Quick and Easy Spicy Salmon

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This spicy salmon recipe comes together with just a few ingredients: salmon, olive oil, and a combination of dried spices. Don’t let its simplicity fool you though this salmon has an abundance of flavor.

303 CAL 5g CARBS 14g FAT 37g PROTEIN
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Salmon has become my quick and easy go-to option on those busy weekday evenings and this Spicy Salmon is a favorite in our house. The combination of spicy, sweet, and savory is delicious. Plus this easy salmon can be served so many different ways from tacos to bowls to salads.

The great thing about this spice mix too, is that it is very forgiving. If I run out of one spice I can add more of another or substitute it for something else. It can be mild, spicy, or sweet. Make it work for you. 

If your family loves salmon as much as we do, try these other salmon recipes: Salmon Sushi Bowls, Easy Salmon Stir Fry, or this Lemon Pepper Salmon.

Reasons to Try This Spicy Salmon

We all have a list of our go-to recipes for quick, easy, and healthy meals. This spicy salmon is definitely one that belongs on that list.

  • Easy: You won’t find an easier recipe than this. All you have to do is combine the spice mix and cook the salmon.
  • Tasty: The variety of spices makes this salmon taste out of this world.
  • Versatile: You can easily play around with the spice level by changing up the spices. Want more spice? Add some chili flakes. Want less spice? Use less chili powder.
  • Healthy: Salmon is a very healthy fish option.

Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here’s everything you need to make this tasty salmon.

  • Salmon: We like to use wild salmon fillets but any kind of salmon will work, even salmon steaks. You could also use trout or arctic char if you can’t find salmon.
  • Spices: This spicy salmon uses a combination of chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ground ginger, and smoked paprika. It also has brown sugar to balance the spice, but it can be left out for a sugar-free version.
  • Olive oi We like cooking with extra virgin olive oil but if you don’t have any on hand you can use any kind of mild-flavored oil or melted butter.

Baked spicy salmon served with green beans, tomatoes, and wild rice in a bowl.

How To Make This Spicy Salmon Recipe

Just follow these simple steps to make this delicious salmon.

1. Make the salmon spice rub

This salmon seasoning is easy to make and customize. Normally I make a big batch and keep in the pantry. It’s also great on other types of fish, shrimp, and chicken.

Simply combine the chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and ginger if using. Add extra chili powder or cayenne pepper to make it spicier. Double the brown sugar to make it sweeter. Add some oregano, dill, coriander, or basil for an herbal flavor.

2. Prep the salmon

Always start by patting the salmon with paper towels to dry. Then brush it with olive oil and press into the spice rub.

If the salmon is frozen, make sure to defrost it first. To quickly defrost individually packed salmon filets, simply place them in a container with cold water in the cyrovac. Let sit for 10-15 minuets to defrost.

3. How to Cook Salmon: 3 Options

There are so many different ways to cook this dish.

  • In a skillet: Using a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the salmon, skin side up, and cook on one side for 4-5 minutes until a golden exterior forms. Flip the salmon and cook for another 4-6 minutes until done to your liking.
  • On the grill or under the broiler: Grill or broil the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side.
  • In the oven: Place the salmon on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Best Side Dishes for Salmon

Salmon is a really versatile protein that can be served with almost anything. Here are some ways we love to eat this spicy salmon.

How to Store Leftover Salmon

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, here is how to store them.

  • Refrigerator: Leftover salmon will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
  • Freezer: Salmon will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Thaw: Thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheat: Reheat thawed salmon in the oven or in the microwave.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is a great food to keep in the fridge. This easy salmon recipe is chock-full of nutrients, which is one more reason it is a go-to in my recipe book.

  • High in protein and low in calories: Compared to other fatty fish and meats salmon really packs a punch from a protein perspective and is lower in calories.
  • Nutrient-rich: Salmon contains an abundance of vitamins and nutrients. It contains healthy fats like omega 3s which help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Salmon is also rich in antioxidants and b vitamins, which help balance and strengthen your immune system.

Tips for Cooking Salmon

Some people get intimidated when cooking fish at home, but follow these tips for perfect salmon every time.

  • Preheat the grill: Make sure the grill is hot when you place the salmon on. You want it to start cooking right away.
  • Consistent size: Choose salmon filets that are all consistent in thickness so they cook up at the same pace.
  • Marinate: Though you can season the fish right on the spot if you are short of time though an easy marinade can add even more flavor and depth to the dish. Use the same ingredients listed below. Mix them together in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of water, and pour over the salmon. Stored in an air-tight container and refrigerate for a few hours before cooking.
  • Cook time: You only need to cook salmon for about eight minutes, but since every oven and grill cooks food differently, keep an eye out for the texture of the salmon. When the salmon is flakey in texture it is fully cooked.
  • Don’t overcook: Salmon is best when cooked between medium and medium well so the inside is just cooked through and soft. The edges and thinner parts will be more flaky. Be careful not to overcook your salmon or it will become dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this salmon dish.

It doesn’t take too long to grill salmon. If you are grilling a fillet that is about an inch or so thick it should take around 4-5 minutes per side. If you are grilling salmon steaks it will take a little bit longer.

Salmon has a mild flavor and meaty texture that makes it work with a wide variety of spices and herbs. It is great with blackening seasoning or Cajun seasoning if you like some spice. Pair it with lemon pepper seasoning or Italian seasoning for a mild flavor. Or simply create your own spice blend using dried herbs, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and/or pepper.

The Recipe
Spicy salmon with chili powder and spices cooked and served with rice and vegetables.

Quick and Easy Spicy Salmon

303 CAL 5g CARBS 14g FAT 37g PROTEIN
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  • 24 oz. wild salmon (or farm raised)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional, adjust to taste)

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In a small bowl, mix together all of the dry spices.


Brush the salmon with olive oil and rub the spice rub onto the fish so it is well coated.


Using a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the salmon and cook on the skin side for 4-5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes until done to your liking. This would also be great grilled or broiled for 4-5 minutes per side.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303
Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 77mg
Sodium 409mg
Total Carbohydrate 5g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 4g
Protein 37g

* 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.


Any salmon variety will work for this recipe.

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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
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