Can You Eat Raw Eel? Everything You Need to Know



Fact-Checked By: Munyem

Raw eel is a delicacy in many parts of the world, especially in Japan, where it is a popular sushi ingredient. However, the question remains: Can you eat raw eel?

The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. While some eel species can be eaten raw, others can be toxic if improperly prepared.

Can You Eat Raw Eel?

According to my research, eels have poisonous blood that contains a toxic protein that can cause muscle cramps, including in the heart. For this reason, raw eel should never be eaten under any circumstances.

Eels have poisonous blood containing a toxic protein that can cause muscle cramps, including heart disease.

Even consuming a few drops of raw eel blood can kill humans. Therefore, it is highly recommended to cook eel before consumption to eliminate the risk of poisoning.

Once cooked, eel is a healthy fish packed with protein, omega-three fatty acids, and other vital vitamins and minerals. Eel is also a good vitamin A, B12, and potassium source.

What does it taste like?

As someone who has tried raw eel, it has a unique taste that is hard to describe. Some people describe it as sweet, while others say it has a savory flavor.

When cooked, eel has a soft texture and a rich, buttery taste. It is often compared to other seafood like squid or bass, but its flavor is distinct.

Raw eel, however, has a firmer texture and a slightly chewy consistency. Adding soy sauce or other seasoning also has a subtle sweetness.

can you eat raw eel

Risks of Eating Raw Eel

As much as I love sushi, I have to admit that eating raw eel can be risky. Several health risks are associated with consuming raw eel, including parasitic infections and food poisoning.

Parasitic Infections

One of the main risks of consuming raw eel is contracting a parasitic infection.

Anisakiasis is a parasitic infection that can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked fish, including eel. The symptoms of anisakiasis include severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In some cases, the parasite’s larvae can penetrate the walls of the human digestive tract and cause inflammation or even intestinal blockage.

Food Poisoning

Another risk of consuming raw eel is the possibility of food poisoning. Eel can be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella and Vibrio, which can cause food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

Ensuring the eel’s freshness and proper storage is vital to minimize the potential for foodborne illness. Eel should be refrigerated at or below 40°F and consumed within two days of purchase.

Additionally, it is crucial to prepare the eel properly by cooking it to an internal temperature of at least 145°F.

Proper Preparation of Eel

As someone who loves eating eel, I know proper preparation is vital to enjoying this delicious fish. Here are some tips on how to prepare eels for consumption.

Cleaning and Gutting

Before cooking the eel, cleaning and gutting it is essential. Here are the steps:

  1. Rinse the eel thoroughly in cold water.
  2.  Using a sharp knife, make a small incision near the head of the eel and cut towards the tail.
  3.  Remove the guts and discard them.
  4.  Rinse the eel again in cold water.
  5.  Remove the skin by making a small cut in the skin near the head and peeling it off with a pair of pliers.
  6.  Rinse the eel again in cold water.

Cooking Methods

There are many ways to cook eel, but here are a few popular methods:

  1. Grilled: Cut the eel into small pieces and grill them over medium-high heat until cooked.
  2.  Fried: Coat the eel in breadcrumbs or tempura batter and deep fry until golden brown.
  3.  Steamed: Place the eel in a steaming basket and steam for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
  4.  Stewed: Cut the eel into small pieces and simmer in a flavorful broth until tender.

No matter what cooking method you choose, ensure the eel is cooked throughout to avoid potential health risks. Enjoy!

Eating Eel in Sushi

Regarding sushi, raw eel is a popular ingredient that many people enjoy. However, some may wonder if eating raw eel in sushi is safe.

According to Test Food Kitchen, raw eel can contain bacteria, parasites, and other harmful organisms. For this reason, it is recommended always to cook eel before consumption. Even eel sushi, which is one of the most popular types of sushi, is cooked.

Eel is typically grilled or boiled before being used in sushi. The cooking process not only helps to kill any potentially harmful organisms but also enhances the flavor of the eel.

When enjoying eel in sushi, it is crucial to consider the recommended serving size. According to, the recommended serving size for raw eel is about 2-3 ounces per day. Overconsumption can lead to health problems.


As I researched raw eel, I realized that people have some common questions about it. This section will address some of the most frequently asked questions about raw eel.

Is it safe to eat raw eel?

No, it is not safe to eat raw eel. Eels have toxic blood that contains a poisonous protein. Consuming even a small amount of raw eel blood can be fatal. Therefore, it is highly recommended to cook eel thoroughly before consumption to eliminate any health risks.

What are the health benefits of eating cooked eel?

Cooked eel is a healthy fish, packed with protein, omega-three fatty acids, and other important vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A, D, C, and B12, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Eel also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Can I eat electric eel?

No, it is not safe to eat electric eel. Electric eels are not a food source and are not suitable for consumption. They are dangerous and can deliver a powerful electric shock, which can be fatal to humans.

Is raw eel used in sushi?

Raw eel is used in some sushi dishes, but it is always cooked before being served. Eel is typically grilled or broiled before being used in sushi. Therefore, it is safe to eat eel sushi as long as the eel has been cooked properly.

About Me

Hey there! I’m the face behind FoodJustify. I’ve put in a lot of effort to ensure this site is your trusted source for all things food. My seafood adventures at the world’s largest beach have been a blast, and I can’t wait to share them with you. Take a look around, and I hope you enjoy the journey with us. Cheers!

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