Moist poached salmon served with rice, soup, pickles and tea on a slate plate which sits on a wooden tray. There are flowers in the background.

Poached Salmon

Poaching is one of my favorite ways to prepare Salmon.  Poaching involves slow cooking in hot water so that the fish is soft, tender, and moist every time.  There is no oil needed, so this style is healthier than many other cooking methods.

Poached Salmon is moist and tender, can be eaten hot or cold, and can be used in many other dishes such as rice bowls, Ochazuke, and onigiri.  Poaching involves slow cooking the fish in a hot liquid bath.  Hot water is usually used for poaching, but For this Japanese style poached salmon I use Konbu Dashi flavored with vegetables.  After cooking the fish, the soup can be served along with the fish as a flavorful side dish.

When I make poached salmon, I use a deep poaching method, that involves fully submerging the fish.  So a large deep pot is needed to poach the fish, both to ensure that the fish, stock and aromatics have room to fit, but also to ensure that when the fish is added to the stock that the temperature does not drop significantly.

When poaching fish, always use scaled and deboned fillets with the skin on one side.  Poach fish is extremely tender and tends to break apart easily so it needs to be handled gently, especially when being removed from the pot.  The shin will help hold the fish together, and salmon skin is both nutritious and delicious.

I love to use Poached Salmon in bento boxes.  Poached salmon keeps for three or four days in the refrigerator, and you can refrigerate the salmon in a container in about 1/4 inch of broth to help retain the moisture.  The salmon can be refrigerated and eaten cold and is delicious with a creamy dill sauce or mixed into sushi rice.  There are many ways to enjoy poached fish – it’s up to you how creative you want to be.

If you have any ways that you like to enjoy poached fish, I’d love to hear about them.  Just drop me a line or leave a message in the comments section below.

Poached Salmon

Moist and tender Poached Salmon can be eaten hot or cold.  Poached fish comes out moist and tender, but it’s easy to overcook.  The fish should be heated until it reaches 140-145 degs F on the inside, but you can also use sashimi grade fish if you care to cook it a little on the rare side.  This Japanese style poached fish recipe uses Konbu dashi, salt, lemon juice and mirin along with fresh onions, celery and carrots in the stock.  You can serve the stock as a soup on the side after poaching the fish.

15 mins 5 mins Serves 4
PREP 15 mins
COOKING 5 mins
YIELD Serves 4
Moist poached salmon served with rice, soup, pickles and tea on a slate plate which sits on a wooden tray. There are flowers in the background.


  • 4 boneless salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 sheet of Konbu kelp (for dashi) OR 6 cups konbu dashi using dried flakes
  • 2 TBSP mirin
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 TBSP coarse sea salt
Ingredient board for poached salmon
Poached Salmon Ingredient Board (Mirin not shown)


  • Peel and chop the onion, carrot and celery into bite sized pieces.  Juice the lemon and put aside two TBSPs of lemon juice.
  • Prepare the dashi: Boil seven cups of water.   Add one sheet of dried konbu kelp to the boiling water.  Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes.  If using instant dashi, boil seasoning package in six cups of water and reduce to a simmer.
  • Add the onion, celery, carrots, lemon juice, salt and mirin to the stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stock with vegetables in a large pot

  • Gently add the fish.  Bathe it in the broth, completely, for five minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Fish poaching in broth in a large pot

  •  The fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140-145 degs F, or when the fish turns opaque and flakes when you stick a fork in it.  Be careful not to overcook.

Checking the fish with a fork to see if it is done

  • Remove the fish from the broth.  Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Serve hot or cold.  The soup can be served as a side dish.

Poached Salmon with Soup and Rice On a tray. There are also pickles and tea.


  • The trick to poached salmon is to avoid overcooking.  Try and find boneless fillets with the skin still on.  The skin will help hold the fish together.  Try and find pieces of the same thickness to ensure that the fish is all finished at the same time.  And when it’s finished cooking, quickly remove it from the bath to avoid overcooking.
  • The most amazing way to eat this fish is to refrigerate it in a either a sealed Tupperware container or in a shallow bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Make sure it is sitting in about 1/4 inch of the leftover cooking broth.  Let it refrigerate for 24-48 hours and eat the fish either cold or warmed to room temperature.  You will not be disappointed!


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