Swordfish: Can You Eat It Raw?

When it comes to the best kinds of fish meat that you can eat, many people will point to swordfish as being one of the tastiest.

And can you blame them?

With a texture that many other types of fish meats seem to lack, a delicious flavor, as well as just the nature of the animal that the meat comes from, it’s no wonder that, so many see swordfish meat as this pristine ingredient to cook with and eat.

Swordfish Can You Eat It Raw

However, for many people, swordfish is also kind of an enigma (for more unique fish options, check out our guide to starfish). At least, when it comes to preparing it for eating. It is pretty rare fish meat if you don’t know where to get it, so many people don’t know the best ways to cook it.

And because of its pristine status and relative rarity, you don’t want to botch it!

So, how do you best prepare swordfish for eating? Grilled? Steamed? Smoked? Can you eat it raw?

While the answer to that last one is iffy, we’re going to answer all of these questions and more in this guide that we have put together for your viewing and culinary pleasure!

Can You Eat Raw Swordfish?

Let’s start with the main question that we asked in the title of this guide, about whether raw swordfish is edible in its raw form.

After all, raw sushi is one of the most popular meals and foods that you’ll find out there these days, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that at least some other fish meats can be eaten raw.

However, swordfish is not one of them. Yes, Swordfish is not a fish that is considered edible, certainly not by health experts and chefs.

Outside the traditional concerns and issues with eating raw fish, swordfish meat contains a concerning high amount of mercury in it.

This mercury is effectively burned away during the cooking process (when done right) but is way too high in raw meat to be eaten safely.

So sorry gang. You can’t try and spice up your next sushi dinner night by using raw swordfish!

Effects Of Eating Raw Swordfish

Needless to say, eating raw swordfish is a pretty nasty experience

Anyone who’s taken a look at the history books will know that consuming Mercury is one of the quickest ways to end off in the emergency room. Or worse, in a list of ‘most avoidable deaths in history’.

Mercury poisoning can lead to a lot of nasty side effects, from trembling and insomnia to the deterioration of your neurological or brain activities, as well as potential memory loss, amongst many others.

Needless to say, these issues alone should be enough reason to avoid letting swordfish near your lips without thorough cooking first!

While eating a small sliver of fish with trace amounts of mercury isn’t going to guarantee that you start showing all these symptoms, you can generally tell how much mercury is in fish meat by the size of the fish that they came from.

And given just how big swordfish can get, weighing up to 200 pounds and 10 feet long, that’s a big fish.

And, of course, there are other health concerns that you need to be aware of when handling raw fish in general. Fish that have been caught out in open water always run the risk of hosting parasites and bacterial infections, and swordfish are no different.

This is an issue that can usually be dealt with by cooking it. But if you’re eating fish raw, you need to get them from a reputable and fresh source. Otherwise, a nasty bout of food poisoning is going to hit you like an angry swordfish!

Best Cooking Methods For Swordfish

So, if eating swordfish meat raw isn’t an option that is on the table, how exactly are you supposed to prepare it? Especially if you’re trying to avoid all the nasty side effects that we just covered.

Well, luckily for you, there are several ways that you can properly cook swordfish to make it both safe and delicious to eat!


Because one of the most popular ways to eat swordfish is in a steak form, you’ll find that you can get a pretty phenomenal swordfish to eat by pan frying it.

There are a ton of recipes for pan-frying swordfish out there, but we’ll stick with something nice and simple by showing you this pan-seared swordfish steak dish. As far as these recipes go, it’s simple, yet still, produces an amazingly tender fish steak meal!

Whatever recipe you choose to go with, make sure that you’re frying it will plenty of oil or butter, so that that dense, moist texture isn’t ruined by overcooking or burning it!

Swordfish Can You Eat It Raw (1)


In the same way that meat steak is perfect for both frying and grilling, swordfish steak is another remarkable food to cook at a grill-out!

That dense, rich fish meat that swordfish has not only tastes great but also gets a phenomenal grilling pattern where it is cooked on the grill, giving it that authentic grilled touch that plenty of us love!

If you’re looking for a good recipe to start with for this cooking method, check out this grilled swordfish recipe. Not only does it give you clear and concise instructions, but it also gives you an amazing marinade recipe that you can use with it!

If you do choose to marinade it, you’ll only need to keep it in your sauce or chosen ingredients for around 10 to 15 minutes or so. Perfect for getting that fish steak on the grill, and keeping it fresh and healthy!


If you’re looking for a way to preserve the delicate flavors of a good swordfish steak, you can do a lot worse than baking it!

For a couple of pointers on how to use this cooking method, you’ll want to try out this simple swordfish recipe that we’ve found.

With simple and clear instructions, and an easy marinade to make for yourself, not only is this the perfect dish for a summer’s evening, but it’s the perfect entry point into other baked fish dishes. Once you can do this one, the rest are sure to follow!

Like with any other baked fish recipe, make sure that you’re wrapping your swordfish meat well in aluminum foil to save that moisture. You don’t want to lose all that tender moisture from your fish, after all!

When To Tell When Swordfish Is Cooked?

Regardless of these different cooking methods, it’s important to know when swordfish has been appropriately cooked. After all, while you don’t want to overcook and burn it, you certainly don’t want to undercook it, either.

While these different cooking methods that we’ve outlined all have their differences, one thing that you can rely on to tell if your fish is finished is how hot your swordfish is.

The meat of your swordfish should start to feel firm to the touch, as well as start to flake easily with a fork.

If you want to be extra thorough, you can use a cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of your fish meat. If it is at or above 145 degrees Fahrenheit, then your meat is safe to eat and enjoy!

What Happens If You Overcook Swordfish?

Okay, but how bad can overcooked swordfish be?

Well, pretty bad, it turns out. That delicate flavor that swordfish has, when all the moisture has evaporated, goes with it, leaving you with a flavorless piece of meat that is pasty, almost chalky, to chew on.

Not very nice, at all!

Fish That You Can Eat Raw

So, if swordfish isn’t a fish that you can safely eat raw, which kinds of fish are safe to eat this way?

While again, you need to make sure that bacterial or parasitic infections are kept out of it, there are a few fish species that are generally safer to eat raw, such as salmon, sea bass, and tilapia.

These are some of the most common fish to eat fresh out of the body, and into your mouth!

Final Notes

So, here’s your answer. Swordfish shouldn’t be eaten raw, if you want to look after your health!

Luckily for us, there are plenty of other ways that we can enjoy this delicious fish, from grilling it, to pan frying it, to good old-fashioned baking in the oven.

Mark Williams
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