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What Do Triggerfish Taste Like? 

The Triggerfish flesh is moist, and the flavor is mild. What Do Triggerfish Taste Like? They are also low-fat fish, so they are a healthy choice. It has a mild, buttery flavor that is not too salty. Triggerfish can be prepared in many different ways.

What Is A Triggerfish?


The term triggerfish refers to about 40 species of fish from the Balistidae family. They live in the tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world. Of all the species, the only one that should never be eaten, is the Clown Triggerfish.

Most triggerfish are found in shallow habitats, as they enjoy staying close to coral reefs, where they are often spotted by divers. Some have brilliant colors that draw the eye to them.

The largest of the species is the stone triggerfish, which can reach up to 3.3 feet long. These fish live in the Eastern Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Chili.

Some smaller varieties are used by aquarium aficionados. But many can be aggressive towards other species of fish. Many have been lured away from adding them to their tanks.

What Triggerfish Are Best To Eat?


Most agree that triggerfish are delicious to eat. They have pure white meat, with a sweet taste similar to crab and grouper. It has more of a shellfish taste than a fishy taste.

The grey triggerfish are the best to eat. They are small and the taste is huge.

Fishermen have ignored fishing for triggerfish in the past. Now that they have become a delicacy, they are used for human consumption.

More people are enjoying preparing and eating triggerfish because it is so delicious. Cooks find that they don’t need to add a lot of seasoning to make it delicious.

It can also be prepared in numerous ways; baking, frying, grilling, and roasting. Some feel that roast triggerfish is the best because it brings out the delicious natural flavors and sweetness.

Triggerfish can also be eaten raw and often used in sushi, sashimi, and ceviche.

What Do Triggerfish Look Like?

There are numerous varieties of triggerfish and some of them are beautifully colored. Generally, triggerfish have large heads and very strong jaws and teeth, which are strong enough to crush crustacean shells.

Their dorsal fill is made up of three spines. They have a caudal fin, which they use to get away from predators.

What Texture Does Triggerfish Have?

Triggerfish, when cooked properly, is opaque and flaky with a clean, sweet taste. If overcooked, it can become rubbery and lose some of its great flavor.

When used raw, it has a soft, firm flesh that can easily be sliced thin for sushi.

The trick with triggerfish is to cook them properly. It should be delicious and flaky. Triggerfish are typically small thin fish that cook relatively quickly, usually in just 8-10 minutes until done.

Since triggerfish is a prized fish and delicious, it must not be overcooked, as it will lose its flavor and turn tough and rubbery.

RELATED: Fish Sticks: Side Dishes to Serve With Them

What Types Of Triggerfish Are There?

There are 40 different types of triggerfish, and they serve two different purposes. Some species are used to eating because of their sweet crab-like flavor.

Others are used in homes and public aquariums. But you must choose wisely, as they can become aggressive.

Triggerfish For An Aquarium:

If you have a saltwater aquarium, triggerfish can be a great addition. They are very entertaining and beautiful to look at. Eight varieties work well in an aquarium and will not dominate other fish.

  • Melichthys
  • Odonus
  • Xanthichthys
  • Rhinecanthus
  • Bailstes
  • Balistoides
  • Pseudobalistes
  • Sufflamen

These types are usually nonaggressive, are beautifully colored, and make great additions to your aquarium.

However, two species that should not be added to an aquarium fish, they are:

  • Undulated triggerfish (Balistapus undulatus): They are beautiful with orange stripes but they are very aggressive and will go after other fish in the aquarium.
    If you do opt to add these to your aquarium, it is wise to make sure that the other inhabitants are bigger than they are.
  • Queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula): They are aptly named! Queen triggerfish can grow up to two feet in length and are very aggressive, making them nearly impossible to have as aquarium fish.

Where Do Triggerfish Come From?

Triggerfish are typically in shallow tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Indonesia tends to have the largest varieties of species.

They tend to stay in shallow waters and close to the coasts where there are coral reefs.

While most prefer to live around coral, when there are no reefs, they will find rocky outcrops where they will stay, as they offer protection from predators. Not all triggerfish prefer shallow waters. Some species are pelagic, which means they prefer the deep ocean depths.

Triggerfish prefer the warm tropical and subtropical zones, and this is why the Indio-pacific region is the most populated.

Is It Safe To Eat Triggerfish?

Of the 40 different species, all can be eaten but the Clown triggerfish is dangerous to eat.

Large varieties may contain ciguatera, a seafood-related disease that can make you sick. You should only eat triggerfish that are five pounds or less.

Triggerfish can be delicious, but just like all sea creatures, you must be careful. Larger triggerfish are susceptible to ciguatera, this seafood-related disease can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and a myriad of other maladies.

Ciguatera is a dangerous toxin that is found in algae around tropical coral reefs. The tough part is you can’t tell the fish may contain ciguatera by looking at it. And it cannot be removed by cleaning, freezing, or cleaning the fish.

The best way to avoid contact with ciguatera is to only eat small fish. Also, when fishing for triggerfish, avoid fishing in areas where there are reefs known to be contaminated.

How Do You Eat Triggerfish?

Triggerfish are versatile and can be cooked in a variety of cooking styles, including grilling, sautéing, pan searing, roasting, and deep frying.

No matter how you prepare your fish, they need very little seasoning as they have such a great taste on their own. Just don’t overcook the fish.

Here are some of the benefits of each cooking style.

  • Grilling: This is a great option because the grill imparts a lovely smoky flavor to the fish. Charcoal grills are preferable to propane grills.
  • Pan searing: This is a quick and easy method for cooking triggerfish, but they cook quickly. A two-minute sear on each side is all they need.
  • Roasting: When you add a touch of herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to your triggerfish, you are guaranteed a wonderful meal.
    In most cases, you can have your fish on your table in about 10 minutes.
  • Deep Frying: This is a great way to prepare triggerfish because the moisture is retained in the fish and you will get a tender crust and a beautiful, juicy fish inside.
  • Sauteing: All you need to do is add a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for about three minutes per side and your dinner will be ready. Many add a light sauce or a squeeze of lemon to the finished fish.

Is Triggerfish Good For You?


As long as the fish does not contain ciguatera, the fish is good for you. It has about the same nutritious value as whitefish.

Triggerfish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, provides 20g of protein in a 100g serving, and has 18.52 amino acids.

A portion of triggerfish only has 1 gram of fat, 85 calories, and no carbs, making it a perfect meal for those maintaining a low-carb diet.

Triggerfish are also regularly consumed raw in ceviche, sushi, and sashimi, but only if small fish are used for this purpose.

Nutritional Value:

Nutritional Value  

Nutritional ValueTriggerfish 
Carbs4 gm
Fat5 gm
Protein9 gm

Servings : 1 Ounce

Additional Info:

Nutrients Additional Info
Carbs4 gm
Dietary Fiber 4 gm 
Fat5 gm 
Sodium12 mg
Potassium 0
Cholesterol7 mg
Vitamin A2%
Vitamin C4%

Percentages are based on a diet of 2000 calories a day.

How Should You Store Triggerfish?

Keep the fish on ice or in a cooler bag until you are home. Rinse it under cold water and dry.

Place the triggerfish on a bed of ice in a container and cover it with plastic wrap and tin foil for up to one day. If you store more than a day, drain, and replace it with fresh ice.

You don’t have to treat triggerfish any differently than most other fish. You want to make sure that it stays cold during transportation. Then follow the washing, drying, and storing process as you would other fish.

It is important to remember that you don’t want to store your fish too long in the refrigerator. If you eat it within two days, this method is fine. Longer than that, you should freeze it.

Can You Freeze Triggerfish?

Yes, you can freeze triggerfish. First, remove the fish from the packaging and rinse under cold water, then dry it. Seal it in airtight freezer bags, making sure to eliminate all the air from the bag to reduce freezer burn.

Any fish not eaten in 2-3 days should be frozen. The fish should be placed in an airtight container in your freezer. It will retain its flavor and nutritious value if you eat it within two months.

How Can I Tell If A Triggerfish Is Bad?

It is easy to tell if the triggerfish has gone bad. It will smell like ammonia or rancid. It may also have clouded eyes and bruising. 

Some fish are improperly handled after being caught, so it is possible to buy fish that has already gone bad.

Before buying a triggerfish, look at it and smell it. The smell test is probably the best way to determine if the fish is fresh or has gone bad. A bad-smelling fish should be discarded, as it is not good for human consumption.

How Can I Choose A Good Triggerfish In The Grocery Store?

When choosing a triggerfish, make sure that it doesn’t give off a fishy or ammonia-type smell. The eyes should be clear and bulge just a bit.

The whole fish should be firm, with no slimy areas. It should have no discoloration or bruising.

When choosing a triggerfish, make sure that it is displayed on a fresh bed of ice, not old ice that is melting away. Then check for a firm fish, clear eyes, no bruising, firm red gills, and clear eyes.

According to the FDA, you should touch the body of the fish. If it is fresh, it will spring back to its original position when pressed.

A Comprehensive Guide To Triggerfish Recipes

Recipe CaloriesPreparation Time 
Baked Triggerfish [Lemon, Butter & Asparagus]126 (per serving)25 min
Grilled Triggerfish80 (per serving)10 min
Pan Seared Triggerfish452 (per serving)25 min

After learning more about this delicious fish, you may want to put your culinary skills to use and make it at home. Here are some great recipes to make it easy to turn out a great meal.

1. Baked Triggerfish [Lemon, Butter & Asparagus]

It does not get much better with baked fresh triggerfish. When cooked in butter and served with asparagus, you have the perfect dinner. This is an easy recipe that uses common ingredients you already have at home, such as lemon juice, butter, garlic, and parsley.

The best part is the prep time is only 10 minutes and only takes 15 minutes.

Calories: 126

Total Preparation Time: 25

2. Grilled Triggerfish

Grilling is one of the best ways to cook triggerfish, especially if you are cooking with charcoal, which imparts a delicious smoky flavor to the fish. The best part is you have no dirty pots or pans to clean up afterwards.

This recipe is very simple. All you need is some salt, pepper, and lemon. You can always add your favorite herbs and spices to jazz it up a bit.

Because triggerfish is a thin fish, a few minutes on each side, and you will have a delicious meal in just minutes, with very little clean-up.

Calories: 80

Total Preparation Time: 10

RELATED: 53 Side Dishes You Can Serve With Fish

3. Pan Seared Triggerfish

Searing is another great cooking method for triggerfish because you can keep your eye on it as it cooks, so there is little chance of it getting overcooked and rubbery. You will know when the fish is properly cooked when it begins to look flaky in the center.

This recipe is an entire meal. It is served with blistered tomato bruschetta and rice. It is all you need to serve your family a delicious meal.

Calories: 452

Total Preparation Time: 25

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Triggerfish Eat?

Triggerfish feed on hard-bodied sea life, like sea urchins, crab, shrimp, starfish, and other sea creatures. They also enjoy feeding on algae, but only no live food is available.

Triggerfish have a unique way of catching their prey. They target slow-moving creatures with exoskeletons. They have strong jaws and very sharp teeth to crush their outer shells with no problem.

Do They Ever Attack In The Wild?

Well, that depends. Triggerfish are naturally aggressive in both nature and in an aquarium settings. They have been known to attack divers!

In most cases of diver attacks, they were not random. In most cases, they protect their nests from predators to protecting their young.

Reproduction Of Triggerfish:

The reproduction rate of triggerfish differs by species. Some types like the crosshatch triggerfish will spawn early and by evening, the eggs have hatched.

When the females are ready to lay their eggs, they will find a depression in the sand and lay the eggs in the hole. Then the male will fertilize them.

The young fish will usually stay close to seaweed while they develop.

3 Comprehensive Guides To Triggerfish Recipes

The Triggerfish flavor is hard to describe. The flavor is light and creamy, but with a hint of tartness.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

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Thursday 11th of May 2023

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