Pan-fried Salmon




About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

Easy salmon fillets in less than 10 minutes.

Step 1: Prep Pan

Preheat a non-stick pan, spray it with canola oil, and add the spices of your choice. This layer of spice will adhere to the underside of your fish, avoiding the messy procedure of seasoning on the counter.

I used fresh ground black pepper and some cajun seasoning.

Step 2: Prep and Add Fish

Rinse your salmon and pat it dry.

Holding the fish over the sink, lightly rub it down with a thin layer of cornstarch. Give your fish a gentle shake to remove any excess cornstarch; this is intended to be an extremely thin layer. The cornstarch will help seal moisture into your fish, and help form a slightly crispy exterior.

Drop it skin-side down in the pan and cook over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Spray and Season

Spray the top surface of the fish with the canola oil. This will ensure it has enough oil to prevent sticking when you flip it later, and will help spices stick to the surface.

Add the same spices that you originally added to the pan. I added black pepper and cajun seasoning, trying to get roughly the same ratio as I dd in the pan.

Step 4: Flip

Keep an eye on the thick end of the fillet to see how far through it's cooked. You want to flip the fish when it's slightly less than 1/3 of the way through the fish.

After flipping watch until it has cooked slightly less than 1/3 of the way from the other side. The center will continue to cook after you remove the fish from the hot pan; if you wait until there's no pink left in the center the fish will overcook on the plate. Fish are delicate.

If you like, press the thick end up against the side of the pan to sear it before removing the fish.

Step 5: Serve

Let the fish sit off the heat for 2-5 minutes to finish cooking and redistribute juices, then plate and serve quickly.

Serve with lemons and the side dishes of your choice.



      • Backyard Contest

        Backyard Contest
      • Classroom Science Contest

        Classroom Science Contest
      • Sensors Contest

        Sensors Contest

      36 Discussions


      I just finished eating a delicious, moist, flavorful Salmon Filet made with your recipe.
      The recipe is a keeper. Great!

      1 reply

      6 years ago on Introduction

      I had looked for some time to find a good salmon recipe, and this one is the best ever! It turned out beautifully and tasted just as good. I'm sending the recipe on to family members to try also. thanks!

      1 reply

      4 years ago on Introduction

      This is a great recipe and easy to follow. I tried it and it turned out perfect. Thank you so much!

      1 reply

      Awesome as always. The only beef that I have is with the pre-mixed seasoning, stuff's terrible for you, but that's minor. Have you tried soaking the fish in a brine before you cook it? I find it makes the meat more tender, and gets rid of a bit of the less pleasant edge of the flavor that fish sometimes has.

      3 replies

      I don't usually brine things for one reason - laziness. Cooks Illustrated says that for thinner cuts of meat, salting it and letting it sit will go a long way towards creating that brined effect. While I agree with the deadliness of pre-mixed seasoning, see above for theories on laziness. ;)


      12 years ago

      it's sad that this sort of crap fills pages upon pages of instructables

      2 replies

      7 years ago on Introduction

      Thank you for this wonderful recipe. With your help here so easy to get a great result, and I did.


      7 years ago on Introduction

      I made this the other day:
      It was delicious and my husband said it was one of my best meals ever!
      Your instructions are very clear!
      I cooked mine a bit longer/more than you recommended and it still came out quite nice. I used salt, pepper, and Penzey's "vindaloo" seasoning, along with olive oil cooking spray. The cornstarch definitely added a nice touch. ;-)
      Nice job. It was a pleasure to work with this recipe.



      8 years ago on Introduction

      I'm eating this right now! I still don't care much for fish itself (I'm more about the turf and less about the surf), but this crispiness business is the bomb. I think I will try this for steak later. I think my fillet was too thick (mine was cut from the head end, looks like yours was the tail). I tried following the "cook to less than 1/3" rule but it was still ice cold in the center at that point. Aesthetics be damned, so I cut it up a little with a spatula and turned down the heat and cooked it a little longer (it's still juicy and it appears to have survived alright). I was going to cook 2 fillets, so I just halved the second one so it was more like strips and that went a lot better. I was really afraid I overcooked it and ruined it, but mine tastes fine and the boyfriend scarfed his down the second it was put in front of him (he got the smaller ones). Can't be that bad, then. On second thought, this is starting to grow on me. I think it just needs a little more surface area:flesh (I'll get a tail cut like yours next time). This time I used only vegetable oil, coarse salt , fresh ground pepper and lemon wedges as seasonings, but I think I'll get some fresh dill next time.

      Damn, I'm getting hungry just looking at it! Might have to show this to the old man, see what he thinks of it.


      10 years ago on Introduction

      I made this salmon last night and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you!