Pan Seared Salmon

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Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce is easy to make, ready in just fifteen minutes, and makes you feel like a restaurant chef.

376 CAL 2g CARBS 27g FAT 31g PROTEIN 3
1 Comment

Golden, flaky, and cooked to perfection, this Pan Seared Salmon is the ultimate weeknight meal. Coated in a flavorful combination of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh parsley, this simple and wholesome dish is sure to be the star of the show.

It’s no secret that salmon is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s an oily fish loaded with protein, omega-3’s, vitamins, and minerals. Many people turn to fish oil supplements to consume the plentiful nutrients offered by fish, but that’s not necessary if you regularly incorporate flavorful seafood dishes like this one.

This dish is wholesome, satisfying, and makes a fantastic addition to a healthy diet. Because it’s so versatile, you can pair it with a wide variety of side dishes. When I cook this dish for meal prep, I tend to pair it with rice and a green vegetable like broccoli or green beans. You can switch up the sides each time you make this dish to keep it fun.

Whether you’re looking for a new easy meal prep recipe or a healthy dinner recipe for the family, this Pan Seared Salmon makes the perfect addition to your regular line-up.

Garlic butter pan seared salmon with a crispy exterior on a plate with salad on the side.

Key Ingredients

To make this simple and delicious recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Salmon: Known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, this delicious protein-rich fish is the star of our dish.
  • Butter: The secret sauce to adding a ton of incredible flavor is a touch of butter.
  • Garlic: You’ll want to use fresh garlic cloves for this recipe to yield the best flavor.
  • Parsley: Fresh herbs like parsley brighten up our dish and add a beautiful pop of color.
  • Lemon juice: The acidity in this ingredient works in harmony with the fresh parsley to brighten up the dish, making the rest of the ingredients shine.

Why You’ll Love This Dish

It’s a given that you’re going to love this recipe (I just know it!) and here’s why:

  • Ready in under 15 minutes
  • Ideal weeknight meal
  • Easy to make
  • Bursting with flavor
  • Loaded with nutrients
  • Made with wholesome ingredients
  • Perfect for healthy meal prep
  • Great for weight loss

Recipe Tips

Here are some of my top recipe tips to help make this dish shine:

  • To ensure a crispy exterior, make sure the pan is hot and that you pat the salmon filets completely dry before adding them to the pan.
  • If possible, try to use wild-caught salmon instead of farm-raised salmon. This kind is typically more flavorful, sustainable, and packed with more nutrients.
  • For an eye-catching presentation, garnish the plate with lemon wedges and extra parsley just before serving.
  • Make sure you use a good nonstick pan if you have one, as this will save you the frustration of dealing with fish stuck to your pan.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley at home, use another fresh herb or leave it out altogether. Dried parsley really doesn’t do anything to add flavor to this dish and is only useful as a garnish, if anything.
  • To keep this dish dairy-free, feel free to sub out the butter for more olive oil. It will still taste delicious!

Flavor Variations for Pan Seared Salmon

Here are a few of my favorite ways to switch up this dish:

  • Try adding sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives for a Mediterranean twist
  • Instead of parsley, use another herb like cilantro or dill
  • Add some cheese like crumbled feta or grated parmesan
  • Add a handful of chopped bacon to the pan as the salmon cooks
  • Add some sliced mushrooms or spinach to the butter sauce before pouring it over the salmon
  • Try seasoning the salmon with Cajun spices or Old Bay seasoning
  • Add some crushed red pepper or finely chopped chilies to the sauce for a little spice.

Side Dish Ideas

This delicious salmon dish can be served with a variety of dishes like rice, potatoes, pasta, and veggies. I typically like to pair mine with something starchy and something green, like rice and green beans or pasta and zucchini. The options are endless, so choose whatever you like! If you need a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite side dishes to eat with salmon:

How to Store This Dish

This dish is amazing for many reasons, but perhaps one of the top reasons is how easily it can be stored! You can store the dish in one of two ways and here’s how:

  • In the fridge in an airtight bag or container for up to 3-4 days.
  • In the freezer in an airtight bag or container (make sure the salmon has completely cooled first!) for up to 4-6 months.

Pan fried salmon with garlic, butter, and lemon sauce on a plate with parsley.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

Is wild-caught or farm-raised salmon better?

Many people believe wild-caught salmon to be better in terms of sustainability, nutrient density, and flavor. The one caveat is that wild-caught salmon also tends to be slightly more expensive. It’s entirely up to you which kind of salmon you use; both are flavorful and nutritious! Want to learn more about salmon? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Salmon.

Can you pan sear salmon with skin?

Absolutely! The skin is loaded with nutrients and crisps up really beautifully when seared in a pan. You can remove the skin if it bothers you, but I definitely recommend leaving it on for this recipe. It also makes it easier to cook and flip.

How long should salmon be cooked?

This varies from recipe to recipe, depending on the heat and the cooking method. In this recipe, we cook the salmon for approximately 4-6 minutes on each side. The important part in any salmon recipe is making sure that the center of the salmon has reached a temperature of 145°F by the time it’s finished cooking.

Seared salmon with a lemon, garlic, and butter sauce on a plate with a green salad on the side.

More Healthy Salmon Recipes:

The Recipe
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Pan Seared Salmon

376 CAL 2g CARBS 27g FAT 31g PROTEIN 3
1 Comment
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  • 1.33 lbs salmon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon

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Pat the salmon filets with a paper towel on all sides to remove excess moisture. This step is very important for a crispy exterior. Season with salt and pepper.

Salmon filets being dried with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Place the salmon in the skillet, skin side up. Cook without moving the pan for 4-5 minutes until a golden exterior crust forms.

Salmon cooking with the flesh side down in a pan.

Carefully flip the salmon and cook another 4-6 minutes until the fish is cooked to your liking. Remove the fish and set it aside.

Salmon being seared in a pan with the skin side down.

Add the butter and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.

Butter and garlic cooking in a pan with tongs.

Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Pour sauce over the salmon and serve.

Garlic lemon butter sauce being poured over salmon on a plate.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 376
Calories from Fat 239
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g
Saturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 91mg
Sodium 91mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 31g

* 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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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Pan Seared Salmon
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Sarah V
October 25, 2022 - 22:44
Add a Rating:
Yum! Such an easy way to make salmon and loved the lemon garlic sauce.
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