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Can You Eat Undercooked Salmon? How To Know When Is Done

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We all know that sushi is usually made with raw salmon, so if you cook fresh or frozen salmon and somehow end up undercooked, it is perfectly normal to ask yourself if you can eat undercooked salmon.

Salmon can be cooked in a few different ways, like baked, pan-fried, or grilled, but all of those have one thing in common. Compared to the other types of meat that are cooked in each respective way, salmon is done fairly fast.

This helps a lot when you want to cook your food fast, but also it can make you extra careful since it gets quickly from cooked enough to overcooked. So you may stop it earlier to make sure it is not overcooked, and you end up with an undercooked salmon.

I’ve researched whether it will be safe to eat undercooked salmon, and I will share with you throughout this article the interesting facts I found out.


Can you eat undercooked salmon?

Eating undercooked salmon can be dangerous for your health since there are chances for bacteria inside the salmon to be still alive. To kill all the bad bacteria from food, you must cook at 165 degrees F. or more for at least 2 minutes.

Eating undercooked salmon can also have a weird gummy texture that can be off-putting and a weird, too fishy taste, while a well-cooked salmon has a very soft and easy-to-cut-through texture and a mildly fishy taste.

Read Also: Does Salmon Have Bones ?

Can you eat raw salmon?

You can eat raw salmon, but you need to ensure that the salmon has been properly stored since salmon may contain parasites, bacteria, or other toxins that can harm your health.

Sushi is in the same situation, it can be safe to eat it, but if somehow the raw salmon was stored poorly, at room temperature or in direct sunlight, there are big chances that it is harmful.

Is it safe to eat smoked salmon?

Smoked salmon is considered safe to eat. But this also depends on how it was smoked since there are two ways of smoking salmon: cold and hot.

Cold smoking is done at a temperature between 75-90 degrees F. This makes it much more unsafe than hot smoking done at 120-225 degrees F.

Make sure you check how your salmon was smoked. Cold smoked ones are much risker, especially for people that are at risk, like elderly or pregnant women.

How to know when salmon is cooked?

Salmon will change its color from a translucent color to an opaque one when it’s done. You can check it with a fork or a knife to see if it’s done all the way through; also, the salmon should start to flake when you touch it with the fork or knife. The best moment to stop the flame is when it still has a bit of red in the middle.

The time you need to cook salmon depends on the method you use. Usually, pan-frying takes around 5-7 minutes. So you should expect your salmon to be done fairly quickly. Grilled salmon can take a similar amount of time, and the baked one should take around 15 minutes at 325 degrees F.

You can also use a food thermometer, the best internal temperature is around 125 degrees F.

Fresh vs. Frozen salmon?

When talking about eating raw or undercooked salmon, it is very important how fresh the salmon was, to begin with. A thawed frozen salmon has bigger chances of bacteria growing inside than a fresh salmon.

frozen salmon

frozen salmon

You should be careful with buying fresh salmon as well since it has to be stored very well at a low temperature, preferably on ice.

So both fresh and frozen salmon can be harmful if not stored or thawed properly. In both cases, cooking the salmon all the way through can help kill the harmful bacteria inside the fish.

If you have the option to buy fresh salmon that has been stored properly, go for it even if it is more expensive. If not, make sure that when you thaw the frozen salmon, you don’t let it to room temperature for more than two hours.

Read Also: Is Salmon Roe Caviar ?

How to choose a good salmon?

For having a great experience when eating salmon, it is very important to choose the best one from the market.

I will give you a few tips to know what to look for when you are there for this to happen:

-Color. The color of a fresh salmon is bright pink or red. Make sure you don’t buy a fish that has a pale color or any weird spots.

-Smell. If you are close enough to smell the salmon, a fresh one should not smell very fishy but rather have an ocean breeze smell.

-Texture. A fresh salmon should appear moist and not have any dryness. A dry salmon with the flesh that gets curly is a clear warning sign.


Even if there are some chances that the undercooked salmon is still safe to eat, it is not worth taking the chances.

If you cooked it yourself, there are big chances you can cook it a bit more. If you are at a restaurant, you should ask the waiter for a new one since it can be harmful and not worth paying for an undercooked salmon. I know the waiting can be annoying, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

It doesn’t matter if the taste of an undercooked salmon can be good; the more dangerous things are the bacteria inside that are not visible.

I hope after reading this article you have a clear view about when it’s safe to eat salmon and how to choose a good one.

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