How to Make Pan-Fried Salmon
This simple pan-fried salmon is perfect for weeknight meals, but can easily be jazzed up for special occasions.
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Need dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes? This easy pan-fried salmon recipe has your back! The dish is quick, healthy and only calls for a few staple ingredients.
Once you know how to cook pan-seared salmon on the stovetop, you can dress the fish up in dozens of different ways. Keep reading to see some of our best ideas. (And if you’re looking for something deep-fried instead, this guide explains how to fry fish.)
How to Pan-Fry Salmon
- 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Step 1: Season the fish
Pat both sides of the salmon with paper towels to remove moisture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Heat the pan
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot and the oil shimmers, add salmon skin side up and cook 4 minutes.
Step 3: Flip the salmon
Turn fish and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, 3-4 minutes longer. For easy turning, use a nice, wide spatula.
Step 4: Serve it up!
Pan-seared salmon is a stellar accompaniment for all kinds of vegetables. The salmon would be particularly good with crisp, lightly cooked veggies such as green beans, bell peppers, or zucchini. It’s also a perfect partner for hearty salads. Pair it with any of our favorite sides for fried fish.
Salmon is great with potatoes, pasta, Asian noodles and rice, too. Have a little extra time? Make risotto to serve on the side.
Tips for Pan-Frying Salmon
- If you want this recipe to be completely no-fail, cook the salmon in a seasoned cast-iron pan or a nonstick pan. No matter what pan you’re using, make sure the oil is nice and hot before you add the salmon, and don’t turn it until it releases easily from the pan.
- Not feeling confident about your fish cookery? Here are the secrets to cooking fish properly!
- Pan-seared salmon is practically begging for a delicious sauce. It would be great with something light and citrus-y, like the lemon sauce that goes with chicken piccata. Or serve the salmon with this creamy dill dip.
- If you like meal-prepping, this salmon can be refrigerated once cooked and used cold. Use salmon in place of tuna in this Niçoise salad, sub it for the canned fish in salmon patties or serve it over sesame noodles.