How to Cook Frozen Fish

4.97 from 62 votes

Learn how to cook frozen fish in your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Quick and easy, this simple hack works for cod, salmon, mahi mahi or tuna!

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Follow these directions to cook frozen fish in your Instant Pot. You can cook fish directly from frozen. No defrosting required. This method takes frozen fish fillets from the freezer to the table in less than 20 minutes. Try it!

Cooked fish on plate with lemon wedges
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  • Fish: This recipe works well for cod, salmon, mahi mahi tuna or any other fish fillet you’re using.
  • Salt & pepper: To season the fish, in addition to any other seasoning you might like.
  • Water: This is essential to pressurize the Instant Pot for cooking the frozen fish.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to cook frozen fish in instant pot

  1. Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Add the trivet and place the frozen fish directly on the trivet. Season and press manual pressure to get it started.
  2. When the cook time is up, carefully do a quick release and remove the lid
  3. Carefully remove the trivet from the pot and throw away any cooking liquid and grease. Now you’re ready to use the cooked fish in a recipe!
3 image collage to show how to cook fish in instant pot

Tips for cooking in instant pot

  1. Do a quick release, not a natural release. This helps to immediately stop cooking the fish so you don’t get overcooked fillets.
  2. Don’t be tempted to overcook the fish. Set for minimum time and check.
  3. Experiment with substituting a broth for the water. Fish broth, light tomato broth or chicken flavor can add a lot of flavor. Adjust seasonings accordingly. Or try coconut milk and some curry powder for a super fast fish curry.
  4. Amp up the flavor with garlic cloves, fresh herbs, onions or shallots. You can add it right on the fish or into the water or broth.

Frequently asked questions

How can I tell when my fish is done?

Overcooked fish is dry fish. The FDA says to cook until “opaque” in the center or 145°F, but many including the National Fisheries Institute recommend stopping cooking at a lower temp. No thermometer? Slide a knife through the fillet. It should glide through.

My fillets are very thin, will they take less time to cook?

Yes. Try checking at one minute.

Is this instant pot method safe?

Absolutely! Defrosting in a slower way gives bacteria a chance to build up in your food. Quick cooking is a safe method.

Which Instant Pot is used for this recipe?

This recipe was made in the 6-quart pot. If using a different pot, adjust your water or liquid to the minimum amount recommended for that vessel.

Cooked fish in instant pot

It’s so easy to cook fish from frozen using an Instant Pot. You can press a button, get the rest of your meal ready and you’ll find the fish cooked to perfection in no time! Be sure to also check out the tutorial for how to cook frozen chicken in an instant pot!

More instant pot recipes:

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How to Cook Frozen Fish in Instant Pot

Learn how to cook frozen fish in your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Quick and easy, this simple hack works for cod, salmon, mahi mahi or tuna!
5 from 62 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 140
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
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  • 1-1 ½ pounds cod filet each ½ in thick (4 pieces)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Add the trivet and place the frozen fish directly on the trivet. Season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you’d like.
  • Place the lid on and move the valve to sealing. Press manual pressure and set the timer to 2 minutes high pressure. You’ll notice the Instant Pot will start to come to pressure first and then the timer will begin. It can take 8-10 minutes to come to pressure.
  • When the cook time is up, carefully do a quick release; then open and remove the lid. Check the internal temperature of the fish to make sure it’s 140°F or higher. If it’s not, seal again and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Carefully remove the trivet from the pot and discard any cooking liquid and grease. Use the cooked fish as desired in a recipe.


Storage: Cooked fish will keep well in the fridge, covered, for 3 days.


Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 386mg, Potassium: 704mg, Fiber: 1g, Vitamin A: 69IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Main Course
4.97 from 62 votes (58 ratings without comment)

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  1. Beatrice says:

    Well, I set my pot for 2 minutes on high pressure and after the quick release, my Mahi Mahi was still frozen inside! The steaks weren’t more than about 3/4 inch thick in the center so not sure what went wrong there. Another 2 minutes did the trick.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hmm, I am sorry to hear that it did not work on the first go around, thank you so much for the feedback!

      1. Beatrice says:

        Hey, like you said, all the machines are different. Better underdone than overdone!

        1. Yumna J. says:

          That is so true!

  2. Ronald says:

    Thanks for your recipe but please include total cooking times when using the instant pot pressure cooking. Your recipe reads 2 minutes cooking time in the main heading which is more like 10-12. I understand that it is two minutes at pressure and that you mention coming to pressure in the description but there is a way to add these items in the cook time and total time headers. This is not just you by the way. Most folk omit this when using the instant pot but some do not.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Ronald, thank you for the suggestion. The problem is that every brand/type of Instant Pot takes different lengths of time to come to pressure. If you know yours comes to pressure in about 10-12 minutes then you can just add that to the total cooking time.

  3. Reese says:

    Was very hungry and didn’t want to have to find ways to safely thaw my tilapia that was going to take too much time/compromise the filets. This was so quick and easy, I topped with lemon and capers and had a very easy piccata-inspired lean healthy meal in about 20 minutes from opening freezer to putting on plate. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      You’re so welcome! So glad it turned out well!

  4. Spirals says:

    This is how I found you can cook fish from frozen in 2 minutes. I had no idea. I did put a small cake pan on the trivet so that I could lay the fish down in a bit of cooking sherry. It came out moist. Whenever I used to broil fish with wine sprinkled over it, it still came out so dry! I was a sad pescetarian. This is something I’ll keep doing and in the hot summer months, I’ll appreciate not having to turn on the oven.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      So glad you enjoyed the fish!

  5. billy says:

    two minutes only? others seem to say longer like 8 or 9 even

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Recipes will vary depending on the settings of the Instant Pot for sure.

  6. Jillian says:

    what is the cook time for this and you cook on high? I am new to using the insta pot

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Press manual pressure and set the timer to 2 minutes high pressure! The full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page. Hope this helps!

  7. BanglaExports says:

    really fantastic post. Today you discuss how can cook frozen fish. Really best post. Thanks for your sharing post

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! Glad you found it useful!