How to Cook Frozen Salmon in an Air Fryer. Air fryers offer a quick, convenient way to cook frozen salmon fillets to tender, flaky perfection in the comfort of your home. Compared to thawing and pan searing or baking salmon which can dry it out, the circulated hot air crisps the outside to a savory golden finish while keeping the inside moist.
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How to Cook Frozen Salmon in an Air Fryer
Follow this easy guide for air-frying protein-packed salmon from its frozen state.
Select Individual Frozen Salmon Fillets
Stick to flash-frozen wild-caught salmon fillets of similar sizing, preferably individually vacuum-sealed. Uniform sizing allows even cooking. Or place layered fillets spaced apart while freezing before bagging them together. Thinner tail sections take less time so group those accordingly. Let frozen salmon sit sealed at room temp 15 minutes before cooking.
Light seasoning before air frying intensifies flavors. Pat fillets dry first or seasoning won’t adhere. Drizzle with oil if desired then sprinkle with a choice of seafood-friendly spices like garlic powder, paprika, lemon pepper, dried dill or onion powder based on taste. Gently rub seasonings into fish. Go light on salt which toughens salmon proteins.
Preheat Air Fryer Properly
Preheating ensures the air fryer basket gets hot enough to sear and crust the salmon. Set temperature to 380°F which prevents delicate fish from overcooking while still crisping the outside. Let it fully preheat for 4 minutes before adding fish. Use cooking spray if needed to prevent sticking.
Load Salmon in Single Layer
Place fillets in an air fryer basket in a single layer without overcrowding to ensure proper airflow circulation. Trying to cook too many pieces at once steams rather than crisps the salmon. Cook similar-thickness fillets together for even cooking. Brush thinner tail sections with oil or seasoning to prevent drying before adding the last several minutes.
Select Appropriate Cook Time
The average thick salmon fillet takes 10-13 minutes at 380°F in an air fryer. Thinner tail cuts may only require 6-8 minutes. For frozen fish, increase overall cook time up to 50%. Observe at the halfway point then add additional minutes as needed until the thickest section flakes easily with a fork.
Optional Finishing Steps
If you prefer salmon skin extra crispy, use tongs to flip fillets skin-side-down for 1-2 minutes after the initial cook time finishes. Salmon will continue cooking from residual heat. For richer flavor, drizzle with fresh lemon juice, garlic butter sauce, or teriyaki glaze just before removing from the cooker.
Allow Salmon to Rest Before Serving
Let salmon air fryer fillets sit for 5 minutes before consuming as proteins will retain heat and continue firming up during the rest period. The resting phase evenly distributes moisture for utmost tenderness straight through the thickest cut.
Cooking frozen salmon in the air fryer makes this flavorful fish readily accessible any night of the week. Adjust times as you gauge texture preferences. In just over 15 minutes, you can enjoy gourmet seafood fare boasting a crispy yet delicately moist bite.