Can You Eat Trout Bones?

Trout is a delicious type of fish for which there are many great recipes. Even if you aren’t an expert at cooking fish, you should be able to cook trout successfully.

As with most other fish, trout have bones—some short, some long. You cannot eat trout bones. They’re unlikely to kill you, but they can be very uncomfortable and may even scratch your throat and harm it somewhat, which is the main reason to avoid them.

Trout fillet prepared after chef learned if you can eat trout bones
Sometimes a sneaky trout bone can still be in the meat after it’s cooked. It’s best to spit it out.

About Trout Bones

As a fish, trout is very bony, but that doesn’t mean those bones can’t be removed easily. In fact, removing bones from trout is relatively easy if you know how.

Small trout can have bones that are 6–10 inches long, but the bones that stick out of the sides of the fish, called the pin bones, can easily be removed with a pair of pliers if the fish is big enough. In fact, large fish such as trout and salmon are easier to debone because in smaller fish, the bones tend to fall off when you try to remove them.

How To Avoid Trout Bones

The best way to avoid fish bones of any kind is to debone the fish properly before eating. One of the best ways to do this is to remove both the complete backbone and the ribs of the fish. Fortunately, you can do most of this with a sharp knife. Sometimes it is easier to remove the bones from trout after it has been cooked.

Deboning cooked trout is easy and effective. After the trout is cooked, remove the head and tail, then lay the fish on its back. You can then flatten it out with your hands, which exposes the belly of the fish. Then all you have to do is gently pull the spine of the fish, doing so from the tail side. Since the fish is cooked, the spine and the other bones should come right out.

If the fish is raw, place it skin side down and use the point of your knife to loosen up each of the rib bones. Then cut around the spine and pull everything out, making sure you don’t break the skin of the fish. You can also use tweezers to remove the smaller bones as you move along and filet the fish.

If you want to get particularly skilled at deboning a raw trout, watch and learn from this video:

What if You Eat a Trout Bone?

The first thing to remember if you accidentally eat a trout bone is not to panic. It is very rarely an emergency. In most cases, the worst that will happen is your throat may get a little scratched. If the scratch is severe or you notice bleeding, or you simply don’t feel comfortable leaving it alone, it is a good idea to see a doctor to give you peace of mind.

What To Do if a Trout Bone Gets Caught in Your Throat

There are a few things you can do if fish bones get caught in your throat. You don’t want the bones to get into your digestive tract, although even then the situation is usually not dire. Nevertheless, stuck fish bones are never fun, so try the following remedies to see if they work:

  • Eat some whole marshmallows
  • Try to cough the bone up if you can
  • Drink a carbonated beverage to dissolve the bone
  • Drink 1-2 tablespoons of straight olive oil to make swallowing easier

Fish Whose Bones You Can Eat

Two Jack Mackerels with bones you can eat, unlike trout bones
Jack mackerels

Fish are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, so they’re a great addition to anyone’s diet. Here are a few fish whose bones you can eat without worry:

  • Spray
  • Jack mackerels
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines