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How to Reheat Salmon in The Microwave, Oven, On the Stovetop, and More! Plus Safe Storage Tips

How to Reheat Salmon in The Microwave, Oven, On the Stovetop, and More! Plus Safe Storage Tips

Reheating cooked salmon is a great way to minimize food waste and save a little money. But there are varying opinions on the best method to reheat salmon — and fish in general.

You can reheat salmon in the microwave, the oven, on the stovetop, in sous vide, or in an air fryer. Regardless of how you do it, remember that the optimal way to maintain the salmon’s quality while obtaining a nice, warm temperature is to reheat it at low temperatures for longer durations of time.

In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about reheating salmon and how to do it in the microwave, as well as other reheating methods.

We cover the following items in this post:

Can Cooked Salmon Be Reheated?

A piece of cooked salmon with lemon on top.

And is it safe to reheat salmon?

Cooked salmon can be safely reheated.

You can reheat cooked salmon in many different ways, but remember that it is easy to ruin the quality of the fish if you do so in a rushed manner. And if you’ve never had dry fish, keep it that way.

It is safe to reheat salmon that has been stored properly. The shelf life of cooked fish isn’t very long.

Storing salmon — or any fish — properly means the fish:

  • Is left in a room-temperature environment for no longer than two hours. This is because bacteria begin to rapidly grow in environments between 40°F and 140°F.
  • Is stored in the fridge for no more than two days. Any longer than this will lead the fish to spoil.
  • Was placed in a clean dish, separated from other items. Especially raw fish.
  • Is in an airtight container. There is a greater risk of contaminants and bacteria growth if it’s not properly covered. Plastic wrap can be used as well if necessary.

Below we dive into our recommended method, and some tips on other great methods.

How To Reheat Salmon in The Microwave

A woman using a microwave. How to reheat salmon in the microwave.

First and foremost, ensure you place that salmon in a microwave-safe dish. We recommend glass or ceramic dishes, but paper plates, paper towels, and some plastic dishes are also safe.

Cover it, using a lid, a bowl, a damp paper towel, or any other form of cover. This will help to retain moisture and prevent it from drying out. (A damp paper towel will help supply some additional moisture to the fish.)

Add a tablespoon of water and a little lemon juice to help retain moisture and add a nice flavor to the reheated salmon.

Turn your microwave onto a low heat, around 30%, so that the fish heats slowly. Microwave the fish in short bursts and keep checking whether it is warm enough for you.

How Long to Reheat Salmon in the Microwave

This will depend on how much salmon you reheat, but I always recommend breaking the reheating process into 30-second increments. Doing so will help prevent you from overcooking the fish.

Microwave the salmon for 30 seconds at a time, ensure the salmon is warm enough for you, and then go to town!

There is no need to check for an internal temperature since the fish was already cooked through.

Is It Bad to Microwave Salmon?

Microwaving salmon is a completely fine approach, especially if you’re short on time. Some people feel strongly against it, pushing you to only use the “best method,” but the best method is up to personal preference.

I personally almost exclusively reheat salmon in the microwave. I do it about once a month as we eat salmon often. I have never had an issue with it and have never dealt with an overbearing fish smell.

Just know that the risk of drying the salmon out is higher in the microwave and that your microwave may have a fishy smell for a little after doing so.

If you can get past both of those — then there is no issue!

What is The Best Way to Reheat Salmon?

A man taking salmon out of the oven.

In the oven on a baking sheet, at a low temperature of 275° Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

How To Reheat Salmon in The Oven

Your goal is to get the salmon fillet to an internal temperate of 125°F – 130°F.

This is the best way to reheat salmon because it allows you to retain moisture while heating the fish.

To reheat it, you should place the salmon on a baking tray and cover it carefully with aluminum foil. Don’t leave any edges sticking out, as these will dry up fast.

Add in some lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil to help with the flavor. Reheated fish is always at risk of losing some of its flavor profile.

You don’t want to try to accelerate the process by using high temperatures and dropping the time. You’ll more likely end up with a very dry, crispy piece of cooked fish. It’s not worth ruining the salmon to have it a few minutes faster.

If you don’t want to heat salmon in your microwave or oven, you can also reheat it in a pan, using sous vide, or an air fryer. Each method requires a slightly different approach, which we’ve covered below.

How To Reheat Salmon in a Pan (On the Stovetop)

Someone cooking salmon fillets on a pan on the stovetop.
  • Add a little olive oil to the pan to keep the salmon from sticking to it.
  • Cover the pan with either a lid or aluminum foil.
  • Set the stovetop to low to medium heat and cook the fish slowly.
  • Flip the salmon fillet every few minutes to get an even distribution of heat.

How To Reheat Salmon in a Sous Vide

Salmon fillets in airtight bags for the sous vide.

Sous vide is the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it to a precise temperature in a bath of water.

  • Vacuum-seal the salmon in an airtight bag.
  • Place the bag of salmon in the water bath.
  • Set the temperature of the water to 120°F.
  • Monitor the timer and temperature to take the salmon out once completed.
  • [Optional] Sear the sides of the salmon when reheated, if you’d like to get a crispy texture back.

Most modern-day sous vide machines won’t overcook the food they’re preparing as the machines won’t go past the designated temperature. They’re a phenomenal way to accurately cook any type of fish or protein.

How to Reheat Salmon in an Air Fryer

An air fryer. How to reheat salmon in the microwave.

The air fryer is best if you want to enjoy crispy, flaky salmon. It’s a great option if you don’t have enough time for the oven.

  • Set the air fryer to 360°F.
  • Line the basket with parchment paper.
  • Place the salmon in the basket and add any lemon juice or additional flavor you’d like.
  • Cook the fish for five minutes.

Your goal is to reach an internal temperature of 125°F.

The Best Way to Reheat Frozen Salmon

Salmon frozen in vacuum-sealed bags. How to reheat salmon in the microwave.

There are two options here.

Option 1: Defrost the Salmon and Then Cook It

Do this by placing keeping it in an airtight container and placing it in the fridge the night before you plan to cook it.

After defrosting, you can choose any of the recommended methods in this article.

Option 2: Cook the Frozen Fillet

If you’re in a rush, you can cook the frozen fish in the oven.

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Place the fillet(s) in a shallow baking dish.
  • Coat the salmon with any seasoning you prefer, as well as a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Ensure the internal temperature reaches 125°F.

Final Thoughts on How to Reheat Cooked Salmon

Reheating cooked fish is a delicate balance of getting the fish to the heat you like while ensuring you don’t overcook it. Salmon can be reheated very well if you do it methodically.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to use high heat to speed up the process. That’s a guaranteed way to get dry, disappointing fish. Reheating salmon at low heat and longer durations of time is your best path forward.

Salmon in the fridge is best eaten the next day as that short timeframe helps to keep the fish fresh.

And we highly recommend you use any method that works for you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It OK To Reheat Salmon?

Yes! Please follow our recommended approach above to ensure the fish is safe to eat and prepared in a way that doesn’t dry it out.

Why Does Salmon Explode in The Microwave?

Salmon explodes in the microwave because the fat in the fish gets very hot. When the hot fat meets the water inside the fish, the temperature escalates very quickly. The heat exceeds a boiling point and the fats and water make steam.

This process results in a lot of pressure inside the salmon, causing the fish to explode as the steam tries to escape from it.

Can You Eat Cooked Salmon Cold?

Yes, it is safe to eat cooked salmon cold.

A lot of people enjoy leftover salmon cold, so you might want to save yourself the trouble of reheating it and simply eat it straight from the fridge. You may even prefer its texture when cold.

Can Cooked Salmon be Frozen and Reheated?

Yes, it can. Just be sure to follow safe handling and storage of the food to ensure there is no bacteria growth. We cover it in depth earlier in this article.

How to Reheat Smoked Salmon in the Microwave

Set the microwave heat to low heat and cook the smoked salmon for about 20 seconds at a time. Due to its thin nature, it’s best to use shorter durations to ensure you don’t overcook it.