Blackened Salmon

5 from 10 votes

Flavorful blackened salmon with crispy skin and a homemade blackening seasoning. Flaky, moist, and ready in under 20 minutes, you can't go wrong!

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This blackened salmon recipe is made with a homemade blackening seasoning and is cooked skin-on in a skillet. The result is a moist, flakey, flavor-packed salmon with a delightfully crispy skin. The perfect weeknight meal!

Overhead shot of 4 cooked salmons on a large oval white plate over rice and garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

Looking for an easy and delicious weeknight meal? Look no further than blackened salmon! This dish is simple to make and can be cooked in a variety of ways – on the grill, in the oven, with an air fryer, and of course, on the stovetop. In this recipe, I will show you how to cook skin-on blackened salmon in a skillet. The best part about this recipe is the blackening seasoning – it’s so flavorful with the perfect amount of spice!

why you’ll love this skin on salmon recipe

  • Flaky and tender. The salmon is cooked skin-on, which helps to keep it moist and flakey.
  • Crispy skin. The skin gets nice and crisp in the skillet, making it the perfect texture contrast to the tender salmon.
  • Packed with flavor. The blackening seasoning is homemade and gives the salmon a delicious flavor without being too spicy.
  • Easy to make. This recipe is easy to follow and can be made in under 20 minutes!

Ingredients to make blackened salmon

  • Salmon: You’ll want to make sure your salmon fillets are skin-on and boneless. Try and keep your fillets around the same size and thickness, so they cook evenly.
  • Blackening seasoning: The key to this recipe is the blackening seasoning! I like to make my own using a blend of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. But you can also use a store-bought blend if you prefer.
  • Avocado oil or another neutral oil: You’ll need some type of oil to coat the salmon and help the blackening seasoning adhere. Avocado oil has a high smoke point and won’t burn at the high cooking temperature we’ll be using.
Ingredients for recipe: 4 salmon filets, oil, spices, and fresh parsley.

How to make Blackened Salmon

It’s really easy to make blackened salmon! Just follow these simple steps:

Prepare Salmon

  1. In a shallow glass container, stir together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, dried thyme, cayenne, and black pepper until evenly blended.
  2. Rub a little oil on the flesh side of the salmon fillets.
  3. Place the salmon fillets, flesh side down, into the spice mix. Press down gently to ensure the spice mixture sticks.
  4. Make sure the flesh is evenly coated in your blackening seasoning.
4 image collage on how to season and prepare salmon for baking.

Cook The Salmon

  1. Add the salmon fillets to your preheated skillet, flesh (spice-rubbed) side down. Then cook without disturbing.
  2. Flip the fillets to the skin side, reduce the heat level.
  3. Continue to cook on the skin side until the thickest part of the fillet is cooked to desired doneness.
3 image collage of salmon on skillet skin side up, then slipped to show the seasoning on salmon, and also a side shot to show texture of blackened salmon filets.

Tips for making blackened salmon

  1. Choose even fillets for even cooking. Try to choose salmon fillets that are as even in thickness as possible from side to side. Usually, these will be cut from the middle of the salmon, as opposed to the tail end. The more uniform in thickness your fillets are, the more evenly they will cook!
  2. Make your own blackening seasoning. I really recommend making your own blackening seasoning for this recipe. It’s super easy to do, and you can adjust the spice level to your liking. However, if you’re short on time or don’t have all the spices on hand, you can always use a store-bought blend.
  3. Use a cast iron skillet. A cast iron skillet is the best type of pan to use for this recipe because it can withstand high heat and will give you nice, even results. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use another heavy-duty skillet like stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
  4. Do not overcrowd the pan. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan when cooking the salmon. You’ll want to leave some space between each fillet so that they can cook evenly on all sides. If you crowd the pan, the salmon will steam and not get that nice crispy skin.
Close up of blackened salmon filets atop a bed of white rice and garnished with lemon wedges and parsley.
  • Mix up the spice blend. The spice and citrus combination here is inspired by classic Cajun flavors. If you want to vary it, try omitting the thyme and replacing the paprika with chili powder and the lemon with lime for a southwestern flair!
  • Use fresh or frozen salmon. This recipe works great with both fresh and frozen salmon! If using frozen, just make sure to thaw the salmon completely before cooking.
  • Add some vegetables. This recipe is delicious as-is, but you can always add in some extra veggies if you want. Try adding a few slices of lemon or lime, some chopped onions or peppers, or a handful of fresh herbs like thyme or parsley.

what to serve/pair with your salmon

Salmon filet with fork flaking the side of fish sitting ontop of white rice.

how to store & reheat salmon

This salmon is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep in the fridge. To reheat, simply cook in a skillet over low heat until warmed through. You can also reheat in the oven at 200°F until warm. Enjoy!

how long will cooked salmon last in the fridge?

Cooked salmon will last in the fridge for up to three days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

can i freeze cooked salmon?

Yes! Cooked salmon will keep in the freezer for up to two months. Again, be sure to store it properly in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as desired.

Frequently asked questions

What does blackened refer to exactly?

When a food is blackened, it means it’s been cooked in a very hot pan until the exterior is crispy and slightly charred. The high heat gives the salmon a nice sear on the outside while keeping the inside nice and juicy. It is usually cooked with a specific spice blend that is spicy in nature.

How do I know when my salmon is done?

The best way to tell if your salmon is cooked through is to use a digital cooking thermometer. The internal temperature of the salmon should be between 125°F (medium-rare) and 160°F (well-done). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also tell if it’s done by doing the fork test. Gently insert a fork into the thickest part of the salmon and twist. If the fish flakes easily with a fork, it’s done!

What type of salmon should I use for this recipe?

I recommend using wild-caught salmon for this recipe. It’s the best quality and has the most flavor. However, any type of salmon will work. If you can’t find skin-on salmon, you can also use skinless fillets. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly since skin-on salmon will take a bit longer to cook through.

Close up of fork flaking salmon on a bed of white rice with lemon wedges and parsley.

This recipe for blackened salmon skin on is a delicious and easy way to cook salmon. The spice blend gives it a great Cajun flavor, and the crispy skin is amazing. You can serve this with your favorite side dish, or even freeze leftovers for later. Enjoy!

More Fish recipes:

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Blackened Salmon

Flavorful blackened salmon with crispy skin and a homemade blackening seasoning. Flaky, moist, and ready in under 20 minutes, you can't go wrong!
5 from 10 votes
Servings 4
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Calories 76
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Total Time 14 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce salmon fillets skin-on, preferably center-cut
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil plus additional for rubbing on the fillets
  • Lemon wedges for squeezing

Instructions

  • In a shallow glass container, stir together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, dried thyme, cayenne, and black pepper until evenly blended.
  • Rub a little oil on the flesh side of the salmon fillets and place the fillets, flesh side down, into the spice mix. Press down gently to ensure the spice mixture sticks. Leave the skin uncoated.
  • In a heavy pan, heat the neutral oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add salmon fillets to pan, flesh (spice-rubbed) side down. Cook without disturbing until a dark “blackened” crust forms, 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip the fillets to the skin side, reduce the heat level to medium-low, and continue to cook on the skin side until the thickest part of the fillet is cooked to desired doneness, 3-8 minutes depending on thickness or 125 degrees for medium rare.
  • Remove salmon from the pan, squeeze over lemon juice, and serve.

Notes

Neutral oil: Use canola, sunflower, grapeseed, or avocado oil as they are mild in flavor and will not alter the taste of the salmon. 

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 294mg, Potassium: 73mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 920IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Overhead shot of 4 cooked salmons on a large oval white plate over rice and garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

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