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


Overhead Shot Of All Ingredients for pan fried salmon On The gray wood surfaceTMB Studio

  • 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

Salmon Skin Side Up Cooking In Electric SkilletTMB Studio

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.

Suzanne Podhaizer
Suzanne has been working in the food space as a chef, editor and writer for nearly 20 years. After earning her degree in food studies at the University of Vermont-Montpelier, Suzanne worked as the food editor of Vermont’s Seven Days newspaper and won a national award for her food coverage. Her next venture was a farm-to-table restaurant with a changing menu for which she developed hundreds of recipes. These days, she develops and shares all kinds of recipes and cooking techniques at Taste of Home, makes maple syrup and grows vegetables, mushrooms and edible flowers in Vermont. She’s also a traveling retreat cook and loves feeding artists to help fuel the creative process.