This air fryer salmon is cooked perfectly: tender salmon with a brown sugar-Dijon mustard crust that’s super easy but loaded with flavor. Made in only 10 minutes, now we never cook salmon any other way!
Not sure which air fryer might be best for you? Check out our post on 5 Air Fryers We Love.
What Makes This Air Fryer Salmon So Good
- It’s SO quick and easy. This air fryer method gives you tender, flaky salmon, perfectly cooked in 10 minutes or less. Plus, I can’t even put into words just HOW GOOD the brown sugar + Dijon mustard crust is
- This is a stunning main course that pairs wonderfully with a variety of veggies. I like to serve this air fryer salmon with air fryer asparagus, Hasselback sweet potatoes, Instant Pot broccoli, or even just a simple side salad with spinach and red lettuce.
- Whether you cook it in the air fryer or not, salmon is full of good-for-you vitamins, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s can help with rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive function, and eye health. Other nutrients in salmon can help you sleep better (thanks tryptophan) and can even give your immune system a little boost.
- Leftover salmon will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, just as long as you keep it in an airtight container. You can reheat the salmon in the air fryer, too. Just spray the basket lightly, preheat the air fryer to 350° Fahrenheit, and cook the salmon 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s heated through.
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Salmon
Salmon – You can use fish or frozen salmon in this air fryer recipe, either will work well! Frozen salmon is actually arguably fresher than fresh salmon, since it’s frozen right off the boat. If you’re shopping for fresh salmon, be sure to avoid any that have grey or brown spots. You’ll want salmon that’s firm and either light pink or dark pink, depending on the type of salmon it is. It also shouldn’t smell fishy. To cook evenly, your fillets should be the same size and thickness.
Brown Sugar – Rich brown sugar crusts beautifully in the air fryer and adds this incredible sweet, almost caramel-like flavor to the salmon.
Dijon Mustard – This seasoned mustard counters the sweetness of the brown sugar and gives your salmon crust a little tang. It’s creamy, which creates a nice texture against the brown sugar crust, and the spices in the mustard add the perfect amount of flavor. The layer of Dijon also helps the salmon retain some of its moisture in the air fryer.
- Be sure you’re using an air fryer safe spray oil. Canned aerosol sprays can actually damage the coating on the fryer basket, due to the harsh ingredients they contain. The safest way to spray oil in your basket is to use an oil mister/sprayer.
- Cook times vary from one air fryer to another, so keep an eye on your salmon the first time or two you make this recipe so you don’t accidentally overcook it.
- Be sure not to overcrowd the basket. The air has to be able to circulate around the food completely. If it can’t, the food won’t cook evenly. Since you’re only working with 2 salmon fillets here, you shouldn’t have any trouble, but if your air fryer basket is small you may need to cook each fillet separately.
- How do you know your salmon is cooked through? Well, there’s 2 easy ways. One way is to just use an internal meat thermometer. For medium-rare salmon, you’ll want it to be about 120-125° Fahrenheit at its thickest point. Well-done salmon should be 145° Fahrenheit internally. The other option is to go by appearances. Well-done salmon will be pink and completely opaque, but rare salmon is translucent and more of a bright red. Images like these give an idea of what each temperature looks like.
- If you’re concerned about overcooking your salmon, it’s better to take it out of the air fryer a little early than a little late. Let the salmon rest (covered with foil) and it’ll keep cooking internally. If your goal is a 145°F, well-done salmon, you can take it out of the air fryer when it’s 140°F inside. Let it rest 5 minutes, then check it again.
More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love
- Air Fryer Potato Wedges
- Air Fryer Steak with Easy Herb Butter
- Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Shrimp with Comeback Sauce
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Parmesan Zucchini Fries
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Air Fryer Salmon
- Small bowl
- Basting Brush
- Air fryer
- 2 salmon fillets about 6 ounces each
- 1 packed tablespoon brown sugar see Notes
- ½ teaspoon salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Preheat air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit.
- In small bowl, mix together brown sugar, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined.
- Brush Dijon mustard on tops of salmon fillets, then sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top of mustard, coating liberally.
- Place fillets in air fryer basket. Cook in air fryer 5 to 6 minutes (for medium-rare salmon) up to 10 minutes (for well-done salmon). See Notes for temperatures.
- Remove salmon from air fryer, gently plate, and serve immediately.
- Preheat: You can skip the preheat, but I don’t really recommend it. Preheating the air fryer helps ensure the salmon cooks evenly.
- Temperature: For medium-rare salmon, you’ll want an internal temperature of 120° Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the fillet. For well-done salmon, aim for an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit. Note that the recommended food safe temperature for salmon is 145°F.
- Make it Keto: Use Brown Swerve in place of the brown sugar.
- Make it Paleo: Use coconut sugar and an organic, paleo-friendly Dijon mustard.
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