What Does Shark Taste Like?

Despite the controversial shark fin industry, did you know that shark meat is enjoyed in many parts of the world, including right here in the US?

The taste of shark often surprises many first-timers with its meaty, mild-tasting flesh. I’ve paired it with different seasonings and sauces and really enjoy it every now and again.

So in this article, we’ll discuss its taste and texture to the best ways to cook it, and we’ll explore everything you need to know about bringing this predator of the sea to your kitchen table.

How Does Shark Taste?

When you first bite into a piece of well-prepared shark meat, you’re met with a meaty and mild flavor. It’s an interesting blend that’s similar to chicken yet with a hint of sweetness that’s more common in seafood.

What Does Shark Taste Like

Shark meat is firm and dense, much like a good cut of steak. It’s not flaky like most fish but has a consistency closer to chicken or alligator. It’s moist but not chewy.

This texture plays a significant role in the overall taste experience, adding a satisfying bite that complements the mild flavor.

However, it’s worth noting that not all shark meat tastes the same. The flavor can vary depending on the species of the shark and how it’s prepared.

For instance, some people find the taste similar to scallops but with a more intense flavor. On the other hand, if not properly prepared, shark meat can have an unpleasant ammonia-like taste because a shark’s blood contains urea broken down into ammonia when it dies.

Varieties Of Shark

Different species of sharks offer a range of flavors and textures. Here are a few examples:

  • Mako Shark: Known for its firm, slightly sweet meat that’s often compared to swordfish. It’s a favorite among many shark meat enthusiasts.
  • Blacktip Shark: This variety has a mild flavor that’s often described as tasting like chicken or even roadkill. It’s important to note that the meat must be properly cleaned and prepared to avoid unpleasant tastes.
  • Gummy Shark: This species is particularly popular in Australia. It’s known for its sweet and delicious flesh, sometimes used for making fish and chips.
  • Hammerhead Shark: The meat of this shark is tender and light, with a flavor that’s often compared to scallops. However, mercury content is a concern with such a large sea-dwelling creature.

What Does Shark Compare With?

Shark meat compares to a few other types of meat:

  • Chicken: The mild and meaty flavor of shark is often compared to chicken, making it a familiar taste for many.
  • Alligator: The firm texture and slightly sweet flavor of shark meat is similar to alligator, especially when it’s grilled or fried.
  • Swordfish: Some varieties of shark, like the Mako, have a flavor and texture that’s similar to swordfish.
  • Scallops: Some people find that shark meat has a taste similar to scallops but with a more intense flavor.

Do Sharks Taste Fishy?

Interestingly, shark meat doesn’t have the typical fishy taste that you might expect from a large fish.

That being said, the taste can vary depending on the species of the shark and how it’s prepared. While some varieties have a more pronounced seafood flavor, others are more subtle.

fresh whole shark at market

It’s also worth noting that the freshness of the meat can greatly influence its taste.

When properly prepared, fresh shark meat should not have a strong fishy taste.

Do Sharks Smell Fishy?

Just as with the taste, the smell of shark meat is not what you might expect. Unlike many types of fish, shark doesn’t have a strong fishy smell. In fact, fresh shark meat should have an almost neutral scent.

However, there’s one important caveat to this. Sharks can excrete waste through their skin when stressed, giving the meat an ammonia-like smell if it’s not properly cleaned and prepared.

This is why it’s crucial to soak shark meat in milk or water before cooking it. This process helps to neutralize the smell and improve the overall taste of the meat.

Remember, a strong, unpleasant smell can be a sign that the meat is not fresh or hasn’t been properly prepared and should be avoided.

What Do Sharks Look Like?

When you think of a shark, you might picture a large, fearsome creature with sharp teeth.

However, when it comes to shark meat, the image is quite different. Shark meat is typically sold in the form of steaks or fillets, similar to other types of fish.

what raw shark meat looks like

The color of shark meat can vary, but it’s usually a light pink or white. The meat is firm and dense. When cooked, shark meat turns a beautiful white color and maintains its firm texture.

Shark steaks are often thick and hearty, making them a satisfying choice for a main course. They hold up well to various cooking methods, including grilling, baking, and pan-searing.

On the other hand, shark fillets are thinner and more delicate. They’re perfect for quick-cooking methods like pan-searing or broiling.

How To Eat Shark

Let’s explore some of the most popular ways to enjoy shark.

Pan-Seared Shark

pan frying shark steaks

For a quick and easy preparation, shark fillets can be pan-seared. This method gives the meat a nice, crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender.

Pan-seared shark can be served with a simple sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon for a light and flavorful dish.

Grilled Shark

Grilling is a popular method for cooking shark, especially in the form of steaks. The firm texture of the meat holds up well to the grill’s high heat.

Marinate in a mixture of herbs, spices, and citrus, and your grilled shark steaks can be a delicious and hearty main course.

Baked Shark

baked shark fillet

Baking is another great way to prepare shark. The meat can be seasoned with various flavors, then baked until it’s tender and juicy.

Baked shark can be served with a side of vegetables or a grain for a balanced meal.

How To Make Shark Taste Good

Making shark taste good is all about the preparation.

  • Proper Cleaning: Sharks excrete waste through their skin, which can give the meat an unpleasant taste if not properly cleaned. Soaking the meat in milk or acidulated water can help neutralize this taste.
  • Marinating: Marinating shark meat can enhance its flavor and tenderize it. A marinade with citrus, herbs, and spices can add a lot of flavor to the meat.
  • Cooking Method: The way you cook shark can greatly influence its taste. Grilling, baking, and pan-searing are all great methods that can bring out the best in shark meat.
  • Seasoning: Don’t be shy with seasoning. Salt, pepper, and other spices can help enhance the natural flavor of the shark.
  • Sauces and Sides: Serving shark with a flavorful sauce or a side of fresh vegetables can make for a delicious and balanced meal.

Remember, the key to making shark taste good is to treat it like its unique ingredient.

How To Buy Shark

Buying shark can be a bit different than buying other types of seafood. Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing shark meat.


The freshness of the meat is crucial when buying shark. Fresh shark meat should have a mild, almost neutral scent. If it smells strongly of ammonia, it’s likely not fresh. The meat should also be firm to the touch, not soft or mushy.


Shark meat is typically sold in the form of steaks or fillets. The color can vary, but it’s usually a light pink or white. If the meat is dull or greyish, it’s probably not fresh.


Shark meat can sometimes be sold under different names. For example, shark meat is often sold as “flake” in Australia. It might be labeled as “steakfish” or “whitefish” in the United States.

Buying From a Restaurant

If you’re not comfortable preparing shark at home, ordering it from a restaurant can be a good option. Many seafood restaurants offer shark on their menu, often in the form of grilled steaks or pan-seared fillets.

When ordering shark at a restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask about the source of the meat and how it’s prepared.

It’s also important to consider sustainability. Many shark species are threatened due to overfishing, so it’s crucial to buy from sources that use sustainable fishing practices.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.