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Cooking salmon in the air fryer results in tasty, melt-in-your-mouth, and flaky fish every time! This Air Fryer Salmon recipe is ready in just 15 minutes and easy to make with lightly seasoned salmon fillets.
Say so long to dry salmon! Cooking perfectly moist and flaky salmon has never been easier thanks to this Air Fryer Salmon recipe. Just like with scallops, shrimp, and tilapia, the air fryer has what it takes to cook tender and juicy fish in minutes.
A simple seasoning blend and olive oil dress the salmon to pack each fillet with moisture and flavor. As a result, every bite is sweet, smoky, and savory, making your taste buds sing!
The best part? Cooking salmon in the air fryer is just plain easy - the process is mostly hands-off and clean-up is a breeze. You’ll soon discover that it’s one of the best proteins to serve for quick weeknight dinners or to use in salads, tacos, grain bowls, and more!
- You end up with perfectly seasoned and flaky salmon every time it’s cooked in the air fryer! Plus, it only takes 15 minutes from start to finish.
- It’s an easy and low-carb protein you can serve with sides or add to salads and fish tacos.
- Easy to make with fresh and frozen salmon and the seasoning blend of your choice!
Salmon fillets - If you can, use wild sockeye or Atlantic salmon fillets for the absolute best flavor. Otherwise, farm-raised salmon fillets work in a pinch. You can use a whole, uncut salmon fillet and cut them into four smaller portions yourself or buy pre-cut fillets.
Olive oil - A light coating of oil keeps the fish from sticking to the bottom of the air fryer basket, adds flavor, and gives the seasonings something to stick to. Feel free to swap the olive oil for avocado oil, melted butter, or ghee.
Brown sugar - Including brown sugar in the seasoning mixture prevents the surface of the fish from drying out before the inside is cooked through. It also helps create a lightly caramelized, nicely browned crust on the surface.
Smoked paprika and garlic powder - These two dry spices, in addition to salt, pepper, and brown sugar, add a nice smoky and savory flavor to the cooked salmon. But you can always switch these up as you like! Check out the FAQs for more ways to season salmon.
Step 1: Mix the seasonings. Stir the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Step 2: Season the salmon. Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel, then add a drizzle of olive oil on top. Use your hands to spread the seasoning mixture in an even layer on both sides of the salmon
Step 3: Air fry. Place two seasoned salmon fillets in the foil-lined air fryer basket. Cook until the salmon easily flakes apart, then repeat with the remaining fillets. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- You don’t HAVE to line your air fryer with foil, but it does make clean-up much easier and prevents the bottom of the fish from sticking.
- Don’t overcrowd the salmon in the air fryer. Work in batches so each fillet can cook evenly and become crispy.
- How long you should cook the salmon will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets and the functionality of your air fryer. Typically, a fillet will only take 8 to 10 minutes to cook in a 400ºF air fryer.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. According to America’s Test Kitchen, farmed-raised salmon is best cooked to an internal temperature of 125ºF, whereas wild salmon is best cooked no further than 120ºF.
What else can you season salmon with?
For a spicy kick, add some cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or red pepper flakes to the blend in this recipe. You could also use pre-mixed seasonings, like Italian, Greek, Cajun, or Old Bay Seasoning. Alternatively, switch up the seasoning blend in this recipe with any of the spices used in these recipes:
- Chipotle lime - Squeeze lime juice over each fillet and season with chipotle seasoning and salt.
- Blackened - Squeeze lime juice over each fillet and coat it with blackening or Cajun seasoning.
- Garlic herb butter - Mix softened butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper, dill, parsley, and chives together, then spread it over the fish before cooking.
- Teriyaki - Brush the fillets with teriyaki sauce before air frying, then once more halfway through the cooking time.
Should I remove the skin from the salmon before air frying?
If you have skin-on salmon fillets, it’s best to leave the skin intact and cook the fish skin side down in the air fryer basket. This locks in the moisture, helping the fillets stay juicy and cook evenly. If you prefer salmon without the skin, simply peel it off after cooking.
Does the salmon need to be flipped?
Nope! The air fryer circulates hot air around all sides of the fish, making flipping unnecessary.
Can you cook frozen salmon in an air fryer?
Yes, you can use frozen salmon fillets instead of fresh ones. However, it’s best to let them thaw before cooking.
Short on time? Cook the salmon right from frozen instead. To do so, spray the foil lining with cooking spray and cook the frozen salmon skin side down in a 400ºF air fryer for about 4 minutes. Remove the fillets, coat them in the oil and seasonings, then place them back in the air fryer and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through.
What goes well with salmon?
For a family-friendly dinner, serve the air fryer salmon fillets on top of caesar salads and kale salads or as the main protein with roasted red potatoes, sauteed asparagus, and roasted broccoli on the side. Another great way to serve the cooked salmon is to chop up the fillets and layer them in tortillas for salmon tacos!
Refrigerator: Let the cooked salmon cool, then wrap each piece in foil and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezer: Freeze the wrapped salmon fillets in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let the leftovers thaw completely in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: To reheat salmon without drying it out, keep it wrapped in foil and heat it in a 325ºF air fryer for 4 to 6 minutes.
Learn how to air fry even more proteins:
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Air Fryer Salmon
- Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel; set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper together.
- Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil, then sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the salmon and use your hands to rub it all over so the salmon is coated.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°. Carefully place a piece of foil into your air fryer basket, then place 2 salmon filets on top. Air fry the salmon for 8-10 minutes (cook time varies depending on thickness of the salmon). Remove, then repeat with the remaining salmon. Enjoy!