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Instant Pot Salmon (Fresh or Frozen)

Cooking salmon in the Instant Pot is quick and easy, whether you’re using fresh or frozen fillets. I love this hands-off method for preparing it as an easy weeknight dinner. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes!

Instant Pot Salmon with broccoli

Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which according to the Mayo Clinic may help to reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack. Your body cannot create omega-3 fatty acids on its own, so it’s essential that you get them from your diet. Fish is a great source of two types of these fatty acids, EPA and DHA, and you can find another type, ALA, in plant-based sources like walnuts and flax seeds.

Salmon is also a great source of protein and B vitamins. Just 4 ounces provides 22-23 grams of protein per serving! The vitamins in salmon may help to reduce inflammation and maintain optimal brain function, too.

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fresh or frozen salmon in the instant pot

Which type of Salmon is Best?

When shopping for fish, be sure to look for wild-caught Alaskan salmon. In many cases, farmed salmon can be exposed to more chemicals than the wild-caught variety, and because the farmed salmon is fed high-fat feed to produce larger fish, it also tends to be higher in fat and calories than the wild caught variety.

Can Salmon be Cooked from Frozen?

Yes! All you have to do is add 2 minutes to the cooking cycle. This is why I love the Instant Pot– it takes the hassle out of thawing the fish first, and you can often save money by purchasing it frozen, too.

Can I Cook Vegetables at the Same Time in the Instant Pot?

Yes, sort of. Vegetables turn to MUSH if you cook them at high pressure for 3 minutes.

Total mush.

So, instead of cooking the fish for the full 3 minutes, I recommend cooking it for just 1 minute, then quickly releasing the pressure, removing the lid, and adding your vegetables on top. Secure the lid again then use the manual setting to cook on high pressure for 0 minutes (yes, zero minutes– you read that right) and when the timer beeps again, quickly turn the pressure release valve to venting to release the pressure again. Everything should be cooked perfectly that way!

salmon and broccoli in the Instant Pot

When cooking salmon in the Instant Pot (Here’s an affiliate link to the 6-quart model I use) I’ve found that I can’t get much flavoring to “stick” to the salmon, so I prefer to whip up a seperate sauce in my blender while it’s cooking away.

If you love the Maple Dijon Salmon in my first book, Everyday Detox, try serving my Honey Dijon Dressing over the top for a similar flavor.

4.67 from 6 votes
Instant Pot Salmon with broccoli
Instant Pot Salmon (Fresh or Frozen
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Here's my go-to method for cooking salmon in the Instant Pot. You can use fresh or frozen, and I've even included tips for cooking vegetables in the pot at the same time for a healthy dinner that's ready in less than 20 minutes. 

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 161 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound wild-caught Alaskan salmon , cut into 4 fillets
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Pour a cup of water into the Instant Pot and arrange the metal trivet on top. Place the salmon fillets into a single layer on the trivet and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. 

  2. Secure the lid and turn the pressure release valve to sealing. Use the manual setting to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. (If using frozen fish fillets, cook them on high pressure for 5 minutes instead. No need to thaw.)

  3. When the cooking cycle has completed, quickly turn the pressure release valve to venting to release the pressure. Serve the fish warm with your favorite sauce and side dish. (See the notes in my post above for cooking vegetables with the fish.)

Per Serving: Calories: 161, Fat: 7, Carbohydrates: 0, Fiber: 0, Protein: 22

Recipe Notes:

  • I haven’t tested this cooking method for other types of fish, so I can’t say for sure how it will work with other varieties.
  • The seasoning options are totally adaptable and up to you– you can keep it simple with salt and pepper, or add a slice of lemon and dill on top, or use your favorite salad dressing to punch up the flavor.

As always, if you try something different please leave a comment below so we can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: Have you tried cooking fish in your Instant Pot before? I’m happy to report that the fish smell did not stay in my Instant Pot for long. Whew. (Curry and cumin is much worse when it comes to making the lid smell after cooking.)

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Comments

Mary

Does the cook time change for less or more salmon? I’m likely only to cook one or two fillets.

    Megan Gilmore

    No, you don’t have to change cooking times when you scale recipes in the Instant Pot. Should work the same!

mara

tried this exactly as directed and my salmon came out incredibly overcooked. is this recipe supposed to cook them extremely well-done?

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m sorry to hear that! I wonder if your salmon filets were thinner than mine? Mine would have been undercooked had I done 1 minute less, but perhaps for thinner fillets just 2 minutes of cooking would suffice, with the quick release method.

    Alison Sutton-Saelee

    Same thing happened to me! Incredibly disappointed and a huge waste of 3 salmon servings. I did more research and read some other recipes that were nearly identical but days to use the “steam” setting. Were we supposed to do that vs pressure cook?

      Megan Gilmore

      Sorry to hear that! Sounds like it can vary with the thickness. I’ve cooked for less and had raw salmon in the center, which was unappetizing. The “steam” setting is simply a cook setting at high pressure for 10 minutes, but it can be adjusted as low as 3 minutes or as high as 15 minutes. The main importance with the steam setting is that they expect you to use a trivet so that the food isn’t touching the bottom of the pot. The downside of the Instant Pot is that you can’t check on your meal the way you can with the oven, so oven-roasted salmon would be my choice if I was serving company. I usually like the Instant Pot version for weekly use, since I think pressure cooking is the healthiest method of preparation. Hope you’ll experiment with it again and find a timing that works well for you!

Kiki Abbott

Thanks for being so thorough and giving detailed directions. I appreciate how you give directions for both frozen and thawed salmon. I am looking forward to having you be my go-to site!

Dan Gracia

I only had one salmon steak in the freezer, so I used this simple recipe with frozen Flounder instead. Had to cut 2 frozen Flounder fillets in half because they were too long to fit in my InstaPot as whole fillets. I reduced the frozen cooking time to just 3 minutes instead of the 5 for the salmon because they were so much thinner than salmon and it came out just right. Next time I will cook twice as much because the Flounder fillets are so thin. I could have eaten all four pieces (2 fillets) with no problem.

Will give the salmon a shot as soon as I get some more frozen salmon.

barbie lee

thank you I will try this:-)

does your book contains nutrition facts as well like calories?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, my second book No Excuses Detox has the nutrition info in a chart in the back, and my new Instant Pot book that’s coming out this Fall has the nutrition facts listed on each recipe

Yasmine K

Thanks for this recipe. I used the recipe exactly as you wrote it and the salmon fillets turned out wonderful. I used frozen sockeye salmon filets from Trader Joe’s and they were perfect.

EvElyn

My salmon was undercooked had to put it through again for another three minutes andthe middle was still a little under done for me but I ate it because I knew it was super fresh . I Like the idea of this but it sounds like there are big discrepancies in cooking time depending on the size of your fillet.

Cara Champagne

This was my first fish recipe in my instant pot. I followed the recipe exactly, and it was absolutely perfect. Thank you for the very specific directions. It definitely helped to make a note-worthy meal I will be repeating again soon.

Dani

I am planning to make this for dinner tomorrow. For planning purposes, do you have any idea how long it would takes to come to pressure for frozen salmon?

Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    My best guess would be about 10-15 minutes for frozen salmon. The fastest I’ve seen the Instant Pot come to pressure is about 5-6 minutes if you’re starting with water from the faucet at the bottom, so I’d add at least an extra 5 minutes from the cold fish.

      Dani

      Thanks Megan!
      I made it this evening and could not believe how perfectly the salmon was cooked and how quickly it went from frozen salmon to dinner! AMAZING!

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