Traditional recipes

How to Cook Frozen Seafood without Thawing

How to Cook Frozen Seafood without Thawing

For all the times you forgot to take the bag out of the freezer, or are stuck staring at an empty refrigerator, we have your solution. Here’s the trick to cooking frozen fish before it’s totally thawed.

When you buy a package of frozen seafood, it seems simple enough. Toss it in the freezer for another day, pull it out a day before you're ready to cook, and let it defrost into a flavorful fillet. But it's never really that easy. Sometimes you're just not prepared for dinner that far in advance, and even if you are you may realize halfway through the day you never moved the bag into the refrigerator. Then you're stuck with a bag of rock-solid fish and a take-out menu calling your name.

Cooking without thawing is actually way easier than you would think. Wild Alaska Seafood actually has an entire section of their website dedicated to it called "Cooking It Frozen! Techniques and Recipes", and it's a marketing campaign to encourage buyers that dinner can be ready in a snap, even from frozen fish.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for more great articles and tasty, healthy recipes.

According to the USDA, it is completely acceptable to cook raw foods from a frozen state, but you'll need to increase your cooking time by about 50 percent to cook it entirely through. You'll also want to be sure you've met the USDA's recommendation of seafood reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep in mind the finished product might not be as tasty as cooking from a properly defrosted piece.

In general, it's best to plan ahead when cooking seafood from the freezer. If you do have some extra time to start the thawing process, even better. Never defrost frozen seafood at room temperature, but in the refrigerator overnight, according to the USDA. If you need a faster route, place seafood in a leak-proof package and submerge in cold tap water. You can replace the tap water every 30 minutes until defrosted. The FDA also suggests using the microwave to defrost fish —simply use the defrost option on your microwave, and thaw in short intervals until fish is still icy but pliable.

How to Cook a Frozen Ham Without Thawing It

Erin Huffstetler is a writer with experience writing about easy ways to save money at home.

Don't sweat it if you forgot to pull your holiday ham out of the freezer, or if it simply hasn't thawed as quick as you expected it to thaw. It's perfectly safe to cook a frozen ham. Just know that it takes about 50 percent longer to cook a fully-frozen ham. Here's everything you need to know to get good results and get dinner on the table on time.

For most recipes, you’ll thaw frozen seafood, then cook it just the same as if it had never been frozen. For a hands-off method, simply move the seafood to your fridge the day before you’re ready to cook — 24 hours is ideal. … The first is to thaw your seafood in cool water.

Totally! Unlike chicken or salmon that must be cooked to a correct temperature to ensure their safety, shrimp are so small and so quick to cook that it’s hard to undercook them or serve them underdone. Cooking them from frozen actually helps prevent overcooking, leading to juicer, more tender shrimp.

By opening the packaging when thawing the vacuum packaged fish, oxygen is present and the spores will not produce the vegetative cells that produce the toxin. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can contaminate food. Unlike many bacteria, Listeria can grow and multiply in some foods in the refrigerator.

Steaming. Steaming is a gentle, fat-free cooking method that keeps the natural moisture in foods. Grilling. Grilling gives a smoky flavor and crisped texture to finfish and shellfish. Microwaving. Marinating. Thawing. Poaching. Broiling. Pan Searing.

4 Tips for Cooking Frozen Cod

1. Don’t use thick cuts.

When cooking fish straight from the freezer, you’ll want to save the large cuts like whole sides of fish for proper thawing and cooking. There’s just too much room for error with those large cuts to cook them directly from the freezer, and you’ll risk uneven cooking throughout.

If you stick with cod fillets around six ounces and under one-inch thickness, you’re golden. (Your cod fillets will be, too, if you use the air fryer!)

2. No need to rinse frozen cod.

Some recipes may tell you to rinse your frozen cod before cooking it to get rid of ice crystals, but this step is unnecessary. If anything, it might leave your fish a bit waterlogged.

3. Use a flavorful sauce or even breading.

When cooking cod from frozen, you won’t want to skimp on the flavor. Try seasoning your frozen cod with our Herbs de Provence-based seasoning salt . Or, consider making a lemon and butter emulsion to drizzle over the top by including the two ingredients in the baking pan with the cod.

You can even bread frozen cod fillets yes, really! Simply brush oil onto the cod, and then sprinkle on seasoned breadcrumbs. Alternatively, par-cook your cod fillets for about five minutes (essentially defrosting them), then crust them with your breadcrumb or preferred breading mixture and finish cooking.

4. Cook it to an internal temperature of 145˚F.

You’ll know your cod is done when it flakes easily when pressed with a fork, and the flesh is opaque white and no longer translucent. In terms of doneness, the official FDA recommendation is an internal temperature of 145˚F as measured by a food thermometer, which will be a very firm piece of fish.

A quicker and well-known way of defrosting fish is in cold water. The fish must be in a sealed bag for safety and to preserve the flavour, and submerged in water until it is defrosted. Leave until fully defrosted. Defrost time is typically six to eight hours per lb.

The best way to tell if your fish is done is by testing it with a fork at an angle, at the thickest point, and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance. A good rule of thumb is to cook the fish to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees.

Can You Cook Fish from Frozen?

Yes! Now that I&rsquove discovered how to cook fish from frozen, there&rsquos way fewer panicked evenings trying to figure out dinner. Since I learned this technique, I make sure to always have fish fillets or portions in the freezer ready to pop in the oven at a moment&rsquos notice. Cod, salmon, and more are now so much easier to enjoy!

Here&rsquos a video showing how to cook fish from frozen:

The fish fillets or portions can go straight from the freezer into the oven once you know how to do it. The result is perfectly cooked fish every time.

The best part about it though is that I can enjoy my favorite seafood even in the months when it&rsquos not in season. This makes me very happy. All in all, it&rsquos a smart and healthy choice for my family.

Oh, and in case you&rsquore curious, you can cook shrimp from frozen too. Now onto the fish fillets&hellip.

2. Cherries

Fresh local cherries at the height of summer are not to be missed, but their season is fleeting. So the rest of the calendar year, when fresh options tend to be rather flavorless, it’s a better idea to opt for bags of frozen cherries.

Fruits like cherries that are commercially frozen are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, and sometimes even more so. That’s because produce starts to lose some micronutrients and antioxidants gradually after harvest, so the longer it takes to travel from field to fork, the less nutrient-dense it becomes. On the flipside, cherries destined for the freezer are harvested when fully ripened, meaning they’re at their nutrition and flavor peaks. Modern flash-freezing techniques preserve these qualities – most companies freeze their fruits within hours of harvesting.

Besides, pitting a recipe’s worth of fresh cherries can eat up way too much time. Pitted frozen cherries are much less of a pain. They can go straight from the freezer into recipes such as smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods and sauces. Or, thaw a handful of this frozen food and add them to salads, salsas and yogurt for a hit of sweet-tart flavor. In general, fruits including cherries can be kept frozen for eight to 10 months before they deteriorate in quality.

Alaska Seafood FAQs

How much seafood does Alaska harvest each year?

Over 50% of all seafood harvested in the United States, or about 5 billion pounds, is from Alaska.

What are the key reasons consumers choose Alaska seafood?
A recent consumer survey showed that “succulent texture, great flavor and natural” are the most captivating reasons people eat seafood from Alaska.

How do I know if the fish I buy is wild?
Ask your fish department manager to identify fish harvested in Alaska’s cold, clean oceans. All fish and shellfish from Alaska are harvested wild.

What makes Alaska fisheries the world’s leading model of sustainable fishing practices?
For 50 years, Alaska has followed sustainable fisheries management practices mandated by the state constitution to ensure an ever-replenishing stock of wild seafood in Alaskan waters. These proactive practices are based on scientific research, and commended around the world for their outstanding success.

How many species of wild Alaska salmon can you name?
Five, including King or Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Keta, and Pink.

Do I have to thaw fish before cooking it?
You can cook seafood in 15 minutes without thawing it using this easy COOK IT FROZEN!® technique: Heat a nonstick skillet or stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the frozen fish portions with olive, canola, peanut or grapeseed oil. Place the fish in the heated pan and cook, uncovered, about 3 or 4 minutes, until browned. Turn the fish over, season it with spices, and cover the skillet tightly. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook just until the fish is done, which is when the fish turns from translucent to opaque. Use a sharp knife to check for doneness in the thickest part of the fish. Check out additional tips and techniques at

How far and how fast can Alaska salmon swim?
Alaska salmon can migrate up to 10,000 miles each year, swimming at speeds around 4mph.

How big can Alaska King salmon grow?
King salmon weighing up to 100 lbs. have been caught in Alaska.

How large was the largest Alaska halibut ever caught?
The largest Alaska halibut on record weighed 700 pounds. (The average halibut weighs between 35 and 40 pounds.)

How big is the Alaska Pollock fishery?
The Alaska Pollock fishery is, by volume, the largest fishery in the United States and the second largest fishery in the world.

What is surimi?
Surimi is a term meaning “formed fish,” and refers to fish pulp formed into various shapes. The Japanese have been making surimi for centuries, with evidence dating as far back as 1100 A.D. The highest quality surimi is made from genuine Alaska Pollock, a fish prized for its delicate, slightly sweet flavor and lean, firm flesh. Surimi is typically molded into crab legs, lobster chunks, shrimp and scallops, and colored to complete its transformation into tasty, affordable shellfish.

What are the key nutritional benefits of eating wild Alaska seafood?
Seafood harvested from Alaska’s deep, cold and clean waters is low in saturated fat and naturally packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

How many oceans/seas border the state of Alaska?
Alaska is the only state to have coastlines on three different seas: the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Bering Sea.

Don't Thaw: Easy Tips On Cooking Frozen Seafood

There are a ton of reasons to get more seafood into your clean-eating routine, but many people cross fish off their list if it&aposs not fresh and in season. Fortunately, big advances in freezing seafood shortly after it&aposs caught mean that it&aposs now easier than ever to eat wild salmon, halibut, cod and other fish year-round.

To celebrate National Seafood Month, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute recently released a booklet and launched a new section on its website dedicated to dishing up cooking tips, a campaign cleverly called Frozen to Fork (#FrozentoFork on social), hiring chef Seward Brewing Company&aposs chef/owner Erik Slater to create easy, elegant meals in around 15 minutes.

Tips on pan-steaming fish:

Rinse frozen seafood to remove any ice

Bring to boil an inch of water or seasoned liquid over medium-high heat

Place seafood skin-side down in the pan

Return the liquid to a simmer, but keep the heat low enough so it doesn&apost boil

Cover the pan tightly and cook for 5 minutes before turning off the heat and letting the fish rest in the liquid for another 5 minutes and then serve with some kind of sauce or a squeeze of citrus

There&aposs also suggestions on grilling, broiling, roasting, pan-searing and steaming and innovative recipes that showcase those cooking methods including a Chai-Grilled Alaska Snow Crab which calls for marinating the shellfish in fragrant Chai tea.

Here&aposs a recipe for the dish pictured above, the Pan-Steamed Seafood Marseilles:


1 Tablespoon shallot, minced

1 clove minced fresh garlic

1/2 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)

4 Alaska Salmon or whitefish portions (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen

1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska seafood under cold water set aside.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat for one minute. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat evenly. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Place seafood in pan, skin side down. Add water to the pan until it reaches half way up the side of the fillets. Add the wine, salt and pepper. Return the pan to medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to low liquid should simmer, not boil. Cook 4 to 5 minutes for frozen seafood or 2 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Turn off heat and let seafood rest in liquid for 5 minutes. Remove seafood to a plate/platter and keep warm.

Create a quick reduction sauce with the remaining steaming liquid by returning pan to high heat. Reduce liquid by 75%. Reduce heat to low and add the butter, herbs and lemon juice. Whisk until butter melts and sauce thickens, about 1 minute. To serve, drizzle fillets with sauce.

To quickly thaw fish, first place the fish in a seal-able plastic bag and push all of the air out of it before sealing. If you’ve kept your fish portions in the vacuum-sealed bag then you can leave it in its packaging. Once defrosted always cook fish immediately.

To prepare oven baked cod straight from the freezer, pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Remove the frozen cod from its packet and place in a foil tray. Add a little butter over the fillet until the surface is covered and pop the dish in the oven. Cook for around 30 minutes.

Watch the video: Defrost Frozen Seafood (January 2022).