Can you Microwave Fish Fillets in Breadcrumbs?

If your oven’s broken, or you’re in a rush, you might just wonder if you can microwave fish fillets in breadcrumbs.  Essentially, when microwave cooking, it breaks down into just a few essentials factors:

  • Is it safe or dangerous to eat?
  • Does it look nice?
  • What’s the texture like?

Is it Safe to Eat?

Fish is really simple and quick to microwave, most people will steam fish in just 3-4 minutes in water or milk.  So, on the safe/dangerous front, fish will be fine.  There are few foods that are actually unsafe, it’s just that people get over-worried about things!  So, we can tick that box – the fish and the breadcrumbs will be perfectly safe to eat, of course that’s if you’ve cooked it long enough 🙂

Does it Look Nice?

How much you care about this depends on your circumstances.  If you’re going to microwave a fish fillet instead of frying it or oven-baking it, then the outside won’t crisp up and it won’t go brown.  So, bearing in mind you’ve a fish fillet to cook and you’re hungry, you choose how much you care 🙂

What’s the Texture Like?

Fish is fish is fish …. the fish fillet itself will be fine.  It’ll have steam-cooked inside the breadcrumb casing. The breadcrumb coating, however, won’t have fared so well and might be uncrispy, it’ll certainly be the same colour it went into the microwave – although there are ways to “fix” this.

Overall, if I really had to microwave a fish fillet or go without then I’d be prepared to do it.  It’s just like a huge fish finger really!

Lidl LighthouseBay Cod Fillets Breadcrumb

Lidl Lighthouse Bay Cod Fillet in Breadcrumbs

Earlier today I had a cod fillet in breadcrumbs that needed using up.  I’d bought this at Lidl the other week and frozen it (pack of two in the Lidl Weekend Offers).  Yesterday I’d cooked it “as per instructions” on the packet, which required the cod fillet to be baked in the oven for 20-22 minutes at 200°C.  Today that was a lot longer than I was prepared to wait to be fed!  So, today I did “half and half”.  I used the microwave to get the cod fillet started, then put it in my toaster oven for just 10 minutes (turning half way).

My microwave oven is 800 watts and I microwaved the fish fillet for 1 minute before transferring it to the toaster oven.  However, I did toy with the idea of just microwaving it, but then I wanted the crispy coating.  But, I have microwaved these in the past, before I bought the toaster oven!  And here’s how I’d do it:

Pick a flat microwave dish and place the (fresh or defrosted) fish fillet in.  Microwave on low power for 2 minutes. Turn the fillet over and microwave on low power for another 2 minutes.  Turn.  Microwave on high power for 1 minute.  Double check the middle’s hot and serve!

I might also decide that cutting the fillet in half before putting it in the microwave would give better results as it’d be able to heat the very centre more easily.

So, you can cook a cod fillet and it’s safe/edible … but it won’t be crispy!  But, it’ll be fast!  If you’re going to chop it up and serve it inside a sandwich or a pitta bread with a splash of sauce, then it won’t matter so much … after all, you’re only checking if you can do this because you’re either in a rush or your oven’s broken!

Part Microwave, Part Toaster Oven

Here’s a photo of how I cooked mine today.  I started by cooking the fillet for 1 minute in the microwave (as per the photo on this page), then finished in the toaster oven.  Lidl Lighthouse Bay Cod Fillets Breadcrumb

Served with instant mash and peas cooked in a mug!

The toaster oven settings were:

  • Bottom rack, on a baking tray, top and bottom elements turned on, temperature set to 185°C.

No preheating needed.  Set the timer for 5 minutes, then turn the fillet over and set the timer for another 5 minutes.  10 minutes’ cooking time in total.  The reason the top and bottom elements needed to be on were to get the oven up to temperature quickest, the bottom element is the “oven” part and the top element is the “grill” (broiler) part that browns food by directly grilling it.

I’m glad I’ve now got through two of these – my freezer’s too full so I’ve been trying to clear it out by eating it all.  Only another two breaded fillets to go, the other two are Haddock!

This is why I advise people to mostly ignore the “freeze it” instructions – if you freeze everything then you run out of space.  You do need to eat everything in the freezer that you put in it! It’s a fine balance between freezing food, eating food, buying in new supplies!  My freezer’s smallish (2 cubic feet) – that’s a good size, so long as you continually eat food that you’ve frozen!

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