How to Thaw Salmon

Thawing frozen salmon slowly and evenly helps it retain the texture and flavor of fresh fish. For the best results, plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator the day before you plan to cook it. The microwave leaves partially cooked patches that can become tough and dry, so it's not a recommended method, but you can thaw frozen salmon in cold water on short notice without any appreciable loss of quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic wrap or wax paper
  • Bowl
  • Resealable plastic bag

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Overnight Thawing

Step 1

Remove and discard the store packaging.

Step 2

Wrap the frozen salmon with plastic wrap or wax paper. Place the wrapped fish in a bowl or on a rimmed plate to catch any juices that may leak out as the salmon thaws.

Step 3

Place the salmon in a 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler refrigerator. Thaw the fish overnight before cooking it. You can store the thawed salmon in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Quick Defrost

Step 1

Place the frozen salmon in a tightly sealed plastic bag, unless you purchased it in airtight or vacuum-sealed packaging, in which case you don't need to repackage it.

Step 2

Fill the sink or a large bowl with cold tap water. Submerge the bagged salmon in the cold water.

Step 3

Check the fish at 15-minute intervals, replacing the water each time, until the salmon thaws. Cook and serve it immediately after quick-thawing.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can refreeze salmon after defrosting it in the refrigerator if you do so within three days of thawing.
  • Do not thaw salmon at room temperature as this can cause food-borne illness.


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