how to thaw frozen fish



If you're a fish lover, chances are you've got some frozen fillets in your freezers. Whether it's salmon or cod, these tasty proteins can stay in the freezer for quite some time but they do eventually have to be thawed before you cook them. Here are four different methods for thawing frozen fish so that it'll be ready once you're ready to tackle your meal prep:

In the Refrigerator

You can thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator. It will take about 24 hours to thaw a fillet, and an additional 24 hours for each inch of thickness; whole fish may take up to 48 hours total.

Once it's completely thawed, you should cook it immediately or store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook.

To keep your fish fresh during storage:

  • Wrap with plastic wrap and then place in a resealable plastic bag

  • Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and place inside another container that is not airtight (such as a large bowl or baking dish)

In Cold Water

  • Place the fish in a sealed plastic bag and place it in cold water.

  • Change the water every 30 minutes. Do not use hot water as this could cook part of your fish, which will affect flavor and texture!

  • Time required depends on size of your fish, but it should be thawed within 4 hours at most!

In the Microwave

Thawing your frozen fish in the microwave is one of the easiest and quickest ways to do so. If you’re using a large piece of fish, use a large dish that is microwave-safe. Place the frozen fish on a paper towel-lined plate and place in the center of the dish. Cover it with another paper towel, or plastic wrap if you have no paper towels available (use only one layer).

Thawing time varies greatly depending on how big or small your piece of fish is, but generally it will take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes per pound of thawed weight so if your frozen cod weighs 2 pounds when thawed, expect it to take 10-40 minutes total! This method works best with single servings and smaller portions as opposed to whole pieces or whole fillets because they can dry out easily during this process. Avoid thawing oiled or water-bathed fillets; instead stick with dry methods such as microwaving them directly in their packaging

Sous Vide

If you're wondering how to thaw fish in a sous vide, it's very easy. Just place the frozen fish in a plastic bag and submerge it in water that's 55°C (131ºF), and then walk away. You can use this method for any type of fish, but we recommend using whole salmon or halibut because they have less fat and will cook faster than their flaky cousins.

If you're looking for more specific instructions on how to thaw frozen fish in a sous vide machine, here are some options:

  • If your food vacuum packs its own bags (like ours does), just cook the fish at 55°C (131ºF) until it is fully cooked through and ready to eat!

  • For other types of food vacuums that don't come with bags (like your grandma’s), place ice cubes inside one of our high-quality food vacuum bags before adding both items together. This will create an airtight seal while also allowing them both  to stay cold throughout their journey into your mouth!

Thawing frozen fish takes time and planning.

Thawing frozen fish takes time and planning. It's not something you can do while you're baking cookies or doing the laundry.

  • Plan ahead! If you're heading out of town for a week, then plan to freeze some fresh fish so your family will have something to eat when you return.

  • Thawing frozen fish doesn't always mean keeping it in the refrigerator. You may want to consider thawing it under cold running water or in a bowl of cold water in the sink instead, especially if there is any chance of cross-contamination with other foods (for example, if there's raw meat in your fridge). When thawing under cold running water, keep an eye on how long it took for them to reach their final state; once they are completely thawed out (which could take hours), cook right away!


The best way to thaw frozen fish is by using the sous vide method. This method uses a warm water bath that doesn't require any additional heat, so it won't dry out or toughen your fish like other methods might do.


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