How Long Do You Cook Frozen Salmon?

by Ella

Cooking frozen salmon is a convenient and nutritious option for quick meals. Whether you prefer baking, grilling, poaching, or pan-searing, it’s essential to know the right cooking times for salmon and techniques to ensure your salmon turns out perfectly cooked every time. This comprehensive guide will explore the best methods to cook frozen salmon, the recommended cooking times, and tips to achieve optimal flavor and texture.

Why Cook Salmon from Frozen?

Convenience and Time-Saving


Cooking salmon from frozen eliminates the need for thawing, making it a quick and easy option for busy weeknights. Frozen salmon is also available year-round, providing a reliable source of protein regardless of the season.


Nutritional Benefits


Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Freezing preserves these nutrients, ensuring that your meal is both healthy and delicious.


Reduced Risk of Spoilage

Keeping salmon frozen until cooking reduces the risk of bacterial growth and spoilage, ensuring a safer and fresher product.

Preparing Frozen Salmon for Cooking

Rinsing and Drying

Before cooking, rinse the frozen salmon under cold water to remove any ice crystals. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels to help achieve a better sear and prevent excess moisture.


Season the salmon with salt, pepper, and other desired spices. Since the fish is frozen, you may need to adjust the seasoning after cooking to enhance the flavor.

Cooking Methods and Times

1. Baking Frozen Salmon

Method Overview

Baking is one of the easiest ways to cook frozen salmon. This method allows for even cooking and retains the fish’s moisture.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).

Prepare the Baking Dish: Line a baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Place the Salmon: Place the frozen salmon fillets in the baking dish, skin-side down.

Season and Add Fat: Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and season with salt, pepper, and herbs.

Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to retain moisture. Bake for 15 minutes.

Uncover and Continue Baking: Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Total Cooking Time

The total cooking time for baking frozen salmon is approximately 25-30 minutes.

2. Grilling Frozen Salmon

Method Overview

Grilling imparts a smoky flavor to the salmon and creates a deliciously charred exterior. It’s an excellent method for those who enjoy outdoor cooking.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preheat the Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (around 400°F or 200°C).

Prepare the Grill: Oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.

Season the Salmon: Season the frozen salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices.

Grill the Salmon: Place the salmon on the grill, skin-side down. Close the lid and grill for 6-8 minutes.

Flip and Continue Grilling: Carefully flip the salmon and grill for another 6-8 minutes until fully cooked.

Total Cooking Time

The total cooking time for grilling frozen salmon is approximately 12-16 minutes.

3. Poaching Frozen Salmon

Method Overview

Poaching is a gentle cooking method that keeps the salmon moist and tender. It’s ideal for those who prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Poaching Liquid: Fill a large skillet or saucepan with water or broth. Add aromatics like lemon slices, dill, bay leaves, and peppercorns.

Heat the Liquid: Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer over medium heat.

Add the Salmon: Gently place the frozen salmon fillets in the simmering liquid.

Poach the Salmon: Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Total Cooking Time

The total cooking time for poaching frozen salmon is approximately 12-15 minutes.

4. Pan-Searing Frozen Salmon

Method Overview

Pan-searing gives salmon a crispy, flavorful crust while keeping the inside moist and tender. It’s a quick method suitable for busy cooks.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Heat the Pan: Preheat a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil or butter.

Season the Salmon: Season the frozen salmon fillets with salt and pepper.

Sear the Salmon: Place the salmon fillets in the hot skillet, skin-side down. Sear for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crispy.

Flip and Cover: Flip the salmon and cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until fully cooked.

Total Cooking Time

The total cooking time for pan-searing frozen salmon is approximately 10-13 minutes.

5. Instant Pot Cooking

Method Overview

Using an Instant Pot to cook frozen salmon is convenient and yields consistently tender results. It’s perfect for those who prefer hands-off cooking.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the pot.

Season the Salmon: Season the frozen salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and desired spices.

Place the Salmon: Place the salmon fillets on the trivet.

Pressure Cook: Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 5 minutes.

Release Pressure: Allow for a natural release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.

Total Cooking Time

The total cooking time for cooking frozen salmon in an Instant Pot is approximately 10-15 minutes, including pressure buildup and release.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Frozen Salmon

Use a Meat Thermometer

To ensure your salmon is cooked perfectly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The salmon is done when it reaches 145°F (63°C) in the thickest part.

Avoid Overcooking

Salmon can quickly become dry if overcooked. Pay close attention to the recommended cooking times and check for doneness frequently, especially towards the end of the cooking process.

Enhance Flavor with Marinades and Glazes

While frozen salmon can be flavorful on its own, marinating it before cooking or applying a glaze during cooking can enhance its taste. Popular marinade ingredients include soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger.

Rest Before Serving

Allow the salmon to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps redistribute the juices and ensures a more moist and flavorful result.

Nutritional Benefits of Salmon

Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation.

High-Quality Protein

Salmon provides high-quality protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. A typical serving of salmon offers around 20 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Salmon is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and potassium. These nutrients support overall health and well-being.

Pairing Suggestions for Cooked Salmon


Pair your cooked salmon with a variety of vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, spinach, or roasted root vegetables. The freshness and crunch of vegetables complement the rich, tender salmon.

Whole Grains

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, or farro provide a hearty and nutritious base for your salmon dish. They add texture and additional nutrients to the meal.


Fresh salads with leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette are excellent accompaniments to salmon. They add a refreshing contrast to the rich fish.

Sauces and Condiments

Enhance the flavor of your salmon with sauces like dill yogurt sauce, lemon butter sauce, or a tangy chimichurri. These add an extra layer of taste and can elevate the dish.


Can You Cook Salmon Without Thawing?

Yes, you can cook salmon without thawing it first. This guide outlines several methods that allow you to cook salmon directly from frozen, saving time and ensuring convenience.

How Do You Know When Salmon is Fully Cooked?

Salmon is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and flakes easily with a fork. The flesh should be opaque and no longer translucent.

Can You Marinate Frozen Salmon?

While marinating frozen salmon is not effective since the fish won’t absorb the flavors well, you can marinate the salmon after it has partially thawed or during cooking.

Is Frozen Salmon as Healthy as Fresh Salmon?

Frozen salmon is just as healthy as fresh salmon, as freezing preserves the nutritional content. It is a practical option for maintaining a nutritious diet.

See Also: Pros & Cons of Eating Smoked Salmon Every Day


Cooking frozen salmon is a versatile, convenient, and nutritious way to enjoy this delicious fish. Whether you choose to bake, grill, poach, pan-sear, or use an Instant Pot, following the appropriate cooking times and techniques will ensure perfectly cooked salmon every time. With the added benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, and essential vitamins and minerals, incorporating frozen salmon into your meals is a wise and healthy choice. Experiment with different cooking methods, seasonings, and pairings to find your favorite way to enjoy this versatile fish.



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