Abstract The influences of three root essential oils (ginger, turmeric and plai) at different levels (25%, 50% and 100%, based on protein content) on properties and antioxidative activity of fish skin gelatin-based film were investigated. Films incorporated with all essential oils showed the lower tensile strength (TS) but higher elongation at break (EAB) with increasing amount of essential oils, compared with the control film (without oil incorporated), regardless of types of essential oil (p<0.05). Water vapor permeability (WVP) of films containing essential oils decreased as the amount of essential oils increased (p<0.05). Decreases in L*-value and increases in b*-, ΔE*- and transparency value were observed with increasing amount of essential oils incorporated (p<0.05). FTIR spectra indicated that films added with essential oils, especially from plai root, exhibited higher hydrophobicity than the control film, as evidenced by higher amplitude at wavenunber of 2877–2922cm−1 and 1732cm−1. Lower degradation temperature was obtained in films containing essential oils. Microstructural study revealed that bilayer films could be formed when essential oils at level above 50% were incorporated. Film incorporated with plai and turmeric essential oils showed the higher DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging activity, respectively, (p<0.05), compared with the control film and ginger essential oil added film. Thus, the incorporation of root essential oils directly affected properties of fish skin gelatin-based film, depending on types and levels incorporated.