Can You Cook Frozen Fish?

You can definitely cook frozen fish. In fact, doing so might make your meal safer, tastier and fresher. This is due to the fact that fish is usually frozen using a technique called shock freezing, which increases shelf-life and preserves the product in its prime shape. 

Even if you cook frozen fish that you froze yourself, it can still be a good idea, but in this case you will need to pay attention to certain details in order to obtain a great meal that is both safe and delicious. 

In this article we will look at some great information about fish, freezing and cooking frozen fish.

When did fish appear in our diet?

You probably already know that fish is extremely healthy and we need to eat at least three portions of fish every week, because it has healthy fats that prevent heart disease. 

But, did you know that fish is one of the reasons that we humans, as a species, evolved?

Once humans began to fish and eat their catch, roughly 2 million years ago, brain development had a rapid evolution. 

This happened because fish is a great source of protein and its fat is pure brain food. 

All you need to know about frozen fish

Freezing is the best way to preserve fish, because it minimizes the risk of disease such as botulism and parasites.

Tapeworms, flukes and roundworms can infect fish and can be passed to humans if the meat isn’t frozen at appropriate temperatures for long enough or if it isn’t cooked properly. 

Furthermore, fish tends to degrade at a very fast pace, and even if it doesn’t become spoiled, it builds up histamine, which can affect people with allergies and young children. 

Rapidly freezing fish, in an industrial setting, prevents all these problems. There are health and safety guidelines that are followed by companies, and they specify exact procedures that are strictly followed. 

If you buy fresh fish, and you want to freeze it yourself make sure that you do this fast, after degutting the fish and while exposing it to as little air as possible.

Can You Cook Frozen Fish?

As we stated at the very beginning of this article, you can and you should. 

You probably learned that you need to unfreeze foods slowly, in the refrigerator, in a matter of hours, and depending on the food, it can take even an entire day.

This may be true for most foods, especially for red meat that needs time to relax or it can become very hard to chew. 

However, fish is a fragile type of meat, one that unfreezes quickly, and once unfrozen it can go bad really fast. 

Cooking fish from frozen, prevents it from spending too long in the refrigerator, and saves you a lot of time. 

We all get caught up on everyday life, and forgetting to take foods out of the refrigerator in order to cook dinner tends to happen quite often. 

Luckily, with fish, you can just add a few minutes to the cooking process and you can start preparing it any way you like. 

You will find that the fish will be nice and moist and it won’t become overly dry because it doesn’t lose all its moisture when thawing.

How to Cook Frozen Fish

When cooking frozen fish, you will need to follow the same steps as you would when cooking fresh fish, with the addition of a few short stages.

  • Take the fish out of the freezer

 Hopefully it was stored properly. One great way to store fish in the freezer is to pack it tightly in baking paper and then in a plastic bag. That is, if you are freezing it yourself. 

You probably noticed that when you buy frozen fish it is either glazed with water or it is packed airtight. Cold air makes frozen fish too dry, if it isn’t packed properly.

  • Remove any packaging

If the fish was packed in baking paper, you might need to run some water over it in order to help to remove it from the fish. Doing so won’t affect the final product. 

  • Wash the fish under cold water until the glazing is melted and the meat rinsed

The glazing that frozen fish has is just water, but in order to properly clean the fish and to cook it the way you want, you must make sure it is removed.

  • Use paper towels to absorb any excessive moisture

Fish and water go well together but not when you intend to cook it. Unless you need to boil it in water, then you can skip this step. 

In fact, most meat needs to be patted dry before cooking. This allows flavors to penetrate the meat. Even salt will need to be able to sit on the fish, not on the water covering the fish.

  • Proceed to prepare the fish the way you like

The possibilities here are endless. It all depends on the type of fish that you have in your freezer. 

Since we began this article by talking about time and lack of thereof we should talk a bit about how you can prepare frozen fish fast.

Even if the process itself isn’t exactly very fast, while your dinner is in the oven you can do whatever you want. Just remember to set the timer. 

You can use any recipe you like, just add another 5 minutes to it.

One way to  oven cook your fish from frozen is to put it in a ceramic oven dish, pour a few drops of olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Then cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. The cooking time and temperature depends on the type of fish and the thickness to which it has been cut.

One of the most luxurious ways to cook frozen fish is to poach it. Poaching works with any kind of fish, but salmon beats them all, especially if it’s wild salmon. 

You will need to put your frozen salmon in a pan, add salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon and then cover it with olive oil. Let it simmer on very low heat for 30 minutes (since it began to simmer). Then let it rest for 5 minutes and remove the salmon from the oil. 

Pat the salmon dry, to absorb any excess olive oil and serve warm with some vegetables, asparagus being one of the best pairs.

No matter how you decide to cook frozen fish, the quality of the final dish will be the same as if you were cooking fresh fish. 

This strategy works for most seafood. So, if you are thinking about cooking pasta with prawns, you can cook it if the seafood is frozen, as long as you buy decorticated prawns. 

Time is of the essence so why would you waste precious time waiting for fish to thaw when you can cook it from frozen, knowing that this is safer as bacteria has less opportunity to develop? 


The founder of Catch and Fillet, “Chum Charlie”, has been writing articles within the fishing community for over 9 years. He got his nickname due to his preference for chumming while he is fishing. Chumming is a common practice that is used in the ocean to lure various types of fish to the boat. Chum can consist of various fish parts that attract fish due to its overbearing odor.

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