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My Crispy Skin Salmon recipe is the absolute best way to eat it. Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods out there. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and all of the vitamin B varieties. The fish gets super moist and tender while the skin turns crispy on the bottom. Eat this pan-seared salmon with a salad or low-carb side dish to make a meal.
Why Make Pan Seared Salmon
Here are a few reasons why you should make this delicious, crispy skin salmon recipe:
- Easy recipe: With only a few ingredients and a cook time of just 6 minutes, cooking salmon couldn’t be any easier!
- Healthy Option: Salmon is a delicious protein that contains healthy fat and nutrients that promote great brain health. That said, if you love tender salmon with the crispiest skin, add this recipe to your list of favorites!
Pan-searing salmon is really easy and requires about five ingredients to make. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- Skin-on Salmon Fillets: I try to get them as close to the same size as possible so that the salmon cooks evenly.
- Butter: I cook with salted butter, but you can absolutely use unsalted. The reason for it is to help keep the pan slick and quick-start your crispy skin.
- Garlic Salt: I use about half of the recommended amount in the recipe card when I’m topping this with a sauce (like butter sauce). If you prefer, you can use a little garlic powder as well.
- Black Pepper
- Lemon slices: This one is optional, but I love to squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top of my fish at the end.
You can find the exact ingredients below in the recipe card.
How To Make Crispy Skin Salmon in a Cast Iron Pan
- For best results, dry your salmon with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- Preheat your pan for at least 2-3 minutes before laying the salmon skin side down. This helps you get some tasty, crispy salmon skin with a beautiful golden brown color.
- When the butter in the pan starts to sizzle, you know the pan is hot enough to sear salmon. Use a timer when pan-frying salmon to ensure you do not flip it too soon.
- There are also specialty fish spatulas that help keep the fish together when turning, so I like to use one of those. If you don’t have a fish spatula, a regular spatula will be okay to use.
Top Tips & FAQs
- If you don’t want to use butter, you can use olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, or even avocado oil. Just be sure to use enough oil to properly cook each salmon fillet.
Storage & Leftovers
If you have a leftover piece of salmon, the best way to store it is in an airtight container for next time (up to 5 days). You can also wrap it up tight in aluminum foil.
Fresh or Frozen Salmon: Does it Matter for Crispy Skin?
I have tried both fresh and frozen salmon when developing this recipe. No matter which you use, the salmon skin will get crispy with this technique.
I typically use individually packed and frozen salmon for ease, since fresh salmon does not last very long in the refrigerator. That said, you can use Atlantic salmon, wild salmon, farm-raised salmon, wild caught salmon, or whatever type of salmon you prefer.
Before cooking, remove the salmon from the freezer. Cover the sealed salmon package in cold water until it is thawed.
What to Eat Pan-Seared Salmon With
There are lots of ideas across the site to help you make a meal. Some of my favorite ways to eat pan-seared salmon are:
- Make a Caesar Salad: after chicken, the next best main protein for a Caesar salad is salmon. Just make the salad as is with my quick creamy Caesar dressing and swap the chicken for this salmon.
- Add variety to your keto burrito bowl: I usually enjoy a burrito bowl with shrimp or slow-cooked pork shoulder roast. But, you can make a salmon version with this recipe along with easy fajita veggies, guacamole, cilantro-lime cauliflower rice, or Spanish cauliflower rice
- Pair it with a creamy and rich side dish like cheese cauliflower grits, cauliflower mushroom risotto, or keto creamed spinach
- Keep it light with an air fryer roasted vegetable like my air fryer Brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, or air fryer green beans.
Optional Sauces & Toppings
The easiest way to enjoy this is with a squeeze of lemon; but there are several sauce recipes that would work well, too. Serve these on the side or right before serving so that you can keep the skin as crispy as possible.
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Sugar-Free Keto Teriyaki Sauce
- Keto Bang Bang Sauce
- Keto Sweet & Sour Sauce
- Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce
- Cajun Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe
Crispy Skin Salmon Recipe
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- Season both sides of the salmon with the garlic salt and pepper
- Preheat your pan to medium-high heat. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes for the pan to be hot enough.
- Add the butter and allow it to sizzle across the pan
- Add the salmon skin-side down for 3 minutes. Larger pieces of fish might take an additional minute. The skin will release easily when it's ready to be flipped.
- Use a fish spatula to turn your fish and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until your fish flakes easily with a fork.
- To keep the skin crispy, serve it skin-side up. Add a squeeze of lemon over the top if you'd like.
The nutrition facts come from entering the recipe ingredients into Spoonacular API, a database of food ingredients. They may vary for any recipe based on the exact product used. The keto sweeteners I use have 0g net carbs & are not included because sugar alcohols do not impact most people. This is provided as a courtesy, but you can do your own calculations if you wish!