How to cook Frozen Salmon in Air Fryer is easier than you think! With only 3 simple ingredients, you’ll have tender flaky fillets with 0 prep time and ready in 16 minutes! Be sure to pair the salmon fillets with my creamy Bacon Aioli for a healthy and delicious easy weeknight meal.

Want more delicious salmon air fryer recipes? Try my Air fryer salmon with Dijon mustard sauce, air fryer salmon bites, or Soy Ginger Salmon. You will love them!

Frozen salmon.air fryer with bacon aioli and salad greens served on a creamed color plate
My go-to meal for dinner in a hurry!

Why this will be your go-to recipe

This air fryer frozen salmon recipe is the best! Not only does it make a perfect on-the-go protein choice, but it’s also a simple dish that’s easy and delicious.

  • Flaky and tender! Moist and tasty salmon fillets with crisped skin on the edges.
  • Convenient and fast! Perfectly cooked salmon in only 16 minutes with 0 prep time!
  • No need to thaw! You do not have to defrost salmon in air fryer cooking. The fillets can be cooked frozen.
  • No guesswork! I have outlined everything you need to know about the best times and temperatures.

Ingredients

Frozen salmon fillet in the air fryer is so easy and delicious that it will quickly become your go-to for busy weeknights. The best part is you only need a few ingredients to get started.

Ingredients needed to make airfryer frozen salmon
  • For the salmon: Frozen Atlantic salmon (skin-on, about 5.5 oz and 1-1.5” thick), olive oil, and coarse sea salt.
  • For the pairing sauce: While the bacon aioli sauce is optional, the ingredients are – Turkey bacon, mayonnaise, coarse sea salt, paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and lemon juice.

Tips for the best results

For the best results, I chose to use frozen farm-raised Atlantic salmon for its high-fat content. A higher fat concentration lessens the chance of the salmon filets becoming too dry in the air fryer.

The thicker the frozen salmon fillets the better. Select center-cut and about 1 to 1.5 inches thick. The same cooking temp and time work for Whole Food’s, Gorton’s, or Morey’s frozen salmon fillets.

Substitutions

  • If you want fresh salmon in the air fryer (sockeye salmon with skin, perhaps?) I have listed the best way to cook fresh fillets below, similar to my air fryer salmon with dijon mustard and Teriyaki Salmon Air Fryer recipes.
    • Fresh farm-raised salmon: 400° F (204° C) for 7-9 minutes.
    • Fresh wild-caught salmon (a thinner filet than Atlantic varieties): 390° F (199° C) for 5-7 minutes.
  • With or without skin: This recipe works for both salmon fillets with or without the skin.

How to make the dish

Can you air fry frozen salmon filets? You can! Cooking air fryer salmon from frozen is super simple. I will show you how to make frozen salmon in the air fryer the easy way. Follow my step-by-step instructions below for perfectly moist and tenderly cooked salmon that your whole family will love.

Preheat your air fryer to 400° F (204° C) for 5 minutes and gather your ingredients.

4 simple steps on how to cook frozen salmon in air fryer
  1. Arrange salmon: place the frozen salmon in the air fryer with skin side down—Cook for 9 minutes This stage is to defrost/thaw the fillets.
  2. Oil and season: After thawing, open the fryer basket, spray the salmon filets with oil, and season with sea salt. Continue to air fry for 7-8 minutes.
  3. Checking for doneness: Once the salmon is done cooking, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  4. (Optional) Serve with bacon aioli sauce: Assemble your sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the air fry salmon with the sauce.

Variations

I love to air fry frozen salmon fillets; it is the perfect healthy dinner. Salmon is also ideal for trying new things. Get creative! Try the fun twists and variations I have listed below.

  • Dijon mustard: For a tangy flavor that pairs well with garlic and lemon.
  • Lemon slices: Top fillets with sliced lemon for traditional seafood flavor.
  • Maple Syrup & Honey: A great way to add a splash of sweetness
  • Different seasonings: You can also season the salmon with lemon pepper seasoning. Sprinkle it in after the initial thawing stage so that the lemon pepper flakes won’t get burnt in the air fryer. Same principle for Cajun and blackened seasoning.
  • Sauces: Try a different sauce for a new experience each time. My Keto Teriyaki sauce is savory and just a little sweet. For my paleo friends, my Paleo Gochujang substitute is crazy delicious!

Serving suggestions

My frozen salmon air fryer recipe will give you perfect salmon every time, but what’s a meal without a side dish? Here are some excellent ideas to get you started.

Cooked salmon from frozen in an air fryer with bacon aioli sauce and salads on a big white plate

Common FAQs

Does Salmon Need to be Thawed Before Air Frying?

No. You do not need to thaw before you airfry frozen salmon. You can air fry it from frozen.

How Long to Cook Frozen Salmon in the Air Fryer?

The cook time depends on the thickness of the salmon fillet. 1-1.5″ thick frozen salmon fillets will need 9 minutes to thaw in the air fryer, followed by 7-8 minutes to cook.

For thinner salmon fillets, reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes.

What temp and time to cook frozen salmon in the Air Fryer?

For a 1-1.5” thick filet, preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C) for 5 minutes then drop the temp to air fry at 390°F (199°C) for 9 minutes to thaw, and after seasoning with oil and spices, air fryer at the same temp for 7-8 minutes.

Does Frozen Salmon Taste as Good as Fresh Salmon?

Fresh is always best. But this air frying frozen salmon recipe tastes fantastic and is super convenient, making it a great alternative when fresh salmon isn’t available.

How to Store the Leftovers?

Leftover salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

More air fryer recipes

Busy weekdays are perfect for firing up the air fryer to make a quick healthy meal. If you are looking for more fresh and flavorful ideas to add to your rotation, you’ll also love my Air Fryer Eggs and Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp.

If you happen to have frozen veggies in the freezer, my air fryer frozen corn on the cob, frozen brussel sprouts in air fryer, and air fryer frozen cauliflower are all fantastic choices!

Umami Tips

  • Preheat the air fryer for a few minutes to reach the optimal cooking temp so that the salmon cooks evenly.
  • You can cook salmon filets frozen; no need to defrost them first.
  • Place the salmon skin-side down so that the skin gets crispy and the flesh remains juicy.
  • Season the salmon after the initial thawing time. Spray with oil to keep the fish moist and sprinkle in salt, pepper, or your favorite spices and sauce so that they don’t get burnt.
  • 1 to 2 salmon fillets at a time. Avoid overcrowding the basket. The cooking time and temp are based on cooking 1-2 fillets at once.
  • Cooking time and temp depend on the thickness of the salmon filet used. I recommend using center-cut thick Atlantic salmon fillets for the best result and taste.
  • Check for doneness. When cooking frozen salmon in air fryer, it’s more important to pay attention to the internal temperature to measure the doneness as opposed to the cooking time. According to the FDA, salmon is considered done when the internal temperature (at the thickest part of the fillet) has reached 145°F (62.7°C). (source)
  • The same recipe works for frozen skin-on or skinless salmon in air fryer
Photo shows a pice of salmon fillet cooked in an air fryer with salad greens and aioli sauce on the side
5 from 11 votes

Frozen salmon in air fryer recipe

Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: ChihYu Smith
Frozen salmon in air fryer ready in 16 mins with 0 prep time! This reicpe has 3 ingredients only and is the best way to cook air fryer frozen salmon for dinner when you need it in a hurry!
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Ingredients 

To air fry salmon from frozen:

  • 2 pieces farm-raised frozen Atlantic salmon, skin-on and at 5.5 oz (156gram) per fillet, about 1 to 1.5-inch thick (2.54cm to 3.81cm) fillet
  • Spray Avocado oil
  • Sprinkle coarse sea salt

For the bacon aioli: (optional)

  • 3 slices turkey bacon, or pork bacon
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼+1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, about half of one whole lemon juice

Instructions 

To cook the salmon from frozen:

  • Preheat the air fryer, following your air fryer default setting. I have a 6 qt. Cosori air fryer and the default is 400°F(204°C) for 5 minutes.
  • Lightly spray the fryer basket with oil. Place the frozen salmon fillet skin side down directly into the basket. Air fryer at 390°F (199°C) for 9 minutes.
  • Open the basket and spray the salmon fillet with a thin layer of oil and season with a few sprinkles of salt directly onto the fillet. Air fryer at 390°F (199°C) for another 7 to 8 minutes.
  • According to FDA, the salmon is done when the thickest part of the fillet reaches 145°F (62.7°C). However, for more moist salmon fillets, we like to cook them at 125°F (52°C).
  • Drizzle a few spoonfuls of the bacon aioli sauce over the fillet, if using, and serve with extra sauce on the side.
  • Instructions for bacon aioli.

To cook the salmon from fresh (thawed)

  • Air fry at 400F for 7 to 9 minutes. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the fish and your appliance. Mine was done at 7 minutes for medium-rare and 8 minutes for medium.

Notes

  • I chose to use frozen farm-raised Atlantic salmon for its high-fat content. A higher fat concentration lessens the chance of the salmon filets becoming too dry in the air fryer.
  • If using fresh farm-raised salmon: 400° F for 7-9 minutes. If using fresh wild-caught salmon (a thinner filet than Atlantic varieties): 390° F for 5-7 minutes.
  • When cooking frozen salmon in air fryer, it’s more important to pay attention to the internal temperature to measure the doneness as opposed to the cooking time. 
  • According to the FDA, salmon is considered done when the internal temperature (at the thickest part of the fillet) has reached 145°F (62.7°C). With this said, I like to cook my salmon to 125°F to keep the fillet moist and tender.
  • The nutritional label is estimated without the bacon aioli sauce. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 63kcal, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 582mg, Potassium: 5mg, Vitamin A: 1IU, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer frozen salmon, Frozen salmon in air fryer
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