Can You Eat Sunfish?

Sunfish is not something you commonly find on your dinner menu. This is a bulky and scaly endangered fish found in the Middle Ocean. Is the fish tasty? Well, it depends on your taste. But if you know how to cook, it can be a special addition to your thanksgiving dinner.

Before we get into its taste, let’s make one thing clear, can you eat sunfish? The short answer is yes! You can! All parts of the fish are edible. It is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, especially in japan and south Asia. Moreover, you can use the fins and other vital organs as a part of your cuisine.

Here in this article, we are going to introduce you to some common sunfishes. We will also discuss if you can eat black-spotted sunfish or its skin. In addition, we will conclude the debate that if it is edible during pregnancy.

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What Are The Most Common Sunfish You Can Eat?

Though all parts of sunfish are edible, not all the sunfish. Considering the taste, nutrition value, toxicity, and legal issue, we will discuss some common types of sunfish that you can eat.

01. Ocean Sunfish

You might be more familiar with the name mola than the ocean sunfish. It has a flat body with a fish head. The distal end is complemented by a tail. It is a bulky, heavy, and bony fish.

These fishes mainly live on sea jellies ad scalps. Its truncated shape body differentiates it from other ocean creatures. The vital organ contains neurotoxins that directly affect the central nervous system.

02. Green Sunfish

Next on our list, we have a common breed of green sunfish. Unlike the former one, it is a freshwater sunfish. You can keep this fish in your aquarium for beautification.

They have a slightly yellowish to the blackish-green complexion and can live in calm water for 4-5 years. One of their special abilities is this fish is to survive in shallow streams.

Their 3-7 inch body weighs about 950-960 grams. Anglers need some tricks and tips to catch these fast swimmers.

03. Bluegill Sunfish

Similarly, bluegill sunfish is a freshwater species. They are available in rivers, lakes, and mostly in the water bodies in North America. Its blues green body has small scales. Their meat is a bit chewy.

But stilled bluegill sunfish deep fry is famous in many parts of North America. Its fins are comparatively smaller. But its flat body helps the fish to swim through streams and the lakes’ current.

04. Redear Sunfish

The last sunfish on our list is a Redear sunfish from the family Centrarchidae. They are found abundant in southeastern parts of America.

Redear Sunfish

Their molariform pharyngeal teeth help them to crush insects, fish, and small snails in the rivers and lakes. It has thin skin. So it is ideal for a smoked fish dish at party nights.

Can You Eat Sunfish with Black Spots?

Anglers commonly encounter sunfishes with specks of black dots on them. These black spots are not the natural print on their body. They develop due to the deposition of a parasite in their larval stage. It is commonly known as neascus.

Can You Eat Sunfish with Black Spots

When these parasitic eggs are released in water, they depend on snails as their host. But the question remains- if you can eat it not? Of course, you can eat it. You should be careful while de-skinning the fish and cleaning it.

Each fillet should be washed multiple times and properly cooked. Appropriate heat kills the parasite. So it is safe to eat when they are properly cooked.

Can You Eat Sunfish While Pregnant?

Fishes are a good source of protein during pregnancy. Moreover, sea fishes provide sufficient iodine to combat goiter. But you have to gather vast knowledge on what you should eat and what you shouldn’t.

If you are talking about the sunfish, then you might need to give it a second thought. Though freshwater sunfish is considered a traditional delicacy in some parts of the world, all ocean sunfishes are not palatable.

Can You Eat Sunfish While Pregnant

There is a debate on this topic though. Some believe that ocean water sunfish’s internal organs contain highly poisonous neurotoxins. They retards fetal brain development.

Moreover, there is a huge change that mother suffers from central nervous system depression.

Both freshwater sunfish and ocean sunfish are palatable for pregnant women if they are properly processed. It should be confirmed that the poisons are released before using them in many dishes.

Can You Eat Sunfish Skin?

Sunfish have small scales on their body. After removing the scales, the skin is perfectly palatable. So start by removing the scales using a de-scaler.

Once the scales are removed, use a thin blade knife to separate the skin from the meat. Clean the skin with fresh water two or three times. Then it is perfectly ready for cooking.

Here, we are sharing deep sunfish skin clips for a change in your taste bud.

#Recipe: Bluegill Sunfish Skin Chips


  • Bluegill sunfish skin
  • salts
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • mixed herbs
  • peanut oil


  • Marinate the bluegill sunfish skin with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
  • Wait until it becomes dry and releases extra water.
  • then deep fry those skin in oil until golden brown
  • sprinkle some salt on the chips and decorated with mixed herbs
  • The dish is then ready to serve.

Can You Eat Sunfish Eggs?

Fish eggs are an expensive dish in many French restaurants. Sunfish eggs might not be so famous and tasty as caviar, but they are worth tasting. Bluegill sunfish and Redear sunfish eggs are edible.

Their eggs are carefully collected from the female fish before the breeding season. The egg sac is removed from the body and the eggs are drained in a pot.

In Japan, these eggs are added to sushi. Sometimes they are eaten raw. No matter how you eat, it should be properly cleaned with salt water. This helps to remove the slime and extra blood from the eggs. Expecting mothers should avoid them in risky pregnancies.

Are Sunfish Safe to Eat?

The common question we face as seafood experts is that- are sunfish poisonous? No, they are not. Sunfishes are not only safe but also nutritious and fleshy. They contain necessary vitamins B3 and B6, magnesium, zinc, copper, and other micronutrients.

Are Sunfish Safe to Eat

But you should keep in mind that not all sunfishes are edible. Certain ocean sunfish species contain poison. Their internal organ contains harmful neurotoxins. It can cause paralysis, coma, and even death.


Sunfishes have not still achieved that fame to have a constant presence at your dinner table. But they are still high in demand.

Nowadays, they have been declared as endangered species of the ocean. So these are some legal issues with catching sunfishes both in freshwater and saltwater.

So, can you eat sunfish? We won’t force you. But we can suggest it to have a taste for once at least. These fishes are non-poisonous, flesh, and highly nutritious.

One of the drawbacks is its bones. They are hard to separate. But de-boning it with great patience is worth its taste. We are sure to assure you that!

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