Are Lingcod Good To Eat? They’re Ugly, But Delicious!

If you have spent any time in the Pacific Northwest, chances are you have at least heard of the lingcod fish.

You may be wondering if these creepy-looking creatures are edible when they have a set of teeth fit for a piranha.

So, are Lingcod good to eat?

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Can You Eat Lingcod?

Lingcod are a healthy lean protein option that are incredibly delicious and fun to experiment with while cooking. They are a greenling fish – not a cod, contrary to their misleading name. 

These fish are voracious predators and can reach weights up to 80 pounds (35 kg)!

This means that if you’re catching the fish, you may have to expend quite a bit of energy in order to cook one up for dinner!

What Does Lingcod Taste Like?

Lingcod are usually described as a mild-flavored white fish. People often compare their meat to cod or halibut. When prepared correctly – which you will find out how to do later on in this article, they don’t taste overly “fishy”.

Their large white flakes make them the perfect fish for a quintessential west coast ‘fish and chips meal. 

Are Lingcod Good To Eat

You May Also Like: Are Lizardfish Good to Eat? 

Where Can I Find Lingcod?

Lingcod can be found in Pacific Northwest waters from Alaska to Southern California.

Ensure you are staying up to date with your state or province’s fishing regulations as you may be required to purchase a special license to fish for lingcod depending on your area. 

In terms of habitat, lingcod specifically enjoy swimming around stony reefs and rocky pinnacles anywhere from 30 ft (10 meters) to 300 feet (100 meters) deep. 

Timing is best around a low tide when water movement is slow. This is when you would want to cast your line and begin jigging a few feet from the bottom. 

If you’re not an avid angler, fret not, as lingcod are easily obtained in many other ways, so everyone can enjoy them! You can scour your local fish market or grocery store for fresh fillets.

How Do I Know I Have Caught A Lingcod?

Lingcod aren’t exactly the prettiest fish in the sea and have even earned the nickname Buckethead, due to their large heads and a huge set of 18 teeth.

They are often identified by their long bodies that narrow towards their tail, their wide heads, and copper mottled backs.

Are There Any Precautions I Should Be Aware Of When Eating Lingcod?

While there are no poisonous parts on the fish, lingcod have an impressive set of teeth! Ensure that your catch is completely dead before you go about gutting and preparing them.

Are Lingcod Good To Eat

The last thing you want on a relaxing day out fishing is a surprise bite from a toothy lingcod.

What Is The Best Way To Prepare Lingcod?

The most common ways to prepare lingcod are grilled on the barbecue or simply battered and fried. The firm white fillets are perfect for your classic west coast ‘fish and chips meal.  

You can also stuff the filets with veggies and rice and bake them. If you’re feeling adventurous – and you probably are, you can even bread them! 

If you only have 1 fillet, you can sear it for 7 minutes. 2-3 fillets should be grilled for around 12 minutes at 375°F.

For anything more than 4 fillets, you should bake the fish for around 20 minutes at around 400°F.

The general rule when cooking fish is that you should bake the fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. 

Flavors that go great with lingcod include lemon-garlic, butter, ginger, and soy.

Despite these suggestions, their mild taste makes them the perfect fish to experiment with new flavor combinations, so branch out and try something new!

Another important preparation tip to note is to gut your fish quickly after catching it. If you leave your lingcod too long before gutting it, your catch might take on a powerful fishy taste that picky eaters might not appreciate. 

Baked Lingcod Recipe


  • 1-2 lemons 
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3-4 fillets

* You can adjust the amount of lemon and butter needed based on the size of your fillets.

Baked Lingcod with lemon


  • Thaw fillets in a glass of water, this should not take too long.
  • Pat the fillets dry. 
  • In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, melted butter, and chopped garlic.
  • Brush the fillets with lemon butter and seasoning.
  • Bake the fillets for 10-15 minutes at 400°F adding time if needed based on the thickness of the fillets.
  • The internal temperature once finished should be around 140-145°F which you can check with an internal thermometer. 

Is Lingcod Healthy?

Everyone needs more protein these days, right? Average lingcod comes in with around 18 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per 4 oz serving.

They are an extremely healthy option for getting lean protein into your diet. Full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, these fish are also superfoods for your brain.

In terms of your health, lingcod is a great choice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Lingcod Be Eaten Raw?

Unless you are trained in preparing raw fish professionally, we would advise against it. 

Can You Eat Lingcod Skin?

Yes, however, it is a bit fleshy and chewy so many people use it as a dog treat instead.

Is Lingcod Kosher?

Lingcod is suitable for those following the Kosher diet. 

Why Are Some Lingcod Blue?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why some lingcod are blue, other than they know it more frequently affects females and comes from a bile pigment called biliverdin. Blue lingcod are still edible and some fishers even think they are lucky!

Is Lingcod Expensive?

On average lingcod sell for around $17/lb, making them more expensive than salmon but cheaper than tuna. 

Final Thoughts

Despite their menacing looks, Lingcod are a surprisingly tasty fish packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you enjoy the texture and flavor of other white, delicate fish like cod or haddock then you will most likely enjoy lingcod too. 

Thanks for reading!

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