Up your weeknight salmon game with this 15-minute recipe for blackened salmon! Made with a handful of pantry spices and a splash of vegetable oil, you’ll be on your way to a delicious and healthy dinner in no time. Enjoy blackened salmon over a simple salad, with your favorite veggie side dish, or flaked and served in tacos. The options are endless!
What Does Blackening Mean?
Blackening is a cooking technique, not a spice blend. And while the technique involves a spice blend known as blackening seasoning, it’s actually all about the cooking method.
Blackening is a cooking technique that involves coating meat, fish or seafood with a blend of spices and then searing it in a hot skillet (most often cast-iron) until it develops a blackened, crusty exterior.
The intense heat of the skillet and the combination of spices create a unique and flavorful crust that seals in moisture and adds depth and complexity to the protein being cooked. Once you try our blackened salmon, check out our blackened white fish recipe.
The best blackening season is one that’s made with a variety of dried herbs and spices. It’s essentially a cross between Cajun seasoning and Creole seasoning. A good blackening seasoning should be smoky, a bit spicy, herby and salty. All that being said, blackening spice blends can vary depending on who’s in the kitchen. Here’s the blend of spices we prefer for a blackening seasoning:
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Dried thyme
- Dried Oregano
- Kosher salt
- Black Pepper
How to Make Blackened Salmon
- 2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
- Center-cut salmon fillet
- Canola oil
- Heat a splash of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
- Cut the salmon into individual portions then coat each fillet in blackening seasoning.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the salmon and cook until both sides are blackened and salmon is cooked through.
- Enjoy blackened salmon as is with a simple side dish, or flake it into chunks and make Blackened Salmon Tacos!
Tips for Blackening Fish
- Cooking time will depend on how thick your salmon fillets are. The thinner the fillets, the less time they will need. The thicker they are, the more time they will need. You’ll know the salmon is done cooking when each side is blackened and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125ºF for medium-rare, 135ºF for medium, or 145ºF for well-done.
- The easiest way to determine doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. This is our favorite thermometer in the test kitchen.
- Be sure to pat the fish dry with paper towels before coating it in the blackening seasoning. This will encourage searing, not steaming.
What to Serve with Blackened Salmon
We’ve got tons of side dish recipes for salmon, but here are a few we particularly love with this blackened salmon!
Our Simple Fennel Salad is bright and tart—the perfect pairing for this bold, smoky salmon. It’s as simple as can be, which means together, this meal will be ready in a flash!
In keeping with the Southern flare of this recipe, pair blackened salmon with our Chorizo Corn Maque Choux. Then round out the meal with our Healthy Skillet Cornbread (or our gluten free version).
Cabbage pairs wonderfully with blackened salmon—try our Mexican Coleslaw or Asian Cabbage Salad.
Asian Cabbage Salad
Healthy Skillet Cornbread
Storage and Reheating
- Leftover blackened salmon should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze the salmon for up to 3 months.
- If salmon is frozen, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently in a nonstick skillet with a splash of oil. Cook just until warmed through to avoid over cooking.
We have tested broiling salmon countless times and have landed on this broiled salmon recipe—it’s truly the best!
Grilling salmon can be intimidating, but this Glazed Grilled Salmon will walk you through the entire process.
One way to avoid an uneven cut of salmon is to request a center-cut fillet of farm-raised salmon. However, if you have an uneven piece of salmon you can fold the thin end of the fillet over itself so that it matches the rest of the fillet in thickness. Secure it with a toothpick or kitchen twine. Alternatively, trim the thin ends from the salmon fillet and cook them separately (or at the same time but for less total time than the rest of the fillet).
Salmon recipes just don’t get any simpler than this pan-seared salmon recipe. It’s a fan-favorite and comes out perfectly cooked every time!
- Try our Salmon Salad for a fresh take on the classic fish salad.
- For a special occasion, make our Lemon Butter Salmon featuring pan-seared salmon, a lemony butter sauce, and buttery peas.
- Try our go-to salmon recipe for pan-seared salmon. It’s absolutely foolproof and makes the best salmon!
- Our Salmon Caesar Salad is a great way to use up some pan-seared salmon or broiled salmon.
Blackened Salmon Recipe
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1½ tablespoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 (1-pound) center-cut salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
- In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 ½ tablespoons (1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons) kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 2¼ teaspoons cayenne, 1½ teaspoons thyme, and 1 ½ teaspoons oregano.
- Cut salmon evenly into 4-ounce portions.
- Season each salmon piece generously with blackening spice, about 1 teaspoon on each side.
- Transfer remaining blackening spice to an airtight glass container and store at room temperature.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Once oil is shimmering, add salmon and cook until blackened on both sides and an instant-read thermometer registers 125ºF, about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness of filets.