How to Reheat Fish

Fish is easy to overcook, which makes the prospect of reheating leftovers even more daunting. Here's how to do it.

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Fish is notoriously susceptible to overcooking, so reheating cooked fillets might sound like a risky move. But almost everyone has leftover fish from time to time, so we decided to figure out the best approach to warming it up. We tested four popular varieties: swordfish, halibut, salmon, and trout.

THICK FISH REHEATS NICELY; THIN FILLETS DO NOT

Not surprisingly, we had far more success reheating thick filets and steaks than thin ones. Both swordfish and halibut steaks reheated nicely, retaining their moisture well and with no detectable change in flavor. Salmon also retained its dense, moist, silky texture when reheated, though cooking it further caused its abundant fatty acids to oxidize into strong-smelling aldehydes, which in turn brought out a bit more of the fish’s pungent aroma. As for trout, there was little we could do to prevent the thin, lean fillets from overcooking and drying out when heated a second time. 

METHOD

1. Place the fillets on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, cover them with foil (to prevent the exteriors of the fish from drying out). 

  1. Heat fish in a 275-degree oven until it registers 125 to 130 degrees, about 15 minutes for 1-inch-thick fillets (timing varies according to fillet size). 

Don’t reheat thin fillets; instead, serve the fish in a cold application like a salad.

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