raw salmon on a wooden table

How to Air Fry Frozen Sockeye Salmon

Last Updated on November 27, 2023

Planning to serve salmon for dinner, but forgot to thaw it? We’ve been there–more than once, which is why we’re always looking for ways to make it better straight from the freezer

One of our favorite ways to cook it: The air fryer. (Pro tip: Grilling also works well.)

Tips for air-frying frozen salmon

  • Line the fryer with parchment. This prevents sticking and makes cleanup easier.
  • Start skin side up. This helps to crisp the skin, and keeps the flesh from drying out. 
  • Season it a lot. When you cook any protein from frozen, the seasoning has less time to penetrate the flesh. Use more seasoning than you would for thawed salmon to give it that flavor. You can also mix together a quick sauce to serve with it, if you like.
  • Be flexible on timing. How long it takes to finish cooking after you flip the fish depends on the thickness of the fish as well as your desired level of doneness. We give a range of times here for that reason. Start checking at 6 minutes, but know that it could take longer, and it might be different every time you do it.

A fun and tasty use for the skin

If you remove the skin before serving, don’t toss it–it makes a tasty little crunchy snack (or garnish). Peel it off the filet, season with salt and air fry on 390ºF until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. 

P.S. If you do have time to thaw your salmon, here are some best practices for that.

Easy Air Fryer Frozen Sockeye Salmon

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Protein: Fish / Seafood
Cut: Salmon
Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 1


  • 1 ButcherBox Sockeye Salmon Fillet
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil


  • Preheat the air fryer to 390ºF.
  • Remove the salmon from the packaging; season the skin with salt. When the air fryer is at temperature, carefully place a sheet of parchment inside, and place the salmon on top, skin side up. Cook for 7 minutes.
  • Carefully turn the salmon over and season it (sprinkle with salt and brush it with a glaze, or drizzle with a little olive oil and season with a rub or just with salt and pepper). Continue to cook until the salmon is done to your liking, 6 to 10 minutes longer. Serve hot, or let cool, wrap and refrigerate to serve later.


  • You can double or triple this recipe, or more, depending on how many salmon filets will fit in your air fryer. Be sure they’re in a single layer with a little space in-between. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer, it’s better to work in batches if necessary.
  • Instead of brushing with oil, you can mist with cooking spray or top with a pat of butter, if you prefer.
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Beth Lipton is a Brooklyn-based recipe developer and writer specializing in food and wellness. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Paleo magazine, FoodNetwork.com, Well+Good, Outside, Sleep.com and more. Beth's latest cookbook, Carnivore-ish, featuring 125 animal protein-forward recipes, is available now.