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. 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
  • 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)


  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, 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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  • We just tried your “technique more than recipe” and loved it! It was as you described – crispy on the outside, perfectly cooked, moist on the inside. Quick and simple and delicious.

    • — Val, South Carolina on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have been cooking from Jen’s site for two years now and we have two recipes we weekly make – this one and the restaurant salsa. I had struggled with getting salmon “just right” for decades and had sadly relegated it to “give up and order it at a restaurant” menu item. When I first found this recipe, it was soooo simple, and I thought, “Ok, let’s give it one more try. This looks easy.” So, I did. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out, and still turns out, perfect every time. Of course if I have a cut of salmon that is a little thicker, it may need a tad bit more time, but we literally make this weekly now. This is the recipe that made me no longer reluctant to spend the money on salmon in fear of ruining it. This is the recipe that kept me coming back to Once Upon a Chef.

    PS: Jen, I finally bought your recipe book during to use during “pandemic cooking” at home (working remotely and cooking more). Love it and wished I had not waited so long!

    • — Debbie Nafzger on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Wow, great recipe – I have been missing restaurant style seared salmon and this recipe was straightforward and delicious – thank you.

    • — cathleen on January 28, 2021
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  • I was hesitant to make this because it seemed so basic I thought it would lack flavor. I was wrong! It was cooked to perfection & tasted like I ordered it from a restaurant as the recipe describes. I’m making it for dinner tonight.

    • — Julie Jacobson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was so easy- and delicious!

    • — Pam on January 28, 2021
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  • We live on the pacific coast and my husband is an avid fisherman. This is my go to recipe for salmon. It is simple and a really nice clean, fresh way to cook salmon. It lends itself to any type of sauce beautifully!

    • — Holly on January 28, 2021
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  • This was my dinner tonight with a simple chicken and saffron rice and sautéed sliced crimini mushrooms with broccoli and cauliflower. Absolutely elegant meal, and every flavor melded together wonderfully! The salt knocked it out of the park, as the saying goes! Thank you, Jenn! It was a perfect meal on a day when I had too much to do to fuss more, and yet it was clearly restaurant-worthy! (I took photos but haven’t been able to upload them to Instagram since I’m not online with a phone.)

    • — Michelle on January 22, 2021
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  • Have made salmon using this recipe many times. It turns out great every time! Crispy on the outside, moist inside. Perfect!

    • — suma1220 on January 16, 2021
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  • Excellent! Done in no time and easy and most important—-Delicious!

    • — Cheryl on January 10, 2021
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  • This was easy and DELICIOUS. I will definitely do this again.

    • — Rene on December 23, 2020
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  • Absolutely delicious and better than anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Plus it is super easy and fast to make. I will be eating pan seared salmon a lot more often. Thanks for sharing

    • — Corrine Moore on December 15, 2020
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  • Exactly as advertised. Just like the restaurants do it. Came out perfect. This is how my sixth grader loves his salmon. Thank you!

    • — Laurie Atkinson on December 14, 2020
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  • Quick, easy and absolutely delicious! The salmon was juicy and moist 😋

    • — CAM on December 2, 2020
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  • I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and how to cook salmon is a perpetual question. Not anymore. This was fantastic. I loved the crust. I did a teriyaki style salmon last night and this beat it hands down, and I love teriyaki. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • — Christopher on November 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Simple and Simply Divine

    This is not the first time I’ve used this recipe, er or as she states ‘…it’s really a technique…’, but ANYone can make this…she takes the mystery and fear of over-cooking salmon out of the equation. I’d err on the side of less time per side, unless a really dense piece of salmon…it shall continue to cook once removed from the pan to platter, and by the time you’ve plated and served, it will be succulent ❤

    ps I have found this technique works equally well with steelhead and I’ve also successfully utilized her technique on numerous other fish varieties–adjusting time/temperature and adding a tab of butter to the olive oil depending on the type of fish/seafood.

    Thank you to the chef for expanding my family’s palate by teaching me how to successfully cook salmon!! (psst our neighbor is a fishing guide – today he gifted us with freshly caught salmon filets, lucky us!)

    • — Lyn M. on November 9, 2020
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  • Perfectly delicious and so quick and easy! Will make again!

    • — Corrine Moore on November 1, 2020
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  • Tried it and loved it. Having it again tonight with baked potatoes, broccoli, salad and garlic bread. I used cast iron skillet over gas burner and added a little butter to the olive oil. Gin and tonic helps too.

    • — Willis on October 31, 2020
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  • Excellent recipe! Using an electric stove requires a lower heat throughout, but that learning curve is easy.
    Thank you very much!

    • — Greg on September 27, 2020
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  • This recipe was amazing! I’ve been pan searing my salmon all wrong, but I got it right this time! Thank you! 😊

    • — Domestic Diva on September 22, 2020
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  • This recipe is the best salmon recipe. I just sent my Mom an apology for making non crusted baked salmon for years! My husband loved it too and does not want it any other way now!

    • — Kristen D'Agostino on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fabulous and so easy..

    • — CathyB97 on September 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • I was skeptical at the simplicity of this recipe. Followed it to a T and it was fricken amazing!
    Best I have had. sooooooo easy!!!!
    Glad I found this.

    • — Tim on August 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Followed the recipe to a T and it was quite flawless. Thank you so much Jenn!

    • — Brady on August 8, 2020
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  • Wow!!!!! I came across your blog through a post from Tasty, “25 genius hacks.” They featured your technique of cooking salmon starting with the skin-side up which piqued my interest. We eat salmon once a week, and I tried everything, seasoning, marinating, then baking it, or pan fry skin side down first of course. The salmon was “generic,” at best. Then I tried your recipe, and it led to an amazing salmon, and it has brought on my obsession with your blog. I’ve made something from your blog every week in the past month, and I have learned so much! The moroccan and margarita lime chicken breast are a huge hit at our house! I never thought to tenderize chicken breast and eliminate acidic juices from the marinade. I am so impressed that chicken breast can be juicy and flavorful, even the leftovers are still juicy! Your pecan chocolate chip blondies were also a sensation! I made your sauteed tomato with zucchini, and honey chipotle broccoli side dishes (both consumed in 5 minutes)…..with lots of mmmmmm! I love your version of chipotle’s inspired salad dressing! The blackened tilapia was amazing too! Tonight, I will attempt your pollo alla brassa dish, the chicken is marinating in the refrigerator as I type this review! I am ordering your cookbook. Thank you Jenn for sharing your culinary skills and talent with us, there are lots of food bloggers, however yours is in a league of its own!

    • — Bessie on August 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2020
      • Reply
    • Wow Bessie! Your comment was incredible. As a fellow food enthusiast who also LOVES to cook, host, and share recipes, your comment really made me smile 😊 There’s so much hate in the world right now, so it was very refreshing to see somebody uplifting another and speaking words of life and encouragement over them. 👏🏾 Especially concerning good food! 🤣 I am subscribing to This blog and look forward to trying out the dishes you mentioned! Please continue being positive & shining light! God bless 😊

      • — Curvine Brewington on September 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! Made the most delicious pan seared salmon! I used grapeseed oil and it was delicious. I can never go wrong with one of your recipes.

    • — Naya on July 25, 2020
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  • Jenn, Jenn, Jenn…I Google’d “Pan seared salmon” and saw the five stars, so clicked on it and of course it was you. I make so many of your recipes I wasn’t surprised at all. I was, however, surprised when my salmon turned out better than what I get in a restaurant. Now, it may be that I’m not going to good restaurants, but this fish was so delicious I kept walking past the leftovers and pulling more for my mouth. There’s some still in the kitchen and I’m betting it’s gone before the night’s up. Thank you so much for your recipes! You’ve saved me time and time again…

    • — Daffydil on July 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

      • — Jenn on July 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this the other night with a tomato basil relish – so delicious – I never have been able to cook a salmon so tender! Will be repeating!

    • — Anna on July 12, 2020
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  • Just made this per the recipe and it was awesome! My wife who does not particularly care for fish loved this recipe as well. I will throw in some 411 about the skin. Fried salmon skin is really good also. So, when you are done cooking the fish turn it onto its side, and the skin will pull right off in one piece. Put it back in the skillet and fry both sides until crispy and enjoy.

    • — Robert on July 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Wonderful – thanks for the tip on frying the skin on both sides!
      Now we’re fighting over the “salmon crisps”…….

      • — Mel in Denver on August 27, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn! I made this recipe last night and it was absolutely divine. It’s been years since I cooked salmon – I think my last try turned out a bit messy and put me off a bit. So I was happy to find a super simple yet delicious method. I paired the salmon with a medley of roasted broccoli, potatoes, and grape tomatoes. It was the perfect dinner. Keep up the good work on these recipes!

  • Hi Jen,
    I have made this salmon recipe many times and we love it! Would a cast iron pan work as well or should I use a non stick? Just wondering what your thoughts are on the subject and if there really is much of a difference.
    Thank you.

    • So glad you like it, Jan! A cast iron will also work really nicely here, so you can go either way. 🙂

      • We use a 12 inch “The Rock” by Starfrit. Non-stick with qualities of a cast iron. Canadian Tire is cheaper than Bed Bath & Beyond.
        BTW Jenn… Salmon as good as we ever had in any restaurant anywhere! Thank you!!

        • — Mitch on July 13, 2020
        • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! I had mine with fresh lemon juice squeezed over it. Great recipe!

  • Excellent . . . and just as you described! It keeps its moisture so well.

  • I prefer the salmon cooked through- almost well done. Can I still acheive this on the stove top or will I also need to pop in the oven to finish cooking?

    • Hi Sara, you can finish this off in the oven, but the stove will also work. I’d just lower the heat after searing it so it cooks through without the outside burning. Hope you enjoy!

  • No need to be rude.

  • absolutely marvelous, or maaarrrvelooous. One of the best, now I’m going to try the other salmon recipes.

  • PERFECT. So simple and ohhhhhh so good. Thank you!

  • Best salmon I’ve ever made. Absolutely perfect.

    • — Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
    • Reply
  • It was just delicious and perfect. I appreciated the sizing so I cut mine in half like yours. I also used lemon pepper and fresh lemon juice for seasoning. No butter, just the virgin olive oil.
    Knowing how long to cook them is critically helpful. The salmon was beautiful to see and absolutely delicious. Thank you so much.

  • I tried the pan seared salmon yesterday. It was absolutely delicious! I typically bake my salmon at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Never again….the pan seared salmon is the way I’ll go from this point on.

  • Best salmon ever!! I’ve tried so many different recipes but this by far was the easiest & the most flavorful! Thank you!!

  • Love how simple and quick this preparation is. So wonderful to make during a busy workweek. Thank you! I paired it with a yogurt sauce with shallots, garlic and dill. Yum!

  • I have 4 ounce fillets. How long would you recommend cooking them? Thank you in advance Chef!

    • Hi Joanna, It really depends upon the thickness. I’d start with 3 1/2 minutes per side.

      • They’re 1-1/4 inch thick. I cooked them for 3 1/2 minutes per side and they were perfect!

      • This was quick and delicious! I did add a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the oil and since we are garlic lovers, sprinkled garlic powder along with salt & pepper. Will definitely make again. Might have hubby put it in the smoker too.

  • Excellent – and quick and easy. Thank you for the post.

    • This recipe is spot-on, as all your recipes seem to be! Thank you for making a classic easy and accessible for all.
      And I applaud your high-road response to an unnecessarily rude poster! 😆

      • Glad you enjoyed it! ❤️

      • Do you recommend warming the salmon to room temperature, before cooking?
        Going to try your recipe tonight for the fist time.

        • — Jim on January 13, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Jim, You don’t need to bring it to room temperature before cooking. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on January 13, 2021
          • Reply
  • This is, hands down, our favorite way to make salmon. Crunchy crust, moist inside, just salt, pepper and oil-perfect every time!

  • In the recipe it says skin side up but your pictures show skin side down to begin with… I am assuming you meant skin side down first. Other than that this is perfect!

    • Hi Aaron, perhaps it looks that way in the picture, but the first pic of the salmon in the pan does show the skin side up. Sorry if it’s not clear!

      • Is it skin side up first, or skin side down first?

        • Hi Niki, It’s skin side up first. Enjoy!

          • Can I marinate the salmon before cooking it? And for a large (0.8lb) fillet would you recommend cutting it in half?

            • — Lindsay Hamilton
          • Hi Lindsay, I think it would be fine to marinate the salmon as long as the marinade doesn’t have anything sweet like sugar or syrup as it will burn when you sear it. And no need to cut the fillet in half if you feel like you’d be able to flip it in the pan. If you think that might be a challenge, then feel free to cut it in half. Hope that helps!

            • — Jenn
      • Iam so Confused about the skin down the skin up I need to make that clear some recipe said skin up first for crispy your recipe said the skin down for which is that

        • — Bita on December 13, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Bita, for this recipe, you start cooking the salmon with the skin side up. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on December 14, 2020
          • Reply
  • I’ve been using this recipe/technique for probably a couple of years now (or close to it, once I found this one I stopped looking!) I love it, it is my go-to for a quick dinner and it couldn’t be more delicious. I consider myself to be “ok” in the kitchen, but I have always been a bit shy with cooking whole pieces of fish on the stove. This recipe makes it so easy to have confidence!

  • Very simple and very tasty. Made a nice dinner for my wife and myself! I used M Salt – a spice blend.

  • Wow! I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your site. While I love to cook and also love salmon, it’s something that never worked out from my kitchen. (My husband makes a fabulous cedar-planked version on the grill, but that isn’t always an option.) This technique worked like magic. The skinless side has a fabulous, crisp finish and, after turning, it cooked to a nice medium throughout, not the leathery consistency that I usually serve. I used a well-seasoned cast iron pan. I’ve cooked it twice in three weeks with great results. Thank you!!! I can’t wait to try other techniques and recipes.

    • I am cooking this tonight, try her Beef Stew it is to die for!! Have it it multiple times. 🙂

  • Perfect.

  • Fabulous! Oh how I wish I had tried this sooner! So easy yet so delicious!

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