How Spices Can Help Remove Fish Smell From Your Kitchen

What's not to love with fish? They absorb seasonings beautifully, can be cooked in many ways, and are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, per the Washington State Department of Health. But like curry and garlic, fish odors tend to linger in the kitchen long after cooking. But why, and how to get rid of the stench?

Odor Klenz explains that fish contain trimethylamine oxide within their tissue. Though odorless, when this chemical meets oxygen (aka after the fish is killed), it begins to convert "into derivatives of ammonia." More specifically, trimethylamine oxide becomes trimethylamine, which is responsible for that fishy smell. (According to the National Library of Medicine, this is at "low concentrations." In higher amounts, the chemical smells more strongly of ammonia.) Trimethylamine oxide also tends to be more present in saltwater fish versus freshwater.

While you could follow Delish's advice and either poach fish or wrap it in parchment paper and bake it in the oven, as these methods will keep the fish odors within their respective cooking vessels, surely an experienced home cook will want to reap the benefits of pan-frying fish at some point. This inevitably will result in those fishy smells we're all too familiar with, but fortunately, there's a way to eliminate them with some help from your spice cabinet.

Look for simmering spices

We have spices to thank for making food look colorful and taste heavenly, but they can also help eliminate strong post-cooking stenches — like those that come from your favorite fish recipe. And the secret lies in the use of a simmer pot, according to Southern Living.

Homestead and Chill states that simmer pots can be made with water and an array of natural ingredients, some of which are spices you likely already have in your pantry: rosemary, thyme, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and star anise. You can also use citrus peels or zest, fresh cranberries, or apple slices for a fruity note, or even some pine if you happen to have it. Mix these in a pot of water and simmer for at least 15 minutes to remove any unpleasant kitchen smells.

If you cooked your fish for dinner and just want to put your feet up and relax (or if that fishy smell just won't quit and you're tired of sitting in a hot, stinky kitchen) Apartment Therapy says you can use a slow cooker for your simmer pot instead of the stovetop, which will allow you a few minutes of peace. Just remember to keep the pot at least half full, topping it off as the water evaporates.

So don't be afraid to let those fish smells wreak havoc in your kitchen, because it's nothing that a few spices can't handle.