Today’s pan seared salmon recipe aims to make a restaurant-quality, well-seasoned salmon with crispy skin in the blink of an eye. In this recipe, pan-frying — a classic yet simple technique — produces an amazing flavor and texture.
Before jumping into the how-to part, let's check out some health benefits from this beautiful fish.
Is Pan Seared Salmon Healthy?
Speaking of ingredients, salmon — the star of this pan seared salmon recipe — is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease while improving your skin, eye health, and brain functions. Protein plays an essential role in our body, including building muscles, repairing tissues, and producing enzymes and hormones.
In terms of nutritional profile, each serving of our pan seared salmon provides 500 calories and 8.5 grams of saturated fat. These numbers are in line with the healthy eating guideline from the USDA. In other words, this recipe is both healthy and nutritionally balanced.
Eating salmon frequently may help you control your weight.
Nutritionally, salmon is high in protein and low in calories. One ounce of fish provides 5.81 grams of protein and only 36 calories.
Rich in protein, salmon also helps regulate the hormones that tell you when you are full. This means that when you eat salmon, you will feel full for longer while consuming fewer calories.
How to Season Salmon
With this pan seared salmon recipe, you can keep the seasoning simple with salt and pepper and let the pan do the work to create a crispy exterior and a succulent interior. A big splash of fresh lemon juice brings everything together perfectly.
Protip: Don’t salt the fillet and let it sit. The salt will draw out the moisture from the salmon and leave the meat drier and less flavorful. Instead, let your pan heat up on the stove and add the salt in the meantime.
When Is Salmon Done?
Cooking salmon is easy once you have the right process and technique. Salmon’s cooking times depend on two things: the thickness of the salmon and how well it is cooked: medium-rare, medium, or well-done.
In general, you can estimate 6-8 minutes per one inch of thickness of the fillet, regardless of the cooking method. Note that the time can also vary depending on what kind of pan it is and the cooking temperature.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, once the thickest part of the salmon reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145˚F, it will be a well-done piece of fish.
If you’re going for medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 125˚F to 135˚F. The fish will continue to cook a little bit even after removing it from the heat, whilst remaining moist and tender inside.
A thermometer is the most accurate kitchen tool to check whether your fillet is done, but not everyone has a thermometer on hand. Another simple way is to check the flakiness of the cooked fish.
Use a fork or the tip of a knife to test the salmon’s texture. If the meat begins to flake but is still pink and slightly translucent in the middle, it’s ready to eat.
Pan Seared Salmon without Skin
There is no big difference in the amount of time needed to cook salmon with or without skin. While some people prefer removing the skin from the fish, you can keep the skin on for additional nutrition.
How to Reheat Salmon
Pan seared salmon is best to serve immediately when freshly cooked. Once reheated, the fish might lose its moisture, leaving it dried out and flavorless.
Cooked leftover salmon can still be succulent as long as you reheat it correctly. The trick is to cook your fish at low heat, which helps it stay moist and flaky.
Also, don’t forget to cover your fillet with aluminum foil before placing it in the oven. The foil acts as a shield to trap the moistness inside and keep the fish from burning.
In 10 - 15 minutes, your serving-size salmon will be heated through and ready to serve on the table.
How Long Does It Last?
Cooked fish can last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and months in the freezer, according to the USDA. We recommend wrapping your salmon in aluminum foil or placing it in an airtight container to prevent the growth of bacteria and prolong the lifespan of the fish.
What to Serve with
This nutritious and satisfying salmon dish already contains protein and healthy fat. It is best to accompany with some simple carbohydrates, delivering plenty of flavor without overpowering the taste of the fish.
We have gone with a silky, creamy mashed potato as a side and a bright cucumber lime juice to round it off.
Better Ways to Enjoy Salmon
How would you like it if the skin were to be super crispy? This recipe of ours really fries the skin over high heat, then serves the fish over cooked greens and chickpea mash. It’s suitable for when you just want something simple.
But if you’re not looking for simplicity, check out this garlic butter salmon. Super crispy skin fried with garlic, buttered asparagus, and soft potato wedges are what it has, and we don’t have to tell you how great it all tastes. The garlicky flavor is also amplified with extra garlic powder, tied together with some mild lemon juice.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
I made this for my husband and he loves it. It was amazing!
Gr Ash Burn
That was so easy and turned out great. Thanks Luna!