Pan-Seared Salmon

Pan-seared salmon is an impressive main dish, but you’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it is to prepare. With just a few ingredients and a couple of pieces of equipment, you can make restaurant-style pan seared salmon at home.

Pan-Seared Salmon


  • 4 (6 oz.) skin-on salmon fillets

  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Lemon-Herb Butter:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces.

  • 3 Tbsp. chopped tender herbs (such as parsley, tarragon, chives, or thyme)


    Prepare salmon:

    • Take the salmon out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature. Check fish for any pin bones and remove them. Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Season the flesh side of the salmon with salt and pepper.

    Sear salmon:

    • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. The oil should cover the entire bottom of the pan; add another teaspoon or two if needed. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side up, and cook 5 minutes.

    Flip fish and finish cooking:

    • Carefully flip the fish using a fish spatula, or other thin, flexible metal spatula. The fish should be golden brown and release easily from the pan. If it doesn’t release easily, cook 1 minute longer before flipping. Cook skin side down 4 minutes until skin is golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork or reaches 135°F to 145°F when measured with a meat thermometer.

    Prepare Lemon-Herb Butter:

    • Remove the fish from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm.
    • Pour the lemon juice into the hot pan and turn the heat to low. Whisk in the butter until melted, then stir in the herbs. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

    Finish and serve:

    • Drizzle butter over salmon fillets and serve immediately.
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