Is Fish Meat? The Answer Might Surprise You 

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Many have wondered whether fish is considered meat. While many classify meat in the form of four-legged beasts that are found on land and birds that roam the skies, others believe that fish is considered to be – well – fish or better known as seafood. In this article, we’re going to answer once and for all, whether fish can be considered meat or not.

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Is Fish Considered Meat?

You may have wondered whether fish is meat, trust me it’s a fair question. Many people believe that fish is not meat, however, this statement would depend on what your definition of meat is. If you look at how the word meat is used in common parlance or even in dictionaries, it seems pretty clear that it means animal flesh – and so logically fish should be considered meat.

But this isn’t always true; some people following certain religious teaching, refrain from eating animals altogether, while others do eat them, except for the blood and certain parts. People who follow these religions, often consider themselves vegetarians even though they eat certain seafood like shrimp.

What is Meat?

Meat can be defined as the edible part of any animal’s muscle. This is not limited to animals that walk on four legs; fish and poultry can also be considered meat, as well as some invertebrates. In common terms, meat refers to all edible muscles of a mammal. Which, can also be called animal flesh or fleshy tissue that’s eaten as food. Some people consider meat to only come from warm-blooded animals like cattle, chickens, pigs, sheep, and birds. However, others include fish in their definition of what constitutes meat, since they are cold-blooded but do have muscles and are therefore able to produce protein when consumed by humans (or other animals).

Is Fish Meat

Fish vs Meat

The main difference between fish and meat is in their muscle structure. Fish have shorter, more fibrous muscles than land mammals – for instance, deer or cows. So from a cooking point of view, there are few differences between cooking fish and cooking other meats (except for the fact that you probably wouldn’t want to cook it as long).

The layers of muscle in the fish are separated and lay in thin sheets against each other. This means that if you cut into a piece of raw salmon and look at it under a microscope or with an electron microscope, you will find very little fat sitting on top of the meat – instead, it’ll look like a sheet of tissue, with water running through it. This is because most fish have very little fat compared to land animals like cattle or deer.

The fat we do find is usually invisible; its molecules blend with those found within the muscle itself so that when cooked properly both taste similar: not too sweet but not dry either. In beef shoulder roasts, on the other hand, there can be large deposits of white connective tissue surrounding each small piece of red muscle tissue; these connective tissues contain many proteins called collagen which breaks down into gelatine under certain conditions such as high heat or long periods of cooking time – resulting in tenderness after braising but still leaving some chewiness behind once cooled down again.

Is Fish Meat?

Types of Meat

When it comes to meat, many people place fish in the same category as other animals. As such, many are surprised to learn that fish does indeed possess some distinct qualities that set it apart from other meats. In fact, there is no one universal definition for what constitutes meat or animal products. These terms are often used interchangeably depending on who you ask and what context they’re being used in. However, there are general rules about defining each type of meat: Red meat refers to all livestock animals including pork, beef, and lamb; poultry refers solely to birds like turkey or chicken; seafood refers exclusively (or almost exclusively) to fish and crustaceans like lobster and crab.

What is a Fish Diet?

You may have heard of the term “pescatarian.” Pescatarians are people who follow a plant-based diet but also eat fish. In fact, they have a lot in common with vegetarians, since they don’t eat any meat or poultry and incorporate fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans in their diet. They also stay away from dairy products like milk and cheese because they aren’t vegan. So what makes someone a pescatarian? It’s quite simple really: Pescatarians choose to include seafood in their diet, as opposed to any other type of meat. Most pescatarians will avoid beef entirely while enjoying seafood such as salmon or shrimp on occasion.

Is Fish Considered Meat From Religious Point of View?

Many religions categorise fish and meat separately. However, the line between the two can be blurry, as they both fall under the umbrella of animal protein. Some of these religious groups prohibit the consumption of any animal proteins whatsoever or only permit it in certain circumstances. For instance, during Lent for Jews, or during periods of mourning for others. Some religions have specific rulings about which animal may be eaten and under what circumstances. Here are what some religions believe to be lawful or permissible when it comes to eating fish or meat:

  • Muslim
  • Jewish
  • Hindu
  • Christian


Halal is an Arabic word that translates to permissible or lawful. Muslims have strict dietary rules about what is and what is not permissible (halal) and happen to put meat and fish into separate categories. For example, under Islamic law, certain fish is considered haram (unlawful): fish cannot be consumed at all if they have scales – and thus are not considered meat. However, if a fish has scales then it is considered halal and requires no special treatment to make it so. Most believe crustaceans are not permissible because they have an exoskeleton instead of scales; however, there is some debate as to whether or not this makes them unacceptable as food (in other words, you could argue that shrimp isn’t actually halal). This means that shellfish and octopus would also be forbidden in Islam by default but there may be some exceptions depending on who you ask.


As you might imagine, Jewish dietary laws are much more complex compared to other religions. In fact, Judaism has a whole set of rules called kashrut that cover what foods can be eaten and how they should be prepared. The one rule we’ll focus on here is whether or not fish is considered kosher (admissible under Jewish dietary law).

According to the laws of kashrut, if a certain type of animal has both scales and fins it is considered kosher – in other words, it can be eaten by Jews. Shellfish like lobsters and crabs have shells instead of scales and therefore do not meet this criterion; therefore, they are prohibited as food for observant Jews (although there are some rare exceptions).

The final rule regarding meat and fish being eaten together is that all meat must be fully cooked before it touches any dairy product. The idea here is to separate certain ingredients from others when preparing, ensuring that they are cooked and well prepared in separate pots before consuming.


Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in India, and it’s a religion that strongly recommends no violence against all life forms. Because of this, Hindus do not eat fish, poultry, meat, or eggs.


The majority of Christian sects do not prohibit the consumption of fish or meat. The Bible makes little differentiation between the two and infers that you may eat any fish that has fins and scales, as well as any animal that has hooves and chews cud. Christians believe that all foods are clean to eat except for certain shellfish; however, there is no specific listing of things that are prohibited in the Bible. In addition, there’s a belief among many Christians that Christ himself ate fish on occasion.

Scientific Views of Meat and Fish

In the scientific world, meat is defined as skeletal muscle, fat, tissues, and innards. It can be consumed raw but is normally eaten after cooking and seasoning. A lot of people agree that fish are indeed a type of meat; however, some experts use the term meat to exclusively describe the flesh of mammals while others believe that this should also include warm-blooded flesh such as birds or reptiles. Clearly, figuring out whether fish is considered meat or not can end up becoming a personal opinion, since this can lead to tunnels of confusion.

Is Fish Meat

Methods of Cooking Fish

The best types of fish to eat include salmon, cod, herring, mahi-mahi (also known as dorado), mackerel, perch, and rainbow trout. The most popular fish in the United States is tuna which can be prepared in many ways. The following are some popular methods of cooking fish:

  • Frying
  • Grilling
  • Baking
  • Air Frying


Pan-frying is one of the most popular ways to cook fish. It’s especially useful if you are out fishing and want to clean and gut your catch before cooking it over an open fire. Pan-frying also works when you are cooking fish on the stove, as long as you use a ceramic or non-stick frying pan, well-seasoned cast iron, or carbon steel skillet – preferably preheated for at least 3-4 minutes – to keep delicate protein from sticking to the bottom and sides.

When cooking on a stainless steel pan, add a generous glug of oil or a solid stick of butter, and preheat the pan for at least 3-4 minutes before slapping the fish skin down onto it. Try to match cooking heat with the thickness of the fillets. Thin fillets can be seared over medium heat until browned or crispy, whilst thicker fillets require medium heat and a longer cooking time. The sign that your fish is done is when it can easily be separated into flakes; pressed with a spatula or fork. The proteins should no longer be translucent, and the crust will provide a strong aroma.


When it comes to grilling, gas, or charcoal, portion-sized fish are your best choice. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it for 15-20 minutes; if you’re using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals start to ash over. Brush the grates with vegetable oil and season your fillet generously with fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper (or whatever spice mixture takes your fancy). Place the fillet on one side of the grill and cover it; let it cook for 2-4 minutes before flipping it over (keeping in mind that the smaller pieces will cook faster than the larger ones). Use a meat thermometer to judge when the fish is done grilling.

Is Fish Meat?


Baking is one of the best ways to cook fish. Many people like to bake their fish, the theory being that the method is uncomplicated and less prone to error. You can make any kind of baked filet you want—just spray some foil with cooking oil, place your filet inside, add some chopped potatoes and sliced carrots along with some peppers, zucchini, sliced tomatoes, and lemon juice, and zest (along with garlic cloves if you want), then wrap everything tightly together in the foil; placing this bundle on a baking sheet in an oven that has been preheated to 475°F for 15 minutes; unwrap the foil after 15 minutes have passed, then put it back into the oven for 5 more minutes before removing it from the heat and serving it hot.

Air Frying

Air frying is a type of frying that uses hot air to cook your food instead of oil. It’s similar to convection oven cooking, but with many advantages! Unlike conventional fryers, which only heat the oil and not the food itself, air fryers circulate heated air around your food so it cooks evenly from all sides. That means you can cook things that would normally take hours in minutes.

Air frying is a method used for cooking a wide variety of foods more easily than other methods like baking or boiling. Choose any fish fillet, brush it with oil, then dredge it in bread crumbs before putting it into your air fryer basket (which has been preheated). Cook the fillets for about 15 minutes turning them over halfway through the cooking time so that both sides can cook evenly

So is Fish Meat?

Well, it’s not really categorised as meat by most people. However, some religions do consider it as such and that depends on their beliefs. You can also ask yourself if you consider seafood as something similar to other types of animal products like beef or chicken meat; if so, then perhaps fish really is meat after all!


Is Fish a Veg or Meat?

Since fish and seafood are considered animal flesh, technically they aren’t vegetarian. If someone eats these foods while following a vegetarian diet, they’re referred to as a pescatarian.

Is Fish Considered a Meat in the Bible?

Biblically, the flesh of fish is considered distinct from the flesh of cows or birds.

Why is Fish Different From Meat?

Fish has shorter muscle fibres and less connective tissue than meat, moreover their connective tissue is more delicate and positioned differently.