This restaurant-style cast iron salmon recipe highlights the natural flavor of salmon, resulting in perfectly flaky fish under a crispy well-seasoned crust.
This simple but flavorful cast iron salmon is as good as our pan-seared salmon. It features seasoned salmon fillets cooked in a well-heated cast iron skillet with olive oil and butter. Drizzled with pan juices and served with slices of lemon, these salmon fillets guarantee a delicious dinner that cooks in less than 10 minutes.
Why cook salmon in cast iron
Cast iron skillets withstand very high heat. This helps avoid overcooking the fish and results in a beautiful crispy crust.
Cast iron pans are also oven-safe. If you continue cooking the fillets in the oven, you can do that without transferring the fish into a baking pan.
Salmon cooked to perfection is so delicious that it doesn’t need excessive spices to enhance its flavor. Here are only a few ingredients to cook juicy salmon in a cast iron skillet.
- Salmon. Skin-on fillets.
- Olive oil. To drizzle over the fillets before searing them.
- Butter. To sear the salmon and yield delicious drippings.
- Lemon. Sliced lemon to serve.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
How to cook salmon in a cast iron skillet without it sticking
Here’s how you cook the most delicious salmon in three easy steps.
Step 1 – Season
Drizzle olive oil over the salmon fillets. Season the skinless side with salt and pepper.
Step 2 – Sear
Add a knob of butter to the cast iron skillet and heat it over high heat. Once hot, add the fillets with the skin side down.
Cook the salmon for 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium, flip the fish, and cook it for another 2 minutes.
Step 3 – Serve
Transfer the salmon fillets onto the serving plates. Drizzle with the pan juices and serve with slices of lemon.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Allow the fillets to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before you cook them.
- Pat dry the salmon fillets to ensure they crisp up well.
- Adding oil to the salmon fillets prevents the butter from burning. So, don’t skip it.
- Start with a piping-hot pan if you want to achieve a crispy crust without overcooking the fish.
Like any good piece of protein, you can transform its flavor with a few tweaks.
- Use more seasoning. Garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and onion powder are only a few of the spices you can use to flavor salmon.
- Cook with garlic. Add minced garlic to the pan while searing the salmon. Baste the fillets with the flavorful garlic butter mixture.
- Add fresh herbs. Dill, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and tarragon are some of the best herbs to pair with salmon. Cook the fresh herbs in the hot butter for 1-2 minutes after you have removed the fillets.
To store. Store leftover cooked salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To freeze. You can also freeze leftovers. Freeze it in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 months.
To reheat. Reheat the salmon in a covered pan over medium heat or preheated oven (200C/400F) for several minutes.
More cast iron recipes to try
- Chicken breast
- Pork chops
- Chicken thighs
Frequently asked questions
The cooking time of salmon depends on the thickness and size of the fillets. It takes around 7 minutes to cook a normal-size fillet in a pan and around 13 minutes in the oven.
Thus, it is best to rely on checking the internal temperature of the fish to find out if it’s cooked or not. Aim for 120F degrees for wild salmon and 125F degrees for farmed salmon.
The best type of salmon you can get is king salmon. It has the best taste and buttery texture thanks to its high fat content.
Overcooking is the number one mistake that results in dry salmon. You may end up with a dried-out salmon, no matter your cooking method.
Keeping the skin on salmon, buying high-fat farmed salmon, and using a thermometer are simple steps to avoid dried-out salmon. Remember that fixing an undercooked salmon is easier than making dried-out fish work.
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Cast Iron Salmon
- Drizzle the olive oil over the salmon fillets and season the top side up with salt and pepper.
- Add butter to a non-stick iron skillet. Place the cast iron skillet over high heat and, once hot, add the salmon fillets into it, skin side down.
- Cook the salmon for three minutes, before reducing the heat to medium and flipping the fish. Cook for a further two minutes.
- Transfer the salmon to a plate and drizzle with the buttery pan juices. Serve with sliced lemons.
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