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Easy, Pan Seared Cast Iron Salmon

Easy, Pan Seared Cast Iron Salmon is a quick and crispy recipe with the perfect seasoning! This pan-fried and stove top meal is the best way to cook salmon and is made using a Lodge cast iron skillet and is perfect for weeknight dinners. Drizzle this tender and flaky salmon in lemon butter sauce if you wish!

pan seared cast iron salmon on a white plate with greens

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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.

How to cook salmon in a pan? I get this question a lot. Mainly, because most people are used to baking salmon in the oven. I even have a Parmesan Herb Crusted Salmon recipe that is prepared in the oven.

But if you are looking for crisp salmon, you’ve come to the right place! Salmon in the cast iron skillet is my favorite way to prepare it!

I was gifted a Cast Iron Grill Pan by Lodge. I have been having a great time putting it to use. All opinions within this post are my own.

fresh lemon and dill on a purple cutting board with a bottle of seasoning

Is Salmon in Olive Oil Healthy?

Absolutely, very healthy! Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats. Those are the good fats that can help benefit our health. Olive oil is used in this recipe to coat the cast iron and the fish. This will prevent any sticking.

Olive oil will also add flavor and texture to the dish. I’m talking tender, flaky salmon fillets!

What does Seared Salmon Mean? Is Seared Salmon Cooked All the Way Through?

Seared salmon is cooked at a high temperature until a brown crust is formed. The salmon is cooked all the way through, but typically to medium-doneness, sometimes medium-rare.

These are recommended because it has the best flavor when it’s flaky on the outside with a moist middle that melts in your mouth.

raw salmon fillets on a white cutting board

What Type and Size Salmon to Use

Select the salmon that you will want to use in the recipe. I like to use Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon. It has a beautiful bright color and a buttery taste. Alaskan salmon is the most healthy type to purchase.

The fish consume a natural diet and are lower in calories and fat. I used the Alaskan salmon from Thrive Market because it’s reasonably priced and you can get meat and seafood delivered right to your doorstep.

Salmon that is sourced from the Atlantic is usually farmed. Farmed means antibiotics and food coloring (to give it a pink color) are used. This adds harmful chemical additives to the fish. So I usually try to look for Alaskan salmon.

You will also want to use individual fillets, as opposed to a full plank. Opt for 6-8oz fillets.

raw seasoned salmon fillets on a cutting board

How to Pan-Sear Salmon on the Stove

  1. Coat both the cast iron skillet and salmon in olive oil and season.
  2. Place the skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, place the salmon skin side up.
  3. Cook for 4 minutes and flip. Cook an additional 4 minutes.

You can also find more tips on How to Cook Perfect Salmon Fillets here. 

pan seared salmon in a cast iron grill pan skillet with lemon

How to Cook Salmon With the Skin

Leave the skin on your salmon. This will provide soooo much flavor and helps produce tender, juicy salmon. Cook the salmon with the skin-side up. After it cooks for 4 minutes, flip the salmon onto the skin side.

pan seared cast iron salmon on a blue plate with greens

How Long to Cook Salmon Fillets 

I typically opt for 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.

pan seared cast iron salmon on a blue plate with greens

Do You Eat the Skin on Salmon?

I don’t eat the skin on the salmon. How to remove skin from salmon after cooking is really easy. The fish will glide right off the skin! This is a sign of perfectly cooked salmon. Salmon that flakes and glides will taste amazing. You won’t need to remove a thing.

pan seared cast iron salmon on a white plate with greens

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

pan seared cast iron salmon on a white plate with greens

Pan Seared Salmon Recipe Tips

  • A cast iron skillet will work best for this recipe, but it is not required. You can also use a stainless steel skillet, but avoid non-stick pans. You want a pan that will retain a lot of heat.
  • Dry the salmon thoroughly before coating it in 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 coat it in olive oil 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.

What to Pair with Pan Seared Salmon

Pair the salmon with sauteed kale, Southern-Style Collard Greens, Creamed Spinach, and Air Fryer Roasted Asparagus.

More Salmon Recipes

Blackened Salmon
Air Fryer Salmon
Salmon Fried Rice
Crab Stuffed Salmon

More Seafood Recipes

Seafood Lasagna
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Shrimp Egg Rolls

pan seared cast iron salmon on a white plate with greens
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5 from 7 votes

Easy, Pan Seared Cast Iron Salmon

Easy, Pan Seared Cast Iron Salmon is a quick and crispy recipe with the perfect seasoning! This pan-fried meal is made using a Lodge cast iron skillet and is perfect for weeknight dinners. Drizzle this tender and flaky salmon in lemon butter sauce if you wish!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword cast iron skillet salmon, crispy pan seared salmon, pan seared salmon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
bring salmon to room temperature 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 3 salmon fillets
Calories 249kcal

Ingredients

  • 2-3 salmon fillets (skin-on, 6-8oz each) I like to use wild-caught salmon and used 3 fillets
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil Use you judgment, and add more if necessary. Both sides of the fish should be fully coated in oil, and the skillet will be coated as well.
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning I like to use Primal Palate.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  • If the salmon has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature for 15 minutes and dry the salmon completely using paper towels. If the salmon is added to the skillet cold, it is more likely to stick to the skillet.
  • Rub olive oil onto both sides of the fish. Season both sides of the fish with seafood seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Place a cast iron grill pan or cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. I like to use a cast iron grill pan, but any pan will work.
  • Spray or drizzle the skillet with olive oil. Be sure the skillet is nicely coated. This will prevent the salmon from sticking to the pan.
  • When the pan is hot, add the salmon to the pan with the skin side up. I like to add lemon halves lemon to the pan, too. This will add a ton of flavor to the lemon. (See recipe video)
  • Allow the salmon to cook for 4 minutes. Do not move the salmon after you have placed it in the skillet.
    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. This usually only takes 3-4 minutes.
  • Flip the salmon. I find a silicone spatula works best. Remove the lemon and set aside.
  • Cook skin side down for 4 minutes.
  • Remove the salmon from the pan. Serve with lemon juice from the lemon.
  • I like to serve or garnish with fresh dill or parsley.

Video

Notes

Pan Seared Salmon Recipe Tips

  • You can also combine 2 tablespoons of butter with the fresh lemon to create a lemon butter sauce for the salmon.
  • A cast iron skillet will work best for this recipe, but it is not required. You can also use a stainless steel skillet, but avoid non-stick pans. You want a pan that will retain a lot of heat.
  • Dry the salmon thoroughly before coating it in 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 coat it in olive oil 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: 1fillet | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 13g
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Recipe Rating




LaKenya

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

This salmon recipe was so freaking delicious! It was tender and flaky. I followed the instructions exactly how Brandi wrote them and my salmon came out perfect! I haven’t tried a recipe that has failed me yet 🙌🏽

staysnatched

Friday 11th of December 2020

Wonderful! That's so good to hear!

Barbara Sypult

Friday 18th of September 2020

This has made entertaining a breeze. It's just a delicious piece of salmon and so easy. I paired with lightly buttered/salted chayote and butter lettuce salad with seasonal fruits. THANK YOU for making salmon much easier to cook.

staysnatched

Saturday 19th of September 2020

You're welcome! I'm glad the method worked!

Matt

Thursday 17th of September 2020

First time cooking salmon and this was a great recipe to try. Easy and tasty.

staysnatched

Saturday 19th of September 2020

How wonderful! Glad it worked for your first time making it!

Sheryl

Saturday 22nd of August 2020

My husband always grills our salmon, but I don't like it that way. I used your recipe tonight, and it was perfect! Thank you!

staysnatched

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Lesley Douglas

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

This was SO GOOD! Every tip and trick was on point. Thank you for this perfect way to cook salmon! I paired my salmon with a cold crisp cesar salad. and it was PERFECT. And I obviously made extra. Thank you!

staysnatched

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

Yay! I'm glad it worked out for you!