Pan-frying salmon from frozen is an incredibly quick way to prepare a fillet without having to plan ahead when cooking. This cooking method allows you to get your fish from freezer to plate in under 15 minutes. When done the right way, you can even sear a fillet from frozen and achieve crispy skin salmon.
When searing salmon from frozen, try to cook with thinner fillets when possible. Thinner, tail cuts of salmon will cook more evenly than thicker, center-cut fillets. That’s because, when cooking salmon from frozen, the exterior of the fillets can cook through much quicker than the center. Tail cuts also have more skin to crisp when pan-searing.
Simple Tips for Pan-Frying Salmon from Frozen
Choose a thinner fillet of salmon to cook from frozen for more even cooking.
Steam skin-side up to thaw fillet and preserve texture of salmon skin.
For the crispiest skin, pat fillet dry before searing to finish.
How to Pan-Fry Salmon from Frozen
Gather your materials and ingredients: Your fillet(s), skillet, tea towel or paper towels, parchment paper cut to size of fillet, high-heat cooking oil, salt and pepper, fish spatula
Heat a skillet over medium heat, then set parchment paper into skillet. Place frozen salmon skin side up on the paper.
Cover skillet with lid and allow fish to steam until no longer frozen in the center, about 6 to 8 minutes depending on thickness.
Remove fillet and parchment paper from skillet, then increase heat to medium-high. Add enough oil to just cover bottom of skillet and allow to heat up. Meanwhile, pat fillet dry with clean tea towel or paper towel, then season with salt and pepper.
Once oil begins to shimmer (sizzling hot), carefully return fillet to pan, skin-side down. Use fish spatula to press fillet into skillet for 20 seconds, ensuring good skin to pan contact.
Cover with lid, then allow to sear undisturbed until skin is crisp and fillet easily releases from pan with help of a fish spatula, about 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and flip so fillet is skin-side up, the remove skillet from heat. Allow fish to rest uncovered for a minute or two until fully cooked through and flaked easily with a fork.
Enjoy! After you’ve mastered how to pan-fry salmon from frozen, try our recipe for Pan-Fried Salmon and Slaw with Pickled Mustard Seed.
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*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness, especially if you have a certain medical condition. The FDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F for cooked fish.