This creamy garlic salmon recipe is a 30-minute meal with pan seared salmon in a garlic cream sauce! It's incredibly simple to make for a special occasion... or anytime you want to treat yourself.
I have a feeling that you might enjoy my Creamy Garlic Chicken as well!
You need this recipe in your life
If you're on the lookout for an impressive yet easy meal that's ready in just 30 minutes, this pan-seared salmon in an irresistible creamy garlic sauce is ideal. Making skillet salmon really doesn't have to be intimidating! How to cook salmon no longer needs to be a frustrating mystery.
Whether you need a date night recipe or just want something nice on any old weeknight, this meal is sure to dazzle with its luxurious garlicky sauce. Following a few straightforward tips ensures you'll get flaky and tender salmon every time with a golden sear.
What goes into it
- Salmon - use fresh salmon cut into four 1" thick pieces, and make sure to adjust cooking time if yours is thicker
- Garlic powder - infuses it with garlic flavor
- Flour - for dredging and to get a great crust on the fish
- Olive oil & butter - for pan-frying
- Garlic - we're using 4-5 cloves, but feel free to adjust to your own tastes
- Broth - I used chicken broth, but you could use a dry white wine like pinot grigio to elevate the dish even more
- Lemon - fresh lemon juice gives a little bit of acidity to brighten the sauce
- Dijon mustard - you can't taste the Dijon itself! It's a savory element that makes the sauce less one dimensional.
- Cream - heavy cream makes the sauce so rich. I wouldn't skip it!
- Parsley - it's optional, but I love the pop of freshness it gives
How to make creamy garlic salmon
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cut the salmon into 4 equally sized pieces. Sprinkle each piece with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Dredge each piece in flour on all sides. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook it for 3 to 4 minutes per side, taking care to not overcook it since it'll finish in the sauce. Transfer to a plate.
Add the garlic, chicken broth, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard to the skillet. Whisk until the Dijon mustard has dissolved. Stir in the cream, and add the salmon back in. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and the fish is cooked through. Top with chopped parsley and enjoy!
- You can use salmon that's skin on or skin off. If you choose skin-on and prefer not to eat it, simply peel the skin off after you've completed the searing steps.
- It's really important to use your eyes to guide you! Watch the color change as the salmon is cooking. It'll go from a brighter/deeper pink to a lighter pink.
Substitutions and variations
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for something lower fat. The sauce is likely to curdle since it's cooked at a high heat and contains citrus. It'll also end up thinner and less rich and tasty. You could try coconut milk, but it will alter the flavor of the sauce significantly.
- Try throwing in a handful of spinach towards the end of cooking time if you want to add some greens!
What to serve with this recipe
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Warm the salmon slowly over a low heat. I'm partial to a covered saucepan, but doing it in the microwave on a lower power setting and checking it every couple of minutes will work too. If you warm the salmon over too high of a heat, the sauce will separate and the fish will dry out.
- Leftover salmon is delicious cold in a salad. I do this all the time!
- I don't recommend freezing this recipe since cream sauces are notorious for freezing badly.
Did you make this salmon recipe or have any questions? I'd be happy to hear from you in the comments below!
Creamy Garlic Salmon
- 1 pound fresh salmon cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Cut the salmon into 4 pieces. Sprinkle each piece with the garlic powder and season with salt & pepper. Coat each piece in flour on all sides.
- Add the oil and butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the salmon. Cook it for 3-4 minutes/side or until it's nicely browned (don't overcook - the salmon will finish cooking in the sauce). If using skin-on salmon, start with skin side down. If the salmon is a lot thicker than 1", sear it for slightly longer. Transfer the salmon to a plate.
- Add the garlic, chicken broth, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard to the skillet. Stir/whisk until the mustard has dissolved, and let it bubble for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cream to the skillet.
- Place the salmon back into the pan and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened a bit and the fish has cooked through. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for half-and-half or milk. There's lemon in the sauce and it's cooked at a fairly high heat so the sauce may break. It'll also end up thinner and less rich.
- If you buy salmon with the skin on and don't want to eat it, simply peel it off after the searing step (it'll be deliciously crispy so you can eat it at that point or discard it if you prefer).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.