Pan searing salmon is one of the BEST and easiest ways to cook salmon. This no-oil method makes it a healthy, no-mess method that anyone, and I mean anyone, can master! Served the pan seared salmon over a salad, pasta, with sautéed veggies and more!
Buying the right kind of salmon
Before you do anything, you’ve got to find the right kind of salmon! Skin-on filets are essential for this recipe, so be sure to seek out fresh filets with the skin still intact. And if you aren’t quite sure what to look for when purchasing fresh salmon, check out this guide on what to look for when buying salmon.
Watch How to Pan Sear Salmon:
Three-ingredient pan seared salmon
You just need THREE ingredients to make the best, most moist pan seared salmon. And two of them are pantry staples. Ready to hear what they are?
- Kosher salt
- Skin-on salmon
Why you don’t need oil
Skin on salmon, a nonstick skillet, and a bed of salt and pepper create the perfect method for pan searing salmon without oil.
It’s no secret that salmon is an oily fish, and the skin itself is especially oily. When seared, the oil from the skin is released and rendered onto the pan, which lubricates the pan enough to discourage sticking.
A nonstick skillet, for obvious reasons, helps to create a cooking surface that is nonstick without the need for additional oil or fat. A well seasoned cast-iron skillet with work OK for this method, but a good quality nonstick skillet is best.
And lastly, using a mixture of kosher salt and ground black pepper as a “bed” for the salmon acts as a barrier between the salmon and the hot skillet, and does a wonderful job of creating a gorgeous crust on the salmon.
How to make pan seared salmon with skin
The steps are simple and easy to follow for searing skin-on salmon. The most important aspect of cooking perfect pan seared salmon is timing. But don’t worry, I’ll take you through the step-by-step process below (or watch the web story) to make it foolproof for you. Let’s dive in!
Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Combine 1 teaspoon kosher salt with 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt/pepper mixture into a cold nonstick skillet.
Place salmon, skin-side down, over salt and pepper in cold nonstick skillet.
Place skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of salt/pepper mixture over the flesh-side of the salmon.
Cook salmon until fat begins to render and skin starts to brown, 6–7 minutes.
Flip salmon and continue to cook until flesh side starts to brown and a thermometer inserted in the center registers 145-degrees fahrenheit.
Serve salmon immediately or let cool slightly, remove skin and use as directed in recipe.
How to use this salmon:
- Top a pilaf with pan seared salmon
- Top a salad with large flakes of pan seared salmon
- Add chunks of pan seared salmon to frittatas or omelets
- Add chunks of pan seared salmon to a breakfast burrito
- Add pan seared salmon to a charcuterie board
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Perfect Pan Seared Salmon
- 1 pound skin-on salmon fillet cut into 2 (8-ounce) fillets
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- Combine 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of salt and pepper mixture in bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Arrange salmon, skin side down, in skillet; heat to medium high and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper over top.
- Cook salmon, without moving, until fat begins to render and skin starts to brown, 6–7 minutes. Flip, cook until flesh side starts to brown, 6–8 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- Serve as desired.