How To Microwave Fish Without Smell (4 Ways)

Categorized as Microwave
how to microwave fish without smell

So you’re standing in front of the fish counter, trying to decide how to prepare your evening meal. You’ve always been a fan of fish, but you’re not sure how to cook it.

Suddenly, the idea pops into your head: why not cook your fish in the microwave? After all, it’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require any special equipment.

But as you stand there with your fish in the microwave, you realize that you may have underestimated the challenges of cooking fish in this way. For one thing, there’s the issue of dealing with the fishy smell that seems to permeate your entire kitchen.

Still, if you’re determined to cook your fish in the microwave, there are a few things you can do to minimize these challenges. Here in our guide, we’ll show you how to microwave fish without smell.

Is It Safe To Microwave Fish?

When it comes to microwaving fish, the USDA’s Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Guide is a good place to start.

According to the guide, fish should be cooked until the center reaches 145°F on an instant-read or meat thermometer. The fish should also flake easily with a fork.

Can You Cook Fish In The Microwave Without Smell?

The answer is yes… but it’s not always easy to get the results you want. As mentioned earlier, fish is notoriously tricky to cook, and the microwave can amplify its shortcomings.

If you’re not careful, you can end up with a dry, rubbery block of flesh that fills the entire microwave with its pungent smell. However, if you’re willing to experiment, there are definitely some methods that can minimize the risk of these problems.

Why Does Microwave Fish Smell?

Before we get into the specifics of how to cook fish in the microwave without smell, it’s important to understand why fish smells so bad in the first place.

As you may know, fish is a very delicate food, and it can spoil quickly if it’s not properly refrigerated. When fish spoils, it releases a compound called trimethylamine oxide (TMAO), which is responsible for the characteristic fishy smell.

When trimethylamine is heated, it becomes even more volatile, making its way out of the fish and into the air of your kitchen. This smell is exacerbated by the fact that a microwave is a closed space, trapping the smells inside.

The Tricks To Microwave Fish Without Smell

So, how can you avoid this problem? Here are some tips to help you cook fish in the microwave without making your kitchen stink:

1. Use the freshest fish possible

Many chefs around the world will tell you that the key to good cooking is to use fresh ingredients. This is especially true when it comes to fish, which can spoil quickly.

If you’re going to be cooking fish in the microwave, make sure to buy it from a reputable source, and try to cook it as soon after you buy it as possible.

When you go to the market or fishmonger, make sure to ask when the fish was caught. You should also look for bright eyes not dull, cloudy ones, and firm flesh not mushy flesh.

2. Cut the fish into small pieces before cooking.

The second tip is to cut the fish into small pieces before cooking. This will help to reduce the amount of time it spends in the microwave, and will also help to prevent the fish from drying out.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the pieces of fish are all roughly the same size. This will help to ensure that they cook evenly.

3. Use a microwave-safe dish with a lid.

The most common advice to microwave fish without smell is to use a microwave-safe dish with a lid. This will help to trap the smells inside the dish.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all lids are created equal. If you’re using plastic wrap or other thin lids, make sure to poke a few holes in it so that steam can escape.

4. Brine the fish before cooking.

You might not know this, but that delicious seafood dish you had at your favorite restaurant was probably treated with a little something extra – brine.

Brining is a simple process of soaking fish in a saltwater solution, and it’s often used to help improve the flavor and texture of seafood.

But brining can also be used to help mask the smell of fish that might otherwise be off-putting to diners.

To create a brine solution, simply dissolve salt in water in a ratio of 1:20. For example, if you have 1000 grams of water, you would add 50 grams of salt.

Then, let the fish soak in the solution for 10 minutes. After that, rinse the fish off and cook as usual.

How Long to Microwave Fish?

The length of time that you cook fish in the microwave will depend on a few factors, including the type of fish, the size of the filet, and the wattage of the microwave all play a role in determining cook time.

However, as a general rule, heavier fillets will take longer to cook than smaller ones. For example, a thicker filet like salmon will take 4-5 minutes in a 1,000-watt microwave, while a thinner filet like tilapia will take around 3 minutes.

It’s also important to check the fish for doneness at the end of the original cook time. If it’s not cooked through, you can continue cooking it in 30-second intervals until it’s done.

How To Cook Fish In The Microwave: Step-By-Step

Now that you know all the tips and tricks for cooking fish in the microwave without smell, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

  1. Place the fish in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cut the fish into small pieces, if necessary.
  3. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.
  4. Add a teaspoon of water or wine to keep the fish from drying out. You can also use other liquids like lemon juice or milk.
  5. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, making sure to poke a few holes in it for steam to escape.
  6. Microwave the fish for 3-5 minutes, depending on the type and thickness of the filet.
  7. Check the fish for doneness and continue cooking in 30-second intervals, if necessary.
  8. When the fish is cooked through, allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Can You Reheat Fish In The Microwave?

While you can technically reheat fish in the microwave, it is not recommended. This is because fish is often overcooked when reheated, which can make it dry, rubbery, and less than appetizing.

However, if you absolutely must reheat fish, make sure to use a low power setting and cook it in short 30-second intervals. Flipping it over every 30 seconds to ensure even cooking.

It’s also a good practice to add a tablespoon of water or other liquid to the dish before reheating. This will help to keep the fish moist.


There are definitely some methods that can minimize the risk of cooking fish in the microwave and making your kitchen smell.

By using fresh fish, cutting the fish into small pieces, using a microwave-safe dish with a lid, and brining the fish before cooking, you can help to reduce the risk of your kitchen smelling like fish.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that these methods will completely eliminate the smell of fish from your kitchen.

But they should help to reduce it significantly. So, if you’re looking to cook fish in the microwave without making your kitchen stink, give these tips a try.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!