Restaurant-Style Pan-Seared Salmon

Tested & Perfected Recipes

how to make pan-seared salmon

Pan-seared until crisp on top and just barely cooked at the center: this is how I cook salmon 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.

This is really more of a technique than a recipe, and it’s easy to master at home. The key is to start with the right-sized fillets (the ready-to-cook 6-oz portions sold at the fish counter are ideal) so that the fish cooks fully on the interior without overcooking on the exterior. It’s also important to resist the urge to fiddle with the fillets as they cook. Letting the fish sear untouched in hot oil creates that lovely, flavorful golden crust that makes this dish restaurant-worthy.

how to make pan-seared salmon

Season the salmon with the salt and a few grinds of pepper.

how to make pan-seared salmon

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.

how to make pan-seared salmon

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

how to make pan-seared salmon

Transfer to a platter and serve. Enjoy!

how to make pan-seared salmon

 

My Recipe Videos

Restaurant-Style Pan-Seared Salmon

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

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, 1-1/4 in thick (I have my fish monger remove the skin, but it's fine to leave it on if you like)

Instructions

  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.

Reviews & Comments

  • This recipe saw me through my first attempt at a salmon dinner. I paired it with lightly steamed broccoli crowns and oven baked potatoes. (I’m just learning my way around the kitchen..I’m still just astonished when when every thing can hit the plates at the same time..it’s magic lol). I started out a little bit nervous as salmon is one of my fiancée’s favorites and I was cooking it at his request. We both agree…it turned out amazing! Thank you SO much!

    • — Lisa on November 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • I have been preparing our weekly salmon recipe using the convection broil feature on my oven. The salmon is seasoned and in an oiled Pyrex dish. But we’ve recently been buying two dinners worth of wild salmon from our farmer’s market provider. For the second dinner this week, I decided to your restaurant approach. I used my recently acquired carbon steel skillet which performed beautifully. I followed the skin side up starting point and then turned it over at medium with skin side down. It still seemed a little underdone so I stuck it into an already hot 350 degrees oven for 10-15 minutest.
    In a professional kitchen, would they then stick the skillet in a 500 degree broiler to finish it?
    Your recipe will be part of my repertoire. Thanks!

    • — boomerangkitchen.blogspot.com on October 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi, I think that professional chefs would generally finish it off in the oven. The temp may be a bit higher than 350 degrees, but it’s not likely that they’d broil it.

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2018
      • Reply
  • If the skin is removed at the fish market, do you still follow the directions as shown for fish with skin on????

    • — Sheila on October 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Sheila, Yes cooking process would be the same. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • This simple way of cooking salmon produces a crisp, tasty skin and a silky, moist interior. Because I use frozen salmon, I dry the salmon steaks thoroughly with a paper towel before popping them into the skillet.

    • — Ruth on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Delicious and simple. I love this salmon, easy and healthy weeknight meal! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Sue Morgan on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • So easy and definitely makes for fancy dinner!

    • — Keisi on October 4, 2018
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  • I have tried SO many different ways to cook salmon, and have had SO many failures. I am throwing out all my other recipes, and only using yours from now on. I did use a cast iron skillet (my grandmothers- so it is perfectly seasoned) and the skin was deliciously crispy. I really appreciate your simple recipes like this that provide more of a technique, and I can file under quick, healthy, and easy! If you have any tips for how to cook frozen salmon that I forget to thaw, I’d love to hear them!!

    • — Lindsay on October 3, 2018
    • Reply
    • So glad you have finally had success with salmon, Lindsay! 🙂 I’ve never cooked salmon from frozen, so I can’t speak from experience, but this may help.

      • — Jenn on October 3, 2018
      • Reply
  • Easy, elegant and delicious!

    • — Maria on August 27, 2018
    • Reply
  • I am trying to add more fish to my diet and have used this recipe a couple of times now. It is so easy and delicious! It is one of my family’s favorites

    • — Tamara H on July 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • I’ve been wanting to try this since you published it Jenn. My grocery sells the same portions in your picture. Tonight was the night. Another winner… imagine that! Lol! My wife said, “it was sooo delicious! A thin crispy outside and a moist and tender inside!” I smiled to myself because it’s practically word-for-word your description. Of course, as always, I said this is another recipe from Jenn Segal and her website.

    Btw…. your cookbook is wonderful, Jenn. Great job putting it together.

    • — Frank on July 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • So happy you’re enjoying all the recipes, Frank! 😊

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • Wonderful~
    Thanks Jenn, without you, I won’t have such a nice breakfast!

    • — Li on May 28, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hello! Does the salmon have to have the skin? I only have skinless…..thank you!

    • — Alice on May 2, 2018
    • Reply
    • No, Alice, it’s perfectly fine if the salmon doesn’t have skin – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 2, 2018
      • Reply
  • This is the best way to prepare salmon that I’ve found thus far. Crispy exterior with meat that literally melts in the mouth. Amazing!

    • — Maura on April 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • Five Stars! Simply delicious.

    • — Nomi on March 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • Way too rich for me. It’s essentially frying the meat of the salmon in oil, and the two together is just too much for me. (I’m obviously in the minority though.) I might try it again but skin side down, maybe pop it in the broiler at the end to brown it up.

    • — Betsy on March 17, 2018
    • Reply
    • Umm.. are you sure? When the pan-fried surface touches the water, it would immediately lose its crispy taste. Even it’s only a few seconds.
      Try this with little to no oil. I tried this before, the fish won’t go black or overcooked! Maybe put it on a paper and absorb some of the oils?

      • — Li on May 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this over the weekend with Salmon portions since they are easier to flip. The timing was spot on and the prep so easy. I’m going to do it again with some spicier toppings.

    • — Owen on March 8, 2018
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  • Salmon can be a bit pricey for our budget and I was afraid to buy it in case it didn’t turn out. Your recipe made it sound so simple that I gave it a try – and perfection! Thank you! I am eagerly awaiting for your cookbook to arrive.

    • — Donna on March 7, 2018
    • Reply
  • Awesome and so easy. My new way of cooking salmon. Thank you!!

    • — Chelai on March 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • Followed this recipe to a T, and it turned out perfect! So much flavor with simple preparation, a crisp exterior and tender inside. Wouldn’t change a thing!

    • — Meghan on March 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Simplicity at its best! Recipe always turns out exemplary results as written. Cooking time may need to be adjusted if the filets are very thick.

    • — Ellie on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • This is my new go-to for cooking salmon on the stove. So simple and tastes great! Easy to dress up with what you have on hand like the teriyaki glaze I had or make a quick packaged hollandaise sauce.

    • — Sara Rose on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Jenn’s recipes are always NO FAIL.
    We purchased salmon from our local fish market and cooked it exactly as stated. It was delicious!
    Our side dish was noodles with Jenn’s Peanut Sauce and fresh sauteed vegetables.

    • — Sandy Murphy on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
    • Interesting how some combinations sound delicious as soon as you read them. Noodles in peanut sauce as a side sounds perfect.

      • — Frank on July 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • Love this- 5 Star!
    I’m always so reluctant to cook salmon but this was fabulous! Very easy & delicious.
    Who knew??
    Thank you

    • — Cheryl Walunas on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Wow! Using your technique made all the difference in the taste and texture of my weekly pan fried salmon!!! Thanks sooo much!

    • — Wendy Montemayor on February 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • This salmon was a winner! It looked just like the picture, great texture, and tasted excellent. I made for Valentine’s Day with a side of watercress salad with warm vinaigrette followed by a couple good cheeses and choc covered strawberries. Such an easy, fast and delicious meal. My husband who used to not be fond of salmon loved it. I also like the pecan panko crusted salmon from this site and epicurious glazed grilled salmon but I think I will now often opt for this for ease and elegance.

    • — Janet on February 15, 2018
    • Reply
  • After seeing this recipe featured last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. I made it a few days later for home date night, with the rice pilaf in the same blog and the lemon pudding cakes. We love salmon and this was a super fast and tasty way to prepare it. Love your recipes!

    • — Rachel on February 13, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for this – I love salmon but getting a great outcome at home isn’t always a guarantee. Question for you, what changes if any should I make if I have salmon with no skin? Thanks!

    • — Janet on February 12, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, no changes necessary — I use salmon with the skin removed for this. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • We don’t have a non stick pan for the restaurant style salmon. What would you change in using our all clad pan?

    • — Carl on February 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Carl, It’s perfectly fine to use stainless steel; nonstick just offers a little insurance that the salmon will release easily.

      • — Jenn on February 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • Perfection! I like Salmon very much but hate making it at home because its too dry, and the albumin always always comes out in a nasty goo that I cant even wipe off. Really gross!! I have tried this twice already and its just perfect. No albumin!! Who knew it was this easy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    • — Christina on February 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • Well, that was absolutely delicious and QUICK. Had it with steamed green beans and Tilda rice pilau. Dinner on the table in 20 minutes. Fish cooked to perfection.
    Thanks again Jen
    Marjory in Toronto

    • — Marjory on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • This is excellent. I always drizzle with fresh lemon prior to cooking and again after.
    Do people eat the crispy fish skin? I never have, usually take it off the skin right on the grill, I did taste it this time , and found it to be excellent!

    • — Karen C on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it, Karen! And while some people may be turned off by eating the skin (my family prefers it without), it does have a wonderful crispy texture.

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Alaska variation: leave skin on. Fry skin side down until crinkly black. Without touching the fish, stick frying pan under broiler for a couple of minutes. Judge broiler time to achieve internal temp to suit, from rare on up Fish that has been frozen can be eaten rare or raw but if never-frozen needs to be fully cooked. In this version the skin is like crackling and can be considered the best part.

    • — Eric Forrer on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • Many times when I purchase salmon, one end is much thinner than the other. Do you adjust any cooking times or tuck the thinner end of the salmon in? Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • — Lynn on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, that is typical Lynn. I don’t bother doing anything special – I actually love how the thin end gets nice and crispy, especially when prepared this way.

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Eight minutes is far too long in a hot pan! I cook salmon fillets in butter at medium heat for 2 minutes on the presentation side, flip and cook a further 3 minutes, then rest in a 55 C oven for 4 – minutes.

    • — Brian on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Brian, I find this technique works well for me. Glad you have one that works well for you too! (I guess there are many ways to “skin a cat.”) 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2018
      • Reply
      • I made this last night and it was perfect! I sliced a one lb piece of salmon into 4ths, like your picture. The very thickest piece seemed to need a few extra minutes as I could see the fish cook (turn lighter in color on the sides), and one area did not look done. When we ate all 4 pieces (just my husband and I) lol, they were crisp on top, and very moist inside, even the one that had additional cooking time! Thank you so much for blessing me with your recipes. I really need more low carb and easy recipes that actually taste good. Your recipes have never failed me! And here is a blessing for you.. Numbers 6:22-27, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Isaiah all chapter 53..♡♡

        • — KELLY BARTON on February 10, 2018
        • Reply
      • I think maybe Brian’s problem is the butter burning and turning black. 8 mins in a hot pan is too much for butter, not salmon. With oil the dish should be perfect. I cooked at Aquavit- lots of Salmon.

        • — Christine on February 12, 2018
        • Reply
        • I agree that butter shouldn’t be used as the main fat in the pan. Your recipe is perfect the way it is with oil, and if one likes buttery taste, melt a thin slice on top of the finished fillets. All I add to your perfection is a wedge of lemon on the side so people can choose whether they want to add that or not.

          • — Emily Antonen on March 1, 2018
          • Reply

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