By Vanessa Greaves

Before you season it, glaze it, bake, broil, fry, or grill it, there's one simple thing you should do to your salmon fillet to make it more eater-friendly. Pull out the pin bones. Here's how to do it quickly and easily.

Those tiny white points are pin bones lined up and ready to be plucked. | Photo by Vanessa Greaves

Dem Bones

What are they? Pin bones are the needle-like fish bones you can find yourself awkwardly picking out of your mouth in the middle of a good fish dinner. No one wants that. Lucky for all of us, removing them is quick and easy because they're not attached to a larger bone structure in the fish.

How to Remove Pin Bones

You'll Need

  • Raw salmon fillet(s).
  • Needle-nose pliers, jewelry pliers, surgical clamp, or special fish tweezers. Regular eyebrow tweezers are usually not strong enough to maintain a grip on those slippery little pin bones.
  • Your sensitive fingertips.


  1. Lay the fillet flat on a plate, cutting board, or pan.
  2. Run your fingers lightly along the length of the fillet, feeling for the tips of the bones.
  3. When you find one, notice how it's just one in a line of tiny tips protruding from the flesh.
  4. Use your pliers to grasp the tip of the first bone and pull it out at an angle. Continue up the line to feel for the bones and pull them out until they're all gone.

Bone-Free and Ready to Cook

Practice your new pin-bone pulling skills on these top-rated salmon recipes, then pat yourself on the back for helping yourself and those you love avoid fish-bone embarrassment.