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Easy Blackened Salmon Recipe

This Easy Blackened Salmon Recipe is the best seasoning for salmon loaded with spices and herbs like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and onion powder. This simple meal is ready in 15 minutes making it perfect for weeknight dinners. You can even toss the fish in tacos or on salads!

blackened salmon in a cast iron skillet topped with pineapple and avocado

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FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END OF THIS POST. BEFORE YOU SCROLL, THERE’S IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG POST.

If you are looking for ideas of what seasoning to put on salmon, this is the recipe for you! Just salt and pepper will get boring! When you are trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle, bold flavor is important. So is a good salmon rub!

spices for blackened seasoning in 3 individual bowls

What is Blackened Salmon? What Does it Mean?

I discuss this in the post for my Homemade Blackening Seasoning recipe. Blackening is a cooking technique, it’s usually associated with Cajun cuisine. Fish is dipped in butter, dredged in spices, and then seared in a hot cast iron or stainless steel pan. This leaves a crust, that will appear burnt, on the fish or meat that is loaded with flavor.

How to Make Blackened Salmon

  1. Allow the salmon to come to room temperature and pat dry.
  2. Coat the salmon in butter and then blackened seasoning.
  3. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat.
  4. Sear both sides of the salmon.
raw and seasoned salmon on a cutting board

Type of Butter or Oil to Use

Traditionally, butter is used for blackening. If not using butter, you should focus on oils with a high smoke point like avocado oil or grapeseed oil.

Smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and smoke. When you cook with oil that’s been heated past its smoke point, you can introduce burnt flavor to foods. You can read more about Smoke Points and Cooking here.

melted butter in a glass bowl

What Type of Pan to Use

You will need a pan that gets hot and one that is great for searing. A cast-iron or stainless steel pan will work best. A non-stick pan will not give you the crispy crust that you are looking for in this recipe.

blackened salmon with the skin on cooking in a cast iron skillet

How Long to Cook Salmon Fillets

I typically opt for 2-4 minutes on each side. The cook time will depend on the temperature of your pan and the size of your fillets. The color of the salmon will become lighter as it cooks.

You can monitor the color of the sides to determine doneness. When the color of the side of the salmon has lightened about 3/4ths of the way up, it’s time to flip.

blackened salmon cooking in a cast iron skillet

How to Sear Salmon and Prevent it From Being Overcooked

  • Dry the salmon thoroughly before coating it in butter or oil. Wet salmon is more likely to stick to the pan.
  • Avoid using salmon cold and straight from the fridge. I like to pull the salmon from the fridge and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  • The pan will need to get really hot. Cast iron usually smokes. This is normal. You can use a fan over the stove or open up a window as well.
  • Don’t move the salmon after you have placed it down on the skillet. It’s more likely to crumble, break, and not turn out pretty! Allow it to cook and get ready for flipping.
  • The color of the salmon will become lighter as it cooks. You can monitor the color of the sides to determine doneness. When the color of the side of the salmon has lightened about 3/4ths of the way up, it’s time to flip.
  • Use a timer while cooking the salmon if you are easily distracted. This will help ensure you don’t overcook the salmon.

Overcooked Salmon

Overcooked salmon is dry and has little flavor. Fish (along with meat) will continue to cook when you remove it from heat. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long the fish cooks.

When the fish is done, it will be a translucent pink in the middle. It should also look flaky. If you notice white goo protrude from the salmon, this is a sign it’s overcooked.

The white gunk is coagulated protein. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out the protein to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

You can check out more tips on How to Tell if Salmon is Overcooked here.

blackened salmon in a cast iron skillet topped with pineapple and avocado

The Difference Between Cajun and Blackened Seasoning

Cajun seasoning is the spiciest when compared to blackened and Creole seasoning. Blackened seasoning falls in the middle of the two. It isn’t as spicy and it’s less salty than Creole Seasoning.

Each of these typically uses paprika, cayenne pepper (less for Creole and blackened), garlic powder, thyme, and onion powder

What’s the Difference Between Grilled and Blackened

Both methods use dry heat to add flavor and produce juicy salmon or meat. Blackening is a quick method of cooking and grilling takes a little more time.

Charring occurs naturally when food is grilled, broiled, or sometimes cooked on the stove. It does not involve a blend of seasonings. You can read more about Blackening and Charred Differences here.

Can You Bake the Salmon

You can, but you won’t get the same blackened crust, which is what the dish is known for.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rub the salmon in butter and spices.
  3. Cover with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 3-5 minutes.

Topping Ideas

  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Mango
  • Lemon
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
fresh cut pineapple and avocado in a white bowl

What to Serve With This Dish

Southern Style Green Beans
Fried Cabbage
Okra and Tomatoes

Air Fryer Broccoli
Air Fryer Asparagus

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

More Salmon Recipes

Pan-Seared Salmon
Air Fryer Salmon
Salmon Fried Rice
Keto Baked Salmon
Keto Salmon Cakes
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Maple Glazed Salmon

Southern Recipes

Instant Pot Gumbo
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

blackened salmon in a cast iron skillet topped with pineapple and avocado
Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

Easy Blackened Salmon Recipe

This Easy Blackened Salmon Recipe is the best seasoning for salmon loaded with spices and herbs like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and onion powder. This simple meal is ready in 15 minutes making it perfect for weeknight dinners. You can even toss the fish in tacos or on salads!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Cajun
Keyword blackened salmon, how to make blackened salmon
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 255kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound salmon (skin-on) Cut into fillets about 4oz each. You can use skinless if you wish.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tablespoon melted to rub the fish, 1 tablespoon to cook in the pan
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

  • Dry the salmon completely and allow the salmon to come to room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of melted butter onto both sides of the salmon.
  • Combine the spices in a bowl and sprinkle the spices over the salmon. Be sure to season the sides of the salmon.
  • Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. I used a 10 inch pan.
  • When the butter has melted, add the salmon to the pan, skin-side up. Do not overcrowd the pan. The salmon shouldn't touch. Cook the fish in batches if needed.
  • Cook the salmon for 2-4 minutes until the side turn opaque. Monitor the sides of the salmon to determine the perfect time to flip. When the color of the side of the salmon has lightened about 3/4ths of the way up, it's time to flip. 
  • Flip the salmon and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove and cool before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Dry the salmon thoroughly before coating it in butter or oil. Wet salmon is more likely to stick to the pan.
  • Avoid using salmon cold and straight from the fridge. I like to pull the salmon from the fridge and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  • The pan will need to get really hot. Cast iron usually smokes. This is normal. You can use a fan over the stove or open up a window as well.
  • Don’t move the salmon after you have placed it down on the skillet. It’s more likely to crumble, break, and not turn out pretty! Allow it to cook and get ready for flipping.
  • The color of the salmon will become lighter as it cooks. You can monitor the color of the sides to determine doneness. When the color of the side of the salmon has lightened about 3/4ths of the way up, it’s time to flip.
  • Use a timer while cooking the salmon if you are easily distracted. This will help ensure you don’t overcook the salmon.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1salmon fillet | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Recipe Rating




Melissa J

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

I have made this recipe so many times. It is so delicious and the flavor. Yum! Since being home more I decided to start trying new recipes. This one is so great especially for a novice person like me. Brandi's instructions and tips were super helpful and have made cooking so much more fun!

staysnatched

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Khrissy

Monday 27th of July 2020

Thank you for such simple and easy recipies. My first time making blackened salmon, I was able to get my fiancé to eat it, it turned out moist, well seasoned and it didn’t taste fishy....I love it ?

staysnatched

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

Wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Brooke

Monday 8th of June 2020

I really appreciated all of the tips before the actual recipe. The salmon turned out perfectly and my kids even ate it! I will definitely be making this again!

staysnatched

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Glad the tips helped!

Reagan

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Agree with the above comment. You helped me cook fish in a cast iron skillet that turned out perfectly ! Everything you post looks delicious and I need to get an air fryer to try out those recipes too.

staysnatched

Thursday 4th of June 2020

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And yes! Get an air fryer.

Tori

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

This is such a great recipe! So easy to follow and tastes amazing. I used ghee instead of butter because I'm dairy-free and it was so good and crispy! :)

staysnatched

Thursday 4th of June 2020

Yay! Ghee works just as good!