Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Skin (or Without)
Crispy Pan Seared Salmon Recipe
How to Pan Sear Salmon with Skin or Without in 10 Minutes
This irresistibly crispy pan seared salmon recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare! Simple, flavorful salmon filets that taste like a restaurant meal—perfect for serving with your favorite sauces and sides. Learn how to pan sear salmon with skin or without skin for an easy weeknight dinner.
Is it better to bake or pan fry salmon?
So many people love oven baked or sheet pan salmon recipes because they’re convenient, but a skillet salmon recipe is just as easy. Better yet, sauteed salmon on the stove is even quicker to prepare than cooking in the oven. Just season with salt and pepper, pan sear on both sides, and dinner is ready in minutes!
Personally, pan seared is also my favorite method because it tastes the best. It has a juicier, flakier texture, and nothing compares to the deliciously crispy skin and edges on a seared salmon filet. I’ll show you how to pan sear salmon on the stovetop, plus a fun grilled salmon option using a grill pan. Whether you’ve got salmon with skin or without skin, both methods will work for either type of filet!
How to Pan Sear Salmon with Skin or Without
If you’ve always baked salmon in the oven, it can be intimidating to learn how to cook salmon in a pan on the stove. But, trust me—after cooking pan seared salmon once, you’ll see how simple and tasty it is! With skin or without skin, the cooking process for skillet salmon follows the same 3 steps:
- Season filets with salt and pepper (on both sides, if skinless).
- Add oil to a hot pan and sear salmon (skin-side up) for ~4 minutes.
- Flip and sear an additional 4-5 minutes.
How to Cook Pan Grilled Salmon
For another stovetop method, try whipping up some gorgeous pan grilled salmon on your grill pan! If you’ve got a grill pan that can go on the stovetop, this is a fun and tasty option to switch things up. The process is essentially the same as pan searing and just as easy.
Do you cook salmon on high or low heat?
When cooking pan seared salmon on the stove, first heat your pan to medium-high heat. Then, add oil and sear your salmon on the first side. After flipping, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook. If you try the pan grilled salmon method, I recommend starting with the heat a bit higher, so you get those nice grill marks!
What side of salmon do you sear first?
For pan cooked salmon with the skin on, always start searing with the skin side up, flesh side down. If your filets are skinless, it doesn’t matter which side you start with! The same goes for cooking salmon in the grill pan.
How long to pan sear salmon?
Personally, I recommend cooking pan seared salmon for 8-10 minutes total: start with 4 minutes on one side, then lower the heat and continue 4-5 minutes on the other side.
Do you flip salmon when pan frying?
Yes, whether you’re cooking salmon with the skin on or off, it’s best to flip salmon when pan frying! Also, when pan grilling. By cooking the filets on both sides, you get nice and crispy edges all around, and some satisfyingly crispy skin if your filets have the skin on.
How do you know when pan seared salmon is done?
The cook time for pan seared salmon depends on your personal preference. Personally, I like my salmon cooked medium to medium-rare, so I pan sear for about 4 minutes on each side. If you prefer a medium-well to well-done filet, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the second side. The good thing about fish is it’s safe (and tasty) to eat medium-rare!
Generally, I gauge the doneness by looking at the side of the filet. If the inner portion of the filet is darker pink and the outer edges are lighter, it’s closer to medium-rare. When the filet is lighter pink all the way through, it’s closer to medium-well. If you prefer to use a meat thermometer, look for an internal temperature of 120°F (49°C) for medium-rare, or up to 145°F (63°C) for well-done.
Should you eat salmon skin?
If you’re open to it, yes—you should absolutely eat sauteed salmon with skin! Not only does it make for a tasty, crispy texture, but it’s also loaded with wholesome nutrients that our bodies don’t get from many other food sources. Again, this comes down to personal preference. If you don’t enjoy eating salmon skin, buy skinless filets, or you can peel the skin off of a filet easily after cooking!
What to Serve with Pan Seared Salmon
Sauces & Spreads
- Cilantro Pesto
- Homemade Hummus
- Whole30 Ranch Mayo
- White Bean Honey Mustard Dip
- Edamame Hummus
- Garlic Dill Sauce
Sides & Accompaniments
- Spinach Rice
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Whole30 & Paleo Coleslaw
- Quinoa Cakes
- Italian Salad & Dressing
- Savory Sweet Potato Mash
- Kale Quinoa Salad
Pan Seared Salmon Recipe
- 2 salmon filets, skin-on or skinless , (4-5oz ea.)
- salt & pepper, to taste
- drizzle of oil
- Season salmon filets with salt and pepper. (If skinless, season on both sides).
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. (Or, feel free to use a grill pan if desired! For this method, I’d recommend turning the heat up a bit higher to get those nice char marks.)
- Add oil to pan. Add salmon filets (skin side up, if there’s skin) and cook until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. (Don’t move the salmon around while it’s cooking—let it sit and brown to get a nice crust!)
- Carefully flip the filets and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook to your liking, about 4-5minutes. Cook time will depend on the thickness of your filets and your preferred doneness. Cook 4 additional minutes for medium-rare, or 5+ minutes for medium-well to well-done.
- Enjoy as is, or serve with your favorite sauce. (I recommend my cilantro pesto recipe!)