The Ultimate Guide to Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets

Easy Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon Fillet Recipe

Master the art of creating restaurant-quality salmon fillets with irresistibly crispy skin and perfectly tender flesh.

Craving salmon that’s both crispy and juicy? Look no further! This foolproof technique will help you achieve salmon perfection every time. Say goodbye to sticking skin, overcooked fish, and greasy results. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll be serving up Instagram-worthy salmon dinners in no time.

Selecting the Best Salmon: Your Key to Success

Whether you prefer king, coho, or sockeye, choosing high-quality salmon is crucial. Look for these telltale signs of freshness:

  • Firm, bright-looking fillets
  • Shiny, intact skin
  • Resilient flesh that springs back when pressed

Pro tip: Center-cut fillets offer the most uniform shape for picture-perfect results, but this technique works wonders on any cut. Aim for 5-6 ounce portions per person.

Prep Like a Pro: The Secret to Crispy Skin

Moisture is the enemy of crispy skin. Follow these crucial steps:

  1. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, removing all surface moisture.
  2. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. For optimal results, season 45 minutes to several hours in advance and refrigerate. This helps the fish retain moisture during cooking.

The Hot Pan Trick: Your Ticket to No-Stick Success

Prevent frustrating skin-sticking by following these steps:

  1. Preheat a thin layer of oil in a stainless steel, cast iron, or carbon steel skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Wait for the oil to shimmer – this is crucial!
  3. Just before adding the fish, lower the heat to medium-low to prevent overcooking.

The Perfect Sear: Technique is Everything

Follow these pro tips for flawless results:

  1. Add the salmon to the pan gently, skin-side down.
  2. Immediately press down on the fillet with a flexible spatula for 10 seconds to prevent curling.
  3. Cook 90% through on the skin side, taking advantage of its insulating properties.
  4. For medium-rare perfection, cook until the center reaches 120°F (49°C) – about 6 minutes for a large fillet.
  5. Flip carefully and cook for a brief 15 seconds on the second side.

Rest and Serve: The Finishing Touch

Let your salmon rest on a paper towel-lined plate for a couple of minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring maximum flavor and texture in every bite.

Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets


  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets, about 6 ounces (170g) each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable, canola, or light olive oil


  1. Thoroughly dry salmon fillets with paper towels. Season all sides generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place salmon fillets skin-side down, pressing each firmly for 10 seconds with a flexible fish spatula to prevent skin from buckling.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes, occasionally pressing gently on fillets. The skin should release easily when lifted with a spatula. For rare salmon, cook to 110°F (43°C) in the center. For medium-rare, aim for 120°F (49°C), and for medium, 130°F (54°C).
  4. Using a spatula and fork, flip salmon fillets. Cook on the second side for 15 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve immediately and enjoy your perfectly crispy salmon!


Elevate your meal by pairing this crispy salmon with one of our vibrant, complementary side dishes for a truly memorable dining experience.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
529 Calories
35g Fat
0g Carbs
50g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 529
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 143mg 48%
Sodium 296mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 871mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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