Short on time and forget to thaw out your salmon? This is the best recipe for making frozen salmon in the air fryer. This recipe also works perfectly for cooking fresh or thawed salmon. The salmon is topped with a flavorful blend of spices that compliment the flavor of the fish. This takes less than 15 minutes to make and is an excellent option for an easy dinner meal.
I’ve been trying to eat lots of salmon lately because I am breastfeeding my son and want to get in some extra omega-3 fatty acids (a healthy type of fat that salmon is known for). I usually have my husband grill our salmon, however during the winter months this is extra hard to do. Any time the temperature is below 40F, I prefer to cook inside. What I love most about this recipe is that we can get just as good of a flavor and texture in the air fryer, as we can when cooking on the grill.
This recipe is also perfect for anyone who keeps salmon in the freezer and forgets to thaw it out ahead of time (story of my life!). I have consistently made this salmon recipe this winter and it always turns out well!
- Salmon Filets: choose either fresh or frozen salmon filets. Look for fish that is pink and does not have a strong fish smell.
- Olive Oil: this helps the seasoning stick. Canola oil can also be substituted.
- Brown Sugar: caramelizes when cooked.
- Spices: chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt: add flavor to the salmon
How To Make Frozen Salmon in the Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer (some air fryers will automatically do this). While the air fryer is preheating, prepare the seasoning. Mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.
Once the air fryer has preheated, add the salmon filets to the bottom of the air fryer (the side with the skin should be facing down). Set the timer to 12 minutes. Leave at least ½ inch of space between the salmon filets, so that the air can fully circulate and cook them evenly.
After 4 minutes have passed, open the air fryer, brush on the olive oil and sprinkle the seasoning over the top of the salmon. Pat the seasoning into the salmon using your hands.
Close the air fryer and continue to cook for the remaining 8 minutes. Based on the brand of air fryer used, cooking times may vary. Use a meat thermometer to check that the salmon reaches a temperature of 145F to verify it is fully cooked.
Can I Cook Frozen Fish In The Air Fryer?
Yes, frozen fish can be cooked in the air fryer. It will just take a few extra minutes for the fish to cook. Cooking frozen fish in the air fryer creates a just as tender and flavorful piece of meat as if it were thawed.
Can I Use Salmon That Is Fresh/Thawed?
Yes! Decrease the cook time by 4 minutes. Fresh or thawed salmon will take 8 minutes to cook in the air fryer. Add the olive oil and spices to the salmon before placing it in the air fryer.
How Long To Cook Frozen Salmon?
The frozen salmon takes a total of 12 minutes to cook. This may vary based on the brand of air fryer used and the size and thickness of salmon filet (I used a 4 ounce piece of salmon).
Set the timer for 12 minutes. After four minutes have passed, open the basket, brush on the olive oil, add the seasoning and then put the basket back in the air fryer.
By cooking the fish for four minutes before adding the oil, it helps the salmon defrost and be able to absorb more oil.
Also, it’s important to set the timer for 12 minutes and not just four minutes. This prevents the air fryer from going into preheat mode again if you only set it for four minutes and then try to add another 8 minutes.
How To Tell If The Salmon Is Done
Salmon should reach a temperature of 145F. This can be measured by sticking a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Salmon will also appear flaky when fully cooked.
Benefits of Cooking Salmon in the Air Fryer
I love the cooking salmon in the air fryer, especially in the winter when it is too cold to grill (or sometimes in the summer when it’s extremely hot out). Salmon cooked in the air fryer is a very fast process. This takes about 15 minutes total to prep and cook.
What I love most about the air fryer is that you can place frozen salmon in it. I frequently forget to thaw out my fish, or am looking for a last dinner option and don’t have time to thaw my salmon. This is the perfect solution for frozen fish.
Cooking fish in the air fryer also creates an evenly cooked fish fillet. Air circulates around all sides of the salmon to cook it even. The clean-up is very easy. All you have to do is wash the air fryer basket!
Tips and Tricks
- Place the salmon skin side down. There is no need to flip the salmon in the air fryer.
- Do not over crowd the air fryer basket. Leave some space in between each salmon filet and do not stack the salmon on top of each other. This helps the air circulate better and cook the salmon evenly.
- Cook the salmon for 4 minutes before adding the olive oil and spices. The salmon will be slightly defrosted at this point and it will help the spices stay on the salmon easier.
- Salmon is fully cooked when it reaches a temperature of 145F. Use a meat thermometer and place it in the thickest part of the salmon filet to test the temperature.
- Serve the salmon on top of brown rice. Add a vegetable and fruit, such as broccoli and a handful of cherries. This makes a delicious and balanced meal.
- Top the salmon with your favorite fresh vegetables. I love to chop up avocado, tomatoes and cilantro and place it on top of the salmon.
- Cut the salmon into small pieces and serve it in a corn tortilla topped with salsa for some easy fish tacos.
- Make a salmon salad: serve the salmon over a bed of lettuce along with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.
- Create a bowl: add salmon, rice, soy sauce and chopped cucumbers to a bowl. Mix and enjoy!
Salmon Nutrition Information
- A 3 ounce serving of cooked Atlantic salmon contains 180 calories (according to the USDA).
- Salmon is an excellent source of protein. A 4 ounce cooked salmon filet contains 25 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
- Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids and low in saturated fats.
- Salmon is an excellent choice for a healthy dinner option. To create balanced meal, pair it with a serving of brown rice, a side salad and a handful of fruit such as strawberries or blueberries.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Salmon is well known for providing an excellent source of healthy fats. Salmon contains a large amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered a healthy fat. Fish are one of the best ways to obtain omega 3’s.
- Studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of heart disease (source).
- Additional research shows that omega 3’s may reduce inflammation in the body (source).
- More information on omega 3 health benefits can be found here.
Store the salmon in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot (check it every 30 seconds to prevent overheating). Salmon can also be reheated in the oven or chopped into pieces and cooked in a frying pan. Leftover salmon goes great on salads, over quinoa or in a bowl of rice and salsa.
More Delicious Dinners:
Air Fryer Frozen Salmon
- 2 4 oz salmon filets
- ½ tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar packed
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- diced tomato, avocado, mango, cilantro or onion
If Using Frozen Salmon Filets
- Preheat the air fryer to 390F.
- While the air fryer is preheating, mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Once the air fryer has preheated, place the salmon filets in the fryer basket skin side down. (Do not put the seasonings on the fish yet).
- Set the timer for 12 minutes.
- After 4 minutes, open the air fryer and brush the olive oil on the top of the salmon. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the top.
- Close the air fryer and continue to cook for the remaining 8 minutes. Salmon is done when the temperature of the salmon is 145F (measured with a meat thermometer).
- Remove from air fryer and serve warm. Garnish if desired. Enjoy!
If Using Fresh Salmon Filets
- Preheat the air fryer to 390F.
- While the air fryer is preheating, mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Brush olive oil lightly over the salmon filets, then sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the top of the salmon.
- Place the salmon in the preheated air fryer basket, skin side facing down.
- Set the time to 8 minutes. Salmon is done when the temperature of the salmon is 145F (measured with a meat thermometer). Serve warm.