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Adding spice is one of the best ways to enjoy seafood recipes — I often enjoy bold flavors in dishes like Cajun grilled cod or citrusy jerk salmon. This blackened salmon recipe uses a zippy spice blend that adds flavor, texture and aroma with just minutes of prep.
For the blackened salmon seasoning, I opted for the same blackened seasoning that I use for blackened chicken. It works just as well for fish, creating a dark, savory crust while keeping the inside moist and flaky. Make this easy, yet impressive dish in just 20 minutes!
Why You’ll Love This Blackened Salmon Recipe
- Spicy, smoky flavor
- Blackened, crisp exterior
- Tender, flaky inside
- Simple ingredients
- Done in just 20 minutes
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for pan seared blackened salmon, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Blackened Salmon Seasoning:
You could technically use store-bought blackened seasoning, but I much prefer to make homemade blackened seasoning. It includes:
- Paprika – You will need both sweet paprika and smoked paprika. One provides a sweeter taste to calm down the heat, while the other adds a subtle smokiness.
- Sea Salt – My blackened salmon seasoning includes the perfect salt ratio, which helps tenderize the fish and adds just the right amount of flavor. If you use a store-bought version that doesn’t contain salt, add 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt per pound of fish.
- Spices – In addition to the other blackened salmon spices, you will need onion powder and garlic powder for this blend. Use a high quality spices for the best flavors.
- Pepper – Black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper add a warm and spicy kick.
- Herbs -You will need dried thyme and dried oregano. Both intensify the other flavors in the seasoning. I wouldn’t recommend fresh herbs for seasoning this blackened salmon recipe, but you could sprinkle some on top after cooking.
For cooking the salmon itself, you’ll just need salmon and oil:
- Salmon Fillets – Choose skin-on fillets for easier cooking and maximum flavor, even if you choose not to eat the skin. (Learn more about this in my pan seared salmon post.) However, skinless ones will work as well in this recipe for blackened salmon.
- Olive Oil – For sauteing. You could also use avocado oil, or any neutral cooking oil you like. You can also add butter after flipping for extra flavor.
How To Make Blackened Salmon
This section shows how to cook blackened salmon, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Pat dry. Pat the salmon dry using paper towels. This helps the seasonings stick and will also help the fish form a nice crust on the exterior.
- Mix the blackened salmon seasoning. In a small bowl, mix together the sweet paprika, smoked paprika, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and dried oregano.
- Season the fish. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon fillets on all sides.
- Cook blackened salmon. Preheat a large cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil. Arrange the salmon fillets, skin side down, in the skillet. Cook until edges turn pale pink.
- Flip and finish cooking. Cook the salmon on the other side until darkened and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lime juice (or lemon juice).
Tips For The Best Blackened Salmon
Follow these easy tips for a restaurant-quality meal!
- You can double or triple the seasoning. A batch of my blackened seasoning recipe (instead of the individual seasoning ingredients) can be used for different recipes. Just use 2 tablespoons for this entire recipe (2 teaspoons per fillet).
- Season salmon only right before searing. To ensure a succulent salmon, wait until just before cooking to season it.
- Press on the salmon fillets for 10 seconds to avoid curling. To stop your salmon from curling up while cooking, press down lightly on them for 10 seconds after adding to the pan. This will ensure they cook evenly and keep their shape.
- Cook flesh-side up for most of the time. Cooking skin side down will make it easier to flip and also prevents the fish from drying out. Flip it towards the end to get the blackened look on the top.
- Be patient and don’t force salmon to flip. If the salmon doesn’t easily flip, it’s not yet ready to be flipped. Give it extra time to cook before attempting again.
- Don’t overcook. For best results, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish. The ideal internal temperature for salmon is 135-140 degrees F.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Reheat: You can warm this dish in the microwave, but it won’t dry out as much if you reheat it on the stove (5-7 minutes with some extra oil, over low heat). Don’t heat for too long to avoid drying out.
- Freeze: Place in a shallow freezer-safe container or wrap it in plastic and store in a freezer bag. Enjoy salmon up to 4 months after freezing. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What To Serve With Blackened Salmon
This fish can pair with so many side dishes! Here are a few ideas:
- Side Salads – I served this blackened salmon recipe with a simple side salad of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes. A grated carrot salad, fresh spring mix salad, or savory roasted vegetable salad would also pair nicely with this dish.
- Meal Salads – If eaten as a salad topping, this amount of salmon yields 3-4 servings of salad. Top green goddess salad with a fillet to make an easy blackened salmon salad.
- Tacos – Make blackened salmon tacos with your favorite tortillas, avocados, and taco slaw.
- Roasted Veggies – Oven roasted green beans, simple roasted zucchini, show-stopping whole roasted cauliflower (or simply regular roasted cauliflower), or crispy roasted brussels sprouts make delicious, healthy sides to salmon with blackened seasoning.
- Potatoes – Plate this entree with traditional mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower), golden roasted potatoes, tender Instant Pot baked potatoes, or caramelized roasted sweet potatoes. For a lighter side, try roasted rutabaga.
- Rice & Noodles – Prep your favorite kind, or try cauliflower rice, tender zucchini noodles, or easy oven roasted spaghetti squash.
More Easy Salmon Recipes
I have dozens of fish recipes, but salmon is one of my favorite to prepare. Try these dishes for easy, flavorful meals!
Blackened Salmon Recipe
Blackened Salmon Recipe (Easy, 20 Minutes!)
This easy blackened salmon recipe cooks up flaky fish with the best blackened salmon seasoning and a perfect crust, all in just 20 minutes.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Pat the salmon dry using paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix the blackened seasoning spices: sweet paprika, smoked paprika, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and dried oregano.
Sprinkle the seasoning over the salmon fillets on all sides, about 2 teaspoons per fillet.
Preheat a large cast iron skillet (or nonstick skillet) for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Arrange the salmon fillets, skin side down, in the skillet. Press on top of each fillet for 10 second right after adding to the pan. Cook for 6 minutes until the edges get pale pink. Flip the blackened salmon and cook for another 2 minutes, until darkened on the other side and internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees F (57-60 degrees C).
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Serving size: 1 blackened salmon filet
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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