Pan Grilled Salmon
Published Mar 04, 2022
Updated Aug 22, 2023
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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 17 minutes!
Table of Contents
- Pan Grilling Salmon
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ingredients For Pan Grilled Salmon
- Easy Salmon Seasoning
- How To Pan Grill Salmon
- Expert Tips For Pan Grilled Salmon
- Is It Better To Bake or Pan Fry Salmon?
- Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
- What To Serve With Pan Grilled Salmon
- More Easy Dinner Recipes
- More Salmon Recipes To Try
- Pan Grilled Salmon Recipe
Pan Grilling Salmon
One of the quickest ways to get dinner on the table is to make Pan Grilled Salmon. With this easy cooking technique, you’ll get the best salmon ever! So so good!
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!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
You’ll love this recipe because it is:
- Quick and Easy: There’s no slaving for hours and hours in the kitchen.
- Healthy and Low Carb: Salmon is loaded with lots of nutrients for you! And it’s low carb too!
- Versatile: You can pair this salmon with so many sides like Sauteed Peppers, Sautéed Vegetables, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, steamed vegetables, Mango Avocado Salsa, Garlic Butter Green Beans, Garlic Herb Rice, and more.
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 Fillets: Fresh or frozen salmon fillets would work. The fillets should be at room temperature to ensure even cooking. So make sure you remove the fillets early enough from the fridge or thaw them early enough before using.
- 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.
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!
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.
- Heat oil in a pan (preferably a cast iron skillet).
- Add seasoned salmon to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until opaque.
Expert Tips For Pan Grilled Salmon
1. Use a cast iron pan or non-stick skillet (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.
2. Start cooking the salmon skin side down. It is easier to flip fish when the skin is down since the flesh is too delicate.
3. Press salmon down once it reaches the hot skillet to ensure crispy skin and even cooking.
4. Cook salmon on medium heat: 4-5 minutes on the first side until opaque or adjust the time depending on the thickness of the salmon. Cook for about 4 minutes on the other side.
5. Wipe the pan between batches to remove burnt bits if cooking in a smaller skillet and in several batches.
6. Use a large cast iron skillet (12 inches) to cook many fillets at once.
7. Cook the salmon fillets in a grill pan to get grill marks.
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.
- 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.
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you need to flip salmon when cooking in a pan so the other side can get cooked as well.
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.
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.
What To Serve With Pan Grilled Salmon
Serve Pan Grilled Salmon with a variety of side dishes, including:
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Sauteed Vegetables
- Mango Avocado Salsa
- Roasted Potatoes
- Garlic Butter Green Beans
- Sauteed Peppers
Note that a squeeze of lemon juice always adds freshness to any seafood, including this easy salmon recipe!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
Love easy dinner recipes? Check these out:
- Pan Seared Steak
- Creamy Chicken Drumsticks
- Chicken in White Sauce
- Pan Seared Tilapia
- Pan Seared Lamb Chops
- Lemon Pepper Turkey Wings
- Lemon Butter Tilapia
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Pan Grilled Salmon
- 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 for about 4-5 minutes on the other side. So watch your fish, depending on its thickness, it might take a shorter time to cook.)
- Serve this Pan Grilled Salmon warm with your favorite vegetable or carb side dish. I love it with sautéed vegetables!