How To Cook Frozen Salmon Without Thawing First

Can you cook frozen salmon fish?  Absolutely you can, and you don’t need to thaw it first.  In fact, for freshest taste, it’s best not to thaw this fish prior to cooking.  Wither you cook it on a grill, stove, broil it, or bake it in an oven, cooking frozen salmon can be done with most delectable results if your salmon fillets aren’t too thick.  For fillets thicker than an inch or so, we recommend thawing first for safest and best tasting results.

Also, every fillet is a little different in turms of weight, thickness, degree that it is frozen, and distribution of the flesh throughout.  Thus, you can’t cook every fillet well by following the same set of cooking directions.  So unless you’re working with stamped-out salmon patties, in which all these variables have been effectively normalized, you’ll need to attend to the cooking of your salmon fillets throughout the entire process.  Do not wander away from the fish, lest you return and find it burned to a smoky, inedible blackness.


Cooking Frozen Salmon On A George Foreman Grill

I’ve cooked salmon fillets on my George Foreman grills.  I turn the grill up to the high setting and allow it to completely warm up.  It’s completely warm when the built-in thermostat turns off the heating elements the first time.  Some of these grills have pilot lamps that indicate the on-off status of the elements.

Anyway, once the grill has reached the desired temperature, place the frozen salmon fillets inside and close the lid.

Allow to cook for ten to thirteen minutes, depending on how thick your salmon is.  Half-inch thick fillets should be done in eleven or twelve minutes.

Every model of grill behaves differently.  So test the fish by breaking a small area of it open during cooking, at preferably the thickest part of the fillet.  Verify that it’s not still frozen and that the dark orange pinkness of typical raw salmon has turned into a flaky, very light peach-pink color.


Cooking Frozen Salmon In A Frying Pan on the Stove

You can cook frozen salmon on the stove as well. The trick here is to set the heat so that it’s hot enough to thaw and cook the inner portions of the fillet, but not so hot that it burns the outside of the fillet before the inside has thawed and cooked.  A non stick skillet works best, but a cast iron one will do the job as well as long as you coat it with enough oil or cooking spray.

With that in mind, I typically start at a medium-high heat, and coat the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil.  When a few drops of water dripped onto the skillet surface caus a loud sizzling, and the drops dance around a little before evaporating, your frying pan is ready for the salmon.

Apply any salt, garlic powder, lemon, or any other pre-cooking seasoning you desire at this point to the salmon.

Put the frozen salmon fillet into the frying pan.  Then cover in order to minimize oil splatter and mess to the areas surrounding your stove.  Keep your nose open to any smells of burning.  At no point during cooking should you smell any strong burning.  If you begin to, turn the heat down a notch or two.

Don’t go too low with the heat however.  You should always hear a sizzling and little pops during cooking.  If you do not, then turn up the heat a hair.

While riding the heat as just described, cook the salmon fillet for eight minutes or so.  then, check it with a fork.  The down-facing half to two-thirds of it should be thawed by this time and have started to lighten in color.  Keep cooking with the current side down until you note this.

Then, flip the fillet of salmon over and fry up the other side for six to eight minutes, checking periiodically as just decribed.

The salmon is finished cooking when its thickest parts have turned light peachy pink at their centers, and the outar surfaces have browned to a chocolaty appearance.


Cooking Frozen Salmon in the Microwave Oven

Using a microwave, unless you’ve done this before with the particular microwave oven in question, requires keen and unfaltering attention.  You need to observe the cooking process closely to ensure that you do not overcook the salmon.

Some microwave ovens offer a defrost cycle that you can use to thaw the salmon first, if you’re uncomfortable with defrosting and cooking all in one step.  To use that, just follow the weight chart including in many microwave oven manuals in the section that explains how to use this defrost feature.

Once your salmon fillet is defrosted, immediately start the cooking cycle.  For six to eight-ounce salmon fillets, I typically cook on high for three to five minutes to start, then stop the oven and check the center inside of the fillet for doneness. If it’s not completely cooked, then I cook an additional muinute or two, until it is completely cooked.

As with the George Foreman grill and the skillet on the stove, the salmon is not entirely cooked until it turns a light pinkish color through.  However, when using the microwave, the outer surface will not become dark and crispy; though it may get to be overly tough if you nuke the salmon for too long.


Cooking Frozen Salmon in Conventional and Convection Ovens

And of course, most any chef, novice or pro, knows that you can cook most any frozen fish in the conventional oven, including salmon.  Again, thawing of the salmon here is not required.

I set my oven to 400 degrees, and while it’s heating up, I line a shallow baking pan with aliminum foil.

Then, I lay the frozen salmon fillets in the pan.  Note that I use no oil or cooking spray because at conventional oven baking temperatures, these oils can smoke and burn.  At this time, brush or sprinkle your favorite seasonings onto the fillets.

Next, once the oven has reached the desired temperature, I put the pan with salmin on the middle rack, in the middle of that rack.  There should be open space between the pan and the oven walls on all sides to encourage uniform baking of the salmon.

After twelve to fourteen miinutes, I turn over each salmon fillet.

Then, I allow it to bake for another twelve to fourteen minutes.  Your nose will let you know when cooking time has nearly elapsed, with the scent of baking but not burning.

Remove the salmon after it’s baked on the second side, and let stand for a few minutes until the sizzling stops.

Finally, serve immediately, dig in, and enjoy.


Revision History

  • : Moved this piece to the    Tom’s Diet Quest   blog, added whitespace, tweaked content, and adjusted ad placement and category and tag assignments.
  • 2012-05-21 Originally published.