How to Poach Salmon in the Microwave, According to a Professional Chef

Why turn on the oven when you can use the microwave?


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Cooking fish at home can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. While the oven can come in handy if you want to cook a perfectly flaky filet of salmon, and the stovetop works if you’re in the mood to braise some cod, don’t count out your microwave when preparing fish in your kitchen. In fact, according to professional chef Madeline Sperling—the head chef at Zou Zou's in New York City—poaching a nutritious piece of salmon with the popular household appliance is ridiculously easy to do, especially on nights when you don’t really feel like cooking.

"I rarely cook fish at home, but sometimes I will olive-oil poach salmon in the microwave,” shares Sperling. The best part about this method of preparation is that it only requires a handful of ingredients, many of which you likely already have at home, and creates minimal cleanup. To poach salmon in the microwave you will need two fresh, raw salmon filets, salt, a lemon, dill, and olive oil.

Microwave-Poached Salmon Recipe

This easy weeknight dinner comes together in about 10 minutes, and requires just five ingredients, several of which are pantry staples. The recipe below yields two servings.

  1. Season the fish portions with salt and allow them to sit for 5 minutes. Then, pat each filet dry with a paper towel.
  2. Place the salmon filets in a small glass casserole dish, and cover with thinly sliced wheels of lemon and a sprinkling of dill.
  3. Season the filets generously with olive oil and put a loosely fitting lid on the casserole dish.
  4. Microwave for 3 minutes on medium power and then check for doneness. Continue to cook in 30 second increments, if desired.

And that’s it! “I love this technique because it produces gently and evenly cooked fish without the smell or mess of sautéing or even baking.” Sperling says. As for what to do with your 10-minute meal, Sperling suggests eating it solo for a simple dinner, or pairing it with something else that’s easy to make. “This salmon is delicious flaked into pieces for a salad,” she adds.

Once you get this poaching technique down, feel free to experiment a bit. Poaching the fish with an infused olive oil is a great way to add more flavor to the dish, as is using different citrus fruits, such as an orange or grapefruit.

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