The Best Fish for Hot Pot: A guide to choosing the right seafood

Searching for the perfect fish to complement your hot pot experience? With so many options, it can be tough to know which fish will hold up best in the bubbling hot broth. But fear not – as a food blogger and hot pot enthusiast, I’m here to share the inside scoop on the best fish for hot pot.

When considering fish for hot pot, you’ll want to choose varieties that can withstand high heat without becoming tough or dry. Tender, flaky white fish fillets are ideal. Some top picks are cod, halibut, turbot, fluke, and tilapia. These fish cook quickly in the broth and absorb lots of delicious flavor. Thin slices of fish cook through in just a minute or two, making them a great addition to your hot pot spread. Fattier fish like salmon and trout also fare well, imparting omega-3s and a velvety texture to the broth.

No matter what fish you choose, always pat the fillets dry before adding them to the hot pot so they don’t spill extra moisture into the broth. Use paper-thin slices and let them swirl gently in the simmering liquid. In just a moment, you’ll have perfect, tender fish ready to enjoy alongside all your other favorite hot pot ingredients.

Why Fish is Great for Hot Pot

Before diving into specifics, let’s overview why fish is such a fantastic addition to hot pot in the first place:

  • Delicate texture – Fish fillets nicely complement the variety of ingredients in hot pot. Thin slices cook quickly and absorb flavors from the broth.
  • Healthy protein – Fish packs protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a nutritious way to balance out the carbs from noodles or rice in your hot pot.
  • Flavor booster – The natural umami taste of fish enhances the savory broth, while the fattier varieties like salmon add velvety richness.
  • Easy prep – Most fish for hot pot just needs a quick slice, rinse, and it’s ready for the pot. Minimal prep makes it a convenient option.
  • Visual appeal – Colorful fillets like salmon brighten up your hot pot spread.

What to Look for in Hot Pot Fish

The key qualities to evaluate when selecting fish for hot pot include:

Delicate Flesh

Tender, flaky varieties fare best, as firmer fish turn rubbery in hot pot. Prioritize soft, white fish.

Thin Slices

Thin cuts allow the fish to cook quickly before becoming overdone. Slice no more than 1⁄4 inch thick.

Mild Flavor

Let the hot pot broth be the star! Choose fish with delicate, mild taste that won’t compete with other ingredients.


Select inexpensive fish like tilapia and cod so you can include lots of slices without breaking the bank.

Low Moisture Content

Dry flesh prevents excess water from leaching into the broth. Pat fish dry before adding to the hot pot.

5 Best Fish for Hot Pot

Now let’s get into the top varieties I recommend for incredible hot pot every time.

1. Tilapia

This affordable white fish has everything you want in a hot pot fish. It has a mild flavor that won’t clash with the broth, a delicate flakiness, and a budget price tag. Look for thin tilapia fillets without bones. Rinse, pat dry, slice thin, and add to the simmering pot just until cooked through, about 1 minute.

2. Cod

Buttery, flaky cod adapts beautifully to hot pots. It readily soaks up the flavors of the broth and cooks evenly. Cod holds its structure well without falling apart. For best results, use fresh cod over frozen. Cut into thin slices across the grain before adding to the hot pot.

3. Halibut

Prized for its sweet, mild taste, halibut is a step up in flavor and price from cod or tilapia. It has a firmer texture that won’t disintegrate in the broth. Look for thin halibut fillets and cut into petite slices or small cubes before adding to your hot pot.

4. Salmon

One of the fattier fish that works in hot pots, salmon adds Omega-3s and rich texture. Make sure salmon is sushi-grade fresh. Quickly sear or poach the slices first so they don’t overcook. Salmon pairs especially well with miso broth.

5. Flounder

Underrated flounder has light, delicate meat similar to sole. It cooks fast and brings mild flavor that complements Asian spices. Use whole fillets cut across into thin pieces. Budget-friendly flounder shines in seafood hot pots.

Pro Tips for Cooking Fish in Hot Pot

Follow these tips for hot pot success with fish:

  • Pat fish dry before adding to prevent excess moisture in broth
  • Cut fish across the grain into paper-thin slices, less than 1⁄4 inch thick
  • Add fish at the end to avoid overcooking
  • Swirl slices gently in broth and remove as soon as cooked through, about 1 minute
  • Combine fish with quick-cooking veggies like bok choy, mushrooms, greens
  • Balance with starchier items like noodles, potatoes that require longer cooking
  • For individual hot pots, give each person their own portion of fish to control cook time
  • If doing hot pot at home, use the freshest, sushi-grade fish possible

Full Hot Pot Meal with Fish

Bring your hot pot party to the next level with fish and an array of complementary ingredients:

  • Proteins: Thinly sliced fish of choice, shrimp, marinated tofu, beef or lamb slices
  • Vegetables: Bok choy, mushrooms, baby corn, leafy greens, sliced lotus root
  • Starch: Rice noodles, potatoes, taro root
  • Flavor additions: Sesame oil, chili oil, scallions, cilantro, garlic, ginger, chili peppers
  • Sauces and seasonings: Ponzu, hoisin, chili crisp, sesame seeds

Top 4 Fish Hot Pot Broth Bases

The possibilities are endless when it comes to hot pot broths! Here are my top 4 favorite bases to pair with fish:

1. Classic Chicken Broth

The traditional Asian chicken broth complements delicate fish beautifully. Use homemade bone broth for the best flavor.

2. Spicy Mala Broth

Turn up the heat with Sichuan peppercorns, chili oil, Sichuan chili paste, and fiery chili flakes.

3. Miso Broth

For an umami depth, combine dashi stock with red or white miso paste and soy sauce. Great with salmon.

4. Tom Yum Broth

Make a Thai-inspired hot pot with spices like lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, lime juice and chilies.

Fish Hot Pot FAQs

What’s the best fish for hot pot?

Tilapia, cod, flounder, and halibut are top choices based on texture, flavor, and budget. Avoid dense, oily fish.

What’s the healthiest fish for hot pot?

Salmon provides the most Omega-3 fatty acids. Flounder, cod, and sole have less mercury concerns.

What should I avoid when cooking fish in hot pot?

Don’t crowd the pot, which causes temperature to drop. Avoid overcooking fish by slicing thinly and removing quickly once opaque.

Can you use frozen fish in hot pot?

It’s best to use the highest quality fresh fish. If using frozen, thaw completely first and slice as thinly as possible.

Get Your Hot Pot Bubbling!

There you have it – everything you need to know to nail the fish factor in your hot pot gatherings. With so many varieties and preparations to try, you could host a different hot pot every week and never get bored. I hope these tips help you enjoy this fun, communal dining experience to the fullest. Grab your favorite fish fillets and gather your favorite foodies because hot pot night is calling!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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