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How to Thaw Salmon (3 Easy Ways)

Wondering how to thaw salmon? You’ve come to the right place!

There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh salmon, but unless you live near the ocean, chances are your fish has been frozen. 

Fresh Salmon with Salt and Tomatoes

While thawing fish properly may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite simple. 

Just follow this simple guide on how to thaw salmon and you’ll be ready to cook up a delicious meal in no time.

How to Thaw Salmon in the Refrigerator

If you have plenty of time, then thawing salmon in your refrigerator is the safest option.

While this method is somewhat time-consuming, it’s still super simple.

Be sure to start thawing the fish the night before you plan on using it.

This method requires multiple hours in the fridge for best results.

However, be sure not to leave it in the fridge for more than 24 hours. Anything longer than that is risky.

The temperature should be below 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, clean your fridge well before thawing to ensure that no fridge-found bacteria sticks to the fish.

Frozen Salmon Slices

How to Thaw Salmon in Cold Water

This method is quicker compared to the previous one. Basically, all you need is a bowl, cold water, and a resealable plastic bag.

The key here is to avoid getting the fish wet because it can become very mushy and difficult to work with.

Instead of using its original package, I recommend placing the salmon in a resealable plastic bag.

Fill up the bowl with cold water and leave the bag inside for a couple of hours.

Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes so that it’s cool at all times.

How to Thaw Salmon in the Microwave

This option is perfect for those days when you’re in a hurry, yet need a quick and delicious meal on the table.

However, it’s the least optimal method, as it can really impact the flavor and texture of the fish.

Put the unsealed salmon on a plate, cover it with a paper towel, and turn on the defrost feature.

Instead of going all the way at once, I recommend going minute-by-minute.

Microwaves are unpredictable and can quickly cook the fish if you’re not careful. 

Usually, it takes anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes to thaw it in the microwave.

Stop thawing it when the fish is cold, yet flexible. Don’t wait for it to warm up!

Fried Salmon Fillet Garnished With Lemon Slices and Fresh Parsley

Can I Refreeze Salmon Once It’s Thawed?

The quick answer is yes, you can refreeze salmon once it’s thawed.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure that your fish is still of the best quality.

According to USDA, you can refreeze raw fish only if it was previously thawed in the refrigerator.

Any type of raw meat that was out of the fridge for more than 2 hours is considered unsafe for refreezing. 

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the salmon is completely thawed in the fridge before refreezing it.

Partially-thawed fish can cause ice crystals to form, which can damage the delicate flesh of the fish.

Can I Cook Salmon Straight from the Freezer? 

In short, yes, you can cook salmon straight from the freezer, especially if you’re cooking smaller fillets.

When salmon is frozen, it loses some of its moisture content.

This means that when you go to cook it, it may not be as moist and flaky as you’re hoping for.

To combat this, you can add a little bit of water or olive oil to the fish before cooking it.

This will help to restore some of that lost moisture and give you the best results.

How to Thaw Salmon (3 Easy Ways)

If you’re wondering how to thaw salmon, you’re in luck! Learn 3 easy, effective ways that will have tasty salmon on your plate in no time.


  • Rimmed plate or a bowl

  • Fish

  • Refrigerator

  • Thermometer


  • Make sure that the refrigerator’s temperature is below 38 degrees Fahrenheit – you can use a thermometer to double-check.
  • Clean the fridge beforehand to get rid of fridge bacteria.
  • Place the salmon on a plate and put in the coldest part of the fridge.
  • Let it thaw overnight.
  • Once thawed, just get the fish out of the fridge, add a bit of oil to retain moisture, and get cooking.
How to Thaw Salmon

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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