Microwaving Fish

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microwaving fish collage

Microwaving fish is simple, super fast and the nutrients are retained. This article from Harvard Medical School outlines the reasons - mainly because it's quick, fewer nutrients are lost than through conventional cooking. 

The method is a combination of cooking and steaming, which leaves your fish tender and succulent.

An average fillet (around 5 oz, 125g) will take two minutes cooking on high and one minute steaming. It will keep hot for a few minutes so long as you don't take it out of the cooking dish.

There are some simple tips that will be of use to you.

Cook's Notes

  • Have your side dishes ready - fish cooks really quickly and you don't want it to go cold
  • Use a lid on your cooking dish to prevent fishy liquid splashing the inside of your microwave as well as function to steam the fish
  • Steaming bags are a good option
  • Microwaving fish is perfect for one or two portions
  • Microwaving will not add colour to your fish - use some black pepper or paprika to sprinkle lightly over your fish

Microwaving Fish in  a bag

This is my favourite method as it means I can cook the fish and quickly throw away the steaming bag, getting rid of the fishy smell from the kitchen. 

You can get these bags from most stores, but if you have any problems, then try Amazon where you can compare prices and quality side by side. 

Do be cautious - my bags recommended four minutes for two fillets, but I found that they came out a bit dry for my liking. If you reduce the cooking by one minute and allow to steam for one more minute or even a bit longer, the fish will continue to cook and retain moisture rather than overcook. 

microwave fish in a bag

This recipe is for Microwave Salmon and there are step by step instructions with photos. 

You can see there are two tasty tail ends of salmon in that bag (my favourite cut as it's boneless).

It was absolutely delicious. I must confess that I forgot to take a photo before I ate it! Hey ho.

These microwave steam bags are great - disposable and relatively inexpensive. 

Click on the photo 

If you'd prefer to have microwave steamer, then this OXO one is excellent. 

You'll be able to use it for veggies as well - probably not at the same time as your fish for a family meal, but it would most certainly work for a single serving.

Click on the photo.

Microwaving Fish - Cod 

microwaved cod

Microwaved Cod makes a quick meal. 

This recipe gives instructions for using a covered dish if you don't have steaming bags (or don't want to add to plastic waste)

Any microwave proof dish with a well fitted lid will do. 

It's not necessary to have special equipment - something like a Pyrex dish is perfect.

microwaved trout

Microwaved trout fillets - this is fit for a dinner party. 

You can cook any fish like this - if you're making a meal for more than two people, have a warmed serving dish ready to take the first two fillets while you cook the other two. 

Cook's Notes

Refer to your handbook which came with your microwave for timings. They differ according to their power. 

Main thing:  undercook rather than overcook. The fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the microwave. 

If it's opaque and firm to the touch, it's done. 

You can always give the fish a bit *more* cooking time, but you will never be able to give it any *less*. 

Too much cooking and your fish could be dry and tough. Too little and you can give it another blast in the microwave until it's done to your liking. 

Defrosting Fish 

Personally, I don't use a microwave to defrost fish.  It can be done, but you'll find little hot spots round the edges and icy bits in the middle. The result would be a very mixed fillet with some overcooked and some 'just right'. 

If your microwave has a defrost setting, then you can give it a go if you want to.

However, fish fillets defrost really quickly in cold water. Generally, ten minutes or so will have your fish flexible with the majority of the ice crystals having dissolved.  You'll be able to have them ready to cook within half an hour at the most in my experience. 

Getting rid of fish smells from your microwave

getting rid of fish smells from your microwave

There's no doubt about it, cooking fish can leave a smell. It can be awful and many people are put off by it.

This page gives you step by step instructions with photos as to how to  get rid of the fish smells from your microwave.

Before you click through, can I say 'don't judge'. It's my microwave and I'd put a dish of beans in there without a lid. You can guess the rest...  but the method cleans the microwave as well as getting rid of the smell! 

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