How to Tell if Salmon Is Cooked?

Do you know how to tell if salmon is cooked? It’s a common question and one that can be difficult to answer.

Salmon is delicate and cooks quickly, so it’s important to know when it’s done cooking before serving.

If you don’t cook your salmon long enough, the fish will be raw in the middle and not safe for consumption. Make sure to also read how to tell if salmon is bad so you know if the fish is safe to cook beforehand.

But overcooking your salmon can also lead to an unappetizing texture and flavor profile.

The good news is that there are several ways to tell if your salmon has been cooked properly.

In this article, I’ll discuss a few helpful tips for determining when your salmon is cooked.

Salmon can be either baked, grilled, pan-fried, roasted, smoked, or steamed. Each cooking method will yield slightly different results and have different ways to tell if the fish is done cooking.

For example:

If you are pan-frying your salmon, you’ll want to be sure that the fish is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.

But if you are grilling it, you’ll need to pay attention to whether or not the fish flakes easily with a fork.

How to Tell if Salmon Is Cooked?

By using these tactics, you can determine when your salmon is cooked and ready to serve:

  1. Touch-Press Method
  2. Internal Temperature
  3. Color
  4. Texture
  5. Smell

The Touch-Press Method

One of the most simple ways to tell if salmon is cooked is by using the touch-press method, also known as the thumbprint test. To perform this test, press your finger into the flesh on the thickest part of the fillet.

If it feels soft or breaks apart, then your salmon is ready to be served. If it still feels firm, you should cook your salmon for a little longer and try again.

The Internal Temperature

Another helpful tactic for telling if your salmon is cooked is using the internal temperature of the fish. Be sure to use a meat thermometer when performing this method.

Your salmon is done cooking when your thermometer reads an internal temperature of 145° F for medium-rare, 160° F for medium, and 170° F for well-done.

Salmon Color

Salmon flesh is typically a pink or orange color. When the fish cooks, it starts to turn whiter and opaque.

Yellowish and gray tones may occur when the fish is overcooked. Once again, be sure to use a meat thermometer to double-check that you do not overcook your salmon.


Salmon texture will change when it is cooked. Cooked salmon will flake easily and look opaque throughout the entire cut of fish, not just at the surface.

Raw salmon has a semi-translucent color and oily feel to it. If your fish still feels very firm, it’s best to cook it for a little longer and then check again.

The meat should be moist after cooking and if you touch it with your finger, there may be a small amount of buttery liquid but not much at all.

When picking up pieces of salmon in one hand, they should break off easily with little pressure.


As you are cooking your salmon, be sure to smell it to avoid overcooking. If the fish starts to boil, it will create a popping sound and release steam. When this happens, immediately turn down the heat to avoid overcooking.

Salmon should also have little or no smell before cooking. Fish should not smell “fishy”, but rather more like seawater.

Now that you know how to tell when salmon is cooked, you can enjoy this flavorful dish at home!

How To Cook Salmon?

Salmon can be either baked, grilled, pan-fried, roasted, smoked, or steamed. However, the most common ways to cook salmon are baking and grilling.

Before cooking a whole side of salmon, remove all of the scales using your fingers or a knife.

Also, be sure to take out any innards by opening up the belly with a knife and pulling them out.

After cleaning the fish, dry it off with paper towels and lightly coat it with oil before cooking. Use a little more oil than you think is necessary, as this will help your fish to not stick.

Cover your baking sheet or grill with aluminum foil and place the salmon on it skin side down for maximum effect.

If using an oven, set the temperature at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes per one-inch thickness of fish.

If using a barbecue, cook skin side down for 4 to 5 minutes over high heat. Then turn it over and cook for 3 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to open the oven or grill to check on your fish after a few minutes of cooking time. This is where using extra oil comes into play, as it helps ensure that your salmon doesn’t stick to the pan.

After removing salmon from the heat source, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.

It will continue cooking internally while it does so, reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit which is medium-well.

How Does a Cooked Salmon Taste?

The taste of cooked salmon is also very important to note. Fish that has been properly cooked will have a rich, buttery flavor.

Raw fish will have a “gummy” or chewy texture when eaten alone or with no condiments added.

Overcooked fish will be dry throughout the entire piece of fish, not just around the edges.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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