Air-frying frozen seafood is the little-known but delicious secret to amazing weeknight meals.

There are a ton of reasons to incorporate more seafood into your dinner routine, but many people cross fish off their list if it's not fresh and in season. Fortunately, frozen seafood is packed right after it's caught, meaning deliciously fresh and healthy meals year-round.

Frozen seafood is a budget-friendly must-have for busy home cooks. To cut down on prep time even more, learn how to cook seafood straight from frozen — no defrosting required. Stop wasting money overcooking or buying the wrong seafood. Learn all you need to know to buy, prep, and cook perfect seafood every time.

Cooking Frozen Seafood in the Air Fryer

Air-frying frozen seafood is the little-known but delicious secret to amazing weeknight meals. The air fryer's high heat helps to evaporate the moisture that encases the fish (or mollusk) for a tender, flaky bite rather than a waterlogged result.

Simple cleanup is another reason to embrace the air fryer wave. If you're working with a sticky protein like salmon, lay foil down in the basket and spray with a nonstick oil to guarantee a smooth exit.

lemon garlic salmon in air fryer

You can cook large, shell-on shrimp or fish to perfection in the air fryer. Lightly press shrimp with a towel to remove surface moisture. Place the shrimp inside of the fryer basket before lightly spritzing with cooking oil. Toss halfway, and cook until shrimp are opaque.

How to Cook Frozen Seafood in the Oven

Want a shortcut to making your favorite baked fish recipes? With a few minutes of extra cooking time, go from freezer to 5-star in the oven. Remove any excess ice and blot your seafood before cooking for an even cook with a deep color.

You'll want to keep your oven at a high temperature to successfully cook seafood. This ensures that the moisture is cooked off, and you have that perfectly flaky and juicy bite.

Chef John's Cioppino
Credit: Chef John

Get the recipe: Seafood Cioppino

Pan-Steaming Fish From Frozen

Rinse to remove any ice, and bring an inch of water or seasoned liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Place your seafood skin-side down in the pan, and return the liquid to a simmer, keeping the heat low enough to avoid boiling.

Tightly cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes before turning off the heat and letting the fish rest in the liquid for another 5 minutes and then serve with some kind of sauce or a squeeze of bright citrus.

Using Frozen Seafood in Soups and Stews

No one wants to fight their way through a tough, rubbery seafood meal. To avoid overcooking your crab, clam, or catfish, start from frozen and add to chowder or stew for a little leeway. Adding your main ingredient during the last 10 minutes allows a gentle simmer to thaw and cook simultaneously.

Keep in mind that adding cold ingredients will bring down the temperature of your soup mixture, so return it to a simmer and cook thoroughly before adding a bit of lemon and parsley to finish.