This garlic butter salmon is pan-seared to perfection in a lemony garlic butter sauce. It's fast and uses simple everyday ingredients.
This lemon garlic butter salmon is made right in your pan/skillet. I love this technique for cooking salmon. It took me a few years to nail it once I first started cooking, but it's my go-to when I am pan frying fish. There is nothing to be intimidated about, and the tips below will ensure you have perfectly cooked salmon every time. 🙂
What could be better than a simple garlic butter sauce for salmon? This recipe is great for busy weeknights, date night, or when you've got company over. It doesn't take much to make salmon taste delicious.
Recipe notes & tips:
- Searing salmon success tips:
- Most salmon fillets (Atlantic salmon in particular) that you buy from the grocery store will be around 1" thick, and the cooking time in the recipe below will work, but in general it's a good idea to watch the color of the salmon change (the light pink color moves up slowly as it cooks) - this will give you an idea of how close it is to being ready. It will still cook for a little bit after you take it off the heat. It's easy to overcook salmon, so keep that in mind.
- Let the fish warm up for 15-20 minutes prior to starting the recipe if you can, and pat it dry before adding the salt & pepper. This helps it not stick to the pan.
- Ensure the pan gets nice and HOT before you add the salmon. Don't crowd the pan. It's better to cook the fish in two batches than stuff all the pieces in at once.
- Resist the urge to move the salmon around the pan. It needs to cook undisturbed to get a nice sear.
- When you go to flip the salmon, if it's sticking, give it a little more time to release naturally.
- I recommend using cooking tongs to quickly and easily flip the salmon (they're also handy for cooking any other kind of fish/meat).
- Leftovers: they'll be good for 2-3 days refrigerated. Reheat on a low heat or enjoy the salmon cold (like in a salad).
What to serve with garlic butter salmon:
Try mashed potatoes (what's better than mashed potatoes with extra butter and garlic?!), rice, or pasta. I recommend also serving the dish with something lighter like a side salad or steamed veggies.
Everything is better with butter...
- Quick and Easy Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Lemon Butter Chicken Scallopini
- Garlic and Herb Spreadable Butter
Questions about this garlic butter pan-seared salmon recipe? Let me know in the comments below.
Garlic Butter Salmon
- 1 pound salmon cut into 4 pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or more, to taste
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley optional
- Take the salmon out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before starting the recipe if you can. Cut the salmon into 4 equal pieces and pat it dry with paper towel. Season each piece generously with salt & pepper.
- Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to heat up for a few minutes.
- Cook the salmon (skin-side down) for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and flip the fish over and cook for another 2-4 minutes (should be cooked through). Transfer the salmon to a plate.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the remaining butter to the pan and let it melt. Stir in the garlic and lemon juice. Continue stirring for a minute or so until the garlic is just cooked (do not let it burn or it'll taste bitter). Take the skillet off the heat once it's done.
- Add the salmon back to the skillet and spoon some sauce over top and sprinkle parsley on if using. Serve immediately. I like to add more fresh lemon juice to mine, so you may want to serve it with lemon wedges so everyone can add more as needed. The salmon skin is nice and crispy (and tasty) if you eat it right away, but you can easily peel it off once it's cooked if you prefer.
- I used Atlantic salmon that was about 1" thick for this recipe. If your salmon is thicker or thinner, you may need to adjust cooking time a bit.
- It's ok if you've got a bit over a pound of salmon, just make sure it's not too much over or the salmon pieces will be crowded in the pan and not cook properly.
- 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.