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.

Plated Pan Seared Salmon recipe drizzled in a lemon browned butter sauce

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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:

  • Salmon
  • Lemons
  • Butter
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
Ingredients for pan seared salmon - everything needed for how to cook salmon on stove

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.

Salmon fillets on skillet

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. 
Upclose juicy pan seared salmon filets garnished with lemon slices and fresh parsley and drizzled with brown butter from how to make brown butter

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 served with brown butter sauce

Serve With

Pan-seared salmon is one of the easiest dinners you’ll make. Pair it with these quick sides and salads to complete the meal.

Flaked salmon served on a plate with fork

Have Leftover Salmon? Break the pan-seared salmon into bite-sized pieces and use it in Salmon Cobb Salad or make Salmon Cakes.

More Easy Salmon Recipes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (VIDEO)

4.99 from 104 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
A simple, elegant Pan Seared Salmon recipe in a lemon browned butter sauce. Searing the salmon results in a flaky, juicy salmon filet. Master this easy (10 minute) method for how to cook salmon in a pan and learn how to make brown butter.
A simple, elegant Pan Seared Salmon recipe in a lemon browned butter sauce. Searing the salmon forms an irresistible exterior that seals in the salmon's moisture resulting in a flaky, juicy salmon fillet.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 4 people
  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition Per Serving

307kcal Calories1g Carbs28g Protein20g Fat8g Saturated Fat108mg Cholesterol355mg Sodium710mg Potassium490IU Vitamin A7.8mg Vitamin C20mg Calcium1.2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (VIDEO)
Amount per Serving
Calories
307
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Cholesterol
 
108
mg
36
%
Sodium
 
355
mg
15
%
Potassium
 
710
mg
20
%
Carbohydrates
 
1
g
0
%
Protein
 
28
g
56
%
Vitamin A
 
490
IU
10
%
Vitamin C
 
7.8
mg
9
%
Calcium
 
20
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1.2
mg
7
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: pan seared salmon, skillet salmon
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 307

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Pat Matz
    October 17, 2023

    Have always baked or grilled my salmon and steelhead. Did your lemon butter pan fry with steelhead. Turned out delicious along with your homemade tartar sauce. The wife is going to use the left over tartar sauce on some chicken. Thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 17, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Pat! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Wim Du Toit
    August 16, 2023

    Simple, yet very tasty. All the characteristic salmon flavour I was looking for ended in my plate, and thence my palate.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 16, 2023

      That’s wonderful. Im so glad to hear that.

      Reply

  • Lydia
    August 14, 2023

    Mmm. Love Salmon..My favorite way is just Pan seared with lemon garlic butter ! And we always have creamy cucumbers or coleslaw , and garlic rice . And of course my homemade tartar sauce. That is probably one of our favorite meals ! I have tried it many ways and I like it other ways but we like to taste it and pan seared is it…for us. Anyway, thanks again…

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 14, 2023

      This is one of our favorite ways to cook salmon too!

      Reply

  • Annette
    June 19, 2023

    I made this for my family yesterday. Not only was it easy it was a big hit with everyone! Thank you Natasha!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 19, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Annette! So glad to hear that.

      Reply

  • antoinette berkshire
    June 18, 2023

    Best recipe I have seen for salmon. Made it today. It was quick, easy and delicious.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 18, 2023

      Thanks so much, we appreciate your good comments and feedback!

      Reply

  • Hema
    May 24, 2023

    Hi Natasha – I’ve loved your recipes for a long while now you’re amazing! Sadly due to health concerns I have to be gluten free and dairy (and soy) free 🙁 Can I do this w Olive oil? Can I make it in the oven? Can you suggest how?! Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 24, 2023

      Hi Hema! I have a recipe for baked salmon that you can use a reference here. I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Richard
    April 12, 2023

    This is an elegant recipe, Natasha; brava! We’re cooking it for the second time tonight.
    If this is supposed to be a French recipe, the final salmon temp should be closer to 110-125, creating a rosey to a fully cooked center. It will rise another 5 to 8 degrees off the flame.
    In France, you won’t find salmon cooked more that this.
    Yes, it’s a very personal thing with salmon color and texture, but we do tend to sadly overcook it in the States, including most restaurant kitchens.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 12, 2023

      Hi Richard! Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you love the recipe. 🙂

      Reply

  • Marek Herman
    March 10, 2023

    Hi.Great recipe. Soft, juicy, wonderfully lemon salmon. In my version, it is in the top three salmon dishes that I have made myself. I made it only for myself and ate it with buckwheat and glazed mini carrots.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 10, 2023

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Marek!

      Reply

  • Heidi
    January 3, 2023

    WOW! My family licked their plates clean! This was so easy and delicious! Served with crispy smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli with lemon and parm. Thank you for such a great salmon recipe! We will be making this weekly on ‘salmon Sundays’!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 3, 2023

      That sounds amazing, Heidi! I’m so glad your family loved this recipe. Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  • Ric
    October 2, 2022

    We love fresh Salmon. Sometimes we will catch one in Idaho when we visit. I usually cook it on the grill or en croute in the oven.
    Can ghee be used instead of butter?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 4, 2022

      Hi Ric! I think that would be fine. I hope you love this recipe.

      Reply

  • Hannah
    August 4, 2022

    Can this be made using frozen salmon that has been thawed? I am a newbie to salmon and I’m not sure if it would be as good using frozen.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 4, 2022

      Hi Hannah, I’m sure that would be fine. If you try that, please update us on how it goes!

      Reply

  • Linda
    August 3, 2022

    I have made this exactly by the recipe. My husband did not care for Salmon until I served the salmon. We absolutely love it.I serve with Asparagus and cheese grits

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 3, 2022

      That’s so great! I’m glad he enjoyed this recipe. 🙂 Thank you for sharing, Linda.

      Reply

  • Chris Romeis
    July 29, 2022

    Making this for third time tonight, it has become our #1 recipe for salmon. Second is a baked salmon dish with your apricot preserve and sweet chili dipping sauce and we must have 50 or more salmon recipes. Your posts are my most shared and saved recipes.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 29, 2022

      So glad to hear that, Chris. Thank you for the wonderful review.

      Reply

  • Maria
    July 4, 2022

    Can I cook this ahead of time and how do I keep it warm without the fish drying out? I will be cooking this on Friday for a get together with several girlfriends. I’d like to have it cooked before they arrive so I’m not so rushed to get dinner on the table.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 5, 2022

      Hi Maria, we love to enjoy Salmon right off the grill. It’s best fresh. You may do a google search to see the best ways to keep this warm when made ahead. I have covered it in foil before but it’s eaten pretty quickly after that.

      Reply

  • Kent
    May 5, 2022

    I made it twice. We love it. We also love the salmon with asparagus dish.

    Thank you, Natasha.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 6, 2022

      That’s great, Kent! Thank you for the review.

      Reply

  • Donna Martin
    April 24, 2022

    I love all your recipes!! I was wondering how I can print your recipes. Do I need a membership?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 24, 2022

      Hi Donna, there’s no membership needed and my recipes are all free on my website. You may print them by clicking on jump to recipe. print, save as pdf and then print it from there.

      Reply

  • Mirella
    April 20, 2022

    Hi Natasha,
    Made this today and it was so delicious and easy to prepare.
    Thank you so much for your recipe. I accompanied with rice and zucchini made in pan and with tomato sprinkle with salt and dry basilic in oven.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 20, 2022

      Yum! Thank you for sharing with us, Mirella. I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe.

      Reply

  • Nancy
    February 22, 2022

    what can I use in place of butter?
    My son is into health and does not want any butter.
    What else can I use if anything>

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 22, 2022

      Hi Nancy, I have only tried this with butter, so I can’t advise on the outcome with margarine without testing it.

      Reply

  • Beth
    January 3, 2022

    The salmon was fantastic! I used lemon infused oil along with the butter and lemon juice for amazing flavor.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 3, 2022

      I’m happy that you loved this recipe, Beth! Thank you for the review.

      Reply

  • Alan Bricker
    December 17, 2021

    Can’t wait to try it. Will take the finished product and place it over a bed of spinach and strawberries. Well DONE!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 17, 2021

      It is so good! I hope you love it, Alan!

      Reply

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