Crispy Skin Salmon Cooked in a Pan

The best way to enjoy this popular fish is pan seared, which results in a golden crispy exterior and a moist interior cooked to your desired doneness, just like at a fancy restaurant. It takes only 10 minutes and a few simple ingredients to make crispy salmon at home. Listed below are all the most crucial advice I can give.

Pan Seared Salmon - Served Over a Bed of Greens On Plate

The finishing touch on a delicious meal is a piece of salmon that is both juicy and crisp. Pairing it with a thick slab of tender salmon is brilliant.

A long time ago, I had this kind of salmon for the first time at a restaurant and I remember wondering if it was safe to eat the skin. When I was a kid, my family and I would eat salmon, but we would always remove the fish from the skin before discarding it.

When I finally took a bite and crunched on the most perfectly crisp piece of savory goodness, I was hooked for life.

Super crispy skin on perfectly cooked salmon can be achieved in your own kitchen in less time than you might think. Crispier than a potato chip, the skin is incredibly crunchy.

Though this Baked Salmon is my go-to when I want something fast and easy, this Crispy Salmon is worth the extra time and effort for the deliciously crunchy skin. There's also a lot of skill put into the presentation.

In case the fishmonger didn't remove the scales from the skin before you bought it, I'll show you how to do it yourself below so you can cook it safely. You don't want these scales, which feel like tiny pieces of plastic, to ruin your meal.

Another thing you'll want to do that may be out of your comfort zone is to cook the salmon almost entirely on the skin side. To ensure maximum crispiness, do as such.

Cooking rules state that the skin must be completely dry before browning can occur. Make sure the outside is completely dry by patting it down with a paper towel.

Seared Salmon - Served Over a Bed of Greens On Plate with Fork Showing Moist Interior

This is a fantastic way to enjoy this delicious fish while still maintaining a healthy diet.

Any variety of salmon can be used in this recipe; however, the cooking time will change based on the salmon's kind and thickness. Using a thermometer is the best way to guarantee that your meat or fish will be cooked to the perfect level of doneness every time.

Wild salmon is typically more flavorful, but it is also more lean and less forgiving of overcooking. Salmon raised in captivity typically has a higher fat content but a less robust flavor than its wild counterpart. You have to try them all at some point to figure out which one you like best.

Wild Alaskan King Salmon is my top choice because it is exceptionally tasty and tender but also quite pricey. Atlantic salmon raised in captivity is my second choice.

If you want center cut pieces of salmon, you can ask the fishmonger for them when you buy it at the supermarket. As a result, they will cook more uniformly and maintain a more consistent thickness.

Overview in Easy Steps:

Before we start searing, we need to prep the skin by removing the scales. Oftentimes the fishmonger will de-scale the fish before filleting (mine does), but they often miss spots

Descaling the Skin with a tool

My family enjoys salmon on a weekly basis, so I invested in a fish scaler; however, a sharp chef's knife will also work; just be aware that the scales will fly everywhere as you scrape them off.

Some light scraping, and the scales are gone for good. When they're gone, the skin will have a netting pattern that will give them away.

Salmon Skin With the Scales Removed

You can either brush the scales off the fish or give it a quick rinse to remove them.

Whether or not you wash the fish, make sure to pat the outside dry with paper towels.  Water is the enemy of a good crispy sear

The next step is to get a pan hot for searing the salmon.

An uncoated stainless steel pan is what you need to get that perfect sear. Second place would go to a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.

When searing fish, some people prefer to use a nonstick pan like Teflon, but I personally avoid them. The sear isn't the same, and you shouldn't even be using this much heat in those pans anyway.

If you get the pan hot enough, the fish won't stick. Because the filet is no longer stuck to the pan, I can pick it up with tongs.

Choose a pan that is roughly the same size as the fish you intend to cook, and preheat it for three to five minutes (three for gas stoves, five for electric).

When the pan is hot and ready to cook, give it one last blot to remove any moisture from the outside.

Patting the Salmon Skin Dry So It Fries Up Crispy

Then, right before adding it to the pan, sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt on the fish skin.

Seasoning The Skin with Salt

Side note: I don’t recommend black pepper on the skin, or spices like garlic powder or onion powder, as they will burn

Seasoning with salt just before searing is recommended because salt draws moisture from the fish skin and returns it to the flesh, preventing a good sear.

To the Kitchen!

The oil you use to coat the bottom of the pan should be shimmering but not smoking when you add it. The heat should be reduced slightly if it is smoking excessively.

The smoke point of olive oil is too low for pan-searing salmon, even when preheating the pan over medium heat. Use oils with a higher smoke point, like ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil.

Touch the tip of your fish to the hot pan to see if it is ready to eat. A sizzling hiss indicates that the pan is ready for use.

Put the fish in the hot pan skin-side down, always away from you so the oil doesn't splash. (And your pan isn't hot enough if the fish doesn't sizzle when you add it.)

Pan Cooked Salmon - Frying in Oil Skin Side Down First

The trick is to cook the fish with the skin side down for 90% of the total cooking time. The skin gets thoroughly crisp, while the flesh side of the salmon is cooked more gently.

To get a nice golden brown and crispy skin on my one-inch-thick salmon fillets, I sear them for about five minutes. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure the fillets are cooked thoroughly, as cooking time will vary depending on their thickness.

When the salmon is almost done cooking (depicted below), I give each fillet a quick "kiss" on the other side by cooking it for another 15 to 30 seconds:

Lifting Up The Salmon Filet To Show Crispy Skin

Even though you shouldn't have any trouble removing the salmon from the skillet if the pan was hot enough before adding the fish, I like to use this razor-thin turner to get under it and keep the salmon held together in a nice piece as I remove it. You could also use a fish spatula.

The crispiness of the skin can be preserved and the fish won't get soggy if you remove it from the pan skin-side up. In addition, you can admire the crisp golden brown exterior.

Crispy Skin Salmon - On a Plate with Greens and a Fork

Take a look at the shiny and wet interior. If you ask me, the ideal internal temperature for salmon is 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the medium setting. Salmon fillets cooked to this point are tender and flake easily, but retain a slight pink color.

Fork Holding a Piece of Moist Fish from Cooking Method

Fish needs to be cooked to 140 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe to eat.

The only seasoning in this Pan-Seared Salmon is salt, so feel free to jazz it up however you like by adding lemon wedges, fresh herbs, or a sauce. Romesco, basil pesto, and chimichurri are some of my favorite accompaniments. In addition, seafood pairs wonderfully with a traditional Tartar Sauce.

Carrot-raisin salad, tabbouleh, and white bean salad are just a few examples of tasty salads that would go well as a side dish. Alternatively, you could try some heartier sides like roasted acorn squash, mashed cauliflower, or smashed potatoes fried in bacon fat.

Another one of my go-to seafood dishes to make at home is seared scallops because it's so simple and costs a fraction of what it would at a restaurant.

Besides the obvious salmon steak, other excellent salmon dishes include salmon salad and smoked salmon deviled eggs. Enjoy

Methods, Frequently Asked Questions, and Recipes

Pan-fried salmon: how long does it keep in the fridge?

Keep for up to three days if stored properly.

Salmon that has been pan-seared and then frozen, yes

Yes, you can keep it for up to 2 months if you put it in an airtight container. The best results can be achieved by letting the food thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheating it.

How Should Pan-Seared Salmon Be Reheated?

The best way to reheat is to repeat the cooking process, this time with the skin side down, and then flip it over to warm the other side. It's easy to overcook fish in the microwave, so if you do, I recommend cooking it gently at no more than 50% power in 30 second intervals until it's warm to the touch.

The question is whether or not frozen salmon can be pan-fried.

In fact, fish should never be eaten straight from the freezer. It only takes about 15 minutes in cold water to thaw out. Just make sure to pat it dry really well before you cook it.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe. Please rate this recipe (out of 5) and share your thoughts (in the comments section).

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  • 2 Salmon steaks intact skin, descalded, and dried with paper towels
  • Olive oil* sautéing, or ghee
  • salt

  • Put a skillet on the stovetop (3 minutes for gas, 5 for electric) and heat it up for 3-5 minutes, until it's nice and toasty.
  • Put in about a tablespoon or two of oil to grease the bottom of the skillet. That gleam in the oil is what you're going for.  
  • You should liberally salt the fish skin before touching the very tip of your fish to the pan to see if it is cooked. Once you hear a hissing, sizzling sound, you know the pan is ready. Put the fish in the pan, making sure to face it away from you so that the oil doesn't splash.
  • 90% of the cooking time should be spent with the skin side down. My salmon is typically an inch thick, so I cook it for 5 minutes skin-side-down.
  • Salt the top side of the fish and flip it over to cook for another 15-30 seconds. Place skin-side up on a plate, and dig in!
I used a 9-inch skillet to cook six-ounce fillets of salmon. However, the fillets' size is not particularly important provided that you use a skillet that is adequate for the task. Any oil with a high smoke point will do. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Storage in the freezer: Keep in an airtight container for up to two months Better results can be achieved by letting the food thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. The best way to reheat is to repeat the cooking process, this time with the skin down in the skillet, and then flip it over at the end to warm the other side. Since it's simple to overcook fish in a microwave, I advise cooking it gently at no more than 50% power in 30 second intervals until it's warm to the touch. Regarding doneness, I prefer the interior to reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a hint of pinkness. Instant-read thermometer-determined internal temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit indicate completion of cooking.

Calories: 425 kcal , Protein: 40 g , Fat: 29 g , Unhealthy Saturated Fats: 6 g , Cholesterol: 109 mg , Sodium: 400 mg

Estimated based on a food database, the nutrition information is provided as a reference only.

This post was revised and expanded in August 2018 to include new photos, text, and advice. First released in August 2012 Including an affiliate link in this post

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