How to Cook Frozen Seafood without Thawing
For all the times you forgot to take the bag out of the freezer, or are stuck staring at an empty refrigerator, we have your solution. Here’s the trick to cooking frozen fish before it’s totally thawed.
When you buy a package of frozen seafood, it seems simple enough. Toss it in the freezer for another day, pull it out a day before you're ready to cook, and let it defrost into a flavorful fillet. But it's never really that easy. Sometimes you're just not prepared for dinner that far in advance, and even if you are you may realize halfway through the day you never moved the bag into the refrigerator. Then you're stuck with a bag of rock-solid fish and a take-out menu calling your name.
Cooking without thawing is actually way easier than you would think. Wild Alaska Seafood actually has an entire section of their website dedicated to it called "Cooking It Frozen! Techniques and Recipes", and it's a marketing campaign to encourage buyers that dinner can be ready in a snap, even from frozen fish.
According to the USDA, it is completely acceptable to cook raw foods from a frozen state, but you'll need to increase your cooking time by about 50 percent to cook it entirely through. You'll also want to be sure you've met the USDA's recommendation of seafood reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep in mind the finished product might not be as tasty as cooking from a properly defrosted piece.
In general, it's best to plan ahead when cooking seafood from the freezer. If you do have some extra time to start the thawing process, even better. Never defrost frozen seafood at room temperature, but in the refrigerator overnight, according to the USDA. If you need a faster route, place seafood in a leak-proof package and submerge in cold tap water. You can replace the tap water every 30 minutes until defrosted. The FDA also suggests using the microwave to defrost fish —simply use the defrost option on your microwave, and thaw in short intervals until fish is still icy but pliable.