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5 Simple Tips for Cooking Fish Straight from the Freezer

By Cookist

Sometimes we forget to defrost the fish we wish to use for a meal and usually it is a really painful mistake. But what if we told you that your Dinner can still be salvaged even if you forget?

In fact, cooking fish directly from the freezer is encouraged! Here’s what you need to know:

1. Accept that some varieties of fish are better suited to cooking without thawing than others.


Some people assume fatty fishes such as salmon or swordfish are best suited to cooking from frozen, but lean fish such as cod and tilapia are actually better choices.

This is because lean fish have less moisture content, so are less likely to become soggy when cooked from frozen.

2. Choose the right cooking method


Some cooking methods work better at cooking fish from frozen than others. This is because frozen fish release a lot of moisture while cooking, so pan searing is not recommended.

Instead of the fish browning in the pan and becoming crisp, water released during the cooking steams the fish and prevents any browning.

It is better to either bake, broil, steam, or poach. The latter two are the easiest ways to cook fish from frozen so they can result in tender, delicate filets.

3. Give your frozen fish a quick rinse and thorough drying


If you decide to bake or broil and want to further your chances of browning the fish, give your filets a quick rinse under cold water before cooking.

This gets rid of the thin layer of ice crystals on the outside of the filet that would have prevented the outside from browning. Once you rinse them, thoroughly dry them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

4. Get ready to sacrifice the skin


Frozen fish filets release a lot of moisture as they cook, so you're not going to achieve perfectly crispy skin. The skin will always turn out soft and flimsy. As a result, if your frozen filet still has skin attached to it, you should either remove it before cooking or simply cook it with the skin on and remove it once cooked.

Expect a longer cook time

Always add a few minutes to the cooking time to account for the fact that the interior of the fish is frozen. It means it takes a bit longer to come up to cooking temperature.

You can insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the filet to tell when the fish is all done.

If it’s 145°F or higher, it’s good to go.


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