This simple pan seared salmon recipe gives you fish that's perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside every time! It uses everyday ingredients and takes about 20 minutes.
Pan frying salmon may seem a little intimidating if you've never done it before, but it's actually quite easy. I walk you through how to do it and include a whole bunch of success tips in this blog post. 🙂
For pan searing, I prefer to buy salmon with the skin on. It helps keep it moist, makes it easier to flip, and the skin crisps up beautifully. Yes, you can eat it... and it's delicious (and nutritious). If you prefer not to, it's easy to slide/peel it off when it's done cooking.
How to pan sear salmon (overview):
Take the salmon out of the fridge before cooking it (15-30 minutes will do). Cut it into 4 pieces and pat it dry with paper towel. Season generously with salt & pepper. Add oil & butter to a skillet over medium-high heat and let it heat up until it's good and hot. Cook the salmon skin-side down for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until it's done. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
How long to pan sear salmon?
For a 1" thick piece of salmon with skin, cook it for 5 minutes skin-side down, then flip it and cook it for another 2-4 minutes. For skinless salmon, you may need to adjust timing (err on the side of less time) to compensate. Use your eyes to guide you - watch the color change as the fish cooks (it goes from a brighter/deeper pink to a lighter pink).
Recipe notes & tips:
- Don't be tempted to move the salmon around the pan. Let it cook. If it's sticking when you try to flip it, don't panic. If it doesn't release easily, let it cook for a little longer.
- Don't crowd the pan. It's better to give the salmon pieces plenty of room and do two batches vs. cramming them all in there (then they will steam and the sear won't be as good).
- This recipe is written for 1 pound of salmon, but you can cook as much as you have on hand. If the pan gets dry, simply add a little more butter and olive oil.
- Got leftovers?
- Salmon is delicious cold in a salad the next day!
- For leftovers, I recommend peeling the skin off after it's cooked/before packing it up since it won't be crispy anymore when you reheat it.
- Reheating salmon: try wrapping it in foil and reheating in a 275F oven for 15-20 minutes or until it's 145F in the thickest part. In a microwave, reduce the power and microwave in 30 second increments so you don't overcook it.
- It's best to eat cooked salmon within 3-4 days. I try to eat leftovers within a day or two just to be on the safe side.
- Tools used for this recipe:
What to serve with crispy pan seared salmon?
It's delicious served with lemon wedges so everyone can control how much lemon juice to add to theirs. I also like to sprinkle on a bit of chopped parsley for freshness. Fresh dill is good too. For sides, anything from rice, a salad, to pasta, gnocchi, mashed potatoes, or veggies (try my easy method for cooking asparagus or these glazed carrots). It's also delicious with some homemade tzatziki (one of my favorite things to serve with salmon!).
More tasty salmon recipes to try:
I hope this recipe gives you perfect pan seared salmon! Questions? Ask me in the comments below! As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you've made one of my recipes.
Easy Pan Seared Salmon
- 1 pound salmon cut into 4 pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 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 the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Let the skillet heat up for a few minutes.
- Cook the salmon (skin-side down) for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and flip it over and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until it's cooked through (it'll take a little longer if your salmon is more than 1" thick, and less if thinner than 1"). Keep in mind the salmon will continue to cook a bit even after taking it out of the skillet, so don't overdo it.
- To serve, it's delicious with fresh lemon juice squeezed over top, and there's more suggestions in the blog post. If you're not a fan of the skin (it's crispy and delicious if you eat it right away), it's easy to peel off once it's cooked.
- I used Atlantic salmon that was about 1" thick for this recipe.
- If you're wanting to cook more than a pound of salmon, I recommend cooking it in batches so it's not crowded in the pan and it gets a nice sear. Add more oil/butter as needed.
- See blog post for more tips and process photos.
- 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.