Learn how to make flaky, buttery sautéed salmon with a crispy golden crust using a handful of seasonings, fresh ginger, and a dash of soy sauce. It’s delicate yet ultra-flavorful and comes together in minutes!
If there’s one dish my family and I can always agree on for dinner, it’s probably salmon. It’s such a healthy protein that takes well to a variety of cooking methods, whether it be air-fryer salmon, oven-baked salmon, or cast iron salmon.
I decided to stray a bit from my usual seasonings for this recipe. To give it an Asian flare, I tossed the salmon in fresh ginger and tamari. Then, it’s cut into bite-sized chunks to help it cook more quickly and develop an irresistible crunch.
Table of Contents
- Ready in 10 minutes. Fish naturally cooks quite quickly, and cutting the salmon into bite-sized pieces helps it cook even faster.
- It’s healthy. Salmon is a lean source of protein with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, making it an easy choice for a well-rounded dinner.
- Perfect texture. Anything that cooks quickly can become overcooked just as easily, which is why I added plenty of moisture to help the salmon remain tender and flaky.
- Versatile. Like my air fryer salmon bites, every element of this recipe can be customized to suit your preferences, and it’s easy to serve with different sides, like fresh salad or white rice.
The beauty of this pan-sauteed salmon recipe is how simple the ingredients are. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Salmon fillets. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Usually, I recommend skin-on salmon, but because we’re cutting it into chunks, it’ll be easier if you remove the skin before cooking or opt for skinless salmon fillets.
- Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Garlic powder. To enhance the flavor and complement the rest of the ingredients. For more garlic flavor, add a few cloves of minced garlic.
- Soy sauce. For essential umami-goodness. Use gluten-free tamari if needed.
- Ginger. I highly recommend using fresh ginger as it has a far more powerful flavor than ginger powder.
- Oil. For sautéeing the salmon.
Can I use frozen salmon?
Yes, frozen salmon can be used in place of fresh, but you’ll want to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to sauté salmon
Step 1- Prep work. Cut the salmon into 1-inch cubes and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Step 2- Season. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the salmon. Add the salmon and gently mix until coated.
Step 3- Sear salmon. Add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Pan sear the salmon for 2-3 minutes, then flip and continue cooking until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve as desired.
- Let the salmon come to room temperature. So it cooks more evenly, allow the salmon to rest on the counter for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Use a hot skillet. Wait for the skillet to heat up before adding the salmon. You’ll know it’s hot enough when the oil easily slicks across the pan.
- Use an instant read thermometer. Look for a temperature of 145F on the inside of the salmon to know when it’s fully cooked. It’s okay if it’s slightly below since it will continue to cook after it’s removed from the heat.
- Cut the salmon into even-sized pieces. So they cook evenly.
- Serve with healthy sides. I could eat this salmon all by itself, but it’s even better when you serve it with some equally healthy side dishes like sautéed asparagus, spinach, or brown rice.
- Garnish. I like to garnish the cooked salmon with fresh herbs (like fresh cilantro) for a pop of color.
- Make it sweet and spicy. Add a dash of red chili flakes and 1 tablespoon of honey to create a sweet yet spicy flavor. You can also just toss through some hot honey sauce.
- Cook in a garlic butter sauce. When I really want a dish to impress, I’ll swap the oil for melted butter and fresh garlic and use this to cook the salmon.
- Marinade the salmon. Let the salmon sit in the soy sauce mixture for 20 minutes before cooking to infuse even more flavor.
- Add citrus. Brighten the flavor of the salmon with fresh lemon juice or lime juice.
To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: Allow the leftover pan salmon to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the leftovers thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Place the cooked salmon on a skillet with oil and heat at medium heat for several minutes, flipping periodically until it’s reheated. You can also microwave the salmon for 30-40 seconds, though I’ve found this tends to dry out the salmon.
Frequently asked questions
You’ll know the salmon is done cooking when an instant read thermometer reads 145F. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, you can tell the salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
As per my pan seared salmon recipe, the exact cooking time will vary depending on how hot your skillet is, but generally, 2-3 minutes per side should be enough for it to cook fully.
More salmon recipes to try
- Salmon croquettes– I promise you won’t be able to stop with one.
- Salmon Wellington– Tender salmon wrapped in puff pastry along with spinach and herb-infused cream cheese.
- Blackened salmon– Perfectly seasoned salmon with an irresistibly crispy crust.
- Sous vide salmon– A foolproof method for guaranteeing perfectly cooked salmon.
- Stuffed salmon– One of my family’s favorite salmon recipes of mine!
- Cut the salmon filet into 1-inch cubes. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the salmon. Add the salmon and gently mix until coated.
- Add oil to a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Sauté the salmon for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Serve immediately.
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