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.”

Nancy

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

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

  • They came out excellent! So simple and surprisingly tasty!! Just as you described it, crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.

    • — Mary on July 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe, simple easy and delicious, we’re making it tonight for the fourth time, highly recommend

    • — Paul on July 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was my first attempt at cooking salmon and I was so pleased. It tasted great. I will continue to use this recipe, no need to change for me.

    • — Dorothy Walbaum on July 10, 2024
    • Reply

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