How To Cook Salmon In Your Microwave, According To David Chang

Cooking a piece of salmon isn't necessarily tricky, but it still can make some home cooks feel a little nervous. It's so easy to over- or under-cook; and nobody wants a dry, chewy piece of fish, or one that is still worryingly translucent. But, if you've previously overlooked the microwave as a failsafe way for serving up salmon, then you're missing a trick that's both quick and delicious. Even celebrity chef David Chang is a huge fan.

In fact, the Momofuku founder describes the microwave as a "futuristic steamer" on TikTok, which certainly makes it sound like a more exciting cooking method than you might otherwise assume. Not only that, but Chang's technique of simply seasoning, covering, and microwaving the fish means a perfectly cooked, succulent and flavorsome filet can be on the table in just five minutes, which is always a winner for a busy weeknight.


delicious way of cooking...especially when you are pressed for time. 5 min for medium well. 3.5 min for medium rare. Let your fish rest....microwave is just a futuristic steamer #chefmike #microwave

♬ original sound – Dave Chang

Another advantage of Chang's microwave hack is that it ensures the piece of fish doesn't over-process, making it a great way to cook salmon so it doesn't leak white goo. In just a few minutes, it can be heated up to your preference of medium-rare or medium-well with no fuss. And there's no having to stand over a hot stove, no turning and accidentally breaking the fish in a pan, and no worrying about it burning in the oven.

How to take microwaved salmon to the next level

The microwave is ideal for cooking salmon because of the way the water content in the fish absorbs the machine's electromagnetic waves. But covering the microwave container with a lid is vital if you want the salmon to remain moist and juicy rather than it drying out. You can also add additional moisture by cooking the fish in some water with salt and a little sugar, or even wine or stock, to keep it tender and flavorful. It's easy to ramp up the taste even further with other ingredients and aromatics.

David Chang uses soy, savory salt, and agave nectar to season his salmon for a sweet-yet-salty infusion, but you could easily switch up ingredients. Go for orange juice, soy sauce, and a little honey for a fruity, sweet-sharp sauce with an umami punch; or try Dijon mustard, honey, and aromatic thyme to bring some tangy heat. Or, perhaps miso, maple syrup, and rice vinegar for a rich, deep glaze.

Another huge advantage to the microwave is that it's also possible to cook salmon filets from a frozen state if you haven't had time to thaw them; you just need to add some extra cooking time, and perhaps adjust the power setting, depending on your machine. If the salmon isn't cooked to your liking, keep heating it in 30-second increments, and check after each round until it's ready. When it's good to go, it can be served in a number of ways and you can always keep things simple with rice, egg noodles, or vegetables such as steamed broccoli or pak choi.

David Chang loves the microwave for other foolproof fish recipes

Microwaved salmon is incredibly versatile, but the gentle heat makes the appliance an ideal way to quickly and evenly cook other types of fish, too, without any mess or fuss.

The cooking method may be a little controversial or divisive for some people; while Ina Garten only uses her microwave for two simple tasks, other chefs and cooks wholeheartedly embrace the technology for a more broad range of applications. David Chang, who is a huge advocate of microwaves and works closely with the company Anyday, uses the machine to prepare a Cantonese classic of steamed fish with ginger, scallions, soy, ginger, and Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. It works well with many types of white fish, too, such as bass, halibut, or cod. 

Chang also uses the microwave to cook a huge variety of seafood and shellfish dishes, such as lobster bisque or clam chowder. You can also try getting creative with your microwave fish and seafood cookery. From sea bass infused with zesty lime and herbs to hake filets hot with ginger and chili, it might just become your go-to method for quick fish suppers.