How To Thaw Frozen Salmon Quickly

We’re delighted to debunk a myth before discussing how to fast-thaw frozen salmon and what to do with all the fish in your freezer: Purchasing frozen salmon does not always mean sacrificing fresh salmon. “Good frozen salmon is always preferable to “fresh” fish unless you’re eating a filet of salmon right out of the boat. This is so that the texture, flavor, and freshness of freshly caught salmon are preserved through flash-freezing.

Do you mean that “fresh” salmon that you can get at the grocery store’s protein counter? There’s a good chance it has already frozen and then been defrosted for exhibition.

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There’s a good chance it has already frozen and then been defrosted for exhibition. Instead of rushing to consume the salmon before it thaws and goes bad, you can enjoy a delicious fish recipe on your schedule by choosing frozen salmon and keeping it on ice. (P.S. Freezing salmon that has already been frozen and then defrosted will result in seafood that is of inferior quality and texture.)

It’s the ideal moment to review how to use defrosted (or even still-frozen) filets and how to fast-thaw frozen salmon now that you know why the freezer aisle is probably the greatest spot to reel some in.

How the Test Kitchen Thaws Salmon

This is how the Test Kitchen recommends thawing frozen salmon:

  • Take the salmon out of its packing and put it in a plastic bag with a zip closure. After releasing the air, seal the gap to shut.
  • To allow the salmon to slowly thaw overnight, place the bagged frozen fish in a shallow bowl or dish and refrigerate.
  • Plan to cook the salmon within 24 hours of defrosting it.

Test Kitchen Tip: Before thawing, take the frozen salmon out of its packing and place it in a zip-top plastic bag if it is vacuum-sealed. The anaerobic [without oxygen] conditions in the vacuum-sealed package can increase the growth of botulinum toxin in the food, which can have deadly repercussions if consumed, even though this may seem like an unneeded and wasteful extra step.

If necessary, cut a few openings in the vacuum-sealed box with a knife, move the fish to a plate or pan (to catch any juices as it thaws), and then put it in the fridge to thaw overnight.

How to Rapidly Thaw Frozen Salmon

This is the greatest choice for fast-thawing frozen salmon if you’re short on time. It takes roughly sixty minutes.

Remember that you should only quickly thaw seafood if you want to prepare it right away after, in order to ensure food safety. If dinner is still seven hours away, do not defrost your seafood using this method.

  • Take the salmon out of its packing and put it in a plastic bag with a zip closure. After releasing the air, seal the gap to shut.
  • The frozen fish should be bagged and placed in a shallow basin or dish filled with cold water. You can use a can of beans or anything else weighted to keep the bag submerged.Until the fish is thawed, which should take approximately an hour, depending on the thickness of the salmon, check and replace the water every thirty minutes to make sure everything stays at 40° F or below.
  • After the salmon has thawed, take it out of the bag and blot dry with a paper towel. Cook right away.


Test Kitchen Tip: While thawing salmon in the microwave is technically possible, we do not advise this approach because it would negatively affect the fish’s overall quality.

How to Store Salmon in the Freezer

Make sure the fish is adequately wrapped after obtaining your sustainably fished frozen salmon or buying fresh fish that has never been frozen to prevent freezer burn or noticeable deterioration in quality.

If your fish arrived in that form, or if you purchased it from a specific merchant or through mail order, the original vacuum-sealed packing is perfect. If the fish is wrapped in butcher paper, take the paper off and pat any extra moisture from the fish’s surface with a paper towel.

The filet(s) should then be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap and placed inside a sizable freezer bag with a zip-top closure. Remove as much air as you can from the bags, close them, then date and label the fish using a permanent pen.

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