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Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon

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Pan seared salmon

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Restaurant-quality pan seared salmon—crisp on top and just barely cooked in the center—is easy to make at home.

Salmon on a plate with greens.

Golden and crisp on top and just barely cooked at the center, this pan seared salmon is one of my go-to recipes when I have to hit the kitchen running. Not only is it fast—15 minutes start to finish—it’s also elegant. In fact, it’s the way salmon is typically prepared in fine dining restaurants (the same method is often used for cooking steak and scallops). This is really more of a technique than a traditional recipe, and it’s simple to master at home.

The key to perfect pan-seared salmon lies in choosing the right size fillets, seasoning them well, and allowing them to cook undisturbed. This technique, especially leaving the salmon untouched in hot oil, ensures a beautiful, golden crust that elevates the dish to restaurant quality.

“Supremely simple and delicious! I made this last night and must admit that the ingredients and cooking technique seemed ‘too simple.’ I went ahead and followed Jenn’s recipe exactly, and it was delicious! Don’t doubt it, just make it.”


What You’ll Need To Make Pan Seared Salmon

Salmon, olive oil, salt, and pepper on a counter.

The ingredients are simple: olive oil, salt, pepper, and salmon. I recommend using 6-ounce salmon fillets; these are often sold already portioned and ready to cook at the fish counter. This size will ensure that the salmon cooks fully on the interior without overcooking on the exterior. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by seasoning the salmon with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Don’t skimp on the salt—the biggest mistake most home cooks make is under-seasoning their food.

Seasoned salmon on parchment paper.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Cook the salmon, skin side up, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Resist the urge to fiddle with the fillets as they cook. Letting the fish sear untouched in hot oil creates a lovely, flavorful, and golden crust.

Seasoned salmon in a skillet.

Carefully flip the fillets and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking until done to your liking, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Partially-cooked salmon in a skillet.

Transfer to a platter and serve. Enjoy!

Salmon on a plate with greens.

Video Tutorial

More Salmon Recipes

Restaurant-Style Pan-Seared Salmon

Restaurant-quality pan seared salmon—crisp on top and just barely cooked in the center—is easy to make at home.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, 1¼ in thick (I have my fish monger remove the skin, but it's fine to leave it on if you like)


  1. Season the salmon with the salt and a few grinds of pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Cook the salmon, without moving, skin side up, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking until done to your liking, 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 384
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Sodium: 336 mg
  • Cholesterol: 94 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Awesome. Salmon Fillets turned out awesome. Thank you!
    Served with roast vegetables.

    • — Mitch on April 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • One of the best and easiest recipes for Salmon. It came out very moist. Out of personal preference I added a pinch of dill. Thanks

    • — DruT on March 29, 2024
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  • I bought some salmon today and, looking for inspiration, stumbled upon your website. Now, I’m not one for complicated recipes and thought, ‘what the heck, give it a go’. Also, I read some negative reviews. The recipe is easy to understand, but I couldn’t quite grasp how to control the medium heat and frying pan ‘composition’ issue. I opted for a steel pan, preheated with the knob on my Bosch gas hob set to 7.30 pm and placed the fish on (salted for 20 minutes). The first thing I quickly discovered is to move the fish a bit back and not let it stick onto the frying pan. I guess a non-stick pan wouldn’t require that. I followed your instructions to the letter, and you can see the side of the fish getting whiter as it cooks up. For me, it was 7 minutes on one side and the scaly bit for 6 minutes (as I kept on checking), and it has come out exactly as in your pictures. I’m a ‘can’t cook’ type, and for me, this is a massive Eureka moment. THANK YOU FOR THE RECIPE – I am now going to check out some more easy-to-cook recipes. Thumbs up from the family.

    • — nadeem on March 10, 2024
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  • The one discrepancy between the written instructions and the video. Written it says start with skin side up. The video shows starting skin side down first. It matters because the skin side takes longer to heat because of the fat content. I’ve always started with skin side down so it gets crispy. Soggy fish skin is not appetizing.

    • — John O'Connor on March 2, 2024
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    • Hi John. It may be a bit confusing because I use skinless salmon, so it’s hard to tell in the video which side is which. But it is in fact skin side up.

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2024
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  • Great!
    Finished with a lemon-dill-garlic butter. Let it melt for a couple of minutes.

    • — Curt on March 1, 2024
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    • Very easy. Thank you.

      • — Chrissy on April 6, 2024
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  • So easy and delicious! Thanks for suggesting to really add the salt! Definitely a make again!

    • — Sara on February 28, 2024
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  • Great! I had to make a few tweaks. I’ve done this recipe twice now. I had wild caught salmon I had to cut in pieces myself. The first time I tried to do it exactly like the recipe said, but after I flipped it, it only needed 3 minutes and it was a little overcooked, but tasty.
    I did it for the 2nd time tonight – I added a little bit of lemon pepper as well as salt. I just cooked it the first side for 3 minutes, then the other side about 2.5 minutes – it was perfect for us! I’ve saved this recipe and will do again, thank you!

    • — Emily on February 23, 2024
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  • Delicious! This is my go to recipe for salmon.

    • — Kathy D on February 13, 2024
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  • We are hosting a Valentines dinner party next week. One friend needs to avoid onions and garlic so this recipe will be great. I know the salmon tastes great all on its own but can you recommends a sauce that might work well to accompany it?

    • — Vicki on February 6, 2024
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    • Hi Vicki, this would be nice with a lemon butter sauce or you could go with the sauce from my chicken piccata. Hope you enjoy whatever you choose!

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2024
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      • Thanks for the idea! Would you recommend still using chicken broth or use a different broth since it’s going with salmon?

        • — Vicki on February 8, 2024
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        • Either chicken or vegetable broth should be fine.

          • — Jenn on February 9, 2024
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  • If you follow these instructions and do nothing else, the fish will stick to the pan and be ruined. When you unwrap salmon, most often it’s moist on the surface. If you don’t dry it before cooking, it will steam when it hits the hot oil in the pan. The vaporizing will displace the oil and your fish will stick. Pat dry with a paper towel before seasoning. Neglecting to mention that in this “recipe” is unforgivable.

    • — David Baker on January 17, 2024
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    • I’ve made this several times according to this recipe. Salmon has come out perfect every time, just like recipe says. Beautiful sear on top, tender in the middle.

      • — Fred on January 21, 2024
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    • Oh yeah, forgot to note. I put a rub on flesh side instead of salt before searing. I let it rest for about 15 minutes. The rub is a seafood rub. It’s call Seadog Rub. This made it especially flavorful!

      • — Fred on January 21, 2024
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  • Thanks Jenn,
    Came out perfectly!

    • — Darla Baker on January 16, 2024
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  • I tried this method, it is easy and very delicious. However, I get the same results by baking the fillets at 425 for 9 minutes then turning the fillets and baking an additional nine. Use a baking sheet lined with parchment greased liberally with olive oil spray. Salmon tends to stick to whatever surface you cook it on if not oiled properly. I prefer my Salmon well done so cooked mine 3 minutes on each side longer than this recipe recommended…Bear in mind that if you like yours well done also then you will need to add more oil than this method calls for. You can’t go wrong with pan frying in a HEALTHY oil such as Olive Oil, although I prefer Coconut Oil for Searing Fish. My favorite way to enjoy Salmon is grilled with a blackening season. I like to switch it up now and then though and this recipe was a very pleasant change, and will be using this method again its simple but simple is best…Thank you for sharing.

    • — Danny on January 14, 2024
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  • Followed with salmon that I had delivered from Wild Alaskan Company. I cooked the two pieces about one minute more on second side as it was a bit larger than your recipe and I wanted to be sure it was completely cooked. Absolutely delicious.

    • — Linda Lee on January 8, 2024
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  • this is the only way i cook salmon fillets now! i tried gordon ramsay’s method (skin side down) many times as well, and it’s nowhere near as good as this recipe. skin side up is the way to go, this recipe tastes better than what you’d get in a restaurant!

    • — Viv on January 6, 2024
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  • Tried cooking salmon for the first time and loved you pan fry recipe. I used lemon lavender seasoning bought at a lavender farm and was delicious. I cooked for 4 min of what I thought med heat but apparently too hot cause it burned but I love the crispness. It is pink still and moist inside

    • — Rebecca on January 5, 2024
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  • Perfect salmon, just what I was looking for! Thank you!

    • — AJ on December 22, 2023
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  • Skin side up? Really? Every recipe I’ve seen recommends skin side down!

    • — Brian on December 13, 2023
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    • Hi Brian, the reason for that is that the first side usually gets the prettiest sear so it will look nice when you serve it. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2023
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  • My son said this was the best salmon he has ever had, my husband used to “hate” salmon, he cleaned the plate. It is amazing and super simple, love it. Thank you!

    • — Janeth Vargas on December 6, 2023
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  • Fish sticks to the pan. Not sure the oil and heat directions are right.

    • — Jack on November 30, 2023
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    • If the fish sticks then that may mean that it is not done cooking on that side. I used to have this problem before. Just keep your eye on it and don’t force it off.

      • — Abbee T on December 2, 2023
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  • thank you! I have renewed my love affair with salmon… and, a person after my own heart… don’t be afraid to use salt! THANK YOU. You are a Litvak’s dream. Yes, it was fabulous!! I will be even better next time. Hard to judge shimmering olive oil on a gas stove top oven.. with the exhaust running high (per EPA advise)… I think it was the use of olive oil. For so long, I have opted for a good quality CANOLA, which, is more heart friendly. But, if using olive oil once in a while allows me to enjoy salmon as I have today, then, I will take the risk. Worth it!

    • — Kermit Goodman on November 29, 2023
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  • 10 Stars! I am so delighted I found this technique for preparing salmon. It is spot on and after following your instruction several times, the salmon is perfect every time!
    Many thanks!!

    • — Karen O'Donnell on November 27, 2023
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  • Amazing! I was only able to get my hands on one portion, but after I cooked it with a quarter of all the listed seasonings, it still tasted heavenly. I’m only a fifth grader, but I was able to make this without hassle. Delicious and simple!

    • — Zichen Xu on November 27, 2023
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    • Good for you for cooking for yourself as a fifth grader. 😊
      And glad you liked the salmon!

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2023
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    • I wish my fifth grader would cook! Good job!

      • — Kora on January 12, 2024
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  • I love this recipe. Thank you!

    • — Lois on November 20, 2023
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  • Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe. Also with the specific cooking time and temperature while frying. Helps alot not ending the fish hard and dry. It was very juicy and tender.

    • — Angie on October 26, 2023
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  • Made this tonight! So easy and cooked to perfection. Followed your instructions exactly. I’ve been poaching salmon prior to now, but this is my new favorite. Thanks a ton for this recipe. I’ve got it bookmarked!

    • — Candy on October 24, 2023
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  • This was sooo good. Our kitchen got quite smoky in the process though. Any tips for preventing that?

    • — Alison on October 17, 2023
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    • Hi Alison, glad you liked it! There’s not a great way to avoid the smoke other than turning the heat down just a touch. Also, make sure you turn on your exhaust fan. Opening a window can help too. 😊

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2023
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  • The easiest and best tasting salmon. My family is picky and they could not stop raving about this. Thank you for the explanation, not touching the salmon makes all the difference.

    • — AMD on October 6, 2023
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  • I made the Seared Salmon, but I made with it a Brandy Mustard butter Sauce. I was looking for a recipe for Seared Salmon and it gave me this one. It said that it was found on onceuponachef.com. Hoping it’s your recipe, because it came out amazing. I have a dinner party coming up and I’m using the same recipe, I will take pictures this time around.

    • — Noris Rivera on October 3, 2023
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  • Came out quite tasty. I left the skin on.

    • — Pete Bauer on September 30, 2023
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  • Excellent!

    • — Cindy A on September 23, 2023
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  • It was very easy and delicious, and I thank you very much!

    • — Hilda on September 10, 2023
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  • Just prepared it exactly as written. Timing was perfect and simple seasoning was delicious.

    • — Susan Russell on August 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Delicious and easy to make. Definitely will make it again.

      • — Sofia Owens on October 2, 2023
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  • This recipe is so goooood!!! Easy and delicious. I added a bit of grated ginger and put the salmon atop a salad. I am so glad I found this recipe and this website. Thank you!

    • — Carly Davis on July 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Just so simple and delicious, good with asparagus spears . Love recipe.

      • — Evan Jeske on September 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Incredible, perfect, simple- thank you!!

    • — Jacqueline on July 23, 2023
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  • Fantastic recipe! I added some more seasonings, but my oh my!

    • — Dan Dobek on July 20, 2023
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  • I have never liked salmon but I tried your recipe and boy do I like salmon now. So simple and elegant.
    Thank you.

    • — Mary on July 12, 2023
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  • Any tips on storing and reheating? Would like to make this for a couple days worth of meal prep!

    Thank you! 🙂

    • — Kiran Panchal on July 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kiran, I’d store it in an airtight container and reheat it briefly in the microwave just until heated through. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 11, 2023
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  • I’ve found my way to cook salmon! The crust was perfect! The fillet was still moist inside, just an amazing finished product.

    • — Lawrence Landy on June 20, 2023
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    • Thank you so much for this! The salmon turned out perfect!

      • — Michelle M on September 22, 2023
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  • The salmon turned out just as described! Crisp on top, looked beautiful and tasted delicate but juicy. My husband, a stroke survivor, eat every last morsel down to the skin! Highly recommend using this technique for cooking salmon.

    • — Kate Jensen on June 4, 2023
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  • As another person said, the recipe is so simple and yet, so good. Great crust and well-cooked. Hubby said 👍

    • — Jay Em on May 13, 2023
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  • Cooked this salmon recipe tonight, and it was perfect!!
    Easy and so delicious

    • — Liz on May 3, 2023
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  • SO good! I will cut the flip side down to 2 1/2 to 3 minutes as it was a bit overcooked for my taste.

    • — Sybil on April 20, 2023
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  • I have made Salmon for many years in many different ways. Baked, broiled, steamed, salmon en papillote. This time I followed your directions exactly and the salmon was super delicious. My husband says your way is the best way ever. I usually buy a large piece of salmon at Costco and cut it in thirds. Then I freeze two and we eat one immediately. What I discovered is that the salmon piece must be completely and fully defrosted. This is definitely the recipe I will be following from now on.

    • — Irene on April 18, 2023
    • Reply

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