How to Poach Salmon Step By Step

Learning how to poach salmon is easy, and it’s the start of more healthy dishes than you can count!

Step by Step Instructions for How To Poach Salmon to use in easy salmon recipes

Poached salmon is a major player in the healthy eating plan that helped me to lose over 30 pounds and keep it off. Light yet filling, this nutrient packed staple forms the basis of many of the dishes I enjoy regularly. It’s quick and easy to poach salmon too. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes, making poached salmon a nutritious rival to ‘fast food’ and take out.

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Poaching is a great way to cook, and it’s much easier than most people think. In addition to poached fish, there’s classic poached eggs, poached chicken and even poached pears.

You can poach any firm fish, including salmon or white fish. I prefer to use fillets of fish, as opposed to poaching a whole fish, which is slightly more complex process requiring a special pan. How to poach salmon fillets? It’s seriously quick and very easy.

Boneless salmon fillets are best and it’s actually easier to poach them with the skin on. After the salmon is cooked, you can slide the skin off using a slice or spatula.

Love fish? Don’t miss these easy, tasty seafood recipes

Step by Step Instructions for How To Poach Salmon to use in easy salmon recipes

How to Poach Salmon

Start with flavourful stock

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be homemade, but your stock does need to have lots of flavour. Choose a good stock cube or ready prepared stock, and feel free to add some fresh or dried herbs (try basil or tarragon) and some dried parsley. You may want to add a pinch of salt, depending on how salty your stock is to start with, and I always add a good grinding of black pepper.

Use sustainably fished, wild salmon if possible

Salmon is really nutritious, with Omega 3 and 6 fats as well as potassium, selenium, folate and vitamins. There is quite a lot of debate on whether wild salmon is better for you than farmed, and any eating any type of salmon is better than eating none at all. However, I honestly believe wild salmon tastes better and recommend you choose it if it is available and affordable.

Eat poached salmon straight away, or cool it quickly and refrigerate as soon as possible

Poached salmon tastes delicious hot in so many dishes, or just with some lightly steamed or stir fried vegetables. It also tastes great cold in salads and sandwiches, but it’s important to get it to a safe fridge temperature as quickly as possible, and use within two days.

Step by Step Instructions for How To Poach Salmon to use in easy salmon recipes

How To Poach Salmon Step by Step

1 – Bring your stock to a simmer.

2 – Add the salmon fillets.

3 – Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Do not let the stock boil or the salmon will overcook.

4 – Remove the pan from the heat and allow the salmon to sit in the stock for 7 minutes.

5 – Remove the salmon from the stock, slide off the skin and serve hot or cold.

Printable Recipe

5.0 from 6 reviews
How to Poach Salmon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 fillets
  • prepared fillets of salmon
  • 4 to 6 cups of good fish, chicken or vegetable stock
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put the stock in a medium to large saucepan or frying pan with a lid and a depth of about 4 to 6 inches.
  2. Add the herbs and seasonings to the stock.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Lower the heat and gently slide the salmon fillets into the pan, making sure they are covered with the hot stock.
  5. Put the lid of the pan on and set the timer for 5 minutes, keeping the stock at a low simmer. Do not let the stock boil.
  6. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the heat, keeping the lid on.
  7. Let the salmon fillets sit in the hot stock, off the heat, for 7 minutes.
  8. Gently lift the salmon fillets from the stock, and either serve immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Serving Ideas for Poached Salmon

Wrap poached salmon and sliced cucumber in crisp lettuce leaves for a low carb lunch.

Spread Ryvita or Crisp breads with mashed avocado and top with cold poached salmon and sliced cucumber or sliced hard boiled egg.

Serve cold poached salmon over top of quinoa, bulgar wheat, couscous or freekeh along with chopped salad or vegetables.

Use poached salmon in your favourite salmon sandwich recipe.

Serve hot poached salmon atop a pile of stir fried rice or noodles and veggies.

More Seafood Recipes

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Easiest Ever Shrimp Primavera 

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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  1. Salmon is my favorite fish, I love poaching it. Great instructions

  2. We eat plenty of salmon and poaching is one of my favourite ways to cook it.
    I love your suggestion for adding tarragon to the poaching liquid.
    And wrapping the salmon in a lettuce leaf. Such a great lunch idea 😀

  3. Fresh salmon is my favorite fish and there’s no healthier way to cook it than to poach it!

  4. I’ve always roasted or grilled salmon. Totally need to try this!

  5. This looks absolutely delicious and I am so grateful for these tips! Thank you for sharing. I am saving this for later. Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.

  6. April, nothing compares to a perfectly poached salmon fillet and yours looks divine! Will be sharing around my friend!

  7. Poaching salmon is quick and easy and your serving suggestions are right on. You are right about using fillets. I have a large fish poacher but only use it if I’m cooking a whole salmon for a dinner party.

  8. What a great tutorial April, and it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

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