Steamed fish topped with sliced tomatoes

How to steam fish in a microwave

Family schedules can be hectic, but your dinners don’t have to be. If you’re in a pinch but don’t want to skimp on a delicious and flavorful dish, steaming fish in the microwave is a great option. Not only is it  nutritious, but with a little creativity and a few seasoning options from your pantry, you’ll quickly have a meal your family will rave about.

How long does it take to steam fish in a microwave?

Generally, 6-8 oz. fish filets can take up to eight minutes to steam in the microwave. How long you cook fish in the microwave depends on the fish type, the cut of the fish and the wattage of your microwave. 

Check your microwave’s user manual for specific instructions on what settings work best for steaming fish filets, as well as how to set your power levels.

How to steam fish quickly

You and your family can enjoy a tender and flavorful dinner with this simple steam fish recipe. Once you’ve mastered this method, you can explore options for flavors, seasonings and more as you enjoy all the variations this simple cooking method allows.

  • Microwave, like these options from Whirlpool brand

  • Microwave-safe dish

  • Microwave-safe plastic wrap

  • Fish filets

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • Butter, optional

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Step 1: Prep your fish

Place your fish filets in a microwave-safe dish. Season with salt and pepper. If you are using butter for your dish, add this as well.

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Step 2: Add water

Pour ½ cup of water into the bottom of your microwave-safe dish and cover it with microwave-safe plastic wrap.

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Step 3: Cook

Cook on low for 3-5 minutes for fish like salmon, trout or cod, and 5-8 minutes for fish like halibut or sea bass. Cooking times may vary depending on your microwave’s wattage.


Check your microwave’s user manual for specific instructions on what settings best work for steaming fish filets, as well as how to set your power levels. Carefully remove your fish from the microwave and use a fork to test the flakiness of the fish. If it flakes, it's likely ready to eat. 

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What is the best way to steam fish?

A microwave steaming container is an accessory that allows you to steam fish as well as other food items in your microwave. The fish is placed in the steaming container—above water—and cooks as steam builds up below it in a microwave-safe bowl.

Steamed fish seasoning ideas

Seasoning your fish before steaming it can elevate the flavor of your dish to a whole new level. Seasonings bring well-balanced flavors to your fish, creating a savory dish. Here are a few ideas to help add flavor to your next steamed fish dish: 

  • Try steaming your fish in broth rather than water.

  • Add citrus zest of any kind combined with your preferred citrus juice, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Add a hint of pesto.

  • Sizzle oil, ginger and chopped green onions in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s browned, drizzle it over your fish after it has cooked. Top it off with a bit of soy sauce.

  • Try a blend of cumin, crushed garlic, sliced sweet onion, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Seasoned fish with lemon slices Seasoned fish with lemon slices

Steamed fish recipe ideas

Dinner recipes can be as simple as adding your favorite flavorings to your fish before you start cooking. Try adding sides like steamed basmati rice or steamed vegetables. Explore a few of these other options:. 

  • You can make a Jamaican steam fish recipe by incorporating seasonings like green onions, thyme and garlic as a base, then adding Caribbean flavors like pimento berries, pumpkin and okra. Cook with coconut oil and use scotch bonnet peppers for a more authentic flavor.

  • With just a few spices and veggies, try your hand at an Asian-inspired steamed fish. The blend of Tamari sauce, rice wine, ginger and green onions give this simple dish an extraordinary taste.

  •  This simple steamed fish recipe is bursting with flavor even though it only requires four ingredients. Olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt are all you need to bring this microwave steam fish to life.

Explore Whirlpool® Microwaves

If you’re looking to steam meals with delicious results and less hassle, there is a Whirlpool®  Microwave that is perfect for your home. Choose from a microwave-oven combination, a countertop option or a combination microwave and vent hood. Utilize Whirlpool brand’s comparison charts to help make your shopping decisions even simpler. With features on select models like CleanRelease® Non-Stick Interior, cleanup after cooking can be a breeze. Take advantage of select large capacity microwaves, so you can cook multiple dishes at once for big meals with your loved ones. With all of these options, it’s easy to find a model that fits your family.

Learn more about microwaves from Whirlpool brand

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