Are Whiting Good To Eat?

Whiting are a coastal marine species that can be caught year-round in the surf from the Atlantic to the Northeast US, all the way to the Gulf coast beaches.

Whiting are not known for their fighting prowess or sporting quality…but what they lack in fight, do they make up elsewhere?

Are whiting good to eat? And if so, what is the best way to prepare and cook them?

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Are Whiting Good To Eat?

Whiting are considered very good table fare. Their semi-sweet, firm, lean, white meat is both soft and flakey, and best when eaten fresh. The meat tends to be less oily than other fish and is extremely nutrient-dense.

Their delicate texture makes them extremely versatile, and they can be cooked and enjoyed in many different ways.

What Does Whiting Taste Like?

Whiting meat is light with a semi-sweet flavor. The fillets easily absorb the season/method they are cooked in, and they are great saltwater fish to introduce a beginner to a seafood diet.

Whiting has been compared to other mild fish, such as tilapia, catfish and cod. I would describe the texture as less dense, with a smaller fillet thickness and subtle flavor.

Its really quite mild and good, but should be eaten fresh and put on ice immediately.

Whiting are often mistaken for mullet due to their striking similarities.

Are Whiting Safe To Eat?

Whiting are considered a healthy, low mercury fish that can be consumed regularly. They do not pose any poisons or venoms, and are a popular fish eaten all over the world.

They offer ample amounts of health benefits and are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids.

Are Whiting Good For You?

Whiting are an incredibly nutrient-dense and healthy meal option! They are high in calcium, protein, selenium, iron, vitamin A, and omega 3’s.

In fact, the FDA lists whiting as a ‘Best Choice’ species!

How To Prepare Whiting

Whiting is one of the easiest fish to clean and prepare for eating. They do not have a lot of small bones, or any distinct anatomical features that make them difficult to process.

Due to their small size (usually 1-2 pounds), many anglers simply gut and scale the fish and cook them whole in soups, stews or on the grill!

Of course you can always fillet them out so your left with nice boneless cutlets too.

How To Cook Whiting

Whiting can be cooked in a variety of ways and styles. They work very well in soups, on the grill, and even smoked in a fish dip.

However, frying is hands down our favorite way to cook them!

Try out this Louisiana-style fried whiting recipe below. Yum!

You Will Need:

  • 2 lb. whiting fillets (6-8 fillets)
  • New Orleans Style Fish Fry Breading Mix ( use as needed)
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups of Canola oil (for frying)
  • Cast Iron Skillet

Seasoning Blend:

  • 2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
New Orleans Style Fish Fry Seafood Breading Mix


  1. Season fillets with the seasoning blend ingredients above.
  2. Sprinkle the fillets with half of the seasoning blend. Add the remaining spice to the breading mix.
  3. Dip the seasoned fish in the seasoned breading mix and set aside while your canola oil heats up.
  4. Heat 1 1/2 -2 cups of canola oil in a cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees (adjust the temperature to maintain 325 degrees as necessary).
  5. Pan-fry the fillets on both sides until golden and crispy.
  6. Dry fish on a paper towel. Serve immediately with cold macaroni salad, cole slaw and lemon slice!

How To Catch Whiting

Whiting can be caught on light to medium tackle with a basic surf fishing combo. All you need is a pyramid sinker, surf rig, and bait such as sand fleas, clams or shrimp.

Whiting like to travel in schools and hang out on the sandy beach bottoms, usually in less than 30 feet of water.

Start near the beach, close to sand bars, where the waves begin to crash and cast out. If you don’t get any bites cast a little further into the surf until you feel a hit.

Are Whiting Good To Eat

Whiting and other inshore surf species will often cruise parallel to the beach in the ‘trough‘, which is a miniature highway or ditch, that runs along the beaches in between wear the waves break and deep water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Whiting Fish So Cheap?

Whiting are a very affordable fish due to their abundance and the methods use by commercial fisherman to catch them.

Large schools of whiting are easily captured with commercial fishing nets in coastal areas, making them easy to acquire.

Which Is Healthier Whiting Or Catfish?

Both whiting and catfish are fish that have minimal traces of mercury and are typically safe to consume without issue.

As far as taste goes, whiting is sweet and flaky whereas catfish is more fleshy and usually associated with a bit stronger fishy taste.

According to their nutritional content profiles, catfish have more Vitamin D, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B5, however, whiting is richer in selenium.

If it’s any consolation, I think both fish taste great!

When Are Whiting Fish In Season?

In most states, whiting do not have a closed season, and they can be caught year-round with a valid fishing license.

But the best whiting fishing usually occurs during the later winter and spring. This is the time of year whiting are migrating up and down the Atlantic coast and gulf states, and when the weather is most pleasant for surf fishing.


Whether you want to head to the beach to try your hand at catching your own fresh whiting, or your thinking of buying some whiting at the fish market, you won’t be disappointed.

While it may not be known for its superb flavors, whiting is a healthy and affordable white fish that is accessible to both the angler and consumer.

Thanks for reading!

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