Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Pan seared salmon

Golden-crisp on top and just barely cooked in the center, this pan seared salmon is easy to make and elegant to serve.

how to make pan-seared salmon

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. This is really more of a technique than a recipe, and it’s easy to master at home.

What You’ll Need To Make Pan Seared Salmon
how to make pan-seared salmon

The ingredients are simple. The key is to start with the right-sized fillets so that the fish cooks fully on the interior without overcooking on the exterior. The ready-to-cook 6-oz portions sold at the fish counter are ideal.

How To Make Pan Seared Salmon

Begin by seasoning the salmon with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Don’t skimp on the salt!

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, 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 that lovely, flavorful, golden crust that makes this dish restaurant-worthy.

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

More Salmon Recipes

Restaurant-Style Pan-Seared Salmon

Golden-crisp on top and just barely cooked in the center, this pan seared salmon is easy to make and elegant to serve.

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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This is the most successful pan seared salmon receipe that I have come across
    Thank you so much helping me in my cooking for my family

    • — H f fong on August 31, 2021
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  • Great recipe, made beautifully cooked salmon.

    • — Anna Price on August 10, 2021
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  • I have made this several times. I have access to fresh wild salmon and have no motivation to hunt for something better. This is simple and delicious. Only change I made is not using non stick pan. That is because I discovered my cast iron has turned out to be non stick. All I can say is my salmon is absolutely fantastic!

    • — Greg on July 30, 2021
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  • Worked perfectly on bourbon-soaked salmon from the meat counter at our favorite grocery. Thank you!

    • — Martha McMurry on July 29, 2021
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  • This is the easiest way for salmon perfection! From now on, this is my go-to recipe for cooking moist, flavorful salmon that comes out great every time. Prep was easy, as well as clean up. I would recommend this recipe to everyone I know who wants to cook salmon that’s as good or even better than restaurant quality. Thank you!

    • — Barbara W. on July 28, 2021
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  • Thanks so much for this simple, delicious recipe. We live in Seattle and have salmon frequently. This recipe was enjoyed by all! It is harder to find the portioned center fillets, but easy to find half of a fish that is fairly flat with some thickness in the middle. I cut them into smaller servings and watched the time for the flatter pieces. Served this alongside your kale salad. Delicious. Your recipes are so dependable and my family enjoys every one! Thank you.

    • — RuthieM on July 23, 2021
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  • Great. My teen boy loved it!

    • — Patty on July 19, 2021
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  • OMG!!! THIS BY FAR WAS THE EASY, MOST TASTY, SIMPLISTIC RECIPE EVER!!!! I USED IT ON STEELHEAD TROUT, SALMON’S COUSIN! LOL!!! IT WAS SO FLAVORFUL WITH SIMPLE SEASONING AND SIMPLE TO COOK!!! MY GO TO RECIPE HANDS DOWN!!!! YES, I AM SHOUTING!!!! THANK YOU A 100 TIMES OVER!!!!

    • — Stephanie Sims on July 14, 2021
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  • My salmon was sticking to the pan when I went to flip it. I can’t figure out what I did wrong. I used a little more oil than the recipe called for to make sure it was well covered, but that is the only thing I did differently. How do you keep the salmon from sticking? All the yummy crispy parts came off. It still tasted good, but I want to figure out how to do this properly.

    • — Amanda on July 14, 2021
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    • Hi Amanda, Did you use a nonstick pan?

      • — Jenn on July 14, 2021
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      • It was a nonstick pan. I am truly stumped!

        • — Amanda on July 15, 2021
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        • I’m stumped too as you shouldn’t have had a problem with a nonstick pan! If you want to try it again, I’d let it cook a little longer on that side and then nudge it with your spatula to see if it releases easily before trying to flip it.

          • — Jenn on July 15, 2021
          • Reply
  • I was looking for a quick and simple way to prepare salmon and found this recipe. I made it exactly as in the recipe. My salmon still had the skin on. It was incredibly good and mercifully easy. I served it with a little mango salsa on the side. My husband loved it. this will be my go-to recipe for salmon now. I’m making it again tonight!

    • — Linda Lenz on July 1, 2021
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  • My family raved about this salmon! I loved it too. Usually I bake it in the oven but this recipe is perfect! Especially when it’s too hot out to turn on the oven. So simple and healthy!

    • — Helen on June 29, 2021
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  • Thank you! A simple, clearly described, cooking technique. Very useful. Mine came out crisp on the outside, moist in the middle, like the restaurant’s. I made a roasted baby tomato (tossed in white wine garlic and sage) sauce to go over it. On top of Orzo. Perfect!

    • — Kelly on June 29, 2021
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  • This is my go-to recipe for salmon. Simply delicious and the whole family loves it. Thank you!

    • — Sheila on June 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Came out perfect following the directions. I’m not usually a big fan of salmon, but was given some free fillets. I’m now a big fan of pan-seared salmon 🙂

    • — Susan on June 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • It’s rare that I can get a recipe to turn out as great as the reviews claim on the first try but this one was worthy of me slowing down long enough to leave a glowing review. This came out deliciously, with a crispy, golden top and soft, fleshy center. My husband and I both were floored at how it was as good if not better than what we’ve had at a restaurant. Thanks so much for the easy-to-follow instructions and for helping to bring restaurant-style cooking into our home. I’ll be sure to check out more recipes on your site.

    • — Karen P on June 11, 2021
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  • Easy & quick way to cook salmon. I had a 1-pound salmon filet from Aldi, cut it into four 4-oz portions, and it was delicious! Smaller size made for even faster cook time.

    • — Personne on May 27, 2021
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  • Amazing, best salmon I’ve ever cooked.

    • — Sterling on May 11, 2021
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  • Absolutely perfect recipe. Thank you.

    • — Jamie on April 8, 2021
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  • This recipe worked out great. Simple, fast and tasty. My salmon was smaller than the ones shown so I reduced the cooking time by 1 minute per side. They were still a tad over cooked but tasty nonetheless. Thank you for the recipe.

    • — David Buller on March 28, 2021
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    • Wow, this was amazing. My kids who barely eat wolfed it down! Everyone loved it. Def making this over and over.

      • — Tania on June 8, 2021
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  • Delicious and simple with just salt and pepper that really brought out the salmon flavor. Quick question – what difference or benefit does frying it meat down (vs skin down) do?

    • — Michelle on March 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it. I think the first side gets a nicer sear and because that’s the way you’ll be plating it, it’s nice to see that pretty golden color. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious, crowd pleaser but yes the SIZE of the salmon is key. I did use more than a tablespoon of olive oil.

    • — Anna on February 28, 2021
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  • At medium high and then medium temp, my salmon was overcooked. Had the white gunk coming out of it and everything. I’ll lower the temp more next time and try it again.

    • — Mir on February 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Amazing! This is a wonderful recipe and the salmon was cooked perfect. Thank you for sharing!

    • — Dr. Reb on February 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was probably the best salmon I’ve ever had. My favorite sushi roll is the one with seared salmon on top, and this tasted exactly like that. I used my cast iron and put a little lemon on top afterwards and it was perfection.

    • — Ashley on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my first time posting a review on a recipe. I searched “pan fried salmon” and came across this recipe. When I read it, I thought “that’s it?” I read a bunch of reviews (which were all positive) so decided to try it. We could not believe how delicious it was. And it was so simple. I had no idea to cook meat side down (vs. skin side down) first. It made a HUGE difference. I served it with sauteed garlic spinach and salad. I did not alter recipe at all. A “restaurant quality” meal in 20 minutes, honestly! Thank you, Jenn. I will be searching for more recipes on your site.

    • — Claire S. on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, this pan seared technique for making salmon is foolproof. Every time I make this the salmon is cooked and seasoned perfectly. I love making a dill or Asian sauce on the side. And, best of all, I always make extra, it’s so wonderful cold the next day! This is my go to recipe for salmon, so easy, healthy and satisfying. Thank you!

    • — Myrna Belanic on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen. I love this recipe and have now made it several times for my very picky eater, who asks for it all the time! I’ve noticed other recipes for pan seared salmon insist it should be cooked skin side down first, to give the skin a nice crisp and because the skin provides a barrier between the skillet and the flesh. I also noticed one of the reviews on this site mentioned that having cooked it that way (skin side down first) resulted in a bland dish versus cooking it your way. I am curious about the skin side up method and why/how that results in a different (and better!) seared salmon.

    • — Grace on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is so simple, and delicious. Each crispy bite delivers mouth watering goodness. We enjoy it at least once a week. Thank you!

    • — Karen Meyers on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Perfect every time. So crispy and so easy.

    • — Carrie Wyckoff on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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