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Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon

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Pan seared salmon

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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 (the same goes for steak and scallops). 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 salmon 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
  • 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)

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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Comments

  • So easy and so good!
    I made this last night with wild caught Alaskan Coho salmon and tonight with wild caught Alaskan King salmon. Yum and yum! It’s nice enough to serve to company. I did cover the pan for a few minutes on each side while cooking just to keep the splattering down. Thanks for this easy method to cook one of our favorite fish.

    • — Gretha on November 27, 2022
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  • I spread a balsamic glaze on the salmon before pan-searing, which gave it an extra crispy “shell” and tangy sweetness.

    • — Kris on November 7, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn,
    It came out excellent, like you said crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. However I used butter instead of oil (the French debate about butter vs olive oil) it made the skin that much more tasty in the end, and sprinkled it with organic garlic powder and organic dill weed. Then topped it with a slice of lemon. I used fresh Atlantic salmon.

    • — Dominique Janssens on October 4, 2022
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  • I was amazed! I made this recipe. I left the skin on the salmon but I goofed and put the skin side down. In a minute I turned it over and discovered the skin slid right off each piece easily so I removed it. I finished cooking 4 minutes on that side then 5 minutes on the other. It turned out beautiful and delicious! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • — Candace on September 25, 2022
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  • This is so good! Really easy and amazing. Do it exactly as Jenn says.

    • — Beth G on September 12, 2022
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  • The best at-home salmon I’ve ever made! Thanks, Jenn.

    • — Francis on September 12, 2022
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  • I love the technique. 1st time I’ve actually gotten crispy skin you can eat like a chip or crisp. Seasoned as directed with my own additions to taste and they were cooked perfectly.

    • — Dixie on September 8, 2022
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  • I had always thought you did skin side down first. Mind blown!! This was so easy and came out so incredibly tasty! The simple seasoning of salt and pepper allows the salmon to be the star of the show! And the crust on the top was the bomb!!

    • — Rich Dezelon on August 25, 2022
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    • Glad you enjoyed it!

      • — Jenn on August 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Perfect 👍🏼

    • — Paul on August 14, 2022
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  • This recipe is amazingly simple and absolutely perfect. The key is to do as Jenn instructs and not try to nudge the fish along before it has developed its sear. We love salmon at my house and all of us agree–we’ve paid a lot more for this type of salmon at restaurants, but we’ve never had better salmon than cooking at home with Jenn’s recipe. I use a thermometer to make sure I get it medium, not overcooked. At my house we eat this at least once a week, and sometimes two or three times. I am sure I’ve made it dozens of times, and this recipe has never failed me, it’s divine!

    • — J on August 11, 2022
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  • I did precisely what you said and it was PERFECT!!!! Thank you!!!!

    • — Martie Best on August 10, 2022
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    • Is there a trick for flipping the salmon so it doesn’t stick to the pan? I used oil and a nonstick pan. Sad it wasn’t as pretty as the pictures. Hope it tastes good.

      • — Candace on September 28, 2022
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      • Hi Candace, sorry you had a problem with the salmon sticking. Usually, when something sticks to the pan, it’s because it’s not ready to be moved/flipped. Next time, I’d let that side cook for a bit longer before attempting to flip it. Hope it tasted good though!

        • — Jenn on September 29, 2022
        • Reply
  • This is my go to method for cooking salmon since finding this page. I add a LOT of seasoning, like, a lot a lot. Usually Everglades along with smoked paprika and a little Peri Peri. It’s pretty perfect every time on a bed of rice with some roasted brocolli and a little drizzle of balsamic reduction.

    • — Peter on August 9, 2022
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  • Super delicious. Very easy. Making again tonight😀

    • — Colleen on July 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Fabulous! Served with your French lentil salad and greens.
    Delicious and healthy.

    • — Kaci Bloemers on July 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Omg, the easiest salmon recipe, my favourite kind, that I’ve ever made. It tasted yummy.

    • — Geri on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was so easy and fast. Most of all, delicious!! If you can, source wild caught Salmon. Makes a huge difference in taste.

    • — TJ on June 20, 2022
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  • This method was great, because Im NOT a griller and it worked perfect for me.

    I added a few additional ingredients. Along with the sea salt, pepper, I added a shake or two of old bay on top of each piece. Also at the very end of cooking I added 1-tablespoon of butter for extra flavor. I learned that trick when cooking steak.
    IT TURNED OUT PERFECT!! My guest loved it and I gave them the recipe.

    • — Deb on June 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Not a big salmon fan, eat it cause it’s healthy. But after this recipe, I’m sold! I have never gotten so much flavor from salmon, especially with so few ingredients. This will be a weekly go to meal. Thank you.

    • — Tom Hopkins on May 30, 2022
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  • The BEST salmon I’ve ever had!! Even better than a restaurant! It was so crispy on the outside and super moist on the inside. I also love how was quick & easy it was to prepare. Thank you so much!

    • — Steph on May 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love this cooking technique for salmon. Would this technique also be suitable for black sea bass?

    • — Laura on May 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on May 17, 2022
      • Reply
      • It was sublime❣️ Thank you for all that you create and share😊

        • — LW on May 24, 2022
        • Reply
  • I made this last night and was crushed when I tried to flip the filets and they fell apart. After reading through some of the comments I see that I’m clearly the only one this happened to! I suspect my non-stick pan was the problem. Not so non-stick! I used an Always Pan by Our Place and it was a disaster. I will try again using my regular non-stick pan and hope to have a perfect flip! Despite the messy presentation however it was incredibly delicious. Thank you for the exact instructions and showing me how to properly pan-sear salmon. I’ve always wanted to know how high-end restaurants get that yummy crust and barely cooked center. Hopefully my next attempt will be a success! Can’t wait to explore some of your other recipes. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Mia on April 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • this was awesome … I’ve been having trouble searing salmon after I sous vide, it typically will fall apart and the skin will stick to the pan … for salmon, this tried and true recipe is just fine … simple and perfect

    • — Bo on April 11, 2022
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    • This was superb. I have never had salmon come out this good.

      • — Ashley on May 16, 2022
      • Reply
    • This is the easiest, best tasting way to cook fresh salmon. It is my go to salmon recipe. Never disappointed.

      • — Grieb on June 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • 5 stars. My first time cooking a salmon filet. It was delicious!

    • — Jeanne on April 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Awesome recipe. Easy and straightforward and tasty results

      • — Lorenzo S on April 24, 2022
      • Reply
  • I tried it, and we all loved it. Easy and delicious.
    @onceuponachef
    Thank you.

    • — Eva on April 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Came out fantastic! Thank you.

    • — Lisa on April 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was the BEST technique I’ve ever came across! This was excellent! The entire family loved it!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • — Condria on March 21, 2022
    • Reply

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