi restaurants in Denver I could check out.

    Great post and advice!


    October 14th, 2010 8:49 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Awesome, Sara! Can't believe they throw those things away. Such an incredible waste.

    October 14th, 2010 10:18 pm Reply
  • Lori

    I used to make Greek fish soup avgolemono using ocean perch. This was the best but I tried a combination of red snapper and porgy. My daughter prefers the ocean perch but I can't find it whole. Does anyone know where I can find whole ocean perch in Northern VA, Charlottesville, or anywhere near Raleigh-Durham? I am also looking for fresh or frozen sardines. I heard of a store called H Market but I have not been there.

    October 14th, 2010 10:55 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Here is a very old chinese custom that really cuts the odor of fish broth. Cut a one to two inch piece of fresh ginger into quarter sized slices, and put them in the broth before you heat it.

    The ginger will add a slightly spicy flavor to the broth, but it will also absorb the substance that makes fish stink. Remove the ginger when the broth is ready and discard it.

    We have used this technique to make salmon heads into fish broth, without stinking up the house. I make no guarantees, though. Try it at your own risk.

    October 15th, 2010 1:55 am Reply
  • hobby baker

    The first time I made fish stock for a recipe, I didn't know about not using oily fish. I happened to catch the grocer just after she had filleted a few fish. So I got salmon bones, heads and some pieces of halibut I think. She looked at me funny when I said I wanted fish carcasses for stock. They labeled it chum, not for human consumption, and it checked out for free. Actually though, it didn't stink up the house. There wasn't a lot of excess meat on the bones, it was a good fillet job. What I'd love to see are some recipes in which to use the stock! For a chowder, would you use it instead of water and in addition to clam juice?

    October 15th, 2010 3:52 am Reply
  • onceuponthekitchencounter

    Hi Sarah,

    How long does the broth keep in the fridge? I made fish stock, and then life got crazy for a few days before I got around to freezing the extra. I'm worried that the stuff I have frozen now is somehow 'bad.' I think it was 4-5 days before a froze it. I made mine from red snapper too, but for some reason the heads were WAY smaller than yours in the video…I wonder if I really was getting what I paid for!

    Thanks as usual for your excellent videos!


    October 16th, 2010 3:03 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Shannon, freeze what you won't use in a week. What you froze should be fine. Just reboil it for a few minutes when you thaw it out just to be sure. Snapper heads come in all kinds of sizes – yes, mine were especially large which is why I only used one for a single pot of fish stock.

    October 16th, 2010 10:03 pm Reply
  • Janetlynda

    Guess what? I made fish stock – thought I'd NEVER do that and swore that I wouldn't do it! HA-HA! I produced the most luscious, gelatin, substance I’ve ever seen! I made a cream, crab and vege chowder with it last night and it was really so delicious it was unbelievable! I DO have a question though. After I watched your blog I called our Whole Foods and asked the fish guy if he had any fish heads and bones. He said that he had a blue fish. Since I didn’t know a flipping thing about making fish stock I ran to the store and bought the blue fish head and bones and came home and fired it up. While it was cooking I opened Nourishing Traditions and read where Sally said that oily fish shouldn’t be used for fish stock because the long, slow cooking made the fats rancid. Well, I already had it on the stove with vinegar, celery, leeks, carrots, onions, pepper corns and a couple of bay leaves (I was worried about the ‘fishy taste part’) that’s why all the additions. I wasn’t about to throw the whole effort in the trash so I just went ahead with it. I cooked it on medium for 4 hours and then strained it twice. Was that a bad thing to do? Do you ever use oily fish? I don’t call 4 hours a long, cooking and it certainly wasn’t slow. I had a good roiling boil going the whole time. Your thoughts?

    October 20th, 2010 5:29 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Janetlynda, congratulations on getting outside your comfort zone in the kitchen! That is awesome! If the bones you had were pretty well clean of meat, then what you did was fine. You don't want a rolling boil the whole time though, just a blip, blip, blip on the top with a few bubbles as it simmers. Good job!

    October 20th, 2010 7:55 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for doing this video. I am pretty far into "traditional cooking", but had always said, "ain't no way I'm doing that". My friends think I am crazy, but I am so glad I did it. I can't believe the energy I get from it. I have been doing GAPS for awhile and my back pain has finally subsided after not even a week of the eating soup with the fish broth every day. It really is so delicious. I made a coconut fish soup and I enjoy a cup for breakfast and one later in the day too.

    October 20th, 2010 8:03 pm Reply
  • Janetlynda

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for your comments. The reason I was cooking it fast was because I was concerned about what Sally said….(long, slow cooking, bad for oily fish) When I read that in the book I called Whole Foods and asked the fish guy "Is this Blue Fish head an OILY fish?" He said "Yes it is". Here’s my predicament ……I bought TWO Blue fish heads and fairly bare fish bones. Can I (or should I) cook the other one which is currently in the freezer, or should I toss it? I don’t want to serve my family ‘rancid fats.’ Even though I swear that cream/fish stock/crab chowder was the BEST I have EVER tasted…it was amazing! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

    October 20th, 2010 8:31 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Bethany, glad you finally took the plunge with the fish stock. Yes, I also find my back feels like a 20 year old also when I drink fish stock regularly. It is more powerful than other stocks and is my definite favorite. So many people are missing out by not making it!

    October 20th, 2010 8:32 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Janetlynda, if the bones are pretty bare, it should be fine. If you are happy with the fish stock from an oily fish, wait until you try it with snapper – you will go wild it is SO GOOD!

    October 20th, 2010 11:00 pm Reply
  • stephanie

    Thank you so much for this video, Sarah! I found my fish monger and am going out to get my fish heads soon!

    October 27th, 2010 4:21 pm Reply
  • stephanie

    Sarah- I am a little confused. I called my fish monger and they have grouper and snapper heads for cheap so I asked if they were cutting snapper today, they said No, but they had grouper heads. I said no thanks, I will wait for the snapper because I want to make a stock. The guy said they make grouper stock all the time and it is much better than snapper. He said it produces more gelatin (I guess) and it does not have scales which if you use snapper, you will have to remove the scales from your stock.

    Is this true? Anyway, I am just gonna try the grouper today (this is the first time I have ever made stock!) and if we don't like it I will try the snapper.

    November 1st, 2010 2:15 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    I think the snapper stock tastes way better than grouper stock and I've never had to take scales out of it either. Not sure what they are talking about there, but I guess it comes down to personal preference.

    November 1st, 2010 3:51 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Do you know why fish (or other stock) sometimes does not gel? I have made fish stock about 4 times and it about half the time it does not gel. Once it made a nice gelatin with the snapper and the next time it did not. I've had the same experience with grouper, so it does not seem to do with the type of fish. I've had the same problem with chicken, but in that case I think I cooked it for too long at too high a temp. But I was careful not to let my fish stock get too hot, but maybe I didn't let it simmer at a high enough temp? I kept looking for the blub, blub, blub and would turn it up a little if I didn't see it. I cooked it for a little over 4 hours with 2 huge grouper heads and a little over 3 quarts of water, but no gelatin. If it tastes okay is it still beneficial to eat?

    November 9th, 2010 12:14 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Bethany, no gelling stock is usually caused by too much water. You can boil it down and it should gel nicely. Non gelling stock is fine to eat its just watered down.

    November 9th, 2010 1:08 am Reply
  • Geebee

    Hi Sarah,
    I made a fish stock last night from red snapper from my local fish market. The fillets we ate for dinner and while it didn’t taste or smell bad, when cleaning the fish, I thought one didn’t smell/seem as fresh, but thought it was just me, since I just bought them. Well, while simmering the stock, the whole house smelled VERY fishy! The stock turned out very nice looking and gelatinus, but the fish smell is so strong, wonder if it is bad, or if the fish was going bad. How can I tell with nothing to compare it to. Should I still try to use it, or toss it?

    February 2nd, 2011 8:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Geebee, you’ll have to use your best judgment on that one.

      February 2nd, 2011 10:47 pm Reply
    • Z

      That happened to me as well… The smell was so nauseating, I couldn’t take it and threw it away.

      December 31st, 2013 8:39 am Reply
  • Jennifer Miyakubo

    Hi Sarah,

    You are amazing. I love your blog.
    Can you tell me, what do you do with the remaining fish head in the soup?
    Thank you!

    February 15th, 2011 6:44 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Jennifer, you mean after the fish stock is made? I toss the fish head in the trash as all the good stuff has come out and is in the fish stock at that point.

      February 15th, 2011 7:01 pm Reply
      • soundaromas

        if you grind up the fish bones they makes great fertilizer!

        July 26th, 2013 8:37 pm Reply
    • Jason

      If your city doesn’t have a yard-waste collection system where they allow you to throw any and all food scraps in (including bones and fish heads), you can do it yourself at home.

      It is called Bokashi (google or youtube for it) and uses a special combination of yeast, lactobacillus bacteria and photosynthetic bacteria to ferment (vs. compost) kitchen waste right in your kitchen. It is a closed system that produces no bad smell (unless you don’t like the smell of fermented vegetables). You use a bucket with a tight lid and a spigot drain, place the Bokashi starter in it, place your kitchen scraps on top and layer each 2 inch layer of scraps with a thin layer of Bokashi. When the bucket is full, you leave it alone for 2 weeks, then bury the fermented scraps in your garden or backyard where soil microorganisms will completely it breakdown in another 3-6 weeks and be VERY nutritious to add to your houseplants or garden. If you put a lot of animal products in the bucket system, simply use more Bokashi as animal products are more difficult to ferment. The system was developed in Japan and has been used since 1980.

      I realize this system won’t be for everyone, but it really is superior to composting. And anyone who has composted animal products know the smell and pest problem it can create! Superior in that fermenting the scraps does not produce the amount of CO2 gasses that composting will do. Also superior in that the fermented product is more nutrient-dense for growing things than compost is.

      January 19th, 2012 5:40 pm Reply
  • Diann

    Excellent video and good suggestions! I’d always heard that it was the gills in salmon that made the stock less palatable, Anyhow, I left out the salmon and used striped bass, its head and backbone, and clams. I removed the foam — definitely this makes a difference! No scent of fishiness whatsoever, and I’d been in a separate part of the house for part of the cooking process. I also followed the suggestion to leave out veggies and seasonings (with the exception of a chunk of onion, if only because anything I can imagine that I will do with this stock in the future will involve onions). Very nice video! I am looking forward to a variety of soup possibilities!

    February 21st, 2011 9:42 am Reply
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  • Tamara

    Question! :) Suppose that you are unable to determine the way your beef, poultry, or fish was raised, and that certified organic is either unobtainable or unreasonably priced. If there is very little scum at the top when the broth-water comes to a boil, can you assume that the meat or fish you are using is safe? Or, at least, safe enough?

    March 3rd, 2011 9:03 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Tamara, making broth is more important than not making it at all regardless of where it is sourced. If you can’t get a decent source, still make it with the best you can find. Sounds like you are doing the right thing! :)

      March 3rd, 2011 9:05 am Reply
  • Christi

    If you get a whole fish (from fishing) Would you use the skin (scales)? or just the head, tail, and bones? Do you have a link with some good recipes for the stock?

    March 8th, 2011 12:27 pm Reply
  • Lucila

    Hi Sarah, thank you for this simple recipe. I`m from Ecuador, and recently I talked with people from a non profit organization that helps people from Esmeraldas in the cost to return to anciente forms of fishing in the mangrove swamp. I told them that I want some fish eggs and head of fishes to make stock and the told me laughing: “if you drink that stock you`ll have triplets”. They said to me that fish stock from the head is the best food.

    April 25th, 2011 8:29 pm Reply
  • Marilyn

    Hi Sara,
    I made fish stock yesterday for the first time and I am just so happy! I have a couple of questions though. I made the stock from a pretty big head of striped bass and a snapper head and tail. I left it simmering for about 11 or 12 hours. I strained it through a colander (didn’t have any cheesecloth available), added some salt, and sipped some as a tea. It was really tasty!

    I was just wondering, do I really have to take the fat out that comes to the top when you refrigerate it? I’m asking because when I was reading Nourishing Traditions it states that we should be eating animal fats to be healthy, so I was just wondering if it’s ok to consume the fish stock along with the fat it contains?

    Also, I put the fish stock in the fridge and took a look at it first thing in the morning to see if it had gelled. It didn’t gel and the fat didn’t turn hard and solid at the top.

    Does this mean I did something wrong, or that there’s something wrong with the stock?

    And is it ok to eat the vegetables I used to make the stock and also eat the fish meat from the fish heads?

    Oh, and one more thing, is it ok to feed the fish stock I made to my baby who just turned 9 months?

    April 26th, 2011 11:32 am Reply
    • Angela

      I think that’d be a great idea to give fish stock to a baby! I have a 6 month old who is currently only on breastmilk, but once we branch out to other foods, fish/chicken stock is definately on my agenda to give him.

      May 26th, 2011 12:26 pm Reply
      • Vanessa smith

        Hi Angela, I made the fish bone broth last night and it was GREAT. My questions is should I leave the scales on when doing the broth. I didn’t know so I left them on ,but I don’t know if that’s right

        January 21st, 2015 1:43 pm Reply
  • Rajae

    Hi Sara,
    I loved your video on fish stock! I know there are divergent opinions on this, but I try to stick to eating fish that is low in contaminants (heavy metals, PCB’s, etc.). Should I be concerned about this when making fish stock?

    May 5th, 2011 6:57 am Reply
  • Angela

    Awesome video!! We went deep sea fishing and caught tons of grey snapper. Came home and made fish stock from the heads. It was honestly VERY disgusting but I’m so glad I did it. Have tons of stock in the freezer ready to go!

    May 26th, 2011 12:22 pm Reply
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  • becca

    What makes for a quality fish monger? I’m wondering where to start. Whole Foods?

    August 3rd, 2011 9:34 pm Reply
  • beth

    I just called a fish market in my town where I can get carcasses (no heads) and all they can sell me is either bass or halibut. are either one of these suitable for making broth? I really want to get started but I want to make sure I’m doing this right.

    August 11th, 2011 6:02 pm Reply
  • Irene

    Sarah, I’m trying to make fish stock today—couldn’t get just fish heads, but I was able to get one whole Thai Red Snapper instead! The question is, what do I do with it 😛 Should I just cut off the head and stick in the pot or do I need to do something more? Could I just use the whole fish?

    August 17th, 2011 3:57 pm Reply
  • sadhu vedant muni jain

    i am not agree with you that you are propagating non some articles you are advocating the advantages of vegetarianism.and you have already proved that the the vegas are useful for us. so i request you kindly propagate the uses of vegans more.

    December 22nd, 2011 12:00 pm Reply
  • Sita


    I like your simplified fish broth recipe. I made the recipe in NT once before, and I thought the flavor of the wine and the herbs was too overpowering. I am used to using beef and chicken stock, but fish broth is pretty new to me. I like making a simple vegetable soup with the beef or chicken stock, for example a pureed carrot soup or something like that. I was wondering if you think fish broth would work well like that too, or if it’s best to use fish broth for making fish/seafood soups? Or are there particular vegetables you think would go well with the fish broth flavor?

    January 24th, 2012 11:32 pm Reply
  • dorinne

    1. other than the smell of salmon, [which i don’t mind] is there any reason NOT to use it?
    – is carp a good option too? [I’m able to get heads and skeletons of both these fish very easily but they ARE fatty fish]
    2. in probiotics, vinegar is not recommended. what is the purpose of the ACV here?
    thanks for yr answers

    February 14th, 2012 6:22 am Reply
    • Janice

      Vinegar is said to draw the minerals out of the bones and into the stock.

      December 25th, 2013 10:34 am Reply
    • cheryl

      the raw ACV is full of probiotics where as the standard junk vinegars are pasteurized (a good thing if you actually use the stuff because you are safe from the who knows what of commercial production) and all the healthy stuff is killed. this stock is cooked so it will also kill the probiotics but will do the job of leaching out the minerals from the bones. still, you should us the organic raw kind just because you know what is in it and we all need to encourage the organic food producers as much as we can..

      June 8th, 2014 1:04 pm Reply
  • Megan

    更年期障害 <— The Japanese word for menopause.

    March 24th, 2012 7:59 pm Reply
  • Janet

    Can the fish stock be incorporated into other things, rather than just drink it (like cooking rice in it)?

    April 4th, 2012 2:34 pm Reply
    • Janice

      You can use fish stock as a base for soups and chowders. As for cooking rice with it, I’m not sure if the slightly fishy taste would be noticeable or not. You could try it full strength, or use 1/2 water and 1/2 fish stock for rice.

      December 25th, 2013 10:38 am Reply
  • Eleanor

    So I called Whole Foods and asked if they had fish heads. The person I spoke with said they had heads from striped bass and they would save me some. When I got there the woman handed me this huge eight-pound frozen package. I was about to say I didn’t need that much, when I realized the package contained just ONE striped bass head. LOL! It’s like the size of a shark head or something! I had no clue striped bass were that big. It’s defrosting in my fridge right now. I’m kind of scared to unwrap it!

    April 10th, 2012 2:26 pm Reply
    • Beth

      Ha ha! That happened to me, too, when I called my fishmonger in advance for some fish carcasses. When I arrived he had carefully packaged two huge grouper carcasses the size of a Buick.

      August 30th, 2012 10:02 pm Reply
  • Sandi Araiza

    Sarah, do you know anything about farm-raised red snapper? I called the best local fish monger here in my city and while they have snapper heads, they are farm-raised. I’ve tried to get wild caught fish carcasses at Whole Foods when I’m in a bigger city, but they usually don’t have them when I’m there. Is this a case where the fish broth is so good for you that the drawbacks of it being farm-raised are negligible?



    April 13th, 2012 3:09 pm Reply
  • Jeff

    Hi Sarah,
    I love your website. I check it out all the time. I was wondering do I drink the fish stock cold in the morning or do I reheat it up? And do you just put some seaweed flakes and minced garlic in the cup or garlic clove.
    Thanks so much,

    April 14th, 2012 12:26 pm Reply
  • Joyce

    Hi Sarah, I know this is an old post, so I’m not sure you’ll get this. I tried making fish stock in my crockpot and I think it just cooked too long and did boil and was kind of dark color. So, I did not eat it and tried making it per your instructions on a gas stove with a heat diffuser. It turned out great, but I can’t say that the taste was something that I was dying to have everyday. So, I added a tsp of white MIso and some scallions and it tasted great. This I could eat everyday! Also, since Miso has probiotics, I assume that there are added health benefits.
    However, I know that WAPF guidelines discourage soy, but say that some Miso is OK. Am I correct? If so, is one tsp. of Miso a day considered an acceptable amount? I would appreciate any advice that you could give me about this. thanks, Joyce

    May 4th, 2012 7:18 pm Reply
    • Melanie

      Small amounts of fermented soy (like miso) are perfectly fine. Sally Fallon gives a wonderful lecture on the toxicity of grains and legumes and how traditional methods of prep mitigate that. If you have traditionally made miso (fermented for at least six months) it does get rid of most of the toxic aspects of soy. And look for variations of miso made with no soy at all! The two I have found are adzuki beans or chickpea varieties.

      Happy eating!

      May 20th, 2012 2:08 pm Reply
  • Melanie

    Asian markets are great places to pick up fish heads!

    May 20th, 2012 1:57 pm Reply
    • Gay H.

      Hi Melanie, Do you find that most of the fish in an Asian market is wild caught, not farm raised? That is the only place I have been able to find fish heads and carcasses but with the language barrier it’s hard enough to get across what I want much less try to find out if it is farm raised or not. Also they always want to cut out the inner gills. Is it best to do so or am I losing a good part for stock if they remove it? Thanks!

      May 21st, 2012 7:36 pm Reply
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  • Sepehr

    Last night I made my red snapper fish stock. It tastes so good and I could feel how nutritious it is.

    August 29th, 2012 4:34 pm Reply
  • Beth

    Sarah, when do you like to add the salt? When it’s done?

    August 30th, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
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  • Sepehr

    I’m wondering if you could make a fish stock with Mahi Mahi heads?? I appreciate in advance.

    September 6th, 2012 7:34 pm Reply
  • kevin sampson

    Happy cooking,single guy (aussie,aussie,aussie)stock ideas eg fish heads stocks ,chicken stocks,meat stocks, and vegetable stock, yum can help make the meal taste better,thank you for sharing your chef knowledge, happy cheffing and buy for now(aussie,aussie,aussie)
    I wondering if cooking it on a aussie Bbq would give a little more flavour to the stocks

    September 13th, 2012 7:42 pm Reply
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  • Vered Leb

    i made fish stock out of salmon and it is GREAT!
    it did make the house smell a little bit, though it wasn’t that bad.
    we loved it!

    November 16th, 2012 10:42 am Reply
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  • gwong

    This is a great recipe on what to do with the whole head. It’s also delicious.

    December 6th, 2012 8:40 am Reply
  • Sarah

    Do you have any good recipes using fish stock to make soup?

    February 4th, 2013 12:20 pm Reply
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  • Brenda

    I live in Pasco County FL. Does anyone know of a good fishmonger around here?

    August 3rd, 2013 10:13 pm Reply
  • jasmine

    I had tried the beef stock b4. But I was too scared of leaving the fire on low as I slept. Im guessing the fire stays on low for 48hrs or which ever broth take more than 4 >? I think I will try fish broth

    November 11th, 2013 5:11 pm Reply
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  • Renee

    First, I just love your informative website! I have recently dived into the realm of making homemade stocks and yes – fish stock was last on the list of “must do’s”! After last week completing my second batch using snapper head and bones a friend made a comment that made me feel a little uneasy. She said that any parasites on the fish will pass into the broth. As I am giving this to my two little girls I wondered if this is true? Have you ever heard of this being the case?

    April 2nd, 2014 4:42 am Reply
    • Arthur

      Renee- if there are parasites, they will be cooked too. Most saltwater fish parasites haven’t evolved to inhabit us anyway. There are exceptions, like in wild salmon, but for the most part I wouldn’t worry about it. You’re more likely to get parasites from organic strawberries with pig manure fertilizer, or watercress (from sheep) etc.

      June 9th, 2015 9:37 pm Reply
  • Sem

    Hi Sarah,

    Just wondering what the cooled fish broth will look like? Will it be as jelly-like as chicken broth or will it be more liquid? Just want to in advance before I make my broth so I know I’ve done it correctly 😀

    April 12th, 2014 9:05 am Reply
  • EK

    Hi thank you for the amazing posts, your videos and all of the lovely advice. Do you add any water during that 4 hr simmering? And if yes how much ? Thank you.

    July 5th, 2015 3:44 am Reply
    • Ethan

      i would guess you add all water in the begining. adding during (especially later) would water down your flavor.

      November 15th, 2015 3:09 am Reply
  • Julie

    I read another recipe about making fish stock and it said if you don’t remove the gills they impart a “foul” taste. Do you find this to be a necessary step?

    August 27th, 2015 5:05 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I never do.

      August 27th, 2015 7:05 am Reply

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