Can You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave
What to know

Can You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave or Just Defrost It?

Can you or should you cook frozen fish inside the microwave? It sounds like something that can result in improperly defrosted fish, food contamination, bacterial spread, or Salmonella if you’re not careful with how you go about it.

Let’s say you got off of work late and you’re hungry. You don’t have money for pizza, so you wish to eat what’s there in your fridge, which incidentally is frozen fish. On top of that, you’ve never used the microwave to cook fish.

At most, you’ve used the device to reheat coffee or heat up your mug of water in a minute.

Can You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave?

Apparently, you can. You can cook frozen fish like tuna, salmon, and tilapia in 7 minutes. You’ll need to add oregano, turmeric, thyme, coriander, and lemon juice to the fish. It depends on what spices or sauces you’ve got in your cupboard.

  • Preparing the Fish: The spices add flavor to the fish you wish to cook. We used tilapia fillet but you can also go for tuna or salmon fillet instead. Put the fillet on the microwave-safe container. Add lemon dressing. Put a dash of turmeric, oregano, coriander, and/or thyme.
  • Microwave the Fish: Cover the frozen fish up with the microwaveable dish’s lid then put it in the microwave. We cooked the prepped tilapia fillet for 7 minutes straight at 900 watts or 0.9 kilowatts of power. It’ll take longer with weaker microwaves (700 watts and below).
  • Microwave Steam Bags: An alternative to using a microwave-safe bowl with lid is to get microwaveable steam bags (the ones that could cook vegetables in 3 minutes). The prepping is the same only the container is different.

You can also add a dash of soy sauce, sprinkle in some yellow curry, slices of garlic, some onion powder, and bone broth to frozen fish for microwave cooking.

Can You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave
Can You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave

Should You Cook Frozen Fish in the Microwave?

It’s better if you thaw the fish first before microwaving it due to the many risks of undercooking, underthawing, and otherwise reaching the temperature for bacterial spread instead of getting to a cooking temperature or even thawing temperature.

Only use this method if you’re short on options and you’re really hungry for fish while being aware that doing this all wrong can ruin your would-be fish dinner. It also depends on how frozen the fish in question is and whether or not it requires initial thawing first.

What are the Other Methods of Cooking Frozen Fish via Microwave?

Aside from adding ingredients to tilapia and microwaving it for 7 minutes at 900 watts on a microwaveable container or through microwave cooking bags, you can try out other ways to cook frozen fish in a jiffy.

You may also like: Can You Defrost Chicken in Microwave? Yeah, But There Are Caveats

The 5-Minute Cooking Method with No Spices

Put the non-fillet fish on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a lid, and microwave for 5 minutes on a 1-kilowatt microwave. Check back often to ensure that the fish doesn’t end up overcooked, perhaps in increments of 1 minute.

  • Safeguard with the Cover: The cover is there to prevent the risk of the frozen fish exploding inside the microwave because its temperature will end up rapidly changing and it has a high moisture content that could go to boiling and beyond with build-up pressure.
  • Incrementally Flip the Fish: After every minute-long or 2-minute long increment, flip the fish to allow for even cooking. Remove ice chunks stuck on the fish with a fork or spoon and check for frozen spots. Split any joined fish pieces that have frozen together as it cooks.
  • Spice Up Before or After? You should add oregano, turmeric, thyme, coriander, and lemon juice specifically before cooking the fish but after it has been thawed by microwave defrosting for the best results.

The 3-Minute Cooking Method with 2-Minute Defrosting

You can also defrost the fish for only 2 minutes before cooking it by using this method. Alternatively, use the defrost setting of your microwave (it’s either a button or a preset) and then defrost for 10 minutes at a low power setting (about 30 percent).

  • Defrost the Fish: If the fish is completely frozen, run the microwave on half power (50 percent setting) for one minute and flip the fish over to run on half power for another minute. This should defrost the fish enough to cook properly.
  • Cook After Thawing: After thawing the fish, microwave at your oven’s highest setting (100 percent) for up to 2 to 3 minutes. Use a food thermometer to check the food’s temperature. It should be 74°C or 165°F once the fish is cooked.

Refrigerator Thaw the Fish Then Microwaving It

Thawing the fish care of the refrigerator’s thawing section or drawer offers optimal results because it helps preserve the structure of the meat. This can take hours to happen and might not be feasible if you wish to cook your fish in the next 30 minutes.

  • Careful Microwave Defrosting: In order to potentially achieve a better result than the earlier method, you should defrost frozen fish with your microwave delicately and with careful monitoring. Watch out for cooking the fish unevenly or creating pockets of mushy/tough meat.
  • Change the Fish’s Position: Help defrost the fish or fish fillet evenly by changing its position or constantly flipping it to aid the turntable’s attempt at evenly cooking it care of rotation. Also use a microwave-safe container or bag.
  • Half Power Defrost: Place the fish on the microwaveable container, set the microwave for 50 percent, and set the timer to 5 minutes. Start the microwave and flip every 2 minutes. Get rid of ice with a fork like before. Microwave for 4 more minutes if it’s still frozen after.
  • Add Veggies and Spices: Add vegetables and/or spices like curry and oregano unto the fish container. Cover with a plastic wrap and poke holes on it or use a microwave-safe cover. Cook on high for 6 minutes then an additional 3 minutes if the fish doesn’t flake easily.


When push comes to shove, yes, you can cook frozen fish in the microwave. At a high enough power level and a long enough cooking time, it’s possible to cook or even brown your fish to something edible and safe to eat. You can also add all sorts of spices to make the fish quite flavorful.

However, as you’d expect, thawing the fish before cooking it is the preferred method because it yields the best and most delicious results compared to something you cooked by microwave straight from the freezer.


  1. How to Defrost Fish in Microwave“,, Retrieved December 12, 2021
  2. Anthony Diaz de la Vega, “How to Microwave Frozen Fish“,, Retrieved December 12, 2021

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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