10-Minute Instant Pot Salmon (From Frozen!)

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The Instant Pot takes all the fuss out of frozen salmon for a healthy, super-quick family dinner.

Getting into the habit of serving fish to my family once a week has been one of my new year’s resolutions for, um, a few years now. So yes, it’s taken me a little while to get to this point.

It’s not that my family doesn’t find fish tasty; miraculously, everyone seems to like it. For me, the devil is in the prep work. I usually buy fish frozen, so I don’t have to rush to cook it right away. But that means, of course, that I have to defrost it before I cook it.

And call me crazy, but on a regular weeknight, I just don’t love dealing with half-frozen pouches of raw fish floating in bowls of water on my kitchen table.

The first time I tried cooking salmon in my Instant Pot from frozen, I was way skeptical. I mean, I know the Instant Pot is amazing, and it can make quick work of all kinds of fabulous recipes. But putting completely iced-over blocks of fish into the cooker and pushing the button for five measly minutes had me imagining less-than edible results.

Lucky for me, I opened the pot to a happy surprise! The salmon turned out moist, flake-tender, and flavorful, cooked through and through and ready for a pat of butter, a fresh sprinkling of dill, and a squeeze of lemon.

Healthy, Fast Salmon Dinner

The whole process was so quick, in fact, that I got caught off-guard when the salmon was ready… I hadn’t even cooked a veggie yet. (Quick-cooking frozen green beans save the day!)

The salmon was a big win at the dinner table; the kids gobbled it up. And since it was so ridiculously easy, for the first time in years I found myself inspired to have a fish-for-dinner night two weeks in a row. Yes!

Love getting those brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids into my family…

Freezer to Table Salmon

Cooking frozen salmon this way couldn’t be easier. I pour one cup of liquid (¾ cup water, ¼ cup lemon juice) into the bottom of the Instant Pot, then place the steamer insert above it. In go three frozen salmon fillets, topped with a handful of dill and a slice of lemon on top of each.

I lock the lid, hit the “Manual” button, and set it for five minutes. As soon as the timer beeps, I use the Quick Release method to let out the pressure. (Make sure you keep your hand out of the way of the steam… it comes out fast!) And that’s it!

We like to add extra dill and lemon at the table, and serve the salmon alongside whole grain brown rice cooked in chicken broth for extra richness.

Enjoy!

10-Minute Instant Pot Salmon (From Frozen!)

The Instant Pot takes all the fuss out of frozen salmon for a healthy, super-quick family dinner.
4.19 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 10-Minute Instant Pot Salmon (From Frozen!)
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 medium lemon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 fillet salmon
  • 1 bunch dill weed, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground

Optional

  • 1 cup brown rice, raw
  • 4 cup green beans

Instructions

  • Place 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3/4 cup water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the metal steamer insert.
  • Place the (Sockeye) salmon fillets, frozen, on top of the steamer insert.
  • Sprinkle fresh dill on top of the salmon, then place one slice of fresh lemon on top of each one.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid, then set the Manual timer for 5 minutes.
  • When the timer beeps, press “Cancel” and carefully flip the Quick Release valve to let the pressure out.
  • Serve immediately with butter, extra dill and lemon, and salt and pepper.
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73 Comments

Hi. I am just wondering if is is possible to cook the rice in the water while steaming the fish? I noticed you put “raw brown rice” so just curious and love anything that saves time. :). Thanks!

Can you cook more than 4 fillets? We have a big family. I was thinking I could criss-cross stack them on top of one another. Do you think that would work?

Hi Amy! I haven’t tried that myself, so I’m not sure how it would work. The fillets MIGHT not cook evenly if they’re overlapping in parts. But I’m all about experimenting in the kitchen! If you try it, be sure to tell us how it turns out!

I tried layering filets because I also have a larger family. I put slightly thicker orange slices on top of the bottom filet and tried to criss cross to allow for more space. It worked well and I’d almost cook it a touch shorter because the salmon was a little overdone. I think you could do this with lemon slices or even another rack as well.

Hi Lauren! I usually cook brown rice in batches and freeze it in 2-cup portions. It defrosts pretty quickly in a bowl of warm water, to pair with quick dinners like this.

Jeezy, I had the same problem. It was flakey and perfect on the edges but some parts were completely uncooked in the middle. I’m going to try using this method again and cook for 7 minutes next time and see how that goes. I bet that’ll do the trick. There wasn’t much left uncooked. If it’s too tough I’ll try 6. If still undercooked, I’ll try 8 or 9 next time. 5 minutes wasn’t quite enough for mine and I only used one filet. I’m also wondering if this recipe would work with the fish sitting on a piece of foil, because it was kind of a pain scrubbing salmon fat off the wire steamer rack. I’ll let you know if I find a combo that works for me.

Hi Jeezy! Sorry you ended up with under-cooked fish! My guess is that your filets were simply thicker than mine (I get mine at Costco, and they are fairly thin… probably about 3/4 inch thick in the middle.) Maybe try an extra minute under pressure if yours are thicker than that.

Hi. It sounds very simple. My only question is do we use “Steam” or “Pressure Mode.?”
I’m going to cook it tonight and will try steam.

Most kind of you to put up recipes but please consider we novices, who need comprehensive instructions.

Thanks.

I wish you would have had more comprehensive instructions. Was it steam or pressure? Hi or low?

Mine was also uncooked at the thickest part, and there was only one filet.

Hi Emilie! Sorry for the confusion. I updated the instructions to include high pressure in the cooking instructions.

If your filets are still under-cooked, they might be thicker than the ones I get from Costco. Maybe try an extra minute under pressure… good luck!

Hi Emily! Even if you use fewer salmon fillets, you should still cook it for the same amount of time (as long as the fillets are not overlapping.)

I’d like to try this too but I’d like to see the answers to questions first. Since I’m new to Instant Pot, I’m a little nervous until I see other people’s experiences.

Didn’t work too well for me. One piece about 3″ wide/1″ thick. It was half-thawed but after 5 min it was raw inside. Gave it another 3 min and it was ok.

Hi Pressure (same as manual) used.

I was skeptical about cooking frozen salmon in the instant pot. This was delicious, quick, and my new favorite recipe for salmon. It was perfectly cooked from frozen in minutes!

5 minutes too long in intsa pot. My 2 pieces salmon were cooked frozen. 5 minutes too long. Very dry. Next time 3 minutes. I did the release when 5 minutes were up.

Most recipes that I read with nutrition information do not include the optional ingredients in the counts.

Hi Gina! This recipe is designed to work with frozen fillets, and I personally haven’t tried to replicate it with thawed ones. I did a quick search for you, though, and found that some people cook thawed fish for 3 minutes under high pressure in the IP. If you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out!

My 14 yr old son wanted a quick lunch and I had frozen salmon and told him to get my iPad so I could look up a recipe for instant pot frozen salmon, and yours looked awesome. It came out perfectly, i peeled some carrots and cut them up and placed around the frozen salmon on tin foil. We did not have lemon but he added dill weed and some Traeger salmon seasoning .

I have to tell you, I found this recipe about 3 weeks ago and have made it at least 5 times! It’s absolutely perfect salmon every single time. I like pesto on mine so I add a tsp. of the Costco pesto on one filet instead of lemon and it’s divine.

Thank you for this recipe, I’ve shared it a bunch of times as well.

Hii, I just bought the insta pot, and I threw a small frozen salmon in for 10 mins and it didn’t come out like yours, but instead full of white slimy stuff inside out… it was hard to eat it.. How can I get rid of that, and what is it? 🙂 thanks!

Hi Beatriz,
That white stuff is actually protein that solidifies around the fish as it cooks. It’s normal and safe, though not super appetizing!

I notice you said you cooked the fish for 10 minutes. If you meant 10 minutes under pressure, that’s actually too long. Next time try setting the Instant Pot to cook for 5 minutes under pressure. (It’ll take about 5 minutes to get to pressure, then it’ll cook for 5 minutes… hence “10-minute salmon”)

Avoiding overcooking can help reduce the amount of protein that solidifies. I hope this helps!

We haven’t tried, but I wonder if the fish would be a little more chewy since you would be cooking it longer.

Is the manual button the pressure cook button. I don’t have a manual button on my instant pot. I also have a steam but my salmon is frozen.

What an amazingly easy recipe. I added small red potatoes and in 5 minutes the frozen salmon and potatoes were done to perfection. Adding lemon to the water was a great suggestion. Thanks

I tried to make for my family of 4 but don’t understand how you got 4 fillets in the pot. The recipe calls for 4 but your pic only has 3. Dis you put one on top of the other?


Just wanted to make a note since it happened to me…if you’re using a salmon fillet that still has the skin on and is thicker than these pre-packaged ones…it needs to go a bit longer than 5 minutes. My fish came out half cooked!


1/2 cup water. One frozen filet on rack. 5 minutes on pressure cooker setting. Quick release. PERFECT! A bit of butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. DELICIOUS!

Hi Ann, good question. The rice and green beans are sides that we cooked separately to round out the meal. The green beans are lightly steamed, and the rice is simmered in a separate pot.

Hi Hank! We steamed the green beans on the side while the salmon cooked in the Instant Pot. It’s a good veggie to pair with this recipe because it cooks fast so everything’s ready at the same time. But you can really pair the salmon with any veggie you like. 🙂

Hi Jordan, I don’t recommend putting the salmon directly in the water, because I think the texture wouldn’t be as flaky and delicate. If you don’t have the steamer insert that came with the Instant Pot, you can use a different steel steamer basket and it should work just fine. I hope this helps!

Hi Dan, I’m sorry to hear this didn’t turn out for you! Sometimes if the salmon steaks are large or very thick, they need extra time in the Instant Pot. If this helps in the future, we tested this recipe with salmon fillets that were between 5-7 ounces.


I have to say this recipe has been a life saver, my husband and I both work 12 hour shifts and it’s hard to make a quick and healthy home cooked meal but we have made this at least two dozen times. It’s my go to quick and healthy meal!

I hope I speak for all owners of newer IPs (no “manual” button) who are trying to stumble their way up the learning curve.
Could you write “Manual (or Pressure Cook) button” going forward?

Thanks

Hi Gary! Thanks for reaching out. This is something we haven’t taken into account yet, but now we will. 🙂


Delicious! I just made two batches and they turned out amazing. My filets were a bit on the thick side so I went with 6 minutes and it was perfect!
Thanks!


So, half of me is thrilled to find yet another ingenious way to use my beloved IP and the other half is pretty embarrassed that I have owned it for 2 years and only today thought to look up from-frozen fish filet recipes.

Rather than salmon, I cooked about 5 frozen cod filets (from TJ’s).

Having tried everything from poaching, 24 hour defrost-to-oven and grill I didn’t have much hope that a 5 minute pressure cook would work but I was, thankfully, wrong.

I basically followed the recipe, minus the dill and with a good squeeze of lemon juice into the water, and left them in for a minute or two after the 5 minutes and before quick release since I was cooking a lot of fish. They….were…..perfect. Flaky, tasty, cooked through and the perfect temp for butter.

Thanks for posting this! It totally saved my late evening dinner 🙂

I am an Instant Pot (IP) Newbie and i have a question . I tried this and i released pressure with the quick release and the salmon was dry and the inside was kinda raw … a video my hubby watched on youtube says that the quick release let out all the moisture… i am extremely confused and can’t readily get fresh fish so we rely on wild caught frozen varieties … HELP ME PLEASE

Hi Tina! I’m sorry to hear your salmon didn’t turn out. I know some readers have had to add an extra minute or two to the cook time for larger or thicker fillets. I’ve never experienced the dryness myself, although I would think laying a few lemon slices on top would help keep the outside moist. (As would a pat of butter after it comes out of the cooker. Yes, I’ve done this!) I hope you have better success next time!