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Blackened Salmon

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My favorite blackened salmon recipe is easy to make in 20 minutes and features a perfectly-blackened, flavorful, crispy crust.

Blackened Salmon

One of my all-time favorite 20-minute meals — blackened salmon. ♡

I don’t know how I’ve never posted my favorite blackened salmon recipe here, since Barclay and I have been cooking up some version of this recipe a few times a month for years now. It’s one of our fallbacks on busy nights when we’re craving something healthy but don’t have much time to cook, and genuinely couldn’t be easier. Simply brush a few salmon filets with oil, sprinkle on some blackened seasoning, pan-sear until those flavorful spices char to crispy perfection and — voila! — an unfailingly delicious dinner is ready to go in minutes.

We most often roast up a quick pan of veggies or toss together a green side salad while the salmon cooks to complete the meal. But blackened salmon can also be absolutely delicious in tacos, pastas, rices, grain bowls, salads of all kinds, quiches, dips, and more. It’s one of those impressively low-stress, high-reward recipes that’s nearly impossible to mess up and never lets us down. So let me show you my favorite way to blacken salmon!

Blackened Salmon Ingredients

Blackened Salmon Ingredients

Here are a few notes about the blackened salmon ingredients you will need for this recipe:

  • Salmon: Any type (species) of salmon that you love best will do. I typically use individual salmon filets, but you’re also welcome to use one larger slab of salmon if you prefer. If you are using frozen filets, please be sure that they are completely thawed before you begin cooking.
  • Olive oil: I typically use olive oil when blackening salmon, since I like the flavor and it has a higher smoke point than butter. But traditional blackened fish is typically made with melted butter, which you are totally welcome to use instead if you prefer.
  • Blackened seasoning: I use a homemade blackening seasoning blend made with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, fine sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Please feel free to tinker around with the ingredients and amounts, though, and customize your own blackened seasoning to taste.
  • Lemon or lime: Finally, I always serve blackened fish with a generous squeeze of citrus, which compliments all of those savory, smoky, spicy blackened seasonings and really helps the flavor of the salmon to shine.

Adding blackened seasoning to salmon filets

Blackened Salmon Tips

Here are a few additional tips for blackening fish that I would recommend:

  • Prep a big batch of seasoning in advance. To save time on busy weeknights, I highly (highly!) recommend prepping a big batch of blackening seasoning in advance. You can use blackened seasoning on so many things, from proteins (seafood, chicken, pork, beef, tofu, etc) to veggies, potatoes, rices, sauces, and more. If you already have the seasoning ready to go, this recipe will only take 10 minutes!
  • Go heavy on the seasoning. I’m a big believer that more is more when it comes to seasoning the fish in this recipe. :) So be sure to generously coat the top of each filet for a flavor-packed crispy crust.
  • Be sure that your pan is nice and hot. Don’t jump the gun and add fish to a cold pan! It’s essential that the oil be completely hot (the fish should sizzle immediately when it hits the pan) in order for the blackened crust can properly crisp up.
  • Don’t move or flip the fish too soon. On a similar note, be patient and let the fish rest completely undisturbed until the crust has blackened before you flip it over. You can carefully lift up a small corner of a filet to peek and check on the progress of the crust, but otherwise, resist to move the fish around while it is cooking.
  • Use a cooking thermometer if needed. I’m always a fan of using a cooking thermometer to double-check the temperature of the fish so that it is not over- or under-cooked. The FDA recommends that salmon be cooked to 145°F, but I usually pull my salmon off the stove once the internal temperatures reaches 135°F since the fish will continue to cook a bit more as it rests off the heat.
  • Please make this recipe your own! Finally, I recommend trying this recipe as written the first time, and then tinkering around with the ingredients to customize it however you prefer. Everyone definitely has their own preferences when it comes to the flavors they love best in blackened seasoning. So please adjust to taste and enjoy!

Blackened salmon filets in pan

What To Serve With Blackened Salmon

Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for sides to serve with blackened salmon to make it a full meal:

  • Veggies: We most often roast up some quick-cooking veggies (such as asparagus, broccolini or green beans) to go with this recipe. But you’re welcome to prepare any of your favorite veggies however you prefer (roasted, steamed, grilled, etc).
  • Salad: A simple green salad is always a winner, such as my basic everyday salad. Or a fruity green salad would also be a lovely way to add in some sweetness to balance out the meal, such as this strawberry avocado salad.
  • Rice or pasta: A rice dish of your choice would be lovely as a side, or a simple lemony, cheesy, or pesto pasta. (I must note that mac and cheese is a heavenly pairing with blackened fish!)
  • Potatoes: Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or roasted potatoes would all be delicious sides.
  • Fresh fruit: Fresh fruit or a fruit salad would add a nice balance of sweetness to the meal.
  • Sauce: There are countless sauces that could be delicious served with blackened salmon, such as a simple aioli, lemon butter sauce, creamy herb sauce, or even guacamole.

Other Fun Ways To Serve Blackened Salmon

Love blackened salmon and want to try incorporating it into some other dishes? It would be fantastic in:

  • Salads
  • Tacos, tostadas, etc.
  • Pastas and rices
  • Kabobs
  • Egg dishes
  • Creamy dips

Blackened Salmon with Lemon

Blackened Salmon FAQ

What is blackened seasoning? Blackened seasoning (a.k.a. blackening seasoning) is a combination of herbs, spices and chili that is a cross between Cajun and Creole seasonings. And it is delicious. :)

What is blackening? Blackening is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish, chicken, and other foods. It was developed by Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme, whose specialties were Cajun and Creole cooking, and typically involves dipping food in melted butter or oil, sprinkling on a blackened seasoning mixture (herbs, spices and chili), and cooking in a pan over high heat until charred.

Is blackened fish burnt? No, the term “blackened” refers to the way that the seasonings are charred while forming the crust. The fish is not burnt and, rather, is perfectly tender and flaky.

How do you prevent blackened fish from sticking? Again, be sure that your pan and oil are very hot before adding the fish, which will help the seasoning to properly cook and release from the pan. I highly recommend using a seasoned cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet.

Is blackened salmon gluten-free? Yes, the recipe as written below is naturally gluten-free.

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Lime

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Blackened Salmon

Blackened Salmon

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

My favorite blackened salmon recipe is easy to make in 20 minutes and features a perfectly-blackened, flavorful, crispy crust.


Ingredients

Scale

Salmon Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large lemon, cut into four wedges

Blackened Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Mix the blackening seasoning. Combine all of the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  2. Season the salmon. Brush the tops of the salmon filets evenly with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture (be sure to use all of it) evenly on the tops of the filets and gently pat it down to adhere.
  3. Cook. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add the salmon filets seasoning-side-down and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until a charred blackened crust has formed. (Feel free to lift up the corner of a filet to check the doneness of the blackened crust.) Carefully flip the filets over and continue cooking for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until the salmon reaches your desired level of doneness. (The FDA recommends salmon be cooked to 145°F.)
  4. Serve. Serve the salmon immediately with lemon wedges for drizzling.

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5 comments on “Blackened Salmon”

  1. how do you keep your salmon from getting that white ooze? I read to brine it for 10 mins. Do you do that? will it make it soggy?

  2. Yum. Very similar to a recipe I’ve used for years. One or two small differences. Heat the oven to 350F and put your pan in there to preheat while you’re getting fish ready. No need for oil, salmon is plenty oily on its own. When the oven is to temp, remove the pan and toss in the seasoned salmon. Turn oven to broil and put back in. No need to turn it, the hot pan cooks the bottom side and the broiler takes care of the top. Somewhere around 7 to 10 minutes depending on filet thickness, you should see a little white ooze coming out of the filets between the flakes…that tells you it’s done medium. Cook a little longer if you like it overcooked like my wife does :) Can also use a bbq rub, it blackens nicely as well.
    Love your site, read it every time you have a new post. Keep up the good work :)

  3. What is the shelf like of your homemade black seasoning?

  4. Thank you for this recipe!!! I have not had the bravery to make blackened fish at home since I tried it in an apartment many years ago and created an opaque column of smoke that set off all the fire alarms.

    Today I made your recipe exactly as written and it is now my favorite way to cook salmon! Spice mix was perfect, salmon was moist and delicious.