How to Cook Frozen Salmon in Microwave?

If you have frozen salmon in your freezer that you’ve decided to throw together for a quick meal for unexpected guests, you’re at the right place.

If you’re short on time, you can simply chuck it in the microwave to cook it. While it’s an unconventional method of cooking salmon that many people advise against, it serves the purpose. You can serve cooked and delicious salmon in just a few minutes and wow your guests! 

So, if you’re interested in knowing how to cook frozen salmon in the microwave, read on as I cover all the important bits!

Is it safe to cook frozen salmon in the microwave?

Yes, it is completely safe to cook frozen salmon in the microwave. You just need to make sure that it is cooked all the way through. To do that, take a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the fish you have. It should be around 130-145 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe enough to consume. 

While cooking using a microwave is an unusual practice, it can produce great results, especially if you just want to poach the fish. 

When cooking frozen salmon in a microwave, there’s no way to really know if it is cooked just by looking at it from the outside. Sure, the color will change, but you can’t be sure if it’s thoroughly cooked. 

For even and safe cooking, it’s best to use a food thermometer and ensure it is at the right internal temperature.  

How to cook frozen salmon in the microwave?

To cook frozen salmon in the microwave, first, get rid of any covering present on it and season it with spices of your choice like lemon juice, salt, and pepper. You can also add some butter to enhance the salmon’s taste. Then, put it in a microwave-safe container and cover it using a microwave-safe lid. Finally, nuke the fish at high power in 3-minute intervals until it is completely cooked.  

It is very easy to undercook frozen salmon. To prevent that from happening, here’s a detailed outline of how you need to go about cooking frozen salmon in the microwave:

  • Take out the fish from its packaging and put it on a plate. Remove any ice crystals to get rid of moisture so that the fish doesn’t explode. I also recommend patting the fish with a paper towel. 
  • Transfer the salmon to a microwave-safe container and season it. One of my favorite ways of cooking salmon is just by sprinkling some salt & pepper, lemon juice, and butter. You can also use margarine instead.
  • Cover up the salmon with a microwave-safe lid to avoid splatter in case of an explosion and limit the lingering fish smell. Alternatively, you can use a plastic wrap; just make sure it’s microwaveable.   
  • Set your microwave at high and nuke the fish for 3-4 minutes. Once the time is up, check the temperature using a meat thermometer, flip it to ensure even heating, and continue microwaving at intervals of 3-4 minutes. 
  • Continue doing so until the temperature at the thickest part of the salmon is around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Since you’re dealing with frozen salmon, you will need to microwave it for a few minutes to cook it thoroughly.

For the best results, you should always thaw frozen salmon before cooking it. It not only cuts down the cooking time by half but also prevents the fish from exploding.

How to defrost and cook frozen salmon in the microwave?

To defrost and cook frozen salmon in the microwave, first nuke it on low power for a couple of minutes to defrost it. Then, cut it up, season it, and cook it on high power for a few minutes until it is done. 

First defrosting and then cooking frozen salmon in the microwave is just slightly different from directly cooking frozen salmon in the microwave. Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Never microwave the original packaging that the frozen salmon came in. Only use microwave-safe containers in the microwave.
  • This method first involves defrosting the salmon. For this, you need to set your microwave on defrost mode. If you don’t have that setting, set your appliance to about 30% power. Nuke the fish for 1-2 minutes depending on how powerful your microwave is. Continue doing so until the fish feels warm or defrosts completely.  
  • Then, take out the salmon, cut it up into pieces, and season it. Try to cut equal pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Now, set your microwave on high and nuke the fish for 3-4 minutes. Continue doing so until the internal temperature is around 145 degrees, which indicated that the salmon is thoroughly cooked.

Related: Can You Defrost Salmon in the Microwave?

How long does it take to cook frozen salmon in a microwave?  

The time it takes to cook frozen salmon in a microwave depends on various factors. These include how frozen the salmon is, how powerful your microwave is, and the thickness and quantity of the salmon. But in general, you will have to cook an 8 oz frozen salmon fillet for 3-4 minutes. 

If you already thawed your salmon in the fridge, it will take less time as compared to a fully frozen salmon that you just took out of the freezer. 

Similarly, a high-powered microwave will drastically reduce your cooking time. Meanwhile, you might microwave the salmon for more than 8-9 minutes if you have a low-powered microwave. 

In addition, the number of salmon fillets or pieces you microwave in one go and the thickness of each piece also matter. Thin strips or fillets will cook faster than thick fillets.

It’s also important to note that different salmon pieces will require different times. So if you want to cook more than one fillet in the microwave, it’s best to do so in batches to make sure all pieces cook evenly and thoroughly. 

Why does cooking frozen salmon in the microwave cause an explosion?

Cooking frozen salmon in the microwave causes an explosion because the fish is fatty. So when you microwave it, the fat heats up and that, combined with moisture, results in an explosion.

To prevent an explosion, first, pat the salmon with a paper towel to get rid of moisture. Alternatively, you even layer a piece of paper towel or parchment paper over the salmon and then nuke it in the microwave.

Does cooking frozen salmon in the microwave smell?

Cooking frozen salmon in the microwave does smell, but it smells less than cooking frozen salmon with other methods like in the oven or on the stove. 

Even if your kitchen does start to smell, there are some things you can do to avoid residual odor, such as:

  • Microwaving thawed instead of frozen salmon: Raw, thawed salmon is relatively less smelly to microwave.
  • Using fresh salmon: The easiest way to know the freshness of the salmon is by smell. Fresh salmon has a mild smell so it won’t make your kitchen smell too much. But if it smells too fishy, then it’s not very fresh and will stink your kitchen. 
  • Microwaving only for the recommended time: You now know that you only need to microwave the salmon for a few minutes to cook it, especially if you’re just cooking one piece. Overcooking the salmon dries the fat, which results in the pungent fish smell.

Even if you end up overcooking the salmon, don’t worry. You can deodorize the microwave using lemon juice and water. 

The bottom line

You now know how to cook frozen salmon in the microwave. There’s nothing wrong with cooking the fish in the microwave, especially if you’re short on time. You just need to be careful not to overcook it, and you’ll have juicy, moist, and delicious fish in no time! 

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