What Kind of Salmon for Sushi: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Fish

Sushi is a tasty and healthy dish enjoyed by many people worldwide. It is one of the most popular Japanese foods globally, and the star of the dish is the fish used. Choosing the perfect salmon for sushi is essential for excellent flavor and texture. But with so many types of salmon on the market, it can be challenging to determine which one to choose.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to choose the ideal salmon for making sushi.

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon, also known as silver salmon, is a popular choice for sushi because of its mild flavor and firm texture. It is a medium-sized salmon with a moderate fat content that makes it perfect for sushi. Coho salmon flesh is delicate and pink, and it is also cheaper than other salmon varieties, making it an excellent choice for sushi beginners.

Benefits of Coho Salmon for Sushi

  • Has a mild and delicious flavor that goes well with sushi rice
  • It is firm and easy to work with when making sushi rolls
  • Coho salmon has moderate fat content, making it perfect for sushi

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon is the largest and most prized of the Pacific salmon species. It is also called king salmon, and it has a rich, buttery flavor that makes it perfect for sushi rolls. Chinook salmon has a high-fat content, which gives it a moist and tender texture.

Benefits of Chinook Salmon for Sushi

  • The high-fat content in Chinook salmon makes it ideal for sushi rolls
  • It has a rich, buttery flavor that goes well with sushi rice
  • Chinook salmon has a tender and moist texture that makes for great sushi

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon, also known as red salmon, is a popular salmon species for sushi. It has a robust and distinctive flavor, which is a bit different from other salmon varieties. It has a very firm texture, which ensures that the sushi stays together when sliced.

Benefits of Sockeye Salmon for Sushi

  • The firm flesh of the Sockeye Salmon makes it an excellent choice for sushi rolls.
  • Sockeye Salmon has a unique and strong flavor that differentiates it from other salmon varieties.
  • It is popular for sushi because it looks spectacular on the plate due to its bright red color.

Humpback Salmon

Humpback salmon, also known as pink salmon, is a great choice for sushi rolls. It is a small and lean salmon species that has pale pink flesh. Humpback salmon is not as fatty as other salmon varieties, so it is a good choice if you prefer your sushi to be slightly less rich.

Benefits of Humpback Salmon for Sushi

  • Humpback salmon is a budget-friendly salmon option for sushi
  • It has a milder flavor than other salmon species
  • Humpback salmon creates good-looking rolls due to its pale color

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon, also known as farmed salmon, is one of the most widely available salmon for sushi. It has a mild flavor and a delicate texture. Atlantic salmon is easy to find in grocery stores and significantly less expensive than wild-caught salmon varieties. However, Atlantic salmon has a high-fat content, making it prone to an unpleasant aftertaste when used for sushi.

Benefits of Atlantic Salmon for Sushi

  • Atlantic salmon is easy to find in stores and more accessible than other salmon varieties
  • It has a mild and delicate flavor, making it a popular choice for sushi
  • Atlantic salmon is available year-round, making it always an option for sushi lovers

How to Choose the Perfect Salmon for Sushi

When selecting the ideal salmon for sushi, there are a few things you need to consider to avoid picking the wrong salmon variety.

Check the Source of the Salmon

It is essential to determine where the salmon comes from before purchasing it for sushi. Wild-caught salmon tends to have a better flavor and texture than farmed salmon.

Inspect the Flesh and Color

Choose salmon with a firm texture and a bright, even color that indicates it is fresh. Avoid salmon that is dry, discolored, or has dark spots, which probably is not fresh and can ruin your sushi dish’s taste.

Consider the Fat Content

When making sushi, the fat content of the salmon plays an essential role as the flavor and texture of the fish can significantly vary. Sushi requires a balance of fat with or without the fish’s flavor to ensure that the sushi is moist and not too greasy. Choose the type of salmon that has a higher fat content such as Chinook Salmon or Coho Salmon to achieve an authentic sushi taste.


Choosing the right salmon is the key to perfecting your sushi dish. Consider the salmon’s firmness, flavor, texture, fat content, color, and source before purchasing it for sushi. Using the right salmon makes a huge difference in the final taste of your sushi. So choose wisely and enjoy your delicious sushi rolls!

Common Questions and Answers

  • What type of salmon should I use for sushi?
    Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Humpback Salmon, and Atlantic Salmon are all great options for making sushi.
  • Can I use any salmon for sushi?
    No, not all salmon species have the same qualities necessary for sushi. Choose salmon with firm flesh, moderate to high-fat content, and bright color.
  • What is the most popular salmon used for sushi?
    Coho salmon and Chinook salmon are the most popular salmon varieties for sushi globally.
  • Can I use frozen salmon for sushi?
    Frozen salmon can be used for sushi, but it should be stored correctly to avoid freezer burn, and it should be thawed correctly before use.


  • The Spruce Eats. (2021). The Best Salmon for Sushi.
  • Sushiyaa. (2021). The 10 Best Salmon For Sushi 2021 (Expert Guide).
  • Thespruceeats. (2021). How to Choose the Best Salmon for Sushi.

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