Mackerel Spanish

Among Australia’s most popular commercial fishes (particularly in the north of the country), mackerels have a thin, edible skin with few scales, making them very popular to enjoy when dining out or at home. Spanish mackerel, an especially good eating finfish, produces an attractive plate-size cutlet or an essentially boneless fillet.

Mackerel can be fried, baked, poached, grilled, marinated, smoked and barbecued. It is considered by some to be the best barbecue fish in the South Pacific. One should always take particular care not to overcook mackerel, and if the mackerel is being fried it should first be lightly salted. Mackerel frames are excellent for fish stock.

The high oiliness of these species often requires the addition of an acid to balance the richness. This is easily achieved by baking the mackerel with vinegar and vegetables that, in turn, will give the mackerel a slightly pickled taste and provide a balance of flavours. Mackerel is also perfectly suited to an aromatic herb crust, served with baked tomatoes and anchovy butter.

Some mackerel is deep fried in fish and chip shops in northern Queensland. This cooking method is otherwise uncommon for mackerel.

Flavour Strong, Distinct, fishy flavour

Oiliness Medium to very High

Moisture Dry to Medium

Texture Medium to firm

Flesh Colour Light pink to white

Thickness Medium fillets

Bones There are only a few bones and these are easily removed.

Suggested Wines

Smoked or marinated mackerel is enhanced by the effect of crisp, dry white wine to counterbalance its natural oiliness.

If the mackerel is simply smoked, select a racy Sauvignon Blanc.

Nutrition Facts

per 100g of raw product







Total fat (oil)


Saturated fat

50% of total fat

Monounsaturated fat

30% of total fat

Polyunsaturated fat

20% of total fat

Omega-3, EPA


Omega-3, DHA


Omega-6, AA


Cooking Ideas


Deep Fry





Shallow Fry


Important Features

When caught

Year round, with peak supplies of Spanish mackerel occurring in September and October and grey mackerel in July and August

Wild/Farmed Wild

Habitat Saltwater, Caught in open water and near reefs

Recovery Rate Fillets: 80% from Spanish mackerel trunks

Spanish Mackerel Research

FRDC provides a comprehensive search of the latest research papers and images on Spanish Mackerel


Chilling mackerel immediately on capture will help ensure a high-quality product.

Common size 55-125cm