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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

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 Salmon. It has a beautiful bright color and a buttery taste. Wild caught salmon is the most healthy type to purchase.

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. The skin provides a barrier between the fish and the hot pan. It helps prevent overcooking. 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

Southern-Style Collard Greens
Creamed Spinach
Air Fryer Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Air Fryer Sausage

More Salmon Recipes

Blackened Salmon
Air Fryer Salmon
Salmon Fried Rice
Crab Stuffed Salmon

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Maple Glazed Salmon
Parmesan Crusted Salmon
Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

More Seafood Recipes

Seafood Lasagna
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Shrimp Egg Rolls

Tuna Poke Bowls
Baked Crab Legs
Lobster Mac and Cheese

pan seared cast iron salmon on a white plate with greens
Print Pin
5 from 13 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




Lauren

Friday 20th of August 2021

Perfection! First time using my cast iron for salmon vs. nonstick skillet. Flaky and tender and I love the crust from searing salmon. I threw in a bunch of veggies surrounding the fish like I've seen you do on Instagram and they cooked perfectly in those 8 minutes, too. Easy healthy lunch.

staysnatched

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.

Kristina

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

I have a couple skinless fillets I need to cook up, do I need to adjust the heat or timing for cooking since they won’t have the skin on them? Also, I normally season my salmon with a mustard / olive oil mix, is that still possible when searing on cast iron? Thank you!

staysnatched

Thursday 12th of August 2021

You can use the tips outlined in the post. Monitor the sides of the salmon as it cooks.

Andree

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

This recipe was so easy, not to mention FIRE! Be sure to read her tips on how to prep your salmon for perfection once it hits the skillet! So glad I stumbled upon your website. Thank you for your content!

staysnatched

Friday 23rd of July 2021

I'm glad the tips were helpful.

Marleigh

Sunday 20th of June 2021

These tips are amazing! After reading the post, I knew exactly what I had been doing wrong when trying to cook salmon. Listen to Brandi and get it right the first time!!

staysnatched

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Yay! I'm glad it worked out.

Lara

Sunday 20th of June 2021

This was so easy to make, quick, and flavorful. I love using my Lodge cast iron! So good with a salad or paired with the air fryer green beans! One of my new go-to meals. Thanks Brandi!

staysnatched

Sunday 20th of June 2021

You're welcome! I'm glad it's a go-to.