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


  • 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)


  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

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  • 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, 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

  • Love this recipe… easy and fool proof!

    • — Margaret Block on December 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • Thanks! I always wondered how to make salmon this way.

    • — Angela Singh on November 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • Great recipe. Simple, straight forward, and delicious!

    • — Bryant Morrison on October 16, 2019
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  • I made this recipe last night and it turned out perfect. Thank you for all the tips. I’ve never been confident cooking salmon. This was so easy and my husband loved it!

    • — Sandy Holswade on October 3, 2019
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  • Magnificent!!!

    • — joanne on September 22, 2019
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  • I made this salad along with your Panzanella Salad. Both were delicious! I love your website and cookbook! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Colette Dryden on September 16, 2019
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  • Quick, easy, and perfect!

    I served it up with a side of peas & carrots for dinner; my wife and I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    • — Michael L Hoenig on September 5, 2019
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  • Perfect every time! Simple and delicious – our favorite way to have salmon on salad.

    • — Kate Taylor on July 29, 2019
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  • Thanks Jen for thé awesome technique! It’s my first time cooking filets like this & they were perfectly crispy skin & tender inside. Mine were thicker so ended up doing extra 2 min each side but absolutely moist & not overdone.
    I’ve made a few of your recipes and they’ve all turned out fantastically! You’ve really inspired me to try new recipes & ideas!

    • — Pam on June 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is hands-down my FAVORITE salmon recipe. I just can’t believe how amazing my salmon always tastes and all I need are 4 ingredients total (salmon, olive oil, sea salt & pepper)! I’m afraid to share the recipe with others because they will want me to make it ALL the time (my little secret for now, hahaha)! Thanks a bunch because I always wanted to know how the resorts perfected my salmon with very little ingredients, I know now!

    • — Melissa DeHart on June 9, 2019
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  • Always wanted to know how to get crispy skinned salmon, this is the recipe, terrific! Just be sure the pan is hot prior to adding fish or fish will stick. I used well seasoned cast iron

    • — Susan on April 11, 2019
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  • Love the simplicity of this meal. Easy to make & so tasty!

    • — Jodi Rodman on April 11, 2019
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  • I am usually impatient & flip my fish & meat too quickly & it never turns out very well. I followed your recipe for the pan seared salmon & was amazed how crispy & good it turned out! A little patience goes along way! Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Joan Doyle on April 11, 2019
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  • I made the salmon for dinner tonight with the intention of eating half of piece. I could not stop myself from finishing the whole thing. It was absolutely delicious 😋. I used honey mustard and added extra honey; warmed them up in the microwave and drizzled it over the salmon. My husband thoroughly enjoyed it. I squeezed some fresh lemon and drizzled honey on my piece. Fabulous!!!

    Thank you for another winning recipe.

    • — Anna B. on April 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • Tried this for the first time tonight and it was SO easy and SO delicious! Will definitely be a weekly staple in my house

    • — Rana on March 10, 2019
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  • This recipe is amazing! It has taught me to recreate my favorite way to eat salmon in my own home. It was a huge hit with my whole family. Thank you!

  • 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’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!

  • 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!

    • —
    • 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.

  • If the skin is removed at the fish market, do you still follow the directions as shown for fish with skin on????

    • Hi Sheila, Yes cooking process would be the same. Enjoy!

  • 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.

  • Delicious and simple. I love this salmon, easy and healthy weeknight meal! Thanks Jenn!

  • So easy and definitely makes for fancy dinner!

  • 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!!

    • 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.

  • Easy, elegant and delicious!

  • 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

  • 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.

    • So happy you’re enjoying all the recipes, Frank! 😊

  • Wonderful~
    Thanks Jenn, without you, I won’t have such a nice breakfast!

    • Jenn, if the filets you get are thinner and wider, how would you recommend adjusting the cook time? I have made this before and LOVE it but my filets this time are not as thick as yours (and as I have used previously). Thanks!

      • — Jeanne on June 30, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Jeanne, if they’re a bit thinner, I’d just cut the cooking time back a little (hard to say how much without seeing the fillets, but just keep a close eye on them).

        • — Jenn on July 1, 2019
        • Reply
  • Hello! Does the salmon have to have the skin? I only have skinless…..thank you!

    • No, Alice, it’s perfectly fine if the salmon doesn’t have skin – enjoy!

  • 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!

  • Five Stars! Simply delicious.

  • 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.

    • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Awesome and so easy. My new way of cooking salmon. Thank you!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Interesting how some combinations sound delicious as soon as you read them. Noodles in peanut sauce as a side sounds perfect.

  • Love this- 5 Star!
    I’m always so reluctant to cook salmon but this was fabulous! Very easy & delicious.
    Who knew??
    Thank you

  • Wow! Using your technique made all the difference in the taste and texture of my weekly pan fried salmon!!! Thanks sooo much!

    • — Wendy Montemayor
    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

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

  • We don’t have a non stick pan for the restaurant style salmon. What would you change in using our all clad pan?

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

  • 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!!

  • 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

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.”) 🙂

      • 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..♡♡

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • WOW. Loved this recipe! Simple, yet best fish recipe I’ve found. We used steelhead trout, and paired with roasted butternut squash and green salad. Might try with halibut next time. I think the secret was the cooking time. Seasoned perfectly and done to a crisp perfection yet so tender on the inside.

            • — David from Penticton on November 29, 2019

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