Perfectly flaky blackened salmon is an easy and delicious way to spice up a fish dinner. A blend of savory spices coat tender salmon fillets as they’re pan-seared in butter to develop a beautiful crust. This dish is a great source of filling protein, healthy fats, and incredible flavors.
What Makes This Blackened Salmon So Good
- The combination of butter and incredible spices form the most beautiful, crisp, delicious crust on the salmon fillets.
- It’s a super quick and easy recipe! Salmon doesn’t need much cooking at all, so you’ll have an amazing dinner on the table in no time at all. Easy enough for after-work dinners, tasty enough for guests.
- The blend of spices used on this blackened salmon are bold but perfect. That being said, you can absolutely adjust them to your perfect ratios and blends!
Key Ingredients for Blackened Salmon
Salmon – Don’t be alarmed if you see a grey area beneath the salmon skin. That is just a deposit of fat, and it’s loaded with Omega-3s. It’s not pink like the rest of the fish because it just lacks that pigmentation. You can remove the fatty substance if you want – it won’t have a severe impact on the dish.
Butter – Butter (or ghee, if you want) is absolutely essential to this recipe. Hot butter is what gives your blackened salmon that amazing crust you’re aiming for.
Cayenne Pepper – Cayenne gives the salmon a little kick! If you’re particularly heat sensitive, you can use less than ¼ teaspoon or eliminate it altogether. If heat’s your thing, feel free to use a little more! Don’t go too wild, though, you don’t want to overpower the other flavors.
Smoked Paprika – Regular paprika would also work in this recipe, but smoked paprika gives the blackened salmon an incredibly smokey flavor that I highly recommend!
- To get a really good crust on your blackened salmon, the butter and skillet need to be hot. Don’t put the salmon in the skillet too early! You’ll also want to pat the salmon fillets dry before seasoning them. If they’re very wet, they won’t crisp up.
- If you like a little heat-meets-sweet action, add some brown sugar to your spice mixture. We love, love, love salmon with a brown sugar crust.
- The easiest way to check whether your blackened salmon is ready to eat is to 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. If you don’t have an internal thermometer, you can eyeball it! 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. In addition to coloring, check the texture! Fully cooked salmon will flake easily when you dig into it with a fork.
Other Delicious Recipes You’ll Love
- Marry Me Chicken
- Blackened Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce
- Everything Bagel Chicken with Scallion Cream Cheese Sauce (Keto)
- Blackened Chicken
- Instant Pot Carne Asada
- Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Restaurant Style)
- Easy Sous Vide Chicken Breast Recipe
- Cajun Shrimp
Hey – you’ve made it this far, and now we’re best friends! If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, too!
- Small bowl
- Cast iron skillet
For the Seasoning
For the Salmon
- 1 pound salmon cut into 4 fillets, patted dry
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ of one lemon sliced
- Combine all spices together in small bowl. Whisk or stir to evenly distribute.
- Liberally coat flesh of salmon fillets with spice mixture, gently massaging spices into salmon to ensure they stick.
- Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add seasoned salmon fillets to skillet, spice-side down. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and squeeze lemon juice onto flesh of fillets. Cook skin-side down 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use dairy free butter.
- Make it Paleo: Use ghee instead of butter, and make sure your spices don’t include any sugars or non-paleo additives.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out 40 Aprons Premium! 40 Aprons Premium offers exclusive recipes, monthly meal plans, grocery lists, and more – all completely ad free!
Jasmine Comer is a food photographer and recipe developer from North Carolina. She grew up in the kitchen watching her mom cook all types of delicious meals. In 2016 she established Lively Meals, a food blog where she creates healthy recipes. This led to creating recipes for other blogs as well. In her free time she enjoys exploring new places and spending time in nature. Ultimately she’s grateful to be doing work she loves—cooking good food and sharing it with people.