Making frozen salmon in the air fryer is quick, easy and delicious when paired with this simple maple mustard sauce. No need to defrost, cook straight from the freezer when you’re pressed for time!
Frozen salmon is an absolute staple in my freezer. It’s probably the easiest, healthiest meal there is and my go-to when I’ve got no other ideas for dinner.
I’ve made it every which way possible from grilling to baking, roasting and even poaching (once, definitely not worth the effort) and while some of my favorite recipes are this baked wild sockeye salmon encrusted in herbs or skillet bacon wrapped salmon, nothing beats the ease of using the air fryer.
The best part being that you can cook the salmon straight from a frozen state!
Just like air fryer frozen shrimp and air fryer frozen chicken breasts, this countertop kitchen appliance is wonderful at maintaining a juicy and moist piece of fish from frozen to fully cooked in as little as 10-12 minutes.
My oven wouldn’t even have preheated in that time if I was roasting or baking.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING FROZEN SALMON IN THE AIR FRYER
While all that’s technically needed to make delicious frozen salmon in the air fryer is the salmon itself, we’re adding a maple mustard sauce that livens the fish up like none other.
In fact, this sauce (or a variation of it) is one I fall back on time and time again with salmon. There’s just something about the combination of the sweet and tangy garlicky sauce that pairs so perfectly with the flavor of salmon.
Not to mention, the ingredients are simple and ones you likely have on hand. This maple mustard chicken is also a great sheet pan meal if you like these flavors.
- frozen salmon filets (about 1 pound in total)
- extra virgin olive oil
- maple syrup
- dijon mustard
- garlic clove
- fresh lemon
- salt & pepper
That’s all! Not lying when I say this is the easiest quick and healthy meal you can whip up on a busy weeknight.
HOW TO COOK FROZEN SALMON IN THE AIR FRYER
Start by preheating the air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes.
As I’ve mentioned before, when using a frozen protein or cooking meat like air fryer skirt steak or air fryer lamb chops, it’s important to preheat the air fryer. For all other air fryer recipes, don’t bother as it’s just not necessary.
While the air fryer preheats, remove the salmon from the freezer and discard any packaging.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the maple mustard sauce in a small bowl and set it aside.
Place the salmon in the air fryer, skin side down (if your salmon filets have the skin on) either on the tray of an air fryer oven or in the basket of a traditional air fryer. Air fry the frozen salmon for 7 minutes.
At this point, it should be thawed and starting to cook. Open the air fryer and brush the top of the salmon filets with the maple mustard sauce.
If you want to make clean up easier, you may want to line the bottom of the air fryer with either parchment or aluminum foil. Read this post about using aluminum foil in an air fryer first though to make sure you do so safely.
Reserve any extra sauce (you’ll likely have a bit leftover) for serving.
Resume cooking for another 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon. Thicker filets will need 6-7 minutes, thinner ones maybe only 4 minutes.
Salmon is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature between 140-145°F. Use an instant read thermometer for best results.
I personally prefer my salmon cooked medium-rare (like my steak!) and will pull it when the temperature reaches 125-130°F.
As the salmon rests, the temperature will continue to rise so keep that in mind to avoid overcooking. Nothing’s worse than dry, overcooked salmon!
Remove the salmon from the air fryer and serve with the remaining maple mustard sauce.
WHY I LOVE THE AIR FRYER FOR SALMON
- It’s quicker than the oven.
- Results in the same crispy edges as roasting with a moist, juicy center.
- Can easily cook from either frozen or fresh.
- Creates less heat than the oven which is great for summer cooking!
CAN I MAKE THIS RECIPE WITH FRESH SALMON?
If starting with fresh salmon, you’ll still want to preheat the air fryer. But when you place the salmon inside, you can brush it with the maple mustard sauce to begin with instead of cooking first for 7 minutes.
The only reason we cook it first when starting with frozen salmon is so the sauce can seep into the fish (which it can’t do when the fish is frozen).
Fresh salmon will only need about 7-10 minutes total cooking time in the air fryer.
Again, it’s fully cooked at 140-145°F so adjust accordingly depending on the thickness of your filets.
WILD CAUGHT VS. FARMED SALMON
I’ve talked about this topic A LOT. In fact, if you read any salmon recipe on this site, the topic usually comes up.
After traveling to Cordova, AK with Copper River Salmon back in 2015 (you can read about that trip in this recipe for sriracha honey salmon packets), I’m adamant about only consuming sustainable wild-caught salmon.
What’s great is that wild-caught frozen salmon has become widely available in recent years thanks to places like Costco and BJs carrying it in their frozen sections. Trader Joe’s also has it and with those types of stores carrying it, almost everyone has access to sockeye (the most common frozen salmon variety) salmon all year round.
That being said, buy what aligns with your values and budget. There are some farm-raised brands that are actually quite respectable raising salmon the “right” way. Do your research and decide what’s best for you and your family.
Wild-caught salmon, however, is not given specific feed or injected with coloring to make the flesh look red (farm raised often is) and it’s higher in omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised fish which, as you’ve likely heard, is one of the main health benefits to eating salmon and other fatty fish (like sardines, mackerel, etc.).
Side note – if you like sardines, this sardine salad is a delicious way to enjoy them!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH AIR FRYER FROZEN SALMON FILETS
When making a simple meal like this, I like to keep the sides just as simple.
I’m talking microwaved baked potato kind of simple for a starch and maybe an easy steamed veggie like broccoli.
Shown here, I roasted some broccolini in the air fryer along with with salmon. You could also make air fryer frozen broccoli instead if that’s all you have on hand.
Salmon and broccoli seems to be a trend in our house as I often make it with broccoli rabe too (like in this sheet pan turmeric salmon).
White rice would also cook in just about the same amount of time on the stove-top as the frozen salmon so that’s another good starch option.
Whatever you choose, make sure to drizzle the maple mustard sauce on top of it to pull the whole meal together!
MORE QUICK AND EASY AIR FRYER MEALS
- 1 pound wild salmon (2 filets)
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- quarter of lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove salmon from the freezer and any packaging.
- Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place salmon, skin side down on the trays or in the basket of an air fryer. Air fry at 400°F for 7 minutes.
- Open the air fryer and brush the maple mustard sauce onto the tops of each filet of salmon reserving any extra sauce.
- Air fry for another 5 minutes until salmon is cooked through. For extra thick filets, you may need 6-7 minutes. For thinner filets, 3-5 minutes. (*See note)
- Remove salmon from the air fryer and serve with any remaining sauce.
*Salmon is cooked through at a temperature of 145 degrees F. Use an instant read thermometer for best results.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 370mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 62g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.