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Air Fryer Salmon
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon is not only delicious but is also full of health benefits. Cooking it in the air fryer is even better, because you still get that crispy, flaky outcome with no oil necessary. It leaves you with a light, healthy meal that’s ready in under 20 minutes.
We love air fryer meals, because they’re so quick and easy. They also make for simple clean up. Air fryer salmon is no different. This recipe uses a bold blend of spices that leaves your salmon bursting with flavor. Serve this dish with your favorite fresh salad and starchy side dish and you’ve got a full meal!
Why This Recipe Stands Out
- It’s quick and easy. Pretty much the only prep for this meal is mixing a few spices together and throwing them on the fillets. From beginning to end, this recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes.
- It’s made in the air fryer. Not only does the air fryer ensure a perfectly crispy out come, it also cooks the salmon super fast with no flipping needed.
- The spice rub is versatile. We love using any extra spice mix to add to eggs, stir fries, or baked chicken. The mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and paprika blend perfectly to make a bold, versatile spice blend.
- It’s perfect for meal prep. Salmon makes for a great healthy lunch. Make this meal ahead of time and portion it out for lunches for the next few days. It’s the perfect healthy protein for any meal.
This recipe takes only a handful of simple ingredients that you may already have in your spice cabinet.
- Kosher Salt – We use kosher salt for savory recipes because of kosher salt has larger salt crystals and are less salty by volume than table salt – that make it harder to over-salt dishes.
- Black Pepper – This bold classic adds the perfect tinge of spice and that earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with the salmon.
- Garlic Powder – Garlic makes everything better, especially when it comes to fish. This bold, pungent spice compliments the onion powder perfectly.
- Onion Powder – Onion powder adds just the right hint of aromatic sweetness that balances the bolder spicier flavors in the mix.
- Paprika – Try using smoked paprika for an added burst of flavor. This vibrant spice adds a bit of color and hint of smoky spice to the mix.
- Salmon – If you can get your hands on fresh salmon fillets, go for it! Otherwise flash frozen salmon fillets work just as well for this recipe. For best results, look for fillets that are 2/3” to 1” thick and around 3×6″ in width/length. Or, buy a large, whole fillet that is mostly 1″ thick throughout and cut into smaller fillets at home.
Key Tips For Success
This recipe is so easy to make that there are only a few tips to take note of. Take a look at these tips and tricks to ensure a perfect outcome every time.
- Pat salmon dry. Make sure to thoroughly pat your salmon fillets dry before adding the seasoning mix. Too much moisture will make it hard for the seasonings to stick and will affect the air frying.
- Don’t pack the air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may only be able to fit two fillets at once. Make sure to leave plenty of room between your fillets. If they’re too closely packed together, your salmon may lack that crispy texture that we’re going for.
- Don’t over cook. The thickness of your filets will affect the cooking time. It’s always best to ere on the side of undercooked. You can always cook your salmon more if it needs it. Try sticking a fork into one of the fillets and if it breaks apart and is flaky, your salmon should be done!
Substitutes and Variations
- This recipe is so quick, easy, and healthy that we tend to put it on repeat. Which is why we love tweaking the spices to switch things up. Try this Homemade Ranch Seasoning for a flavor that rivals store bought ranch. Other flavor combos that would work great are sweet honey-mustard, zesty lemon-butter, and bursting-with-flavor Jerk seasoning.
- This salmon the perfect meal prep food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We love the classic combo of a cream cheese bagel and salmon for the perfect protein packed breakfast. For lunch or dinner, salmon with rice or quinoa and vegetables makes for a delicious, balanced meal perfect for any day of the week. Try adding salmon to your favorite salad for a fresh, vibrant meal.
- If you’re not much of a salmon fan or have another kind of fish on hand, try switching up this recipe by substituting your favorite fish. Just note that other varieties of fish with different thicknesses will most likely need a different cooking time or temperature.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Salmon
- Vegetables: For a veggie side to this recipe, we love fresh, crunchy salads. Try this vibrant Broccoli Apple Salad recipe or this Kale Brussel Sprouts Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. If you’re in the mood for fresh fruits, we also love this Pomegranate Salad with Pear and Blue Cheese.
- Grains: Rice and salmon is a classic combo. Try this Instant Pot Jasmine Rice for a quick and easy side. We also think this Wild Rice Pilaf pairs perfectly with this salmon. If you love quinoa, try this Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette.
- Potatoes: If you’re looking for the perfect potato sides for this dish, try these Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes. We also can’t get enough of these Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
Commonly Asked Questions
Store air fryer salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If you need it to last longer, freeze it in an airtight container for 4 to 6 months.
If the salmon flakes easily, it’s done. If the flesh doesn’t flake, try cooking it for a few more minutes. Do remove salmon from heat source as soon as center is mostly opaque, but just slightly underdone – salmon will continue to cook a bit as it rests.
You may have packed the air fryer too tight. Make sure there’s plenty of room between your salmon fillets so the air can circulate. This will ensure a crispy outcome. Note: you may need to do this recipe in two batches if your air fryer is on the smaller side.
This recipe is specific to the air fryer, but you can always make it in the oven with a few adjustments. If you are wanting to make baked salmon, try this Easy Baked Salmon recipe for the right tips and cooking times.
It depends on what you’re looking for. Wild caught salmon will have a firmer, denser texture than farm raised. Either variety will work just fine for this recipe. For more information about buying salmon check out this recipe.
More To Make And Eat
- Baked Salmon with Ginger Soy Marinade – A fresh ginger soy marinade leaves this salmon bursting with flavor. The best part: it’s ready in just 15 minutes.
- Honey Glazed Salmon – Sweet honey and zesty lime come together to make the most delicious salmon dish. It’s the perfect vibrant, healthy meal for summer.
- Pistachio Crusted Salmon – Pistachio crusted salmon will not only wow your guests, it’s also easy-to-make. Honey, fresh lemon, mustard, and pistachios all go into this mouthwatering crust leaving a dish that is bursting with flavor.
- Easy Lemon Butter Fish – For an easy white fish meal, try this lemon butter fish recipe. It’s flaky, buttery, and is ready in just 20 minutes!
- Air Fryer Broccoli – This one is a fabulous side dish for any meal.
Did you make this?
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Air Fryer Salmon
For Seasoning Mix
- 1 TB olive oil, or melted butter
- 4 salmon fillets, 2/3" to 1" thick, about 3×6" width/length per fillet
- Optional Garnishes: freshly chopped parsley, chives, or basil and lemon wedges
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Seasoning Mix ingredients to combine well. Set aside.
- Thoroughly pat dry salmon fillets with clean paper towels to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
- Brush all sides of salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle a thin layer of Seasoning Mix over both sides of salmon fillets, pressing down with clean hands or rubber spatula to ensure seasonings adhere to salmon.
- Place salmon fillets in air fryer, in a single layer, and with enough space in between them to allow for good air circulation. Air fry at 400F for 6-8 minutes, or just until salmon is just cooked – do not over-cook. Carefully transfer salmon to a serving dish and garnish as desired with chopped herbs and lemon slices.
- Leftover Seasoning Mix can be used to sprinkle onto cooked salmon, if needed. It can also be used in scrambled eggs or any stir fry dish.
- Kosher salt is much less salty by volume than table salt; if using regular table salt, reduce the amount by half.
- If salmon fillets are closer to 2/3” thick, cook for 6-7 minutes. If they’re at least 1” thick, cook for 8 minutes. Cook time ultimately depends on thickness of fillets and initial temperature of the salmon.
- Serve salmon with Best Broccoli Apple Salad and Wild Rice Pilaf for a deliciously healthy meal.
- If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ❤️