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Fish temperature chart | Download Free Template

Fish temperature chart

There are a lot of things to consider when cooking fish meat. This type of meat contains a fraction of the collagen found in dark meat and shorter muscle fibers compared with beef and lamb. This means that fish meat cooks faster than other types of meat. It is more sensitive to heat and can go wrong with just a few degrees off of the target temperature. Safety-wise, many food safety hazards are related to fish and seafood (e.g., lobster meat, shrimp, and mussels). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted in one of their reports that fish and other seafood are most likely to cause foodborne illness to most of the public. As such, cooking fish and other seafood is a critical task. To do this, use a fish temperature chart.

Over the past decades, several fish-associated outbreaks have been linked back to restaurants. Although some foodborne illness-causing factors in seafood cannot be prevented by cooking, such as toxins, a lot of the major dangerous bacteria and other pathogens that have caused widescale outbreaks are preventable by cooking. With proper preparation and cooking fish to the proper cooking temperature, major foodborne illnesses can be prevented.

Find out how can our Fish Temperature Chart and your handy food thermometer help you ensure the safety of your dishes. In addition, learn about how you can switch to our digital platform and start monitoring your food safety tasks with our smart Food Safety Management System.


What is a fish temperature chart?

A fish temperature chart is a visual guide that contains the correct internal fish cooking temp. The internal temperature mentioned in a fish cooking temperature chart is based on achieving the highest level of safety. While there are other fish internal temperatures to which different types of seafood can be cooked for quality purposes, a fish cook temp chart is more concerned with safety. 


Fish and other seafood are common proteins that are popularly served undercooked. There are several popular species of fish among customers, such as Atlantic salmon, tuna, lake trout, and northern pike.

You may be familiar with firm sashimi, sushi, ceviche, and other dishes that use fresh seafood as the main ingredient. Other fresh meat steaks from fish, such as the Ahi tuna, can even be served rare with control of temperature to cook fish at 115°F instead of the general standard for fish and other seafood, which is 145°F for proper doneness.

Although permitted, given a very high standard for food safety practices, consuming raw and undercooked foods has increased food safety risk from harmful bacteria. This is especially true for individuals who belong to high-risk groups (e.g., pregnant women, children, and the elderly). 


Some of the significant pathogens associated with fish include harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Streptococcus, and Campylobacter. These pathogens, unlike toxins that cause food poisoning, can be eliminated with proper fish cooking temp. Unlike pork, beef, and lamb, fish meat does not need any rest time for carryover cooking from residual heat.

After removing from the direct heat source, they can be served immediately. Use a fish and seafood internal temperature chart as a guide for reading the internal temperature of your dish with a digital thermometer for an accurate reading. 


Who needs a fish temperature chart?

A fish temperature chart is a very useful guide for food service establishments such as a restaurant, food trucks, cafeterias, and even fish stores. Aside from acting as a reminder for the correct internal temperature, a fish temperature chart can help food handlers on estimating the correct cooking time to reach the target temperature. The cooking processes in correlation to time vary depending on other factors such as the size and type of fish cut. Additionally, this fish temperature chart can also be used by home cooks for the same reason. A few percentages of reported foodborne illness outbreaks related to fish and seafood were traced back to home cooking. As such, having a reliable guide can help reduce these occurrences. 


What are the benefits of using a fish temperature chart?

A fish temperature chart aims to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illnesses from consuming contaminated foods. Properly cooking a piece of fish to an accurate temperature is the most effective way to do this objective. For restaurants that do not serve undercooked fish, a fish temperature chart can become your best tool to make the food amazing and safe. In general, using a fish temperature chart offers the following benefits. 

  • Reminder. Most food service establishments serve more than just one type of protein. Meats such as poultry, beef, and pork can also be a part of their menu. All of these meats have different target internal temperatures. As such, this can confuse food handlers, especially those who are new to their jobs. A cooked fish temperature chart can become a helpful reminder to ensure that fish and seafood dishes are correctly prepared and cooked.
  • Ensure food safety. Because the risk of causing foodborne illnesses is present in consuming undercooked or raw meat and other seafood, cooking them to the approximate cooking temperature of 145°F is very important. At this temperature, most foodborne illness-causing pathogens are eliminated while maintaining a palatable quality to the dish. Beyond this temperature, pathogens may be eliminated, but the fish meat can become tough and dry. With even less collagen than other types of meat and meat mixtures, even with the meat of game birds and ground poultry, they recommended internal temperature is less harsh.
  • Cost-saving. Foodborne illnesses and related injuries can cause quite a commotion. Food businesses involved in an outbreak can lose profits from bad publicity, which may have a negative stigma for quite a while. Customers tend to become very wary of a food business that got involved with a food safety issue. To prevent this from happening, make sure to always cook foods to the target safe temperature.
  • Food safety training. As part of every food handler's food safety training, they are required to familiarize themselves with most, if not all, cooking internal temperatures. A fish temperature chart will allow food handlers to master how to cook fish and other seafood. During orientation, food handlers would also be able to understand the consequences of non-compliance. This training allows them to keep food safety well-controlled in the kitchen and promote accountability in case of any blunder.

If your food business offers both thoroughly cooked and undercooked pieces of fish and seafood dishes, precise cooking and constant temperature must be practiced for distinction. Customers would expect your team to serve accurately cooked fish when they request it. In the case of undercooked fish, your food business must be well-equipped with a consumer advisory as notice to your consumers. 


How to create a fish temperature chart?

A fish temperature chart will become your team's basis for cooking fish and other seafood. As such, the information that you put on it must be accurate, fact-based, clear, and always updated. These characteristics are vital to make your fish temperature chart effective and control food safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a fish temperature chart:

  • Fact-based information. This factor is paramount. The information you include in the fish temperature chart must be based on peer-reviewed journals or government-issued data. With such information, you can be sure that the internal core temperature description, cooking time, and other data you put on your chart are effective and will serve their purpose. 
  • Accurate information. When declaring the common temperature ranges, make sure to double-check the values you put. A wrong range or below the correct serving temperature will lead to undercooking, which increases the risk of causing foodborne illness. Make sure to put the ideal temperature range when making your fish temperature chart. An inaccurate and wider range can cause undercooking.
  • Updated information. Often, food safety agencies and researchers find ways to cook different types of meats faster and more efficiently. Make sure to check if the information you retrieved for the optimal temperature range is the most updated version. Contact your local food safety agency for any particular information that you may need to add.
  • Clearly presented information. Other restaurant and consumer cooking temperature charts for different types of food are also available. To put a clear distinction between the optimal range of temperatures, make sure to print out your fish temperature chart clearly. Confusion among busy cooks with the information you put in may lead to undercooking or overcooking. 

With these key elements applied to your fish temperature chart, you can rest easy that its objective will be fully maximized. You can make your chart or use our ready-made and complete fish temperature chart with the correct time and temp ranges.

At FoodDocs, we have compiled all of the most important food safety charts, posters, and checklists for food businesses to use. We even have another temperature chart for meats and other basic food types. You can access more informational documents from our HACCP plan template hub.


How to use the Fish Temperature Chart?

Follow these steps to optimize the use of our Fish Temperature Chart:

1. Download the chart from above by entering your email and pressing "download."

2. Find the downloaded full-quality file from your downloads folder. Print the chart.

3. Attach the chart to the wall of your kitchen and/or other working areas where food workers can clearly see it. We suggest some place where food handlers can see it during cooking.

4. Briefly explain the idea of the chart and summarize the importance of cooking fish correctly to your employees.

5. Be always up to date with our new free templates, tools, and posters from our template hub and through the newsletter that we will send you once a month to introduce our new content.


Suggestions for cooking fish safely

Fish is a very versatile type of protein. It is a popular food ingredient in the food service industry. Fish is considered a high-risk food as it is rich in nutrients and it is very high in moisture. Improper handling can significantly lead to foodborne illness.

To avoid this, food handlers must be properly equipped with the right knowledge of handling and cooking fish.


Follow these suggestions when cooking fish:

  1. Ensure that the fish you are using is fresh.
  2. Practice proper hygiene when handling fish.
  3. Use separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing fish.
  4. Make sure that the heat source is hot enough to reach the desired fish internal temp.
  5. Cook fish to an internal temperature of 145°F.
  6. Ensure that the thermometer you are using is properly calibrated.
  7. Avoid eating undercooked fish, as this increases the risk of causing foodborne illnesses.
  8. Always place raw and undercooked fish below ready-to-eat foods inside the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination.
  9. Cook fresh fish within only 1 to 2 days after refrigeration to ensure safety.
  10. Refrigerate cooked fish for only a maximum of 3 to 4 days.


Guide your employees on properly cooking fish using our Fish Cooking Chart. Complement this tool by using our Fridge Organization Chart to guide food handlers on properly storing cooked or raw fish in the refrigerator.

For a more intuitive solution, use our smart Food Safety Management System at FoodDocs. Using this software, food handlers can log cooking temperatures as they process the fish, and you can ensure food safety compliance. 


At what temperature is fish done?

Fish is ideally cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F using any cooking method. At this temperature, the fish meat is fully cooked, and any potentially present pathogenic microorganism is safely killed.

The recommended temperature also considers the quality of the cooked fish. Beyond 145°F (63°C), the fish meat can become very tough and rubbery or lose moisture.

Use a properly calibrated thermometer to ensure that the target internal temperature for fish is achieved. Visually, a property-cooked fish is milky white in color and opaque. The meat should be flaky and not tough when cut with a fork.


How to tell if fish is cooked?

Visually, you can tell if a fish is cooked if the meat turns milky white and opaque. The texture of the fish must also be flaky and not rubbery. 

The best way to ensure that the fish is cooked is if it reaches the cooked temp for fish of 145°F.


Can you freeze cooked fish?

Yes. Freezing is an effective way to preserve cooked fish for later consumption or cooking. Fat-rich fish, such as tuna or salmon, can last up to three months in the freezer, whereas leaner fish can last up to six months.

Food handlers must remember that this estimated shelf-life can only be achieved if the cooked fish is properly prepared. Use the two-stage cooling method before putting the cooked fish in an airtight container.


What are the consequences of eating uncooked fish?

Failure to reach the cooked temp for fish increases the risk of causing foodborne illness. Fish is a known carrier of foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella, Listeria, and Vibrio. 

Consuming undercooked fish can lead to symptoms that may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. As food handlers, it is part of your responsibility to ensure that your dishes reach the recommended cooked fish temp.


Monitoring fish cooking temperature control with FoodDocs

Fish and other seafood can be considered everyday food. Customers frequently order it from a restaurant, and this type of food can be served in many different ways. Each time you send out a dish with fish as the main protein, your team must be sure that the customer will be safe upon consuming it.

Fish and seafood dishes must always be properly cooked to the correct temperature. Regularly checking the temperature with a digital food thermometer or a regular cooking thermometer and recording the results are important parts of your food safety management system. 

With all of these at hand, how would you be able to manage the business side of your establishment? FoodDocs is here to the rescue! With our smart Food Safety Management System powered by artificial intelligence, you can significantly cut the time you spend on micromanaging your food safety operations. 

With our smart platform, you will get the following benefits:

  • You will get automatically generated monitoring logs built around your food business operations. These monitoring logs can also be set to be automatically filled by our system based on your previous data entries. 

Some of the logs that you can get and are useful for handling fish and seafood include the following:

    • Cooking temperature log


Cooking temperature log from FoodDocs

    • receiving chilled goods log
    • fridge temperature log


Fridge temperature log from FoodDocs

    • Employee hygiene checklist

  • All generated monitoring logs come with detailed instructions on how to perform the tasks. You can use this to train food handlers and ensure that every task is done correctly.
  • A smart notification system that will remind your team of any food safety operation that is due to be done. Using our mobile application, our system will send intuitive notifications to the assigned food safety staff.
  • Our smart software comes with a Traceability System that you can use to track the shelf-life of your products. Use this feature to ensure that the fish and seafood ingredients you use are always fresh.

In addition to features that will help food handlers manage cooking and handling fish, our system also provides benefits that can help you improve management efficiency. 

  • A real-time food safety dashboard that reflects your daily food safety operation. You can save up to 20% of your time by managing these operations and pinpointing which areas need improvement.
  • Store and access all of your digital files from single cloud storage dedicated to your food business.

Shifting to a digital platform with us at FoodDocs can make your daily safety operations more efficient and less hassle. The best part is you do not need to be completely tech-savvy to establish your own digital Food Safety Management System. Our software makes it easy for you that you can accomplish the task of setting up your system in just 15 minutes




No task will be left behind with our digital FSMS. You do not have to be afraid of making the switch, as all it takes is for you to answer a few questions and a few more clicks. 

Our system accommodates customization to fit tasks that are unique to your food business. With this feature, you can further tailor your digital FSMS to fit your operations perfectly exactly. Explore our digital FSMS now by availing of our free 14-day trial.




Frequently Asked Questions

To help you understand more about how to cook fish and other seafood correctly, here are some commonly asked questions about the topic:


What temperature should fish be cooked to?

Fish and other seafood are recommended to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F for any ideal cooking method. At this cooked temperature, fish meat must have opaque, white cooked color up to the center and flaky meat characteristics. You can test fish for doneness by sticking the tip of a knife through the thickest part of the fish steak. Overcooking will cause the fish meat to become rubbery and very dry.


Is salmon safe at 120 degrees?

Undercooking salmon can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses, especially for the vulnerable group of people. Cooking salmon to the category temperature of 120°F using your choice of cooking process gives it medium-rare doneness where more moisture is retained up to the innermost portion. Depending on the fat content of the salmon, this fish can be cooked longer and is less prone to drying. Fish can be processed by baking, subjecting to steam, or grilling process.


What is the suggested fish internal temp?

Fish and other seafood are suggested to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. This temperature doneness ensures food safety while considering the quality of fish meat.


Can you eat fish at 120 degrees?

Some types of fish, including salmon, are often cooked at 120°F. This temperature recommendation is true, especially for leaner fish. Despite this, federal agencies, such as the USDA, recommend fish to be cooked at 145°F.


Does fish have to be cooked to 165?

No. Fish normally have less fat than other types of meat. As such, the heat can travel more efficiently to the core of the fish meat. In general, fish is only recommended to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.

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