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Blackened Salmon

The seasoning for this blackened salmon is a little sweet, with a little heat, and lots of flavor. Pan-cooked, you’ll get a nice flaky filet and a delectable crispy skin with this easy rub.

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three 4 ounce Blackened salmon fillets on a serving platter with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Salmon’s New Favorite Seasoning

We don’t really think it’s possible to get in a salmon rut, because it’s really our favorite fish to prepare. But if you do find yourself making the same salmon with salt, pepper, and olive oil, we offer this easy blackened salmon recipe to change things up. It requires a little tour through the spice cabinet, but we love the opportunity to cycle through our spices to keep things fresh. We encourage you to make a batch of the blackened seasoning, and then you can have it on hand for chicken, fish, and tofu for a quick flavorful meal in the future.

four 4-ounce raw salmon filets, melted butter, spices, lemon wedges and parsley in bowls to make blackened salmon

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Make The Best Blackened Salmon On The Stove Top

We’re going to baste these blackened salmon filets in a skillet on the stove top. This results in a tender, flaky filet every time because it cooks the salmon more gently than searing it directly in the pan. If you’re looking for a low effort salmon recipe, check out our Baked Salmon. And it imparts tons of flavor because it introduces a separate fat (and that means flavor!) to the salmon as it cooks. You’ll love the taste of the seasoning blend, and the texture of this quick and easy preparation. And we couldn’t think of a better way to get all the good stuff salmon has to offer (y’ know, those Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and nutrients).

a plate of salmon rubbed with olive oil, brown sugar, paprika, garlic & onion powder, oregano, thyme, ginger, salt & cayenne

How To Make Blackened Salmon

  1. Prepare the salmon. Place it skin side down on a plate and pat dry with a paper towel.

  2. Make the salmon rub. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and seasonings.

  3. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil. Rub the salmon with the spice mixture, completely coating it. This is not the time to be shy. The seasoning will form a tasty crust as you cook it!

  4. Heat your skillet over medium. You don’t want a skillet that smokes, but you do want the temperature high enough to blacken the spices into a nice crust on the flesh side of the fish. Add olive oil to the pan. You can use your favorite non-stick or cast-iron skillet here. Once the oil is glistening, place the salmon flesh side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add the butter to the pan and flip the fillets. Continue cooking over medium heat until the skin becomes crispy and the fish easily flakes with a fork, another 5-6 minutes. This is where we baste! During this time, occasionally tilt the pan, scooping the melted pan butter up with a spoon and drizzling it over the blackened salmon. A little tear forms in the corner of our eyes just thinking of y’all cheffing it up!

  6. Transfer the salmon to serving plates, squeeze a little lemon juice over the filets and garnish with parsley if you’re feeling it.

4 blackened salmon filets being cooked in olive oil and melted butter in a cast iron skillet

What To Serve With Blackened Salmon

There’s so many delicious flavor pairings that work well with blackened salmon. Rice and salmon are notoriously good together, and any number of easy rice recipes would be perfect here: Lemon Rice, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Brown Rice, or cauliflower rice. You can serve blackened salmon with asparagus, and a simple preparation of Roasted Asparagus or Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Reduction would be perfect, or Asparagus Gratin with Gruyère & Panko for something a little richer. The question really becomes, what doesn’t go well with blackened salmon? To be honest, there’s not much that wouldn’t be great, but if you’re looking for potato perfection you could make Scalloped Potatoes, Crispy Smashed Potatoes, or on the side of our Classic Potato Salad. Sometimes you might want it to be the main dish, and the only thing it needs is a squeeze of lemon or lime juice! You could also make blackened salmon tacos or check out our Best Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipes, for more homemade spice blend ideas.

Blackened Salmon Ingredients

What is blackened seasoning made of? It’s a special combination of sugar, salt, and seasonings. Our blend calls for brown sugar, paprika (not smoked), garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground ginger, sea salt, and cayenne pepper. Blackened seasoning tends to be a little less spicy than Cajun seasoning, which typically calls for black and white pepper, and sometimes chile peppers.

homemade blackened salmon on a serving platter with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley

Tools You’ll Need

Salmon Is Our Specialty, Check Out These Other Great Recipes

Salmon recipes give our inner Pacific Northwest a time to shine. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites for you to try next time you make salmon.

homemade blackened salmon on a serving platter with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley

Did You Make This Recipe For Blackened Salmon?

Snap a photo of your snappy salmon meal and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Blackened Salmon

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 317

Ingredients

  • 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillet portions
  • 1½ teaspoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • Flat leaf parsley, minced, optional

Method

  1. Place the salmon, skin side down on a plate and pat dry.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, ginger, salt, and cayenne.

  3. Drizzle the salmon with 1 tablespoon of oil. Rub the salmon with the spice mixture, completely coating it.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the salmon fillets flesh-side down. Cook undisturbed until the surface is blacked, about 2-3 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and flip the fillets. Continue cooking over medium heat until the skin becomes crispy and the fish easily flakes with a fork, another 5-6 minutes. During this time, occasionally tilt the pan, scooping the melted pan butter up with a spoon and drizzling it over the blackened salmon.

  5. Transfer the salmon to serving plates, squeeze with the lemon and garnish with parsley if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories317
  • Protein18 g
  • Carbohydrates2 g
  • Total Fat23 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol85 mg
  • sodium681 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Blackened Salmon

Questions & Reviews

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  • Madison

    Amazing. Made this for my boyfriend and I for dinner, he said it was the best salmon he had in a while. 10/10!

    Thanks Madison!

  • Katie

    So tasty and flavorful! I cooked the salmon in the air fryer and it worked great.

    Thanks Katie, so glad you liked it! It's great to hear it did well in the air fryer!

  • Denise

    Delicious salmon! My husband made this for my birthday dinner and we all loved it. Tender, flaky filets with incredible flavor, plus it came together in 10 minutes! This will be our “go to” recipe for salmon. So glad we found you, TMP!

    So happy you loved it! Happy belated birthday Denise!

  • Katie

    Came on the other day for some salmon inspiration and this was on the front page. I was only making it for myself, so I scaled back accordingly, but damn it was good! Thank you for always having easy recipes that don’t sacrifice taste!

    Thanks Katie, so glad you loved it!

  • Jenn

    This was fabulous salmon. The skin got nice and crispy and the flavor was great. I like that it has a little kick without being too spicy.

    Thanks Jenn!