Skip to Content

How do you defrost cold smoked salmon?

Cold smoked salmon is a delicacy that is loved by many people around the world. It is often served as an appetizer or as a topping on bagels or toast. Most people prefer to buy the salmon in bulk and store it in the freezer for later use. Defrosting smoked salmon can be tricky since it is a delicate fish that can easily spoil if not handled correctly. In this blog post, we will explain how you can safely defrost cold smoked salmon with minimal effort and get it ready for your next meal.

What is cold smoked salmon?

Cold smoked salmon is a preparation of salmon that is usually uncooked with a unique flavour. It is prepared by curing the salmon with salt and then smoking it at cold temperatures. Cold smoked salmon does not need to be cooked because it is already smoked. The smoking process helps to preserve the salmon so that it can be stored for long periods in the refrigerator or freezer.

Why is it important to defrost cold smoked salmon correctly?

Defrosting cold smoked salmon correctly is vital to prevent the salmon from going bad. If the salmon is left out at room temperature for too long, bacteria may begin to grow on it. The growth of bacteria can cause the salmon to spoil, which could lead to food poisoning. Therefore, it is essential to follow the correct defrosting procedures to ensure that the cold smoked salmon is safe to eat.

How to defrost cold smoked salmon

Defrosting cold smoked salmon is not difficult, but it requires a bit of patience. There are different ways to defrost cold smoked salmon, but the most effective way is to defrost it in the fridge. Here are the steps you can follow:

Step 1: Remove the salmon from the freezer

Take the cold smoked salmon out of the freezer and place it in a leak-proof container or wrap it in a plastic bag. Make sure the container is sealed tightly to prevent any air from circulating around the salmon.

Step 2: Place the salmon in the fridge

Put the sealed container or plastic bag of salmon in the fridge. It is important to put it on a plate or a bowl to catch any leaking juices. Let it defrost for 24 hours or longer if the salmon is a larger portion.

Step 3: Check the salmon

After 24 hours in the fridge, check the salmon for defrosting. You can tell if the salmon is completely defrosted when it is soft to the touch. You can also check if there is any ice in the center of the salmon with a thermometer. If the temperature is above 40°F, then it is safe to consume.

Step 4: Get ready to serve the salmon

Once the salmon is fully thawed, serve it according to your preference. You can slice it into thin pieces and serve it on a platter with crackers or bread. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of fresh herbs to enhance the flavour.

Alternative methods to defrost cold smoked salmon

If you do not have 24 hours to wait for the salmon to defrost in the fridge, there are other methods you can use, but these methods are not recommended by experts.

Defrost in cold water

If you need to defrost the salmon quickly, you can submerge it in cold water. Do not use hot water because it can cook the salmon partially. Fill a bowl of cold water and place the salmon in it. Change the water every 30 minutes, and the defrosting time will depend on the size of the salmon.

Defrost in the microwave

You can also defrost cold smoked salmon in the microwave, but this method is not recommended. Defrosting in the microwave tends to cook partial parts of the salmon, and it is difficult to control the process. If using a microwave, make sure to use the defrost setting and turn the salmon over every few minutes to ensure it defrosts evenly.


Defrosting cold smoked salmon may require some patience, but it is essential to ensure that the salmon is safe to eat. The best way to defrost cold smoked salmon is to do it in the fridge. If you are using alternative methods, make sure to use them carefully. Always remember to store your smoked salmon correctly to ensure its freshness and quality are maintained for long-term use.


Can I defrost smoked salmon in microwave?

Yes, you can defrost smoked salmon in the microwave. Here are some steps to follow for safe defrosting:

1. Make sure the smoked salmon is sealed in an airtight package or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to prevent moisture loss during defrosting.

2. Place the salmon on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with paper towels or plastic wrap to prevent splatters.

3. Set the microwave to the defrost setting or use a lower power setting, if your microwave does not have a defrost setting.

4. Defrost the salmon for three to five minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the filet. It is essential to flip the salmon every thirty seconds to ensure an even defrost.

5. Once the salmon has thawed, remove it from the microwave and unwrap it.

It’s important to remember that smoking salmon only preserves it, and does not cook it. So, if you plan to consume the salmon, it’s best to reheat it properly before consumption. Reheat the salmon on low heat in a pan with some oil or butter until it’s warmed through. Alternatively, you could cook the salmon in a preheated oven at 300°F for about 10-12 minutes until it’s warm and flakes easily with a fork.

You can safely defrost smoked salmon in the microwave by wrapping it tightly and following the correct defrost settings. However, reheating the salmon before consumption is recommended as smoking it only preserves it.

Can you cook smoked salmon from frozen?

Yes, you can indeed cook smoked salmon from frozen. When it comes to preparing and cooking frozen salmon, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that the end result is a delicious and healthy seafood dish.

First and foremost, it’s important to thaw the frozen salmon properly, rather than cooking it straight from the freezer. To thaw smoked salmon, place it in the refrigerator and allow it to defrost overnight. Alternatively, you can place the frozen salmon in a sealed plastic bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold water for a few hours. Do not use warm water as it can cause the salmon to partially cook and spoil.

Once the smoked salmon is thawed, you can cook it using various methods depending on your preference. Some popular ways to cook smoked salmon include grilling, baking, poaching, or pan-frying. Regardless of the cooking method that you choose, it’s important to properly season the salmon to enhance its natural flavor.

One tasty way to prepare smoked salmon is to grill it with a simple marinade made from olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. Simply brush the marinade onto the salmon before placing it on a preheated grill and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side until it’s cooked through.

Alternatively, you can bake the smoked salmon in the oven, covered with foil, at a temperature of 400°F. Brush the salmon with a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and ginger before placing it in the oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 145°F.

While you can cook smoked salmon from frozen, it’s always best to thaw it properly to ensure that it cooks evenly and retains its natural flavor. With a bit of creativity and the right cooking technique, you can turn frozen smoked salmon into a delicious and healthy meal that is perfect for any occasion.