How to cook salmon in a pan?

How to cook salmon in a pan?

Pan-Seared Salmon: A Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Pan-searing salmon is a simple and flavorful way to prepare this nutritious fish. With the right techniques, you can achieve a crispy exterior and a moist, tender interior. Here’s a detailed guide on how to cook salmon in a pan:


  • Fresh salmon fillet(s)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Optional: lemon wedges, herbs, spices for seasoning


  • Non-stick skillet or frying pan
  • Tongs or spatula
  • Kitchen paper towels


  1. Choose Fresh Salmon: Select high-quality salmon fillets that are firm, shiny, and have a fresh ocean scent. Skin-on fillets work best for pan-searing.
  2. Preparation:Remove the salmon fillet from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before cooking. This helps ensure even cooking.Pat the salmon dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Dry salmon will sear better and develop a crispy crust.
  3. Season the Salmon:Season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or herbs if desired.
  4. Preheat the Pan:Place a non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.Add a drizzle of olive oil or a small amount of butter to the pan. Allow it to heat until it shimmers but does not smoke.
  5. Searing the Salmon:Gently place the salmon fillet, skin-side down, into the preheated pan. Use tongs to avoid splattering hot oil.Let the salmon cook without moving it for about 3-4 minutes. This helps develop a crispy skin and sear.
  6. Flipping the Salmon:Use tongs to carefully flip the salmon fillet. If the skin sticks to the pan, it’s not ready to be flipped yet. Wait another minute or so.Continue cooking the salmon on the second side for another 3-4 minutes. The exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillet. The fish should be opaque and easily flake with a fork.
  7. Optional: Add Flavor:As the salmon finishes cooking, you can add additional flavor by adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a pat of butter to the pan. Tilt the pan slightly and spoon the melted butter or juices over the fish.
  8. Remove from Heat:Once the salmon is cooked to your desired level of doneness, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  9. Resting Time:Let the cooked salmon rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the fillet and keeps it moist.
  10. Serving:Serve the pan-seared salmon fillet with your choice of sides. It pairs well with steamed vegetables, rice, quinoa, or a fresh salad.


  • Adjust cooking times based on the thickness of the salmon fillet. Thicker fillets may require a few extra minutes.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook one or two fillets at a time to ensure proper searing.
  • Avoid overcooking the salmon to prevent it from becoming dry.
  • If you prefer skinless salmon, you can remove the skin before cooking or after pan-searing.

By following these steps, you can create a delicious and impressive pan-seared salmon dish that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or special occasion.

Leave a Comment