How to Cook Salmon Perfectly in the Air Fryer

If you’re a fan of salmon, you’re in for a treat! Forget about the traditional methods of cooking salmon – baking, grilling, or pan searing. The air fryer is the way to go! With this air fryer salmon recipe, you’ll have a delicious and perfectly cooked salmon dish in just 10 minutes, including prep and cook time. It’s no wonder I use this method most often now.

Not only is cooking salmon in the air fryer quick, but it also ensures that the fish comes out incredibly moist and flaky. Just like air fryer shrimp or air fryer cod, this recipe is foolproof and delivers fantastic results every time.

Air fryer salmon on a platter

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s start by discussing the ingredients you’ll need for your air fryer salmon. Choosing the right ingredients is essential to make this recipe a success. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive Oil: You’ll use olive oil to brush over the salmon. Avocado oil can also be used as a substitute.
  • Lemon Juice: For the best flavor, fresh lemon juice is recommended. However, you can use bottled lemon juice for convenience.
  • Salmon: Opt for individual 5-6-ounce fillets. If you have a large fillet, cut it into narrower strips, perpendicular to the length of the fish. While I prefer using wild-caught salmon with its skin intact for enhanced flavor and nutrition, you can use any type of salmon you like. Check out my post on pan-seared salmon for more information on choosing the right kind.
  • Spices: You’ll need garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, and black pepper to season your salmon.
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Air fryer salmon ingredients

How to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer

Now let’s dive into the cooking process for your air fryer salmon. I’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions and helpful visuals to guide you. For the complete recipe with specific measurements and temperatures, refer to the recipe card below.

  1. Prep the salmon: Start by patting the fish dry with paper towels. This step is crucial for achieving a beautifully crisp exterior during cooking.
  2. Prepare the oil mixture: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season the salmon: Brush the oil mixture over both sides of the salmon. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, and black pepper.
    • Tip: To ensure even coating, gently rub the seasonings into the salmon fillet.
  4. Air fry the salmon: Arrange the salmon fillets in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are skin side down and leave some space between them. Air fry until the fish reaches your desired level of doneness.

Salmon fillets in air fryer

How Long to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer?

The cooking time for air fryer salmon will depend on the size of your fillets and your preferred level of doneness. As a general guideline, individual fillets will take roughly 6-12 minutes to cook. Aim for a temperature of 125°F for medium-rare, 130°F for medium, or 140°F for well-done salmon. For the best results, use a thermometer to check the thickest part of the fish. Alternatively, you can test for doneness by checking if the fish flakes easily with a fork.

How Long to Cook Frozen Salmon in the Air Fryer?

If you want to cook frozen salmon in the air fryer, begin by cooking it for 7 minutes to defrost it. Once defrosted, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings according to the recipe. Continue cooking for an additional 6-10 minutes until the fish reaches your desired internal temperature or flakes easily with a fork.

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Seasoning Variations

Feel free to experiment with different seasonings to give your air fryer salmon a unique twist. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Cajun: Swap the seasonings with a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning for a classic and delicious flavor.
  • Lemon Pepper: Homemade lemon pepper seasoning can add a tangy and vibrant taste.
  • Steak Seasoning: This savory blend works well with salmon, despite its name.
  • Salmon Marinade: Try swapping the seasonings for an easy maple marinade. You can also use honey instead of maple syrup for a slightly different flavor.
  • Caribbean: Add a burst of Hawaiian flavor by using jerk seasoning instead of the suggested seasonings.

Storage Instructions

Here’s what you need to know about storing your air fryer salmon:

  • Store: Keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Alternatively, you can use them to create a delicious salmon bowl.
  • Reheat: To reheat your salmon, you have two options. You can either air fry it at 350°F for a couple of minutes or warm it in the oven at the same temperature for 8-10 minutes until it’s heated through. While microwaving is possible, it’s not recommended as it may affect the texture.
  • Freeze: If necessary, you can store your salmon in an airtight container or zip lock bag in the freezer for 2-3 months. However, for the best taste and texture, it’s always better to enjoy your air fryer salmon fresh.

Air fryer salmon with fork and broccoli

What to Serve With Air Fryer Salmon

This air fryer salmon recipe pairs well with a simple side dish. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Veggies: Air fryer broccoli, air-fried cauliflower, air fryer carrots, or air fryer asparagus are all fantastic choices. If you prefer alternative cooking methods, roasted asparagus (or cheesy asparagus casserole) and sautéed zucchini are excellent options.
  • Starches: Serve your salmon with pasta, your favorite potato dish, or opt for healthier alternatives like mashed cauliflower, zucchini noodles, or cauliflower rice.
  • Salads: Consider pairing your air fryer salmon with a refreshing Greek salad, creamy cucumber salad, or strawberry spinach salad. Alternatively, you can explore other healthy salad recipes for more inspiration.
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More Air Fryer Recipes for Dinner

If you enjoyed this air fryer salmon recipe, I’m confident you’ll love these other main dish air fryer recipes:

Give them a try and discover the wonders of cooking with an air fryer!

Remember, cooking salmon in the air fryer is not only quick and easy, but it also produces moist and flaky fish every time. So why not add this simple yet impressive dish to your repertoire? Enjoy!

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