Feb 02, 2024
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Buttery, crispy, and brimming with Cajun and Creole flavors, this blackened salmon recipe is the perfect bite of Southern comfort food. All you need are fresh salmon filets, a handful of herbs and spices, and a nice hefty skillet for that seared blackened crust.
Why You’ll Make This Blackened Salmon Often
I remember eating my way through New Orleans and not once being disappointed with the food – from jambalaya to Cajun shrimp and especially to blackened salmon. I experienced Southern food at its best, and now you can get a taste of it with this incredibly easy, yet flavor-packed recipe. Here’s why you’ll love it:
- The blackening technique is a chef’s kiss. This technique from New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme dredges meat and fish in the most flavorful Cajun/Creole spice blend, then sears it in a hot cast iron pan for that delicious blackened crust. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s burnt. It’s just the spices forming a crust as it cooks while the inside is still moist and flakey.
- It comes together in under 15 minutes. This dish may look fancy, but it can easily be made in just 15 minutes. Like many of my salmon recipes, it ticks all of the boxes for a tasty, easy, and fabulous-looking dinner, perfect for a weeknight dinner or to impress guests at a dinner party.
Blackened Salmon Ingredients
- Salmon Filets: Grab some fresh, wild-caught salmon filets, whether from a local fishmonger or the seafood department from the market. Fresh salmon will have a more buttery texture and better flavor than frozen salmon. But, if you don’t have access to fresh fish, frozen will work just fine (make sure to thaw it in the fridge the night before).
- Blackened Seasoning: This is very similar to my Cajun seasoning but with a slight twist. You’ll need a mix of sweet paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper.
- Fresh Lemon or Lime: Although this is optional, I highly recommend grabbing a lemon or lime to squeeze on top. Fresh citrus on salmon is such a beautiful pairing.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How To Make Blackened Salmon
- Season the salmon. Mix the seasoning in a small bowl and pat your filets dry. Drizzle one tablespoon of oil on each salmon and rub it in. Sprinkle the seasoning on top and rub that in with your hands to evenly coat.
- Cook the salmon. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is HOT before cooking the salmon. Then, add the salmon and cook it top side down for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is blackened. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until cooked through. Your salmon should be blackened on the outside, and beautifully moist on the inside!
- To serve. I love to squeeze fresh lemon or lime before serving. The acidity helps to balance the robust spice flavor. And if you have any leftovers, I’ve got storage tips in the recipe notes below.
A Few Helpful Tips
- Use a cast iron skillet for the best results. This recipe will work fine in a stainless steel pan, but a heavy-bottomed pan meant for high heat will create a beautifully charred finish. I’ve linked my favorite pan to the recipe card.
- You’ll know when your pan is hot enough when you splash a sprinkle of water onto it, and it immediately sizzles.
- You can swap oil with butter for a richer flavor. Similar to my baked salmon recipe, you’ll brush melted butter on top of each filet and then add the seasoning.
- Use a fish-turner to make it easier to flip and serve salmon. This spatula is long enough to flip all kinds of delicate fish while the slots allow any liquids to drain away.
- If you’d like it a little bit less spicy, just sprinkle less seasoning on top. It’s that easy!
Ways To Enjoy Blackened Salmon
- Plate it with side dishes. I love to pair this salmon with garlic-roasted potatoes and a green-type vegetable. A few tasty options are air fryer green beans, air fryer broccoli, or roasted asparagus!
- Make blackened salmon tacos. Similar to my other salmon tacos, you can flake the salmon into bits and top it on finely shredded cabbage (red or green) in a taco. And for a sauce, this creamy chipotle sauce drizzled on top would be amazing, or even this mango salsa.
- Make a blackened salmon salad. This is great topped on a Caesar salad. But you can also add it to a bowl with your favorite leafy greens, diced cucumbers, diced avocado, black beans, and corn. A delicious loaded salmon salad!
More Salmon Recipes
- Salmon Patties: A fun and tasty way to enjoy salmon.
- Poached Salmon: My favorite technique for soft and tender fish.
- Orange Glazed Salmon: The citrus glaze is top-notch.
- Salmon Salad: Flaked salmon tossed with the best crisp and creamy textures.
I hope you love this blackened salmon recipe as much as I do! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.
- Lodge Cast Iron Pan My go-to cast iron pan for a really good sear.
- Mix the seasoning. In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
- Season the salmon. Drizzle one tablespoon of oil on top of the salmon and rub it in. Sprinkle the seasoning on top and rub that in to evenly coat.
- Cook the salmon. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, and cook it top side down for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is blackened. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until cooked through.
- To serve. A fresh squeeze of lemon or lime before serving balances the spice flavor beautifully.
- To store for the week: If you’ve got a few salmon fillets left over, they’ll stay good for up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
- To freeze for later: Make sure your salmon is completely cool before freezing. Then, top it on parchment paper in a storage container to prevent it from sticking to the sides.
- For reheating: If it’s frozen, make sure to thaw it in the fridge overnight. Reheating salmon can be tricky since it’s already cooked. The key here is to reheat it low and slow, either in the microwave or oven, to prevent it from drying out.
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