This Air Fryer Frozen Salmon recipe delivers tender, flaky, perfectly-soft salmon every time. No need to thaw first, this quick, easy recipe is done in 12 minutes!
Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Frozen Salmon Recipe
Quick, convenient, and incredibly delicious, this Air Fryer Frozen Salmon recipe is a game-changer. With no thawing required, it’s the perfect solution for a last-minute healthy and flavorful meal. Here’s what’s to love:
- Cooking salmon from frozen means there’s no need for advance planning. Just grab the fillets from the freezer, season, and you’re ready to cook.
- The air fryer ensures a perfectly cooked salmon every time, with a moist interior and a slightly crisp outer layer. If anything, the fact that the salmon is frozen in the middle helps protect it against overcooking.
- Fabulous nutrition profile: salmon is packed with high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health. As a dietitian, I try to get in lots of fatty fish.
I make this air fryer salmon on repeat during the work week when I want a healthy protein to top a salad.
I eat a lot of chicken, so this is a great alternative.
It’s super hands-off, is less effort and mess than using the stovetop or the oven, and is ready in under 15 minutes.
Here’s What You Need for this Air Fryer Frozen Salmon Recipe
Cooking frozen salmon in an air fryer is simple and efficient. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need, from the basic ingredients to handy kitchen tools.
Air Fryer Salmon Recipe Ingredients
- Frozen Salmon Filets: Fresh salmon is expensive and needs to be used quickly. I keep a Costco bag of frozen salmon fillets on hand all the time. They are super tasty and cook beautifully in the air fryer without even thawing first.
- Oil Cooking Spray: Helps to prevent sticking and ensures even cooking. I like avocado oil spray. You could alternatively brush on a tablespoon olive oil (I just prefer the convenience of not dirtying a small bowl and brush for oil).
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the natural flavor of the salmon.
- Garlic Powder: Adds a subtle, aromatic flavor to the fish.
- Dried Dill or Parsley: These herbs lend a fresh, herby taste.
- Salt and Pepper: For additional seasoning to taste.
- Lemon Wedges (optional): A squeeze of lemon juice adds a bright freshness.
Variations and Substitutions
- Different Herbs: Experiment with other herbs like thyme or rosemary for varied flavors.
- Spice it Up: Add a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick. Smear on some dijon mustard, or add a little fresh ginger and soy sauce. Cajun salmon is another great flavor profile if you’ve got cajun spices on hand.
- Citrus Twist: Swap lemon for lime or orange for a different citrus note.
Grab these Tools
- Air Fryer: Essential for cooking the salmon. Any standard air fryer works great. Here’s my guide to choosing and using an air fryer.
- Tongs: For safely placing and removing the salmon from the air fryer.
- Measuring Spoons: Useful for accurately measuring the spices and seasonings.
- Parchment Paper or aluminum foil (optional): Makes cleanup easier if you choose to use it.
- Meat Thermometer (optional): Makes it super easy to check for doneness. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145ºF but I like 125ºF for moist and flaky results. The FDA guidelines around eating raw or undercooked fish explain that freezing at sufficiently low temperatures or for 7 days at -4ºF effectively kills any parasites present in the fish. You can make this choice for yourself.
How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Salmon: An Easy Guide
Making salmon in an air fryer is a game-changer for quick, delicious meals. Follow these simple steps to get perfectly cooked salmon from frozen fillets.
Preparing Your Air Fryer
- Preheat the Air Fryer: Begin by setting your air fryer to 390°F (200°C). Let it warm up for a few minutes to reach the right temperature.
Prepping the Salmon
- Get the Fillets Ready: While the air fryer heats, spray each salmon fillet with oil. Then evenly season them with salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs.
Cooking the Salmon
- Air Fry the Salmon: Place the seasoned salmon fillets in the air fryer basket, skin-side down. Cook them for 12-15 minutes. No need to flip midway.
Checking for Doneness
- Ensure Perfect Cooking: The salmon is perfectly cooked when it flakes easily and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Thicker fillets might need additional time. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can tell it’s done when it turns opaque and flaky.
Make Ahead and Storage
Here’s how to keep your Air Fryer Frozen Salmon fresh and delicious, whether you’re prepping ahead or saving leftovers.
- Freezing Raw Salmon: You can store uncooked, seasoned salmon in the freezer. Wrap it tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Refrigerating Cooked Salmon: Once cooked, the salmon can be refrigerated. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: To maintain moisture, reheat in the air fryer at a lower temperature, around 275°F, until warmed through. Avoid microwaving as it can dry out the fish.
- Freezing Cooked Salmon: If necessary, you can freeze cooked salmon. Wrap it well and use within a month for the best quality. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
How to Serve this Easy Frozen Salmon in the Air Fryer Recipe
A quick and easy Air Fryer Frozen Salmon can be a standalone delight or paired with the right sides for a complete meal. Here are some side dish ideas that complement its flavors perfectly:
Side Dishes for Air Fryer Frozen Salmon
- Air Fryer veggies: If you’re only making one portion of salmon, you’ll have enough room in your basket to make some air fryer asparagus, green beans, zucchini or other favorite veg right alongside the filet. I personally love this crispy air fryer eggplant recipe.
- Rice: Simple brown or basmati rice makes an easy gluten-free side. Or if you’re batch cooking for the week, why not whip up this Instant Pot Mexican Rice to have on hand. A poke bowl is another one of my favorite ways to serve fish.
- Big Salad: My fav way to eat this tender salmon is on a big bed of mixed greens with lots of additional colorful veggies (like grated beets, shredded carrots, thinly-sliced red cabbage, etc.). Top it with yogurt lemon dressing or avocado crema.
Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to the commonly-asked questions about cooking frozen salmon in an air fryer.
Can salmon be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook salmon straight from the freezer in an air fryer. It’s a convenient and efficient method to prepare a delicious meal.
Is it OK to cook frozen salmon without thawing?
Absolutely! Cooking frozen salmon without thawing is perfectly fine, especially when using an air fryer. It saves time and still delivers great results.
How do you cook frozen salmon without thawing it?
To cook frozen salmon without thawing, simply season the frozen fillets and place them directly in a preheated air fryer. Cook until the salmon is flaky and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
What’s the best way to cook frozen salmon?
One of the best ways to cook frozen salmon is in an air fryer. It’s quick, simple, and doesn’t require thawing the salmon beforehand.
How long to cook frozen cooked salmon?
For already-cooked frozen salmon, reheat it in the air fryer for about 8-10 minutes at 390°F. Be careful not to overcook it to maintain its juiciness.
Other Easy Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Frozen Salmon Recipe
- 2 frozen salmon fillets 6-8 oz each
- Oil cooking spray
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried dill or parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (200°C). Spray each salmon fillet with oil and evenly sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and dried dill or parsley. Place the salmon fillets in the air fryer basket, skin-side down. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Check for doneness; the salmon is ready when it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) in the thickest part of the salmon. Rest the salmon for a few minutes before serving with lemon wedges, if desired.
Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD