A simple, elegant Pan-Seared Salmon Recipe in a lemon browned butter sauce. Master this easy (10 minute) method for how to cook salmon in a pan. You love the simple ingredients.
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If you appreciate the simplicity and speed of cooking skillet dinners like Pan-Seared Steak, or Shrimp Scampi then you’ll love this salmon recipe. The inspiration for this pan-cooked salmon came from Ina Garten’s “Easy Sole Meuniere” from her Back to Basics Cookbook. We changed it to a Salmon Meuniere and simplified it even further, removing the dredging step to make it gluten-free, keto and paleo-friendly.
Pan-Seared Salmon Video
Watch Natasha make this pan-seared salmon. You will be surprised how quick and easy it is to cook salmon on the stove. P.S. Subscribe to our Cooking Channel and click the bell icon to be notified when we share new videos.
Ingredients for Pan Seared Salmon
You can use 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of salmon for this recipe; whatever the size of your pan allows. Ours was a 10″ skillet and we used 1 1/4 lbs, but there is enough sauce for a slightly larger fillet. Literally, all you need is:
- Salt and pepper
How to Buy Salmon
- Farmed Raised Salmon – Most ‘Atlantic salmon’ is farm-raised and tends to be thicker fillets with a higher fat content so it is more forgiving and can be baked longer without drying out. It does usually have color added.
- Wild Caught Salmon (Sockey or Coho Salmon), tends to be thinner and less fatty (with the exception of thicker Wild King Salmon). Wild salmon is easier to overcook since it’s leaner so aim for the lower end of the time range. We buy wild salmon when possible.
- Can I use Steelhead? Wild steelhead is actually a type of rainbow trout, but is usually less expensive and will work great in this recipe.
Can I use Skin-On Salmon?
We used skinless salmon here, but if you prefer to use skin-on, sear with the skin-side down first then flip and finish cooking the second side.
Tips for Pan Fried Salmon
- Have ingredients prepped: This recipe moves fast and salmon takes just minutes on the stove, so have your ingredients ready before you turn on the stove.
- When zesting lemons, make sure you are only getting the yellow portion of the skin and avoid the white pith underneath which can add bitter tones to your recipe.
- Check for doneness – Since salmon can vary in size, thickness, and even fat content, it’s best to use an instant-read thermometer and cook to an internal temperature of 145˚F.
- Remove from pan right away so it doesn’t continue to cook over residual heat from the skillet.
Tips for Making Brown Butter:
- Use a light-colored pan (such as stainless steel or white enamel coated) so you can watch the color changing.
- DO NOT add butter to a very hot empty pan or it will be likely splatter. Add the butter as the pan is heating up.
- Stir and swirl often, otherwise, the milk solids and water can pool under the butter and erupt/ splatter as the pressure builds up.
- Watch the color – browned butter is ready when it turns light brown in color and the solid bits turn a darker brown
- Set a timer – browning butter takes 3-7 minutes depending on your stove and pan.
- Do not walk away from your browned butter. Keep a close eye on it as it can quickly burn once it is ready.
Pan-seared salmon is one of the easiest dinners you’ll make. Pair it with these quick sides and salads to complete the meal.
- Roasted Asparagus
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Fluffy White Rice
- Avocado Cucumber Salad
- Caprese Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
More Easy Salmon Recipes:
- One Pan Salmon and Asparagus with our famous flavored butter
- Baked Salmon with Garlic and Dijon – our #1 salmon
- Teriyaki Salmon with a sweet sticky glaze
- Grilled Salmon with garlic lime butter
- Apricot Dijon Salmon and Broccoli – easy weeknight meal
Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (VIDEO)
- 1 1/4 lb skinless boneless salmon fillets, cut into 4 filets (5 oz each about 1″ thick)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 2 lemons
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Season salmon on both sides with 1/2 salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Grate 1 tsp of lemon zest then squeeze 2 lemons for 4 Tbsp lemon juice.
- Heat a large (10-12") light-colored pan over medium heat and right away add 4 Tbsp butter, swirling and stirring frequently to prevent splatter until it starts to turn light brown and the bits of butter solids turn brown (about 3-7 minutes depending on your heat).
- Add seasoned salmon and cook uncovered on the first side 3-4 minutes until golden brown then flip salmon and cook another 2 to 3 minutes or until flaky and fully cooked through with an internal temperature of 145˚F.
- In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add 1 tsp lemon zest and 4 Tbsp lemon juice to the pan. Spoon the sauce over the salmon as it cooks. Transfer salmon to plates, drizzle with sauce, and sprinkle the pan-cooked salmon with freshly chopped parsley and black pepper to taste. Serve right away.