Air Fryer Frozen Salmon will be your new go-to way to cook frozen salmon. It is an incredibly quick and easy way to make salmon, and the perfect option if you only want to cook one piece! This recipe for air fryer frozen salmon topped with lemon butter sauce is easy enough for a mid-week lunch, and fancy enough for a special dinner.
I grew up regularly eating fresh fish. However, fresh (or frozen) salmon was never on the menu. I was first introduced to salmon in my early twenties by my mother-in-law.
My mother-in-law was born and raised for a short time in Finland. Salmon is popular among Finns and she brought her love of fresh salmon here with her to the US. Cooked salmon continues to be a staple on her dinner menu.
As a result, salmon is now a staple on MY family dinner menu too. I make it regularly, and my new favorite way to make salmon is from frozen in my air fryer!
This recipe for frozen salmon in the air fryer with a lemon butter sauce, pairs perfectly with my Sautéed Zucchini and Onions with Sweet Corn, Garlic Basmati Rice and my Redskin Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese.
I've listed ingredients below for the frozen salmon (air fryer) and the lemon butter sauce. You don't have to make the lemon butter sauce if you don't want to! Air fryer frozen salmon can be topped with some simple seasonings or any sauce that you prefer. The recipe card at the bottom of this post will give you instructions for how to cook salmon in the air fryer and instructions for how to make this delicious lemon butter sauce.
- Frozen salmon - I purchase individually wrapped salmon fillets. The fillets are normally on the smaller side (pictured above), compared to a large fresh fillet purchased from the fish counter.
- Chicken stock
- Lemon juice
- Onion - The onion in this recipe is grated. Grating the onion is very similar to mincing. I use the box grater linked below to grate onion. You'll use the large holes that would normally be used for shredding cheese. If you don't have a box grater, mince the onion by hand or using a food processor.
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh chives - This recipe has only been tested with fresh chives. I did not test it with dried chives. Typically, if you are going to substitute a dried herb in for a fresh herb, you will use about half the amount of dried as you would fresh.
- Butter - I used salted butter for this fish recipe. That is why I do not add any additional salt. You may want to season your sauce to taste if you think it needs a little more salt!
*See recipe card for quantities and detailed instructions.
- Air fryer - Here is the air fryer that I currently use. I've been using it non-stop since I purchased it. So far it is working out wonderfully!
- Small sauté pan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board and knife
- Box grater - A 4-sided box grater is used to grate the onion.
- Place your frozen salmon fillets into the air fryer, skin side UP. Air fry the fillets for 7 minutes at 390°F.
- Pull the basket out of your air fryer, flip the salmon over, and continue cooking for another 7 minutes at 390°F.
- Immediately remove the salmon from the air fryer and let cool.
- While the salmon is cooking, make the lemon butter sauce. Add the chicken stock, garlic and onion to a small sauté pan. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and then simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the lemon juice, fresh chives, Dijon mustard and ground black pepper. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and then remove from heat.
- Add the 6 tablespoons of cold butter to the sauce. Let the butter melt without putting the pan back over direct heat. You want the butter to melt, but also remain slightly thick and creamy.
- Transfer your salmon filets to a serving dish. Top the salmon with the lemon butter sauce, serve and enjoy!
- Preheat your air fryer - Some air fryers require preheating. You'll want to preheat your empty air fryer at the temperature you will be cooking your food at, for 3-5 minutes.
- Air fryer odor - Sometimes my air fryer will smell like whatever I last cooked in it... especially if the last thing I cooked was salmon! Get rid of smells in your air fryer by air frying pieces of sliced lemon at 300°F for 10 minutes.
- Salmon skin side UP - I've tested out air frying frozen salmon skin side up and skin side down several times each. Starting skin side up works the best. Starting skin side down tends to make the salmon skin stick to the bottom of the air fryer basket when it's time to flip the salmon. You're then stuck having to scrape the skin off of the fryer basket. Skin side up also works best when you'll be topping your salmon with sauce half-way through cooking time. Whenever I will be adding a sauce to my salmon, like BBQ or a mustard sauce, I will brush the sauce on the salmon halfway through cooking time, after I have flipped the salmon so that the skin is down.
- Cold butter - Using COLD butter for the lemon butter sauce is absolutely necessary. The cold butter will make the sauce slightly thick and creamy.
- Cooking time - The cook time that I use in this recipe cooks salmon completely through so that there is no dark pink left in the middle. This is how I prefer salmon - fully cooked through. If you prefer your salmon to be dark pink in the middle, then you may want to lower the cooking time by a minute or two. Salmon is fully cooked when the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Quantity - My recipe calls for 4 salmon fillets. When cooking frozen salmon in the air fryer though, you can certainly cook 1 fillet if that is all you want! I had to cook my four fillets in two batches.
- Gluten free - No substitutions are necessary for this recipe if you need it to be gluten free! All of the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free. Of course, always double check your bottled and jarred ingredients for hidden gluten if you cannot consume gluten.
- Low carb - This salmon recipe is a low-carb recipe! No substitutions are needed to make this low in carbohydrates.
- Keto - The ketogenic diet is a very low carb and high fat diet. This recipe would also fit into a keto diet meal plan.
- Herbs - I originally tested the lemon butter sauce with dried dill in addition to the fresh chives. Personally, I didn't care for the dried dill. I didn't like how it made the sauce look and I didn't feel it added enough flavor. If you like dill though, you could try adding it! I have not tested the recipe with dried chives instead of fresh chives. If you want to use dried chives, start with 1 tablespoon and then add more if you want to.
- Salt- Since I used salted butter in this recipe, I did not add extra salt to my ingredients list. You may want to add some salt at the end
- Sauce - If you don't want to make the lemon butter sauce, just follow the instructions for the air fryer salmon and add whatever sauce you prefer! Thicker sauces can be added halfway through cooking time after you've flipped the salmon. Thinner sauces can be added after you've plated the salmon. I regularly make salmon with BBQ sauce, pesto and Dijon mustard sauce.
See this baked cod recipe with lemon and dill on my website for another fish topping idea!
Store the cooked salmon in the fridge for 2-3 days in an air-tight, sealed container.Print
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons grated white onion*
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives - diced
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 6 tablespoons cold butter**
- 4 frozen salmon fillets
- Make the lemon butter sauce. Heat the minced garlic, grated onion and chicken stock in a small frying pan. Bring to a gentle simmer, and continue simmering for 1 minute.
- Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fresh chives and pepper to the chicken stock mixture. Bring back to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and mix in the 6 tablespoons of cold butter. Let the butter slowly melt. Do not return the pan to heat to melt the butter. Slowly melting cold butter will give the lemon butter sauce a thick and creamy texture. Set the sauce aside while you cook the frozen salmon.
- Preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes at 390°F. Place the frozen salmon fillets into the bottom of the air fryer basket, skin side UP. Lay the fillets in a single layer. You will most likely need to cook your fillets in two batches.
- Air fry the frozen salmon fillets for 7 minutes at 390°F. Flip them over and continue cooking them for another 7 minutes. Salmon is fully cooked when the middle of the salmon is light pink and flakey, and when the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F. If after 14 minutes of total cooking time, your salmon is not done, continue cooking for 1 minute extra at a time, until the salmon is cooked through.
- Remove the salmon from the air fryer basket. Transfer to a serving plate, top with lemon butter sauce and enjoy!
* Grated white onion is onion that has been grated using a 4-sided box grater. You will want to grate the onion using the larger holes that would normally be used for shredding cheese. If you do not have a box grater, mince the onion by hand or by using a food processor.
** The cold butter should be cut into 1 tablespoon size pieces. Keeping the butter cold is necessary. Do not use room temperature butter.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: lunch, dinner
- Method: air frying
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: air fryer frozen salmon, lemon butter sauce, frozen salmon in air fryer