This Blackened Salmon is the best 15-minute meal you will ever make! Tender, flaky salmon coated in a delicious blend of spices and cooked until crispy in a skillet - it's so good and so easy.
Follow this recipe to make the most amazing blackened salmon that rivals any restaurant. It's packed with healthy fats and will fill you up.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded meal that takes minimal time and effort, blackened salmon is a great option. Not only is this baked salmon recipe extremely good for you, but it’s also delicious and easy to make.
Blackened salmon is one of my go-to recipes for busy nights since it cooks in under 10 minutes and takes almost no prep. When I am in a rush for dinner, I almost always make fish or a quick-cooking recipe like this fifteen-minute honey garlic chicken and asparagus or ten-minute one-pan shrimp fajitas.
This blackened salmon is great for working parents, busy college students, or those hosting a hectic dinner party and is sure to please. It is also simple and fairly hard to mess up, making it the perfect choice for those in a rush or beginner cooks.
What is blackening?
Blackening is both a method of cooking something and the name given to a blend of spices. Let's start with the cooking method.
Blackening refers to when fish is coated with butter and then coated with a blend of herbs and spices. When the fish is cooked over high heat, the butter and spice blend "blacken." While it may look burned from the dark color, it isn't! This is what you want when you are blackening fish or other proteins.
Blackening seasoning is the spice blend commonly used to blacken fish and there are so many different variations. It generally consists of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano or thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, and a touch of heat from cayenne pepper or chili powder.
Key Ingredients For Blackened Salmon
There are many different ways to prepare this dish. Customize it to suit your taste! Here is what I usually use in my recipe:
- Salmon Fillets: Both farm raised salmon and wild salmon work for this recipe. If you can. I'll share more details about how to choose salmon further on in this post.
- Spices and Seasoning: The blackening seasoning I use most often combines smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and chili powder to taste. For a mildly spicy salmon, use a touch of chili powder. If you like things spicier, bump it up or consider using cayenne pepper or ancho chili powder too. This spice rub also works great on chicken, pork, shrimp, and vegetables. Cajun seasoning would also work for a similar flavor.
- Olive oil: To make sure the spices stick to the salmon and create a nice crust, you want to use olive oil or butter. Melted butter is more traditional when preparing blackened dishes, but olive oil is a bit more heart-healthy.
Note: For a full list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this salmon, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Side Dishes for Blackened Salmon
This easy salmon recipe is great paired with light, green side dishes like salads or roasted vegetables. It also pairs really well with rice or quinoa since they balance out the spices in the seasoning blend.
My favorite side dish to serve alongside salmon is a simple, fresh arugula salad. Arugula has this sharp flavor that compliments the silkiness of the salmon perfectly.
To make an arugula salad:
- Prepare an easy dressing made of one part freshly squeezed lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
- Pour over fresh arugula leaves and sprinkle with a topping of your choice.
- Toppings like roasted pine nuts, slivered almonds, sliced cherry tomatoes, or roasted sunflower seeds are great additions to this simple salad.
If you are looking for an arugula salad with a little more punch, try this blueberry, nectarine, and corn arugula salad.
Another way to alter this recipe is to swap out salmon for cod, which will make it even lighter and more diet-friendly. Like salmon, cod is a delicious, flaky fish full of protein but is about half the calories. Use the same spice mentioned above to create a blackened cod dish that is full of flavor.
If you love cod, you would also probably love this one-pan blackened cod, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.
Recipe Tips And Ideas
Follow these tips to make sure that this salmon turns out juicy and flaky every single time!
- Before you add the spices to the salmon, rinse it off and pat it dry with a paper towel. This will help the spices to really stick to the fish, so it becomes infused with the flavors.
- You will know when it is done cooking when it flakes easily with a fork. The color will also change to be more opaque than pink.
- If you want to grill the salmon, add one minute to the cooking time for each side.
- Don't flip the salmon until it has a nice crust and has really blackened.
- Salmon can be cooked to a variety of temperatures, like steak. It's up to you if you want to cook it more medium where the flesh is still soft inside or cook it through longer until the flesh is opaque and flaky.
- If you have a cast-iron skillet, it will help the fish to develop a nice crust from the high heat of the skillet.
Ways to Use Leftover Blackened Salmon
- Pasta: This salmon makes the most delicious pasta dish. Consider making this Creamy Mushroom Pasta dish and adding the salmon on top. It can also be used to make pasta salad.
- Salad: This salmon tastes amazing as the protein element of a salad. Consider serving it on this Easy Spring Mix Salad or Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- Tacos: If you are lucky enough to have some leftovers, toss them in some warmed corn tortillas with this creamy coleslaw. You won't regret it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers...
Can you make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, there are some simple things you can do to save yourself some time.
Plan ahead and put together the salmon seasoning the night before so that the day of, all you need to do is cook it and serve. Prepare the salmon as usual by seasoning it with spices. Then place the salmon in a sealed, airtight container and keep it in the fridge overnight until you are ready to cook.
Not only does this save time, but it allows the salmon to sit with the spices for many hours, allowing the flavors to sink in. This makes for a more flavorful salmon.
Can this salmon be cooked on the grill? baked in the oven?
Absolutely! To make this salmon on the grill, simply place it on a piece of aluminum foil on the grill. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through to your liking. You can also cook the salmon directly on the grill to get that nice, charred exterior, but be very careful when flipping the fish.
This will also work in the oven but you won't get the signature crust that makes this blackened. Bake the salmon at 425 degrees for 13-16 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn the oven to broil the last couple minutes to help brown the top.
How do you choose the best salmon?
Seafood is one category of food that ranges in quality and freshness depending on where and how you get it.
Wild-caught salmon often provides the most quality and freshness. Though it is more expensive, the texture and taste are noticeably superior to farmed or frozen fish. Wild-caught fish is a great choice for special occasions, nice cookouts, and dinner parties.
Farmed salmon is a good choice for anyone on a budget because it is less expensive but still has a great flavor and many health benefits.
Is salmon healthy?
Yes. Not only does salmon taste delicious, but it is very good for you, too. The health benefits of fish are endless, especially when it comes to salmon.
Salmon contains an abundance of healthy fats and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is also full of antioxidants and vitamins. It contains potassium and B vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, and B12, all of which help reduce inflammation and are crucial to maintaining good energy and body function.
Learn more about salmon, including its health benefits, recipes, and more.
More Delicious Salmon Recipes You'll Love:
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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