Want to cook salmon like the pros? We’ll show you how to cook salmon in a pan on the stove, just like restaurants do! It’s easy and delicious, and you can make this tender flaky salmon at home any day of the week…in just 20 minutes! This method of cooking salmon in a pan is literally foolproof so anyone can do it!
Salmon is our family’s favorite main dish (including the kids!) When salmon is cooked perfectly, there’s nothing better!
Yes — YOU Can Cook Salmon at Home
It always surprises me when I’m chatting about food with someone and they tell me they’ve never tasted salmon before.
Most of the time it’s because they’re not sure how to prepare it — or think it’s too complicated to cook salmon at home.
However, with our “secret” trick to cook perfect salmon on the stove, there’s no excuse not to give it a try!
Here’s Why This is the Best Way to Cook Salmon
- You can easily cook it to your desired doneness (like a steak) with ease!
- Steaming retains moisture, without overcooking. No more dry salmon!
- It’s foolproof!
Since we debuted this method years ago, we’ve made converts of many! Even friends have told me that it changed the way they looked at salmon forever!
My friend Stefanie at Stefanie Davis Media (who shot the video for this post) told me, “WOW! Makes for a gorgeous salmon! I may become a salmon lover after this!”
Trust me, try salmon this way and you too will become a salmon lover!
Why Salmon is our Favorite Fish
We love salmon because it has a mild flavor and delicious flaky texture. When cooked perfectly, salmon literally melts in your mouth! Even our kids love salmon!
Not only that, but salmon is healthy too! One 6oz salmon filet contains:
- 34g protein
- 90% daily value of Vitamin B-12
- 50% daily value of Vitamin B-6
- 10% daily value of Vitamin C
- One WEEK’S worth of Omega-3s
- Plus many other minerals and nutrients!
Isn’t salmon expensive?
It doesn’t have to be!
If you stock up on salmon when it’s on sale, you can snag this premium protein at an awesome price! Our family cooks salmon once a week, but we never pay full price.
We’ll look for the family sized packages, cook what we need for one meal, and freeze the rest.
How Long to Cook Salmon
To achieve that perfect medium like you’d get in a restaurant, the key is not to overcook the salmon. Once you can see that a salmon filet is cooked through, it’s likely well done at that point.
That’s why I love this method to cook salmon in a pan on the stove. You cook the salmon over a flame for half of the time, then turn off the heat and steam the rest of the way. This ensures that the salmon does not get too hot or dry out.
What Can I Serve Salmon With?
My husband prepares salmon with a variety of seasonings and sauces (one of our most-loved recipes is Citrus Leek Salmon and Shrimp, pictured below), and it is perfect. Every. Single. Time.
I’ve included links to more of our favorite salmon recipes later in the post too.
The key isn’t what you flavor your salmon with – the trick is how you cook it.
What is the Best Way to Cook Salmon?
We’ve tried many different ways to cook salmon, but found that cooking salmon on the stove in a pan is not only easy and fast, but results in the best result.
This method is literally foolproof.
Follow the steps below to cook salmon on the stove and you’ll end up with a dish that rivals what is served in fancy restaurants!
I’ve even tried it myself and achieved the same results as my talented hubby so I had to share so you too can learn how to cook salmon perfectly (I’m not much of a cook, so if I can do this anyone can!)
Grab a free printable copy of this recipe for restaurant style salmon at the end of the post.
PS- I’ve included shop-able ad links to products we love and use for our pan-seared salmon recipe; disclosure policy available here.
How to Cook Salmon in a Pan
To start, lightly salt and pepper your salmon filets (about 6-8 ounces each). This allows the flavor of the fish to shine through. You can always pair with sauces and sides later!
Next, place your salmon filets skin side up on a lightly greased Frying Pan over medium heat. We love and use coconut oil for most of our cooking projects, though you may use any cooking oil you prefer.
Give the pan a little shake right after you put on the salmon, so the filets do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
PRO TRICK – My husband says, “HOT pan, COLD oil!” Make sure the pan is heated and ready to go before adding oil. This also helps prevent the salmon from sticking.
After about 7-10 minutes, your salmon will be cooked about halfway through and you will see a distant line in the middle of the filet:
Flip salmon so that it is now skin-side down.
Turn off heat, cover, and let salmon filets steam ten minutes for medium doneness. (If you like your salmon medium-well, add 2-3 extra minutes).
Super easy, and pretty much foolproof — hey, if I can cook perfect salmon, anyone can!
Can You Use Frozen Salmon?
We often buy salmon sides in bulk, cut into filets, and freeze in dinner-portioned bags. It cooks up amazingly and you’d never know it was frozen.
You can also use previously frozen salmon, though sometimes it doesn’t look quite as pretty as what we’ve used in the photos here. However, frozen salmon filets are a great way to get this quality protein on a budget (and we often use this for our kids). Cooking it with this method helps it taste like it wasn’t frozen!
More of our Favorite Salmon Recipes Using this Cooking Method:
Pro Tools to Cook Restaurant Style Salmon at Home:
- My husband loves his Kila Chef 11″ Tri-Ply Copper Bottom Frying Pan and Kila Chef 11″ Tri-Ply Copper Bottom Frying Pan (0.5mm copper)— you get the benefits of cooking with copper, without the insane price tag! It’s the perfect gift for the chef in your family (I gave him this set for his birthday last year and he uses one or both of these pans every single day!)
- A fish spatula (yep, it’s a thing!) will help you turn the filets with ease.
- We also love these locking kitchen tongs — they’re the perfect length and the locking design makes them easy to store. (We have these extra long tongs for outdoor grilling too).
Pan Seared Salmon Recipe (Printable Copy)
If you’ve tried this recipe and loved it, please rate it! We’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
How to Cook Salmon in a Pan (Like a Restaurant)
- saute pan with lid
- Salmon filets 6-8oz each
- Coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice
- Salt & pepper
- Lightly salt and pepper salmon filets.
- Place salmon filets skin side up on a frying pan lightly coated with coconut oil (or cooking oil of your choice). Make sure pan is hot before adding oil.
- Once salmon is cooked halfway through, flip so skin side is facing down. (You will see a distinct line in the middle of the filet when it's time to flip (about 7-10 minutes).
- Turn off heat, cover, and let steam ten minutes for medium doneness. (If you like your salmon medium-well, add 2-3 extra minutes).
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You might also like:
Sherry Maple Glazed Salmon (Using our foolproof salmon cooking technique above)
Want to switch it up? Find out how to bake salmon in foil for an easy weeknight dinner!