Make the best blackened salmon recipe in 20 minutes! For this dish, salmon fillets are coated with blackening seasoning and seared until flaky and tender. Turn this into a tasty salmon dinner with salad, rice or potatoes.
We enjoy many fish and seafood recipes in our family and have a large collection of salmon recipes as well. This recipe for blackened salmon is perfect for weeknight dinners and pairs well with so many different side dishes - such as bulgur pilaf, white bean salad or braised leeks.
Table Of Contents:
Blackening is a cooking technique where a piece of chicken or fish is coated with a seasoning mix and then seared in a hot skillet so it forms a dark crusty exterior on top, hence the name. This technique is popular in Cajun and creole cuisines and is usually used with fish.
Ingredients to make blackened salmon
- Salmon: You can use pre-cut salmon fillets or buy a side of salmon and slice it yourself. For this recipe, we are using skin-on salmon. Wild caught salmon is always preferred; however, if it’s not available, farm raised would work, too. You can use fresh or frozen fish to make this dish. If using frozen, make sure the fish is fully thawed before you start cooking.
- Blackening spice mix: You can make blackened salmon seasoning at home using a combination of spices including cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, oregano, cloves and onion powder. The amount of cayenne depends on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.
- Oil: Use oil with high smoking point such as vegetable oil or avocado oil.
How to make blackened salmon
- Pat dry the cold fish completely and set it aside skin side down.
- In a small bowl mix all the spices using a small spoon.
- Sprinkle the spice mix on the salmon fillets, making sure that they’re coated evenly.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat until its shimmery.
- Place the salmon fillets in the pan, flesh side down and sear for about 4 minutes. Don’t peek or move the fillets so the crust can form properly.
- Flip and sear the skin side for 5 minutes until crispy. The fish is fully cooked once an instant thermometer inserted into the thickets part registers at 145 degrees F and the fish flakes easily using a fork.
Tips to make the best blackened salmon
- Hot pan: Just like our pan seared salmon, using a hot pan gives the salmon a nice and crispy crust on both sides.
- Cold fish: Cold salmon absorbs the spices better and sears nicely in a hot pan.
- Don't move the fish: To have the fish fillets perfectly crispy with that signature dark crust, don't flip or move it for the first few minutes.
- Vegetables: Mediterranean roasted vegetables, roasted Brussel sprouts, sauteed spinach and briam (Greek roasted vegetables).
- Rice and potatoes: Lemon rice, rice pilaf with orzo, spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice), Greek potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes.
- Salads: Mediterranean salad, Mediterranean couscous salad, green bean salad and Greek salad.
Storage and reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the blackened salmon in a pan over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until it’s completely heated.
Frequently asked questions
The heat in this spice mix comes from cayenne pepper. My recipe here yields a blackening seasoning that’s quite mild. However, you can simply leave the cayenne pepper out if you don’t want any heat in the seasoning.
It only takes 20 minutes to cook this easy salmon recipe, therefore I recommend cooking it right before serving. However, you can make the spice mix in advance and use it when you’re ready to cook.
Don’t peek or move the fish around when it’s searing flesh side down. This will give the salmon enough time to form that beautiful crust.
More salmon recipes
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Best Blackened Salmon Recipe
- 4 salmon fillets 6 ounce each, skin-on
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Pat dry the salmon fillets and set them aside.
- In a bowl mix the cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, oregano, cloves, onion powder and salt.
- Generously and evenly sprinkle the salmon fillets (the flesh side) with the blackening seasoning.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot a shimmery, place the salmon, skin side up in the pan and sear for 4 minute, untouched.
- Flip and sear the other side for 5 minutes or until the salmon is fully cooked. You know the salmon is fully cooked once an instant thermometer inserted in the fish shows 145 degrees F and it flakes easily using a fork.
- Keep the salmon cold and the pan hot for the perfect blackening.
- My blackening season is not too spicy but if you'd like it even less spicy, use less cayenne pepper.
- It's important to not move the salmon fillet for a few minutes until the crust is formed.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the salmon in a pan over medium low heat for a few minutes until heated through.