Perfect Air Fryer Salmon
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If you’re looking for delicious healthy dinner ideas, you have to try this recipe for air fryer salmon! Perfectly tender, moist, and flaky, it’s the best way to cook salmon. Ready in just 15 minutes!
I haven’t always enjoyed salmon, but after many years, my husband finally convinced me to try some of his baked salmon. I was absolutely blown away by how delicious it was! Flaky, tender, moist, and lightly seasoned with just salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne, it became a fast favorite in my home.
Fast forward several years later, and now I often include salmon dishes on the meal plan.
Not only is salmon delicious, but it’s incredibly easy to cook. All fish cooks very quickly when compared to many other protein sources, and they are also very lean and packed with healthy fats. Salmon is a superfood and is one of my favorite fish choices now.
My favorite way to prepare salmon is in the air fryer. Not only is it lightly crispy, but it’s also ready in almost half of the time and keeps the fish smell contained. Whether you want to make a single air fryer salmon fillet or enough for the whole family, this easy recipe will have you coming back for more.
Reasons to love this recipe
- Salmon is a delicious main dish and is high in healthy fats and protein. This makes it ideal for healthy meal prep!
- Since the air fryer cooks much more rapidly than the oven, the salmon cooks faster than oven. This easy and healthy recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes!
- Using the air fryer means that you will have no splatter, and minimal dishes to clean up. It’s the ultimate mess-free way to prep salmon!
- Since the cooking is contained in your air fryer, the whole house won’t smell like fish when you cook it this way.
Here’s what you need to make the recipe
- Salmon – skinless or one with skin is fine too. I’ve used a one-pound fillet in this recipe, you can use smaller-sized fillets (6 oz) too. Use wild-caught salmon when possible.
- Oil – Avocado oil is recommended, but you can use olive oil if you prefer the flavor to avocado.
- Seasonings – To make the air fryer salmon marinade, you’ll need a selection of a few spices and seasonings. Salt, pepper, and dried rosemary are my go-to seasonings. You can optionally include turmeric and Kashmiri chili powder for a punch of color and flavor.
- Lime or lemon juice – to add a bright, zesty flavor.
- Lemon slices for serving
You’ll need an air fryer to make this recipe. Here are the two that I recommend
- Basket style (Phillips 7 QT, 1725W) – easier to flip food but cooks a smaller amount (2-3 servings).
- Oven-style (Ninja Dual Heat Air Fryer – 1800W) – The oven-style ones usually take more space but what’s unique about this Ninja one is that it flips vertically for easy storage on the countertop. Most importantly, it allows you to cook six chicken breasts, 2 lbs roast, or 4 lbs of fries – perfect for families of 4 or more.
Note: If you want to make salmon in a Ninja Foodi, the instructions are the same as for standard air fryers.
- No overcrowding – Always arrange the salmon in a single layer and cook in batches if needed.
- You don’t need to flip the salmon while air frying.
- Cut salmon fillets in even thickness to ensure they cook evenly.
- You don’t have to remove the skin. Once it is cooked, the salmon will easily separate from the skin.
- Cooking time will vary – 1-inch fillets could cook between 7-9 minutes, and thicker 2-inch salmon could take up to 12 minutes.
Variations to try
Teriyaki salmon: Omit the turmeric and Kashmiri chili powder and cook the salmon as directed. Halfway through the cook time, baste with store-bought teriyaki sauce. When the salmon is finished cooking, brush with additional teriyaki sauce and serve with sesame seeds and finely chopped scallions.
Garlic butter salmon: Omit the turmeric and Kashmiri chili powder. Melt 1/4 cup of salted butter and add 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the salmon as directed, and baste with the garlic butter sauce halfway through cooking. When the salmon is finished cooking, serve with any remaining garlic butter.
Honey garlic: For an air fryer adaptation of my grilled honey garlic salmon, add 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of avocado oil to a large bowl. Add in 1/2 teaspoon lime juice, 4-5 minuted garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and a dash of rosemary leaves. Whisk to combine. Add in 1 pound of salmon fillets and toss to coat. Cook as directed for 7-9 minutes, spooning any leftover marinade on top of the fillets before cooking.
How to prep ahead
Raw – If you would like to prepare the salmon ahead of time, you can combine it with the oil and seasonings and place in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours and place it in the air fryer when you are ready to cook.
Cooked – You can also cook the salmon ahead of time. Simply allow it to cool to room temperature before adding to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. For reheating salmon in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 400ºF and heat for 2-3 minutes, or until warmed through.
Refrigerator – If you want to store any leftovers, allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge. Stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheat – Spray it with oil and reheat it in a microwave or an air-fryer at a lower temperature such as 300ºF for 4-5 minutes until heated through.
Serve it with
This tender and flaky air fryer salmon recipe goes with pretty much anything, but here are a few of my favorite side dishes:
- Roasted air fryer broccoli – This roasted air fryer broccoli recipe is flavorful, crisp, and just as delicious as oven-roasted broccoli, but ready in half the time!
- Jeera rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling.
- Easy quinoa salad – Packed with fluffy quinoa, freshly chopped vegetables, and zesty lime dressing this homemade salad is the perfect healthy side dish!
- Vegetable fried rice – Made with leftover brown rice and tender vegetables, this healthy side dish pairs perfectly with salmon.
Frequently asked questions
Ideally, yes, because thawed salmon takes less time to cook. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or under running water. Pat it dry, and then season it.
Yes, you can but marinate it before freezing so that the seasonings stick to it. Seasonings don’t stick to frozen food as much.
Depending on the size of the salmon, the cooking times will vary. Add an additional 3-4 minutes to normal cooking times for frozen salmon. For 1-inch frozen fillets cook for 9-12 minutes and for 2-inch thick fillets, cook for 15-18 minutes.
Salmon is one of the few foods that does not need to be flipped when cooking in an air fryer. Place it skin-side down, simply allow it to cook, and remove it when the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 145ºF.
Spray it with oil and reheat it in a microwave or an air-fryer at a lower temperature such as 300ºF for 4-5 minutes until heated through.
Other air fryer recipes to try
Air Fryer Salmon Fillet Recipe
Air Fryer Salmon
- 1 lb wild-caught salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder optional
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder optional
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- Line the air frying tray with parchment paper. Brush it with a teaspoon of oil till it is completely coated.
- To a small bowl, the remaining oil, salt, pepper, turmeric powder, chili powder, lime juice and rosemary leaves. Mix well to combine.
- Place the salmon on the parchment paper skin facing down. Brush the marinade over the salmon till it is completely coated.
- Place the air fryer tray in the air fryer and cook at 400°F. Set the timer for 7-9 minutes for 1-inch thick fillets and thicker 2-inch salmon could take up to 12 minutes.
- Note: Based on the thickness, the cooking time may vary. Salmon is cooked when the temperature at the thickest part has reached 145 degrees F or it flakes easily when cut with a fork.
- Serve the salmon with a side of rice.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.