How To Know If Salmon Is Cooked?

Knowing how to know if salmon is cooked is the most common problem among beginners. Figuring out the right moment to take out salmon can be tricky due to its cooking time. This is a delicate food that requires effort and attention. It can be dangerous to the consumer when is undercooked. While overcooked salmon makes it chalky and hard to eat. So, today, I’ll help you to understand how to know if salmon is cooked all the way correctly. Using four simple ways, you can determine if it’s undercooked/ overcooked. Keep on reading to find out how to know if salmon is cooked to enjoy this dish.

How To Know If Salmon Is Cooked?

You can easily learn how to know if salmon is cooked by using these simple tricks.

  1. By Examining The Color & Texture
  2. By Using A Food Thermometer
  3. By Using A Cake Tester
  4. By Using A Butter Knife

Checking the color and texture of salmon is the quickest way to figure out whether it’s done or not. You can even use a thermometer, cake tester, or butter knife to know if the fish is cooked in the right way. If you’re planning to cook salmon and want to know how to know if salmon is fully cooked, then keep on reading.

4 Different Ways To Check If Salmon Is Cooked

In this section, I am going to focus on each of the above-listed methods to determine properly cooked salmon.

  1. Examine The Color And Texture

While cooking salmon, you must have noticed a change in its color and texture. If you observe closely, the color changes from a dark pink to a lighter color. So, what does cooked salmon look like in the middle? The inside part of cooked salmon will be translucent pink, while the outer part will be an opaque pinkish white color.

So, if you notice that the color on the outside of your fish is still dark pink, it needs to cook more. When the outer section has turned light but it is opaque pink from the inside, it is overcooked. Make sure you observe and study the salmon’s color depending on the cooking method.

  1. Use A Food Thermometer

An instant ready-to-read food thermometer works best for checking the salmon’s temperature. So, at what temperature is salmon done? While cooking salmon, if the temperature is below  110°F, it is still raw. If the temperature is between 110°F to 125°F, the fish is mediumly-cooked. When the temperature is between 125°F and 140°F, the fish is medium to well-cooked!

So, don’t allow the temperature to go above 140°F as it can dry it out. Remember that once the dish’s temperature reaches 140°F, take off the stove and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

You can keep on reading to find out how to know if salmon is cooked without a thermometer.

  1. Use A Cake Tester

Another best way to learn how to know if salmon is cooked in an oven is by using a cake tester. A cake tester is a long, thin, metal rod that is usually used to test the doneness of cakes. Luckily, this tool can be used for fish too! You just have to insert the cake tester into the thickest part of the salmon. Let it be there for about three seconds. Now, slowly take the metal out and touch it using your fingers or lips. Your dish is done if the rod is warm. And if the rod is cool, it needs more time to cook.

Keep on reading to check out how to know if salmon is cooked in an air fryer

  1. Use A Butter Knife

This method is very similar to the previous one i.e the cake tester method. Simply insert a butter knife into the thickest part of the fish. After five seconds, slowly take out the knife. Using your fingers or lower lip, check the temperature of the knife. If you feel it warm, the fish is done and if you feel it cool then the fish needs to be cooked longer. You can even use a fork if you don’t have a butter knife.

Approximate Time For Cooking Salmon

There are many ways to cook salmon such as seared, baked, broiled, and grilled. So, the timing will differ depending upon the method you choose for cooking. Here, I’ve given a timetable for cooking salmon using different methods.

Cooking Method Cooking Time
Pan Seared Salmon 4 to 8 minutes on medium to high heat
Baked Salmon 13 to 16 minutes at 325°F
Broiled Salmon 4 to 5 minutes for thin salmon / 7 to 10 minutes for thick salmon
Grilled Salmon 7 minutes on medium to high heat

Things To Remember While Cooking Salmon

Now, you have got to know how to determine if salmon is cooked or not. There are a few things you must avoid while cooking this dish.

  • Make sure you don’t heat up your pan or oven too high during the cooking process.
  • Salmon can be cooked faster if you take out the bones. Most prepackaged salmons come without bone. But if you’re using fresh fish, make sure you run your hand over the fish to find and remove small bones.
  • We all know that salt will take out the moisture from anything you cook. This can lead to a rubbery, dry, unpalatable mess! In the case of salmon, apply salt right before cooking.
  • Do not remove the fish skin too quickly or else your dish will be dry. Also, never put the fish skin-side up on your cooking surface.
  • Check whether the meat you’re cooking is uniformly thick so that the meat cooks evenly.

Now, you must be thinking about how to tell if salmon is bad? The salmon is probably not fresh when you see any dark spots or discoloration on the skin. It should have a bright pink-orange color, not milky-white residue.

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Is Salmon Cooked If It’s Still Pink?

Cooked salmon color inside will be an opaque pinkish white color on the outside and translucent pink on the inside. If your fillet is still dark pink on the outside, it needs to cook more. If it has turned light, opaque pink on the inside it is overcooked.

Is It OK If Salmon Is A Little Undercooked?

While you can eat raw salmon, undercooked salmon is a no-go. You should also avoid salmon that’s gone bad — you can tell if it’s gone off by a gray color, slimy texture, and needlessly fishy or ammonia-like smell. For storage, refrigerate your raw salmon in a sealed container and eat it within 1 to 2 days.

What Color Should Salmon Be When Cooked?


How Can I Tell When It’s Done? Salmon will change from translucent (red or raw) to opaque (pink) as it cooks. After 6-8 minutes of cooking, check for doneness, by taking a sharp knife to peek into the thickest part. If the meat is beginning to flake, but still has a little translucency in the middle, it is done.

How Should Salmon Feel When Cooked?

Cook for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 Fahrenheit in the center when removed). Remove from the heat.

How Long Does It Take For Salmon To Be Cooked?

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or in a non-stick pan with an oven-proof handle. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.


In the above post, I’ve helped you to understand how to know if your salmon is cooked properly. Salmon can be cooked in various ways depending upon the type of salmon. The best way to get a precise reading on whether it’s cooked is by using a food thermometer! Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest spot and check if it measures 125°F to 140°F. Another way to check cooked vs uncooked salmon is its color and texture. When the color changes from translucent (red)to opaque (pink), it is cooked well. By learning how to know if salmon is cooked, you can fancy dishes using this fish! 


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