I finally learned to cook pan-seared salmon perfectly!

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This easy pan-seared salmon with skin is foolproof and makes perfectly cooked salmon! Plus, it’s super quick to make for lunch or a weeknight dinner. 

I’ve have struggled for years to cook salmon well. I don’t love it baked; I mean, it’s fine, but I liked the crisp crust of seared salmon. But in the past if I seared it, I always felt like I burned it or that I undercooked it. But I’ve finally found a way I can’t mess up! The combo of searing the salmon in a pan and then finishing it in the oven has produced a perfectly cooked salmon for me, over and over. Tommy told me this week that the salmon was “amazing.”

This is also a great way to get your fatty acids in, since salmon skin is LOADED with them!

I love to eat Salmon on top of a salad! I included my favorite ways to serve Salmon below.


how to pan sear salmon

What are the benefits of salmon?

Salmon is loaded with fatty acids (especially the skin!) and it’s also a great source of B12.

Should I leave the skin on?

Yes! The skin of the salmon is one of the most helpful tools for not overcooking! Plus, there are tons of nutrients in the skin! Even if you do not like to eat the salmon skin, I suggest cooking your salmon with the skin on, and then taking it off when you serve it if you prefer.

Can you eat the skin of Salmon?

Yes! While you definitely want to make sure that the origin of your salmon is safe, it is generally a great addition of fatty acids and nutrients to your diet! I love to eat my salmon with the skin.

How can you tell when Salmon is done cooking?

The color of the salmon will change colors from pretty red and translucent (when it’s raw) to a pretty pink when it’s tender. Depending on how well done you like your salmon, you should look for the pink range. You want the inside of the salmon to flake a little and look just a tinsy bit translucent in the middle. I use a thermometer to be sure! Pan searing is a great way to cook it, since you are able to take the temperature easily AND you get the yummy seared crust! I finish mine in the oven for cooking perfection and ease of mind knowing it’s all the way cooked.


Pan-Seared Salmon with Skin

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Perfectly cooked Pan-Seared Salmon (with skin!)

  • Author: Teri


The perfectly cooked seared salmon with skin! This salmon is cooked on the stovetop and then finished in the oven! Foolproof!


  • 1 filet salmon, skin on (thawed if purchased frozen)
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black better
  • Salt
    • I especially like pre-mixed fancy salt with herbs since it gives it more flavor but doesn’t require more of my time.


  1. Preheat oven to 425*.
  2. Season salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be liberal! You can also sprinkle a little sugar on top to help it caramelize.
  3. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add olive oil and once it’s warm (easily swirls in the pan), place your salmon face down (skin-side up) in the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until well seared. Carefully flip and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Move the salmon — in the skillet you cooked it in! — into the pre-heated oven (skin side still down). Cook for 5-7 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145*.
  5. If desired, carefully remove the skin from the salmon before serving. It should peel off very easily if you lift an edge with a knife.


  • Sometimes I turn on my broiler to help it preheat faster if I’m making this at lunch – maybe it’s in my head but I think it works!
  • If your salmon isn’t thawed, you can microwave it for 30 seconds to defrost it! Not as ideal as letting it thaw in the fridge, but I do it all the time. 🙂
  • You can cook the fish to a lower internal temperature if you like it a little more rare, like I do. I usually take it out around 130*. I LOVE this thermometer for cooking fish (and all meat).
  • You can easily double or quadruple this depending on how many people you’re serving.
  • If you don’t have a pepper grinder, GET ONE. Freshly ground pepper is a game changer compared to pre-ground pepper. It will last you forever if you get a nice one and you just refill it with peppercorns as needed

easy pan-seared salmon with skin

Serving Suggestions

Below is the salad I served it with if I’m having it for lunch.  If I’m serving it with dinner, I usually serve it with baked sweet potatoes (baked using this method) and roasted broccoli.

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then cut into thin strips using your peeler
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped (or any dried fruit)
  • 2 T almond slices, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!)
  • Whatever dressing you like! I served with the tahini-miso dressing from this cookbook, but this combo is one of my favorite too:
    • 1 T olive oil, 1 T oregano vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup, salt/pepper

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this!

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    4 responses to “I finally learned to cook pan-seared salmon perfectly!”

    1. Yum! I love salmon!

      I read an article once that had a really easy method for cooking salmon — you start skin-side down and cook it until the color changes halfway up the side of the salmon; flip it and cook until the color changes halfway up the other side, and you’re done. Perfect salmon every time, and no need to mess with a meat thermometer!

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