Though it’s always best when fresh, if you know how to reheat salmon properly, leftovers can still be made to taste incredible.
Now, we’re not trying to say that reheated salmon can taste exactly the same as it did the first time. No, freshly-cooked salmon is still undeniably superior. But if you have leftovers from the night before, those remaining cuts of salmon are still viable. Don’t let them go to waste!
Here is a complete guide on how you can give your salmon a new lease on life.
Can You Reheat Salmon?
A lot of people believe that fish should never be reheated because doing so can ruin the quality. More to the point, many cite safety concerns as cause to shy away from reheating seafood of any kind.
Both are reasonable concerns. However, you really don’t have much to worry about.
First, it is true that the overall quality of the salmon is going to decrease somewhat. The meat won’t taste exactly like it did coming right off the grill or skillet. Nonetheless, if you do the reheating well, you can make the salmon taste very close to the fresh thing.
Secondly, there are indeed many safety concerns that are associated with reheating seafood. According to the FDA, seafood that has been left out at room temperature can harbor dangerous amounts of bacteria. Reheating may not fully eliminate these bacteria, putting you at risk of foodborne illnesses as a result.
If the salmon has spent more than 2 hours in temperatures below 90°F, it must be discarded. If the temperature is higher than 90°F, the salmon can become contaminated in only an hour. Refrigeration does not kill the bacteria, so if they’re already present, they’ll still be there when you pull out the leftovers.
When you finish your meal, pack up your salmon and put it in the refrigerator immediately. If you forgot to do this, it’s best to discard the salmon rather than risk it.
The Best Way to Reheat Salmon
The method that usually yields the best result is reheating in the oven. The low, stable heat of the oven can keep the fish from drying out or becoming overheated.
Nobody wants dry, burnt fish!
One drawback to reheating with the oven is the long “baking” time. It can take up to 15 minutes before the salmon is ready to be served. Regardless, we consider this an acceptable trade-off considering the end quality.
The oven’s low-and-slow cooking ability isn’t just beneficial for reheating salmon, though. Because of this exact reason, the oven is one of the most versatile reheating tools out there. For instance, it is one of the best ways to reheat chicken wings, the preferred method to reheat mashed potatoes, and more.
The second method is reheating with an air fryer. When cooked in an air fryer, the food can attain the same texture and relatively fresh taste of oven-baked salmon. The difference is in the time: an air fryer can do the job much quicker. A cut of salmon only needs to spend 5 minutes in the air fryer.
Besides salmon, an air fryer works great for reheating food that you want to be extra crispy. It can be used to reheat fried chicken exceptionally well, restoring its delectably crisp outer skin.
Though we don’t recommend it, a third option is reheating with the microwave. Microwaves heat up water molecules, so moisture tends to boil away quickly, leaving your fish dry by the time it’s heated. Furthermore, the high heat tends to cook the outside quickly while leaving the core of the fish cold.
Microwaving isn’t all bad, though. The microwave only needs 2 to 3 minutes to fully reheat a cut of salmon.
Plus, it’s no less versatile than other cooking implements. You can reheat rotisserie chicken with the microwave fairly well. In our article on how to reheat frozen lasagna, we also demonstrated how it can be zapped back to life in the microwave.
And before you turn out to hate the microwave, it’s not always the worst option for reheating food. As a matter of fact, the microwave is the best way to reheat corn on the cob.
Therefore, remember that it depends on the recipe, not the technique!
1. In the Oven
Like mentioned earlier, the biggest advantage that the oven has is its low, stable heat. Thus, you should take full advantage of this by setting the temperature as low as possible. While this lengthens the cooking time, the final quality of the salmon is worth the wait.
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
The first thing you should do is to preheat the oven to 275°F. This way, when you place the salmon inside, it can begin to cook immediately.
Step 2: Prep the Salmon
Cover the entirety of your grilled salmon with aluminum foil. The foil will prevent the fish from becoming dried around the edges (a very common problem).
Step 3: Bake It
Place the covered salmon on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. When the oven has reached 275°F, place the salmon in and bake for 15 minutes.
When 15 minutes have passed, use a digital thermometer to check the salmon’s internal temperature. The thermometer should read 145°F which, according to FDA guidelines, is the safest temperature for fish. If the salmon isn’t hot enough, bake it for an extra 2 to 3 minutes until it is.
Remove from the oven and unravel the foil. Serve immediately.
How to Reheat Smoked Salmon in the Oven
The previous guide was for grilled salmon. If you have smoked salmon, however, you will need a completely different technique.
Step 1: Preheat
Smoked salmon has to be reheated at a higher temperature (about 325°F). Preheat your oven accordingly.
Step 2: Prep the Salmon
Place your cut of smoked salmon onto a baking sheet. After that, lather a little bit of olive oil and butter on top of the salmon cut. It is going to add extra flavor to the final product.
Step 3: Bake
Once the oven has been preheated, place the salmon inside and bake for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, take the salmon out and use a digital thermometer to see if it has reached 145°F. If it hasn’t, continue cooking in 2-minute bursts until the temperature is decent.
Remove from the oven and serve straight away.
2. In an Air Fryer
Reheating with the air fryer is very straightforward and simple. Most air fryers nowadays are automated, so all you really need to do is press a button and wait.
Step 1: Preheat
Preheat your air fryer to 360°F for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Air Fry
Once the cooking chamber reaches the right temperature, place the salmon in. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Use your digital thermometer to keep track of the fish’s internal temperature. Make sure that by the time you take it out to serve the thermometer reads 145°F.
3. In the Microwave
You have to be extra cautious while using the microwave. The trick for reheating salmon in the microwave is to use as little heat as possible and cook incrementally. That way, you can minimize the chance of overcooking.
Step 1: Prep the Salmon
Place your salmon onto a microwave-safe plate. In order to prevent excessive drying, sprinkle a little bit of water onto the salmon.
Step 2: Set the Microwave & Zap
Set your microwave for low heat (35% power).
Microwave for 30 seconds, then check the temperature.Continue microwaving in 30-second bursts until the salmon reaches a consistent 145°F internal temperature.
Salmon is a flavorful fish that should be enjoyed to the fullest extent. If you know how to reheat salmon, you can take full advantage of every single cut even if it was left over from the day before.
We hope this guide has been helpful to you.
If you would like to read some other food reheating guides, HealthyRecipes101 has a few here for your perusal:
- How to Reheat Steak: it would be a huge waste to throw away a good piece of steak. Not only is it expensive and difficult to prepare in the first place, steak generally reheats very well. Once properly reheated with the right technique, you can make your leftover steak taste and feel like it’s been cooked just recently. This guide can show you how.
- How to Reheat Rice: rice can be taken together with virtually everything, including salmon. So, if you have a container of leftover rice in the fridge, take it out and reheat it! However, before you start, you will need some background information as well as detailed instructions. The article here can set you up.
- How to Reheat Fries: most people don’t know that you can actually reheat fries. When cooked for a second time in an air fryer, you can give them back their original crispy exterior and buttery-soft interior again. Also, fries can be a neat side dish to your reheated salmon, so definitely try it out when you have the opportunity!
- How to Reheat Prime Rib: prime rib is a fairly sensitive kind of meat, especially when reheated. If you don’t handle it correctly, it can dry out and become rubbery in an instance. Therefore, make sure to read this guide first before you take the leftover slices of prime rib out of the fridge.
- The Best Way to Reheat Crab Legs: like salmon, a lot of people might feel nervous about reheating crab legs. Many kinds of seafood are unsafe to reheat. Here’s the good news: it’s entirely safe to reheat crab legs. Just make sure to follow the instructions enclosed in this guide before you get started.
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.