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Cuisine technique: cleaning and filleting a round fish

How to clean and fillet a round fish by Le Cordon Bleu Master Chefs

In this series of videos, our chefs are sharing some of the classic French techniques we teach to more than 20,000 students on our programmes around the world each year. In the below video we show you how to properly clean and fillet a round fish.

Cleaning and filleting a fish is something any aspiring cuisine Chef needs to know. Once perfected, you can use this technique to fillet any round fish with ease.

Chef’s tips:
When skinning fish, the angle of the knife against the skin is important and will make skinning easier. Lay the fillet skin side down and cut across the flesh at the tail. Dip your fingers in salt to get a good grip, grasp the tail and, starting at the cut, work the knife away from you at a shallow angle using a sawing motion.

Save the fish trimmings to make dumplings, mousse, fish cakes and fish stock…


  • 1 round fish



Cut off all the fins using kitchen scissors.

Holding the fish by the tail, scrape from tail to head to remove all of the scales. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, making sure the fish is free from scales.

Cut down the centre of the belly and remove the guts. Wash thoroughly with cold water inside the gut cavity, making sure the blood line is washed away as much as possible.


Make angled cuts behind the head, all the way down to the cut in the belly and then cut through the spine with scissors to remove the head. Rinse again with cold water

Use the whole length of the knife to cut down the back. Use scissors to cut through the ribs. With the fish skin side down, gently use the knife to separate the backbone. Remove any bones left behind using a knife and discard. Using tweezers, remove all the pin bones from both fillets. Trim the edges of the fillets, removing any dark areas or remaining bones.


Le Cordon Bleu Chefs also share recipes for you to develop your culinary skills.

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