Pan Grilled Salmon

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How to make incredibly tasty Pan Grilled Salmon. This salmon is crispy on the outside, tender and flakey on the inside, and ready in just 15 minutes!

Four grilled salmon fillets on a serving platter

One of the quickest ways to get dinner on the table is to make Pan Grilled Salmon. This is my go-to salmon recipe. By cooking salmon in a hot pan to be golden brown, you’ll get the best salmon ever with crispy! So so good!

The dry rub that goes on the fish adds lots of flavor to an already tasty fish. Serve this with some Mango Avocado Salsa or Sautéed Vegetables and Easy Coconut Rice for a tasty meal.

Cooking Salmon In a Grill Pan

You could use a cast iron skillet or a grill pan to grill salmon, right on the stovetop. This recipe happens quickly so you can be in and out of the kitchen in no time. And it is foolproof! For salmon grilled on the outside grill, this recipe for Grilled Sockeye Salmon is perfect!

If you love salmon, also check out my Lemon Butter Salmon, Pan Fried Teriyaki Salmon, Baked Cajun Salmon, and Salmon and Broccoli Sheet Pan.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are so may reasons to love this recipe that teaches you how to sear salmon in a hot pan.

  • It is quick and easy: There’s no laboring for hours and hours in the kitchen.
  • It is good for you: Salmon is loaded with lots of nutrients for you so it makes a healthy meal.
  • It is versatile: You can pair this salmon with so many sides like Sauteed Peppers, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, steamed vegetables, Garlic Butter Green Beans, Garlic Herb Rice, and much more. You could also use it as the protein for a salad. The possibilities are endless.
A plate with vegetables and salmon

Quick pan-cooked meals are lifesavers, especially for busy mamas like me! For more easy dinner recipes with fish, check out my Pan-Seared Tilapia, Lemon Butter Tilapia, and Oven Grilled Red Snapper recipes.

Ingredients For Pan Grilled Salmon

You just need some good salmon, some oil, and a good mix of dried spices and herbs. Here are the ingredients you need:

Salmon, oil and dry rub spices for pan grilled salmon
  • Salmon Fillets: Fresh or frozen salmon fillets would work. Wild salmon is great but if getting farmed salmon, make sure the label states it was responsibly farmed. I mostly use wild sockeye salmon or Atlantic salmon for this recipe.
  • Ground White Pepper or Black Pepper: I love using white pepper with fish. The flavor of white pepper really complements fish well. But if you can’t find white pepper just go with black pepper.
  • Spices and Herbs: A combination of garlic powder or granules, dried basil, paprika powder, and parsley flakes really adds more to this salmon.
  • Olive oil: Light olive oil or any neutral-tasting oil like vegetable oil or canola oil would work.

Be sure to check out the full recipe below, including the quantities of each ingredient.

Season salmon as soon as you are about to cook it. If you let it sit in the seasoning, the salt will draw moisture out of the fish.

Easy Salmon Seasoning

Making Salmon seasoning is really easy! Just mix together garlic granules, salt, white or black pepper, dried parsley, and dried basil.

Salmon seasoning on plates

This pan-fried salmon dry rub is great on other kinds of fish, beef, pork, and chicken! Try using it to season steak or chicken thighs. So good!

Landscape picture of salmon

Always use room temperature fish to make Pan Grilled Salmon. If the fish is not at room temperature, some parts will get done before others, resulting in unevenly cooked fish. Allow ample time (20-30 minutes) to bring the fish from the refrigerator to room temperature before cooking.

How To Pan Grill Salmon

  • First, pat the salmon dry with paper towels. This will help create a nice crust on the fish.
  • Mix seasoning and rub all over the fish. You need about a teaspoon of seasoning per fillet. Rub the seasoning all over the fish making sure to rub the sides as well.
Seasoned Salmon fillets
  • Heat oil in a pan until until hot. The best pan I recommend is a cast iron skillet.
  • Add seasoned salmon to the skillet skin side down and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until opaque or until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees F. Let the fish cook on medium heat to prevent it from burning.
Salmon fillets cast iron skillet
Juicy grilled salmon

And that’s how you make perfect pan-seared salmon! You’ll love these tender salmon fillets. For the best results, let the salmon rest covered with foil for about 5 minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, yielding soft and juicy fish.

A good finishing tip is to squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked salmon and garnish with minced parsley. You could also make some lemon butter sauce and drizzle over the cooked fish. See my recipe for Lemon Butter Salmon.

Expert Tips For Pan Grilled Salmon

  • Paper towel is essential for patting the fish dry before cooking, thereby removing excess unwanted moisture.
  • Use a cast iron pan or nonstick pan (the fish is easier to flip with non-stick) for pan grilled salmon. Stainless steel works as well due to the even distribution of heat but could easily stick. If you use a stainless steel skillet be sure to generously grease it with oil.
  • Make sure you add the salmon to a hot pan with hot oil. Start cooking the salmon skin side down if using salmon with skin-on. It is easier to flip fish when the skin is down since the flesh is too delicate. Press salmon down once it reaches the hot skillet to ensure crispy skin and even cooking.
  • Check the doneness of the fish using an instant-read thermometer to prevent overcooking or undercooking the fish. The cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the fillets. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires cooking salmon to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the fish from heat around 140 degrees F. It will continue to cook as it rests.
  • Wipe the pan between batches to remove burnt bits if cooking in a smaller skillet and in several batches. Add more oil to the pan before cooking the next batch.
  • Use a large skillet (12 inches) to cook many fillets at once.
  • Cook the salmon fillets in a grill pan if you want to get gorgeous grill marks.
Pan Grilled Salmon fillets on platter

Use a fish spatula to easily flip salmon or any pan-seared protein.

Is It Better To Bake or Pan Fry Salmon?

It depends. Baking salmon requires little hands-on time to prep the fish then you let the oven do the work.

Pan-frying salmon gives you a nice crust and it is the way to go if you do not want to turn on your oven.

Pan-frying salmon is quicker too as the fish only needs to cook for about 4 minutes per side.

The seasoning in this recipe would work for both pan-grilled or oven-baked salmon.

Close up shot of pan grilled salmon


  • Spicy: Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the seasoning mix for a spicy kick.
  • Butter: After pan-grilling the fish, add butter to the pan and let it melt then spoon the melted butter over the fish.
  • Other seasonings: Try seasoning your fish with other seasoning blends such as Italian seasoning, and Cajun seasoning. Or to keep it simple, season with just salt and pepper.

More Recipe FAQs

Do you flip salmon when cooking in a pan?

Yes, you need to flip salmon when cooking in a pan so the other side can get cooked as well.

How long should salmon be cooked in a pan?

Cook salmon for about 4 minutes per side on medium-high heat. The cooking time might be less or more depending on the thickness of the fish. To check if the salmon is done, gently press on the fish with a fork. If it flakes easily then it is done.

How can you tell when grilled salmon is done?

The easiest way to tell if grilled salmon is done is to press the fish using a fork or your finger. If it separates easily, then it is done. You could also use a meat thermometer to ensure that the fish is cooked perfectly. The fish should register an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered done.

What To Serve With Pan Grilled Salmon

Serve Pan Grilled Salmon with a variety of side dishes, including:

Note that a squeeze of lemon juice always adds freshness to any seafood, including this easy salmon recipe! This is one of my go-to recipes and probably my favorite wat to cook salmon. I hope you love it as much as I do!

More Easy Dinner Recipes

Love easy dinner recipes? Check these out:

More Salmon Recipes To Try

If you make this recipe please leave a star rating below. Your rating helps others find the recipe plus I love hearing from you! Thank you!

Four grilled salmon fillets on a serving platter

Pan Grilled Salmon

5 from 6 votes
How to make incredibly tasty Pan Grilled Salmon. The dry rub that goes on the fish adds lots of flavor to an already tasty fish. Serve this with a favorite vegetable side dish for a complete meal.
Prep: 4 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each, skin on, fish should be at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper or ground black pepper see note 3
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Pat dry room temperature salmon fillets with paper towel on both sides.
  • Make the seasoning mix. In a small bowl mix together the salt, white or black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder.
  • Pour about a teaspoon of the seasoning mix over each salmon fillet. Using your fingers, rub the seasoning mix over the fillets ensuring that the seasoning is well distributed on the fish.
  • Place a cast iron skillet or grill pan on medium heat and let it heat up. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to ensure the oil coats the pan. Let the oil heat up for 1-2 minutes until shimmering then add the salmon skin side down to the pan. Let it cook on one side undisturbed for 5 minutes or less depending on the thickness of the fish. I cook 3 fillets at a time in my grill pan and 2 fillets at a time in my 10-inch cast iron pan.
  • Flip the salmon to the other side and let it cook for another 4 minutes until the fish is opaque and easily flakes or until the desired doneness. Remove the salmon from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining 3 salmon fillets, starting with adding the remaining olive oil to the pan.
  • (I used fairly thick salmon, so I had to cook them on the other side for about 4-5 minutes. So watch your fish; depending on its thickness, it might take a shorter time to cook.) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires cooking salmon to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the fish from heat at around 140 degrees F. It will continue to cook as it rests.
  • Serve this Pan Grilled Salmon warm with your favorite vegetable or carb side dish. I love it with sautéed vegetables!



1. It is important to use fish at room temperature because that makes for even cooking. If the fish is not at room temperature some portions will cook faster than others. So take the fish out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
2. Patting the fish dry with paper towels ensures that the fish gets a nice crust on the outside.
3. I love using white pepper with fish. The flavor of white pepper really complements fish well. But if you can’t find white pepper just go with black pepper.
4. Do not overcrowd the pan when making this Pan Grilled Salmon. I used a standard 10-inch cast iron pan so I only cooked 2 fillets at once so there was enough heat to properly sear each fish.
5. Feel free to scale the recipe to suit the quantity you need. If you need only half the salmon, half every other ingredient in the recipe.


Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 861mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Calories: 308
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at

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  1. Already made your pan seared tilapia and pan seared salmon. Both turned out great, better than I expected. The seasonings were on point. Thank you for the recipes. Will be using them from now on.