I've bought two different sets of frozen salmon with the same result. On thawing the salmon is bland and off color (more gray than pink).

After cooking, the taste is OK, but the presentation and texture is totally off.

I've tried to defrost this fish in the fridge and submerged in milk with the same result. My guess is these two brands are no good.

So, my question is: does quality salmon exist frozen, with the 'same' texture and color as fresh salmon?


Some species of salmon are better or worse at freezing. Pacific Sockeye freezes very well and is your best bet if you're buying frozen. It's also the most expensive. Pink salmon doesn't freeze well at all (but is delicious if you can get it fresh!). Others like Chum are somewhere in the middle.

Most "cheap" salmon that you get in North American supermarkets is farmed Atlantic salmon. It holds up well to freezing, but is generally pretty gray and bland to begin with. Avoid it.

  • I'll start looking at the species from now on. – BaffledCook May 29 '11 at 21:59

Most salmon (and tuna) used in sushi has been previously frozen. So YES, frozen salmon of high quality exists. The problem is that the freezing process (if you want to maintain quality) is complicated. If done incorrectly you wind up with spongy watery tasteless salmon.

So: Buy it frozen from people who really know how to freeze correctly, those who intend the fish to be good enough for sushi. eg: http://www.stormseafood.com/ or http://www.catalinaop.com/Salmon_Sake_s/114.htm If you find it in a store it should be in it's own deep-freeze cooler, and you should bring a cooler to the store with you. Any changes in temperature and you wind up with spongy fish.

Thaw it yourself using correct thawing methods. this will ensure freshness, texture (if frozen correctly), and safety.

Thawing should be done in ice water for a quick thaw or 24 hours in fridge for a slow thaw.

My local grocer carries little bricks of salmon from storm seafood, and following the advice above, I can bring it home and eat it raw. Great texture and flavor.


With frozen salmon (or any frozen fish), a lower price indicates lower quality. You might be able to find a suitable vendor with enough experimentation.

But frozen fish will never be as good as fresh, and the texture is the first thing to go.

You might have better luck using the frozen salmon as an ingredient in the dish (such as in an alfredo sauce), rather than the start ingredient.

  • That sounds fair enough. I just hoped some trademark would provide decent fish. – BaffledCook May 29 '11 at 8:00
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    "A lower price indicates lower quality" I'd say it's correlated. Going into a grocery store with the attitude that spending more money gets you better food can sometimes just lead to wasting money. – Cascabel May 29 '11 at 12:50
  • "a lower price indicates lower quality" is the wrong approach. Supermarket prices are generally correlated to the strength of the brand and not necessarily the strength of the product. – lukecyca May 29 '11 at 18:19
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    While certainly not true for everything, I think that price-to-quality correlation is strong for fish. Copper river salmon comes to mind, this time of year particularly. – KatieK May 29 '11 at 20:20
  • @lukecyca: Really, it's correlated to several things (brand names, actual cost of the product, consumer demand...), with the strength of each correlation depending on product. For something like fish, the actual cost is then going to be correlated with quality, because it's more expensive to get good fish, and freeze it well while it's still really fresh. In any case, I think the important point here is to just do your best to look at what's available and figure out how good it is, regardless of price. – Cascabel May 30 '11 at 19:58

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