Pan Fried Salmon

This Pan Fried Salmon is one of my favorite easy dinner recipes.  Follow my easy steps for how to cook salmon perfectly every time.

Pan Fried Salmon | This Pan Fried Salmon is one of my favorite easy dinner recipes for how to cook salmon perfectly every time. | A Sweet Pea Chef

I don’t usually like to tell you guys what to do.  I figure you are welcome to try my recipes if you find them interesting.

But, this fish recipe is different.  This recipe will blow your mind.

Out of all the food I’ve cooked, this is probably the recipe I have made the most ever in my kitchen. In fact, I bet I’ve made it at least 30 times in the past 5 years. Now, that’s saying something.

Left photo: bowl of the seasonings used in pan roasted salmon recipe; right photo: raw salmon fillets placed on absorbent paper

In addition to the salmon always coming out perfectly delicious, this fool-proof recipe is very easy to follow, yet looks super impressive.  How awesome is that?

How to Cook Salmon

With salmon, timing is everything. If you’re wondering how long to cook salmon for, it should be until the salmon flakes easily with a fork — approximately 5-8 minutes. Pan frying salmon and then finishing in the oven is the best way to cook salmon because it brings out the rich flavors of the fish and achieves that flaky texture.  The quick cooking method helps to not overcook the salmon, too.

Also, seasoning the salmon before you cook it makes all the difference. For this pan fried salmon recipe, I’ve used an easy-to-make, sweet-spicy rub. The combination of the coconut sugar, cinnamon and cumin is wondrous. Please try it.

Here are the easy steps for how to cook salmon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the coconut sugar, sea salt, pepper, cumin, dry mustard, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Rinse the salmon in running water to remove any loose scales and then gently pat them dry using a paper towel. Remove all excess water prior to adding the rub.
  4. Rub the spice mixture on the top side (non-skin) of the salmon fillets.
  5. Heat an oven-proof fry pan over high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and allow to get hot. Place the fillets, rub-side down, in the hot oil. The fish should sizzle.
  6. When the fish releases easily (doesn’t stick to the pan) and the rub side is nicely browned, about 2-4 minutes, carefully flip the fillets over and transfer pan to the oven.
  7. Finish the salmon in the oven until it flakes easily with a fork (insert a fork and gently twist — if the fish looks flaky, it’s ready), about 5-8 minutes.

Follow these steps for how to cook salmon and you’ll have delicious, perfectly cooked salmon every time.

Spice-rubbed raw salmon fillets with their skin on, ready to make pan-fried salmon dish

What To Serve With Salmon

I like to serve this pan fried salmon over garlic sautéed spinachOpens in a new tab. or alongside garlic garlic parmesan green beansOpens in a new tab. and red potatoesOpens in a new tab.. SO. GOOD.

But it can also just go with steamed brown rice if you prefer.

Is Salmon Healthy?

If you’re wondering whether salmon is healthy, the answer is a resounding YES.

Arguably one of the best health benefits of salmon is the type of fat it contains.  Salmon contains a type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of heart disease by protecting the health of your blood vessels.  So — yea — pretty awesome side effect from eating delicious salmon.

Salmon is actually one of the most nutritious types of fish you can eat. A serving of salmon provides you with iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, plus other nutrients for good health.

Close up photos of pan fried salmon cooking in a skillet before being placed in the oven to finish.Close up of pan-cooked salmon on a bed of green beans, ready to be served and enjoyed

Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon

Okay, so we talked about why salmon is awesome and what health benefits it has.  BUT not all salmon is created equal.  In grocery stores, much of the available salmon options aren’t caught in the wild, but are bred in fish farms instead.  The issue with fish farms is the salmon doesn’t live and eat a normal salmon diet out in the wild, but instead is given a processed high-fat feed in order to produce larger fish.

This difference makes the nutritional differences between wild and farmed salmon pretty significant.  The major difference is that farmed salmon is much higher in fat than wild caught salmon (46% more calories), and it also contains less omega-3 fatty acids but more saturated fat.

That all being said, please remember that farmed salmon is still very healthy — just not as healthy as wild caught salmon.  Wild salmon is also much more expensive than farmed salmon, which can be a big deterrent when farmed is still delicious.

Single fillet of salmon that has been pan fried and is plated over garlic parmesan green beans. The spice rub for the pan fried salmon can be seen in the background.

 

4.6 from 10 votes
Pan Fried Salmon
Pan Fried Salmon
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
This Pan Fried Salmon is one of my favorite easy dinner recipes. Follow my easy steps for how to cook salmon perfectly every time.
Categories: 30 Minute Meal, Clean Eating, Dinner, Healthy Eating
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 4
Calories: 281 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
Ingredients
  • 4 6-oz salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the coconut sugar, sea salt, pepper, cumin, dry mustard and cinnamon in a small bowlOpens in a new tab. and set aside.

  3. Rinse the salmon in running water to remove any loose scales and then gently pat them dry using a paper towel. Remove all excess water prior to adding the rub.
  4. Rub the spice mixture on the top side (non-skin) of the salmon fillets.
  5. Heat an oven-proof fry panOpens in a new tab. over high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and allow to get hot. Place the fillets, rub-side down, in the hot oil. The fish should sizzle.
  6. When the fish releases easily (doesn't stick to the panOpens in a new tab.) and the rub side is nicely browned, about 2-4 minutes, carefully flip the fillets over and transfer pan to the oven.
  7. Roast the salmon until it flakes easily with a fork (insert a fork and gently twist -- if the fish looks flaky, it's ready), about 5-8 minutes.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Pan Fried Salmon
Amount Per Serving (1 6-oz. fillet)
Calories 281 Calories from Fat 104
% Daily Value*
Fat 11.6g18%
Saturated Fat 1.9g10%
Cholesterol 86.7mg29%
Sodium 711mg30%
Carbohydrates 7.1g2%
Fiber 0.6g2%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin C 9.1mg11%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

 

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

117 thoughts on “Pan Fried Salmon

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Lacey, I’m hosting a large party and this salmon looks delish. Can it be made ahead, up to the baking, maybe a day ahead and then finished in the oven before serving?

  2. What all did you change in the original recipe? Apparently I need to start writing down my favorite recipes instead of relying on the writer to not change an already published post. You changed brown sugar to coconut sugar. What else is different?

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times and have yet to be disappointed. Served this dish to company many times and they loved it as well! It is my go to recipe for salmon. Easy to prepare with delicious results. Perfect for a week night and fancy enough for guests!

  4. Hey,

    Thank u for sharing this recipe, looking forward to making tonight for dinner. I don’t have mustard of any kind. Will making this dish without mustard alter the taste dramtically?

    Thanks.

    Maryan

      1. We eat salmon once a month, usually baked. My husband and I loved this recipe. The spice rub is amaaaaaazzzing. We had this dish with Cajun sweet potato wedges. The combination of the salmon and potato was delicious.

        Thanks again.

  5. My family eats salmon a lot and my kids can get sick of it. However, they really loved it tonight with this recipe! I will reduce the salt slightly next time, maybe by 1/2 tsp., but it was a success. Which is great to say because it makes my failures not so many.

  6. 3 stars
    Hi. I made this and I love the way it cooked up but the cumin flavour was too prevalent for our tastes. We love Mexican food and I cook with using cumin frequently so I am aware of its flavour. I will use this recipe again but will reduce the cumin by 50% for sure.

  7. 5 stars
    This is THE BEST salmon recipe EVER! I will be forever thankful to my friend for turning me on to it. Every single time I have prepared this it has been a huge hit with adults and kids alike. Without fail, every new family I’ve introduced it to has asked for the recipe. Love it, thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Lacey, You photography is spectacular. I am so excited I found your blog. Thanks so much for the ebook! I have not found a salmon recipe I care for or wish to try…this one is a must! (((HUGS)))

    1. Hi Fran! I’m so glad you found me, too! :). Thanks so much. I love hearing that about the salmon recipe and I appreciate your kind words about my photography. Enjoy the cookbook 🙂

  9. 3 stars
    Technique is good but rub is too salty by far (and I’m a salt freak). B-. Might be OK if you cut the salt by 2/3ds. No evident flavor from the mustard or the cinnamon, maybe because you just got salt and cumin.

  10. This was fantastic! Thanks so much! I cut back on the salt but it was still a wonderful dish. I just recently started cooling with cast iron and am loving it!

  11. Made this tonight. I love how simple and delicious this recipe is. The cinnamon, cumin, and mustard balance out the brown sugar nicely so it has a hint of sweetness but isn’t cloying. Delicious.

  12. Made this tonight in my cast iron skillet. I heated the killer in the ven a 450 for lost n hour before I put it on the cooktop to sear the salmon. After searing, I put it back in the ven or about 5 minutes – perfection. I typically grill or bake our salmon but this one is a keeper!! The crusted brown sugar with hint of cinnamon is a hit.

    Served with your “bikini” reds, asiago bread and a salad with pear vinaigrette.

    Now let’s just hope my skillet won’t smell fishy 😉

  13. Made it tonight and it was very good! I loved the mix of spices. I used 1 tsp sea salt and I thought it was plenty. Thanks for the great recipe! Pinning now.

  14. Hi,
    Loved the recipe. Finally, my teenager tried and loved it! Hurray! I would add less kosher salt next time. Or, I would only put the rub on after the oven and skillet are preheated so the rub releases in the pan and not on the cutting board. Also, if cooking a large batch of salmon, I would grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and preheat along with the oven. Then sear all the salmon at once then finish together in the oven on the cookie sheet. This would serve a crowd easily this way

    Really great! Thanks.

  15. I made this salmon for dinner tonight and, oh my word, it was by far the best salmon I have ever had. Thanks for a great recipe! This one is a keeper for sure!!!

  16. Hi I just made this recipe this was the best salmon I have ever tasted thank you for such a delicious way to make salmon

  17. My hubby double teamed this in the kitchen tonight and the results were amazing. This is def. added to the list for dinner parties. It was soooo easy! We made it with that garlic spinach ( my hubby kicked it’s butt) and risotto. We will use this for our next dinner party and look like pros with minimum effort. Thank thank thank you!

    <3
    Totally Satisfied Cooking Duo!

  18. Made this about 20 times now…. Truly awesome recipe. I reduce the cumin a biit and up the mustard but that’s just personal preference. Too good.

    Signed,

    – an aspiring cook

  19. this rub was amazing! I halved it since I’m cooking for 2. I didn’t notice you had to use an oven-safe pan (which I don’t have) until I was already in the middle of the recipe, but I transferred it to a baking dish and it worked out okay– I also don’t have dry mustard but the internet tells me prepared mustard is an okay substitute — it tasted good to me! Next time I’ll try it with dry mustard (and I need to buy an oven-safe skillet)! This was delicious with a garlic & spinach thin pasta. Thank you!

    1. Cecilia, a baking dish is a great use instead of an oven-safe skillet….but I’d totally recommend getting one if you’d like to pan-roast foods more (which I totally recommend!). Thanks so much for the feedback 🙂

  20. I’ve cooked this twice this week already! I’ve been waiting for a perfect salmon recipe to come along, and this is it! Goes great with pasta and spinach

  21. Used this recipe on salmon steaks last night and they were outstanding. Nice blend of spices. Needed a hotter oven for the steaks, but at 8 mins per side and 450 degrees they were perfect. Thanks

  22. Hi Lacey,

    I live in Seattle and my husband fishes for salmon every day in late summer/early fall. I was looking for something a little different to do with the salmon and came across your recipe. I was a little nervous because cumin and cinnamon can be overpowering. I am so pleased to say your recipe was simply amazing! My husband raved about it and said it was his new favorite! Thank you so much!

  23. Thanks for this yummy healthy way to get my kids to eat salmon! So good. I am a native Austinite and was excited to stumble across your site.

  24. So happy I found your blog! The salmon was amazing – my new favorite! I’ve already forwarded the recipe to 3 of my friends. Welcome to beautiful Austin, Texas!
    Michele

    1. Hi Cheryl! That’s a very good question. My only concern with another type of fish is the fish’s flavor making it through and marrying well with the flavors of the rub. I’d bet a trout would work well though — though maybe with a little less brown sugar. If you try it, would you share how it turns out?? 🙂

  25. Lacey,
    This recipe was delicious! I just made it for dinner. My husband and I loved it! I sauteed green beans with the leftover sauce. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe 🙂

  26. This salmon is amazing and has become a weekly dinner for me and boyfriend. I think he loves me more for making it. He hugs and kisses me when he’s done!!

  27. This is hands down my favorite salmon recipe ever! My husband requested it over steak for Valentine’s Day. I’m planning to feature your recipe and blog link on my site in the near future. Love your blog!

  28. So glad I decided to try this. I have NEVER eaten such wonderful salmon in my life! I used wild salmon (Costco’s frozen fillets) and cut the salt in half since we are watching sodium. This will be my special recipe for dinner guests. It was SO good, that we will have it often. I can’t wait to try it when our organic spinach and asparagus are ready in our garden. What a fabulous find! Thank you!

  29. i cut the sugar in half and it was still plenty (maybe too) sweet for me. will probably cut it further next time. and will do a better job w/ my ‘searing’ too. definitely one worth making again. served it in w/ roasted brussel sprouts.

  30. found your site thanks to foodgawker.com – i was looking for a brown-sugar salmon recipe, and oh good glory, this looks fantastic; we’ll definitely be eating this for dinner tonight! i’m so excited to have found this blog, i’m sure i’ll be back often.

    hope your business and culinary endeavors are going well! 🙂

  31. How do I print your recipes? There is no print button and I don’t need the whole page..just the recipe.

    Thankd

    1. Hi Mary Ann! There is actually a print option at the bottom of each post with a little green and white icon of a printer (4th from the right). It is right above the Related Posts section in the cartoon vines if you’re on the actual recipe page or right above the Categories section if you’re on the homepage. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have an option to print just the recipe, but this option will only print the text (no images) of the post. If you don’t want the text also, you could always highlight and copy the recipe and directions and paste them into a word document and print from there. Hope that helps (and thanks for your interest in my recipes!)!

  32. I came across your site a day or 2 ago and made this recipe tonight. Great dinner for my husband and me. Looked up a recipe for “rissole potatoes” as I’d never made them before, and they were quite good with the salmon. I make salmon once or twice a month and usually try a new recipe – this one will be a repeat for sure-it’s one of the best I’ve had. Made it with leftover “Peas with Celery Root” from epicurious.com I had from a previous meal. Wonderful. Lots of butter was involved in the two side dishes so it was a more decadent meal than necessary, but the flavors were delish. I can see this salmon being good with a lot of different kinds of sides. Might try a tad less brown sugar next time.

    I’m browsing through your recipes and finding many things up our alley, so I’ll be cooking from your pages again. Thanks for a really good salmon recipe and the rissole potatoes enlightenment.

    1. oops, my apologies, have the name “leah” on the brain, lacey.

      Also wanted to mention, I bought dry mustard powder, much more than needed for this recipe, a whole Tablespoon or so, from the bulk spice bins at QFC here in Seattle. It cost .08 cents.

  33. I just made this tonight and all I can say is UNBELIEVABLE. SO good! My boyfriend from alaska is quite picky about salmon, and he loved it!

  34. Cooked this tonight for my girlfriend in my new cast-iron pan (best holiday gift ever), and we both loved the flavors in the dish but found it to be a bit sweet for our tastes. I served it alongside roasted garlic asparagus, which turned out to be an excellent pairing. I’ll use less sugar next time, but all considered this one is a keeper!

  35. I made this tonight ( in fact, plan on making 3 dishes from this site this week) and the majority of us liked it. I didn’t have large fillets, they were small and thin and I think it caused the fish to taste too seasoned. With that being said, I really liked the flavors of the rub. I also made garlic sauteed spinach to go with it and boy howdy was that wonderful! Thanks for dinner tonight. I love your site.

  36. I want to make a salmon dish for xmas eve, your recipe sounds wonderful. I just have one question? Is this a sweet dish? Is it possible for you to describe the flavors of this salmon dish? It sounds yummy but at the same time complex.
    Thanks

  37. Lacey: This salmon recipe was SO easy and tasted delicious! Thanks for sharing. I hope to try another one of your recipes on Sunday. Keep ’em coming. We’re pulling for you! XOXOXO

  38. I made this the other night! My boyfriend and I are both trying to lose weight and eat better at the same time, so I thought salmon over spinach would be an excellent choice – I picked this recipe based on all the gushing about it, and it was fabulous! My boyfriend is very serious about good food, and only praises the best, and he declared it “amazing” so it’s a winner! (and with the spinach I made, it added up to under 500 calories for the dinner with quite an impressive pack of nutrients!) AND it was super easy, I had the whole thing on the table in about fifteen minutes *grin* Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Hi Kelly! I’m SO happy you and your boyfriend liked this dish. It’s definitely a favorite in our house, too. I agree: it’s so quick and easy to make PLUS it’s flavorful AND healthy. Winner! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, I really appreciate it. Good luck with your diet!

  39. Hey, recipe looks awesome- although I had to pick up on where you wrote ‘it never fails to disappoint’- surely you mean impress, as it looks and sounds lush!!!!!

  40. Great recipe! The seasonings go so well together. The only modification is the amount of salt. I would decrease it to 1 tsp of salt rather than the 2 (I used sea salt, not kosher if that makes a difference).

    1. Hey Sarah! Thanks for sharing your suggestion. I don’t usually cook with sea salt, so that is good to know that it should be decreased with it. Other than that, I’m glad you liked the recipe.

  41. omg!! i just made this. i could not believe how easy it was. and the aroma from the spices had me drooling and staring at the timer willing it to hurry.

    since i’ve started my life change about three years ago, i’ve been searching for meals like this. i’ve cut down over 3/4’s of the processed foods i used to eat and prepared fresher stuff. seventy pounds lighter now, just twenty more to go. food like this will smooth the road even better. thanks, darlin’.

    this was so good, i emailed this link to my friends and family, begging them to try it. lol

    1. Rhody, yay!!! You tried out the recipe and you like it!!! See? SO easy, right? Congrats on your diet and weight loss…that’s amazing. About 4 years ago, I chose to re-work how I ate also and lost about 60 pounds. Keep up the good work! I will try to keep posting good, solid, healthy meals you can add to your repertoire.

  42. wow…i have 2 filets defrosted, i think i’ll get the other two defrosted. i have everything to make this tonight. sounds wonderful.

  43. This sounds amazing! Coincidentally I was looking fro a great salmon recipe just yesterday and today I stumbled upon your blog. I’m definitely going to try it soon. Good luck on your blog and your new business. I’ll be a regular reader. (And I’m a fellow San Diegan part time.)

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