How to Microwave Salmon

by Alice Currah on February 28, 2011. Updated May 5, 2011

Take a good look at the lunch I made over the weekend.  Isn’t she beautiful?  Best part is… it only took me 5 minutes to prepare from start to finish.  I have no problem admitting that I like cooking food in the microwave. It is an essential kitchen appliance I use multiple times throughout the day from heating up hot water for tea to steaming left over frozen rice for a quick meal. I like the convenience it offers as well as the reduced cooking times, especially when I’m cooking just for myself.

Today I’m going to teach you how to cook tender, flaky salmon in the microwave in less than 5 minutes for a single portion fillet. It’s a fabulous way to prepare salmon quickly without any fuss. So let’s get started.

You will want to rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in a microwave safe dish and tightly cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave the salmon for 3.5 minutes. Pierce the fish with a fork in the center to check if the salmon is cooked through. If there is no bright flesh in the center, the salmon is ready to eat. If there is uncooked fish left, cook for an additional 30-45 seconds before checking again.

Instead of seasoning it with just salt and pepper, what I like to do is spread a thin layer of either mayonnaise or a spicy sriracha blend. I’ll also add a few lemon slices and a sprinkling of fresh parsley too. It helps keep the salmon very moist not to mention giving it a burst of bright flavor.

Sriracha mayonnaise is easy to make is can be used anytime a recipe calls for regular mayonnaise. It adds a nice heat to savory meals and also works as a spicy dip. Sriracha can be found in Asian grocery stores or in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

Here’s a recipe for Spicy Salmon cooked in the microwave. Enjoy!

How to Microwave Salmon
Recipe type: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A quick recipe for spicy salmon using the microwave.
  • 1 – single portion salmon filet
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 2-3 fresh cut lemon slices
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  1. Rinse salmon filet with cold water and pat dry. Place the salmon skin side down in a microwave save container. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. Generously spread the mayonnaise mixture on top of the fillet. Add lemon slices and parsley. Cover the dish tightly with microwave safe plastic wrap. Microwave the fish for 3.5 minutes. Check the center of the filet for doneness with a fork. If there is any uncooked fish, microwave for another 30-45 seconds. Garnish with additional parsley and lemon wedges.

Disclosure: Salmon was gifted to me by Norwegian Salmon in partnership with a Martha’s Circle campaign.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate February 28, 2011 at 7:51 am

I must admit to not usually being a fan of the microwave for cooking; however, your post has taught me that perhaps it is time to give it a second look.


Shawn February 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

Thanks for teaching me something new! I’m giving this a try very soon. I’m also going to make the sriracha mayonnaise as a condiment for salmon croquettes tonight.


Strawberry CAKE February 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

MMmmmm, this is comfort food. Great idea for whipping up something for that teenage athlete that is always on the go! Thanks for the idea. Sheila


Rocky Mountain Woman February 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I’ve made Salmon in the microwave before and it was really quite good! Not as good as this looks though.. Add that sauce most definitely next time…


Charissa February 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm

This is so smart…if people knew they could eat healthier QUICKLY, I think more people would try harder. Love it!


Kelly @ Evil Shenanigans February 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I would never think to cook salmon that way, but it looks amazing! What a great way to get a quick dinner ready on a busy night. Also, sriracha mayo is the food of the gods. I use it regularly on sandwiches, hot dogs, and hamburgers.


Val February 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Yum! A satisfying, healthy dish with minimal prep–can’t wait to try it. The salmon lovers in our house are cheering!


Von February 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I love recipes like this – simple, healthy, fast, spicy, and very little to clean up. I’m going to the freezer to take out some salmon filets to thaw right now. I’m making this tomorrow.


alice March 1, 2011 at 1:10 am

Von: My thoughts exactly!!


Tracey March 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

I usually do your Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce recipe, but will definitely give this one a try. Anything that saves time! Thanks.


jill springer March 1, 2011 at 11:50 pm

This looks SUPER tasty…that mayonnaise looks so good too! I am going to make a trip to the asian market this week (I always love to have an excuse to go!)

Oh, and I am lovin’ that green cutting board/mat…adorable.


Charlottesville Sybarite March 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I cooked salmon at my office microwave once. Oh my goodness, the place cleared out fast and I was too embarrassed to claim my lunch! Just a suggestion, make this at home so you don’t scare your co-workers who may not be as appreciative of a salmon lunch as you are. At home, the goodness smell just drifts away as if you cooked it in the oven. Enjoy!


Shailee March 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

That looks sooooo good :) now to get Rayan to eat it…..:D


jamieofalltrades March 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm

i have to make this. i need to eat more fish and i love how easy this is.


Lydia March 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Don’t use the microwave to often but this I want to try. Thanks! :)


Briana March 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I would have never thought to use my microwave! Silly huh? I use my toaster oven for practically everything! :) Thank you for sharing!


leslie March 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm

By looking at the photo…you would never guess it was nuked!


Toni @ Carrigan's Joy March 10, 2011 at 6:11 am

This looks de-lish! I’ll def. be trying this out soon. :)

Carrigan’s Joy


Alison March 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

I use the microwave for many short cuts like pre-cooking potatoes or carrots when making some pot pies. I’ve never tried salmon! Looks delicious! I’ll have to try for my five year old who loves it!


Ling March 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I actually have leftover sriracha/parsley mayo dip from my bacon wrapped scallops the week before…this will be the perfect way to use it up!


MJ March 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm

What a creative way to make a healthy meal! Thanks!!!


Soyon March 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I don’t generally like to microwave fish due to the smell, but this looks so yummy I may have to give it a try!


Brian @ A Thought For Food March 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

My mother-in-law loves cooking fish in the microwave and it always turns out great. I still haven’t done it myself (except when I’m cooking at her house)… but this reminds me that it’s a pretty great way to cook it.


CytoMel March 13, 2011 at 5:33 am

I don-t use microwave at all. But this looks delicious.

Thanks for sharing.


SHY April 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

love the siracha + mayo blend! I have actually been doing that for awhile now (learned it from my mom and aunt)..its great in tuna sandwiches and chicken salad sanwiches..instead of using mayo..mix in siracha w/ the mayo for that spicy twist :-)


Melissa May 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I just made this tonight! I had never made salmon in the microwave before and was so surprised at how good it turned out! Everything was super moist and tender – will definitely make again. Thank you for such easy recipes!


GodFree October 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

This is an excellent idea and post. Your photos are excellent and the steps are very thorough and easy to follow.

I have been cooking fish in the microwave for years. I bet you have too. I’m just not the snob Alice Waters is about those kind of things. But being a scientist, I poo poo a lot of that drivel some people spout about food. I have spent years making hybrids of vegetables and tricking people with “organic” products that we make in the lab. They get it wrong almost every time when they think something is organic or grass fed or caught wild. (And once we get the full sequence for truffles, that will go the way of the dinosaur as well.)

Thanks again for the great meal idea. I am headed down to the kitchen to make it right now.



New Era hats December 15, 2011 at 3:10 am

You will want to rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Season the fish with salt and pepper.


Kate Elwell February 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Thanks so much Alice! My family is living in a hotel right now but I still want to cook real meals. Found this recipe and was super excited! I didn’t have any mayo on hand so modified it with softened cream cheese, tumeric and dill. Super yum! Thanks for sharing!


wenders February 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Thanks for the recipe! I will need to try your recipe as is. But today, I microwaved the salmon using a sprinkle of salt, pepper, honey, and a little butter — because my kiddo is allergic to eggs, garlic, and a slew of other things. I microwaved it for 3 minutes and it was perfectly moist and quick! Loved that. The rest of the family had sushi casserole with the crab, mayo, and sriacha, so, again, since I have the ingredients at hand, will need to make your recipe as is! Sounds delish! Thanks for the microwave cooking idea! Saved me a whole lot of time and produced moist salmon!


Rebecca April 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Im going to try this tonight.. But in a microwave safe glass dish with cover. Please don’t ever use plastic wrap in the microwave or any other form of plastic it releases harmful chemicals.


Denise21 April 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

This is how I cook salmon and it comes out pretty good


Bob August 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

Thanks, I’ll try that! Wondering how would you go about microwaving frozen salmon filets instead of fresh?


iQuack January 7, 2013 at 1:47 am

YES! Fish microwaves very well.
I eat salmon several times a week and always microwave it.
Same with tuna, swordfish, tilapia, etc.
I don’t add salt but do use pepper and sometimes dill weed.
Sliced lemon is great on chicken but I avoid using lemon or lemon juice on fish because I don’t like to overpower the flavor of the fish.
Most people are aware that microwaving is quick and easy, but it’s also an excellent way to prepare many foods, especially fish.


brian January 18, 2013 at 6:19 am

Great recipe Alice!!! I’ve been microwaving salmon for years, and my family loves it!
It’s fast and stays moist. I cook it in a square microwaveable-bowl. I squeeze it in tight and spread a layer of mayo on top, than add salt and pepper and lots of different spices, thinly sliced almonds and different seeds. Than I drench the topping in lemon juice, add a few tablespoons of butter on top, and cook it for anywhere from 6 to 12 min, depending on the thickness. If the bowl is hot to touch, it close to ready.


Joan Moulton January 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I always cook microwave salmon, covered, on the defrost cycle. On my machine that is 30% power. On full power the fish would sputter and kind of explode so one day while defrosting frozen salmon fillets I decided to try to cook it more slowly. It takes more time but I feel gives a better looking result. Wish I had a cook time to give you but I’ve never actually timed it. After the first half pound defrost cycle for two fillets I play it by ear, entering less weight so I have less chance of over cooking.


Jon Pat May 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Thanks. I tried it and it was surprisingly delicious! I don’t remember salmon tasting that good by broiling or baking it before. I put a little peso sauce on mine as I love the taste of salmon and pesto together.


CIEH Food Hygiene Courses August 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Brilliant recipe! I have just got my children eating salmon, I am sure this will go down a treat. Many Thanks!


klimatyzacji warszawa March 10, 2014 at 2:29 am

That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing
this one. A must read post!


Teresa April 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm

This recipe is awesome!!! I love having warm food for lunch at work, but usually end up with something unhealthy covered in cheese. But this recipe is great! It is filling and tasty, but healthy! It only takes 3 mins for the thin store-bought salmon I’ve been using. I mix the sriracha and mayo on top of the salmon because I don’t like dirtying another dish, and I left the parsley off because I didn’t have any, but it was still delicious! Amazing recipe, can’t thank you enough!


chef klein September 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

good and healthy food is always done the easy way… that’s the way to go


May October 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I rarely cook because I live in a small NYC studio apartment and the smell from cooking lingers for a few days. I thought that my only options to eat at home were making salads and sandwiches or getting a takeout, until I discovered how to cook using microwaves, which produced minimal odor. This was the first fish dish I made using a microwave, and boy, was it delicious. I am a foodie who love to eat out but the salmon came out so perfectly moist with just the right amount of flavor that I am looking forward to cooking more from now on.

I modified the recipe slightly by substituting plain Greek yogurt for mayo to cut the fat and sukiyaki sauce instead of siracha to make it a more mild flavored salmon. 3.5 minutes later, the most perfect salmon came out. Thank you for this recipe!


Alice Currah October 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Thank you May for stopping by. I am so glad this recipe is helpful to you given where you live! I’ve been switching over to plain Greek yogurt as well this last year and I find adding a little vinegar or lemon adds a nice acidic quality to it, like mayo. You can also try adding miso paste or curry powder to your yogurt for a different healthy variation.


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