How to Cook Salmon at Home
Salmon is the steak of seafood. It’s juicy, tender, and filling. Unlike a steak, it’s excellent for you! Every serving of salmon you eat is full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Even the American Heart Association recommends it! Making salmon at home is simple. We’ve put together this guide to help you cook restaurant-quality salmon at home.
How to Prep Salmon
Before you heat things up, take a few minutes to prep the salmon fillets or steaks.
- Pat down each fillet or salmon steak with a paper towel. This simple step will help your salmon brown nicely by removing any water from the surface.
- Brush each side of the salmon with an oil that has a high smoke point like avocado oil, sesame oil, or grapeseed oil. The oil will help lock in the salmon’s juices, so it doesn’t dry out
- Dust each side of the salmon with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding any other spices.
- After you’ve lightly seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper, you can rub in additional seasonings. A dry rub made with hearty herbs—like thyme and rosemary—pairs well with roasted or broiled salmon. Asian marinades and spices pair well with the smokey flavor of grilled salmon.
- Keep in mind that salmon cooks fast! Make sure that you don’t leave it on the heat for too long so that it doesn’t become tough and dry.
- An average-sized salmon fillet, about 1 ½ inch thick, cooks in just 6 minutes (3 minutes per side). A good rule of thumb is to prepare it for 2 minutes for every ½ inch of thickness.
- You can tell that salmon is fully cooked when the outside looks opaque instead of translucent. The meat will flake when you spear it with a fork. The internal temperature should reach at least 130°F before you remove it from the heat and at least 145°F before you eat it. (It will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the heat, as long as you let it rest for a few minutes.)
The Best Methods to Cook Salmon
High-heat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, and pan-frying are best for salmon. They bring out its rich flavor.
How to Broil Salmon
Broiling salmon is the easiest method.
- Turn your oven to broil.
- Place the seasoned salmon fillets or steaks skin-side down on a sheet pan or an untreated cedar plank (be sure to soak it in water first). Place the pan or plank on the top rack, right under the glowing hot broiler. It should be about 3 inches away from the broiler.
- Cook the salmon for 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure to check it after 3 minutes.
- Once salmon looks done, turn off the heat. If you like your salmon well-done in the middle, leave it in the oven for a few minutes after you turned off the broiler. It will continue to cook in the hot oven.
How to Grill Salmon
Grilling salmon gives it a delicious smokey flavor. Make sure you get salmon with the skin on so that it doesn’t fall apart on the grill.
- Preheat the grill for at least 10 minutes before you plan to start cooking. This will help your grill get up to the correct temperature.
- Get the grill up to 450°-500° F before you put the salmon on.
- Then prep the salmon following the steps above. Brushing the salmon with oil is an especially important step when grilling. This will prevent the salmon steaks or fillets from sticking to the grill. Oiling the meat is more effective, and tastes better, than greasing the grill grates.
- Lay the salmon on the grill with the skin side down. Cook it on the skin-side for about 90% of the time (5 to 8 minutes). Then flip it over to brown on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes.
How to Pan-Fry Salmon
Pan-frying salmon gives it a tasty, crispy outer layer.
- Ten minutes before you plan to start cooking, pull the salmon out of the fridge so that it can come to room temperature. This is an excellent time to prep the salmon.
- After you’ve prepped the salmon, add oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat it up over medium-low. (Be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point.)
- Once you’re ready to add the salmon, raise the heat to medium-high.
- Lay the salmon down with the skin-side up. Cook until the bottom looks golden brown, then flip it.
- Cook the skin-side until the skin is nice and crispy. Then remove from the heat and serve.
You don’t have to be a chef to cook mouthwateringly cook salmon at home. Just choose one of these methods and follow the steps!
Check out our archives for more seafood cooking tips and recipes! If you are looking for fresh seafood in Connecticut, stop by City Fish Market! Restaurants and residents across the state rely on us to provide them with the best seafood in New England.