5 Types of Seafood You Can Eat Raw

by Ella

Seafood has long been celebrated for its diverse flavors, nutritional benefits, and culinary versatility. While many people enjoy seafood in cooked dishes such as grilled fish, steamed shrimp, or pan-seared scallops, there are also numerous varieties of seafood that can be safely consumed raw. Whether you’re a fan of sushi, sashimi, ceviche, or simply enjoy the fresh taste of raw seafood, understanding which types are safe to eat without cooking is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore a wide range of seafood options that can be enjoyed raw, along with tips for selecting, handling, and preparing them to ensure a safe and delicious dining experience.

Raw Seafood Consumption:

Consuming raw seafood, also known as eating seafood “sashimi-style,” is a culinary tradition that spans cultures and cuisines around the world. From Japanese sushi to Peruvian ceviche, raw seafood dishes showcase the natural flavors and textures of the ocean’s bounty in its purest form. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when consuming raw seafood to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.


Raw seafood can harbor harmful bacteria, parasites, and pathogens that can cause food poisoning if not handled and prepared properly. To ensure the safety of raw seafood consumption, it’s crucial to source high-quality, fresh seafood from reputable suppliers, store it at the correct temperature, and follow proper handling and preparation techniques.


Key Considerations for Eating Raw Seafood:

Before exploring specific types of raw seafood that are safe to eat, let’s discuss some key considerations to keep in mind:


Freshness: Freshness is paramount when it comes to raw seafood. Choose seafood that smells clean and briny, with no off-putting odors or fishy aromas. Look for bright, clear eyes, firm flesh, and shiny, iridescent skin when selecting whole fish or fillets.


Quality: Opt for high-quality seafood from reputable sources, such as trusted fishmongers, seafood markets, or sushi-grade suppliers. Sushi-grade seafood undergoes strict quality control measures to ensure it is safe for raw consumption and free from contaminants.

Temperature Control: Raw seafood should be stored and transported at the proper temperature to prevent bacterial growth and spoilage. Keep raw seafood refrigerated at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) and avoid leaving it at room temperature for extended periods.

Cross-Contamination: To prevent cross-contamination, keep raw seafood separate from other foods, utensils, and surfaces during preparation. Use separate cutting boards, knives, and serving platters for raw seafood to avoid spreading bacteria to cooked foods.

Safe Handling: Handle raw seafood with care to minimize the risk of contamination. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling raw seafood, and clean all utensils, surfaces, and kitchen equipment used in its preparation.

Now that we’ve covered the key considerations let’s explore a variety of raw seafood options that are safe and delicious to eat without cooking.

5 Types of Seafood You Can Eat Raw:

1. Sushi-Grade Fish:

Sushi-grade fish, also known as sashimi-grade or sushi-quality fish, is specifically designated for raw consumption and undergoes rigorous quality control measures to ensure its safety. Common types of sushi-grade fish include:

  • Tuna (maguro)
  • Salmon (sake)
  • Yellowtail (hamachi)
  • Sea bass (suzuki)
  • Snapper (tai)
  • Mackerel (saba)
  • Halibut (hirame)
  • Flounder (karei)

When purchasing sushi-grade fish, look for labels indicating that the fish has been previously frozen to kill any parasites. Freezing fish at temperatures below -4°F (-20°C) for at least 7 days destroys parasites and ensures the safety of raw consumption.

2. Shellfish:

Certain types of shellfish are safe to eat raw when sourced from reputable suppliers and handled properly. Popular options include:

Oysters: Fresh oysters are prized for their briny flavor and delicate texture. Enjoy them on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon or a mignonette sauce.

Clams: Raw clams can be enjoyed as part of seafood platters or served in ceviche. Look for varieties such as littleneck clams or Manila clams for raw consumption.

Scallops: Fresh scallops can be sliced thinly and served raw as sashimi or added to ceviche for a sweet and tender addition.

Shrimp: Raw shrimp can be peeled and deveined before being served in ceviche or sushi rolls. Look for high-quality, fresh shrimp from sustainable sources.

3. Ceviche:

Ceviche is a popular Latin American dish made from raw seafood marinated in citrus juice, typically lime or lemon juice, along with various seasonings such as onions, cilantro, and chili peppers. The acidity of the citrus juice “cooks” the seafood, denaturing the proteins and giving it a firm, opaque texture.

Common types of seafood used in ceviche include:

White fish: Such as halibut, sea bass, or snapper

Shrimp: Peeled, deveined, and diced

Scallops: Fresh scallops, thinly sliced

Squid or octopus: Tenderized and sliced into bite-sized pieces

To make ceviche, combine the raw seafood with diced onions, cilantro, chili peppers, and salt in a bowl. Add enough citrus juice to fully submerge the seafood and marinate for 15-30 minutes, or until the seafood is opaque and firm. Serve the ceviche chilled with tortilla chips or toasted bread.

4. Sushi Rolls and Hand Rolls:

Sushi rolls, also known as maki rolls, and hand rolls, or temaki, often feature a combination of raw seafood, vegetables, and sushi rice wrapped in seaweed. Popular sushi roll options include:

Spicy tuna roll: Featuring raw tuna mixed with spicy mayo and wrapped in nori and rice.

California roll: Made with imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, and tobiko (flying fish roe) wrapped in nori and rice.

Salmon avocado roll: Filled with raw salmon and creamy avocado slices.

Rainbow roll: A colorful combination of assorted raw fish slices, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in nori and rice.

When making sushi rolls at home, ensure that you use sushi-grade fish and handle the raw seafood with care to prevent contamination.

5. Sashimi:

Sashimi refers to thinly sliced raw fish or seafood served without rice. It is often enjoyed as an appetizer or part of a traditional Japanese meal. Popular sashimi options include:

  • Tuna (maguro)
  • Salmon (sake)
  • Yellowtail (hamachi)
  • Sea bream (tai)
  • Squid (ika)
  • Scallop (hotate)
  • Surf clam (hokkigai)

Sashimi is typically served with soy sauce for dipping, along with wasabi and pickled ginger for added flavor.

Safety Precautions and Best Practices:

When consuming raw seafood, it’s essential to follow safety precautions and best practices to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. Here are some additional tips to ensure the safety of raw seafood consumption:

Source from Reputable Suppliers: Purchase raw seafood from reputable fishmongers, seafood markets, or suppliers that specialize in sushi-grade products. Choose suppliers that adhere to strict quality control measures and have a reputation for freshness and quality.

Check for Freshness: When selecting raw seafood, look for signs of freshness such as bright eyes, firm flesh, and a clean, briny smell. Avoid seafood that appears dull, discolored, or has a strong fishy odor, as these may indicate poor quality or spoilage.

Verify Freezing Practices: Ensure that raw seafood, particularly fish intended for raw consumption, has been properly frozen to kill any parasites or pathogens. Look for labels indicating that the seafood has been previously frozen at temperatures below -4°F (-20°C) for a specified period, typically 7 days or longer.

Handle with Care: Handle raw seafood with care to prevent cross-contamination and bacterial growth. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling raw seafood, and use separate cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces for raw and cooked foods.

Maintain Proper Temperature: Keep raw seafood refrigerated at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) to slow bacterial growth and preserve freshness. Use insulated coolers or ice packs when transporting raw seafood to ensure it stays cold during transit.

Consume Promptly: Consume raw seafood promptly after purchase to enjoy it at its freshest and minimize the risk of spoilage. Avoid letting raw seafood sit at room temperature for extended periods, especially in warm weather.

Discard if Unsure: If you are unsure about the freshness or quality of raw seafood, err on the side of caution and discard it. Consuming spoiled or contaminated seafood can lead to foodborne illness and digestive discomfort.

By following these safety precautions and best practices, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of raw seafood with confidence and peace of mind.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Eat Seafood Every Day


Raw seafood offers a tantalizing array of flavors, textures, and culinary possibilities, from delicate sashimi to zesty ceviche and indulgent sushi rolls. While consuming raw seafood can be a delightful culinary experience, it’s essential to exercise caution and follow proper handling and preparation techniques to ensure food safety.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored a variety of raw seafood options that are safe and delicious to eat without cooking, including sushi-grade fish, shellfish, ceviche, sushi rolls, and sashimi. By sourcing high-quality seafood from reputable suppliers, checking for freshness, and adhering to safety precautions, you can enjoy the vibrant flavors and nutritional benefits of raw seafood with confidence.

Whether you’re hosting a sushi night at home, indulging in a seafood platter at your favorite restaurant, or experimenting with homemade ceviche recipes, exploring the world of raw seafood opens up a world of culinary delights. So go ahead, embrace your adventurous palate, and savor the fresh, natural flavors of the ocean’s bounty in its purest form.



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