How to Cook Frozen Salmon Without Thawing It

It saves so much time.

April 22, 2020
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Photo by: LauriPatterson


Some nights, we’re in the mood to let the night revolve around cooking. Others, we want a dinner that practically makes itself. For those set-and-forget nights, we bring you the speediest way to cook frozen salmon. Shout out to our friends at The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute who clued us into the very clever technique.

First, don't worry about thawing your salmon. Yep, there’s no need to move it to the fridge the night before, then realize it’s not completely thawed when you want to cook it, then panic and try to speed-thaw it so it’ll be ready in time. Simply leave it in the freezer until you’re ready to cook it.

When that time comes, cook it in a skillet like you normally would — with a couple important tweaks.

Tweak one: Don’t season the salmon before cooking it. Sounds like a cardinal sin, but think about it: the salt can't permeate a frozen block of fish. Wait until you’ve pan-fried it on one side and flipped it before seasoning the cooked fish.

And speaking of flipping, tweak two is to start that salmon in the pan flesh-side down, instead of skin-side down as you typically would. After you’ve cooked the first side until it’s lightly browned, flip the salmon so it’s skin-side down and then — surprise — cover the skillet. Covering the skillet steams the salmon which helps it cook through. While it’s steaming, you want the skin against the hot pan so it crisps up instead of getting soggy.

This technique takes just about the same amount of time as cooking thawed salmon in a skillet, though you should make sure to test for doneness by flaking an edge with a fork. If it flakes evenly and is opaque in the center, it’s done.

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