Can You Defrost Fish in the Microwave?

Q: Earlier in the week, I had bought some fresh fish from the market and froze it. I wanted it for dinner tonight, but I forgot to lay it out to thaw. Can I use the microwave when I get home from work to safely thaw my fish?

defrost fish

A: Typically, you would want to put your fish in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, or under cold water. Laying any meat out to thaw is a bad idea as it becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. So when thawing, you want to ensure you are able to keep the fish or piece of meat, around the same temperature throughout and slowly bring it up to temp.

Thawing fish in the microwave, when done properly is safe and easy to do. The most important aspect to remember is that if you do choose this method, you must make the fish immediately after, you cannot refreeze it.

To thaw your fish, lay it uncovered on a microwave-safe plate in a single layer. Use your microwave’s “defrost” setting and allow it to run until the fish is pliable but still icy.

If your microwave does not have a “defrost” setting, simply set your microwave to 50% power, and microwave in small increments, about 45 seconds. Flip. Then microwave again for another 45 seconds until the piece is pliable but still icy.

Preparing dinner can be a hassle when you forget to lay out that night’s meal. However, it is still very easy to thaw and prep any meat, as long as you do not try to warm it up to quickly. If you have the time, cool water is the best way to thaw any food item, and will take about an hour to thaw entirely. But, if you are in a rush, a microwave is still a viable option for getting dinner on the table.

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