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    Pan Seared Salmon Recipe

    Published March 8, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    You will love this simple-to-prepare pan-seared salmon recipe that comes together in minutes and is served with a delectable dill cream sauce. The flavors in this easy-to-make dish are incredible.

    If you also love salmon as much as I do, you must try my Honey-Garlic Salmon or my Salmon Patties Recipe.

    pan seared salmon on a plate with butter sauce


     

    Pan Seared Salmon

    Pan Seared salmon is a simple dish consisting of fresh salmon that is cooked in fat until golden brown and cooked throughout. It can be served as is or accompanied by a sauce, compote, or salsa. The most crucial part about pan-searing salmon is following the basic techniques and procedures to ensure it is perfectly cooked.

    This dish is incredibly versatile and can easily be customized to your liking. Salmon is great to serve with any vegetables or starch and goes incredibly well with the creamy dill pan sauce I made. Feel free to make this recipe work for you.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    pan seared salmon ingredients
    • Salmon – I always prefer to use wild-caught salmon. Feel free to use frozen and thawed salmon if fresh is not an option.
    • Butter – Unsalted butter is best to control the dish’s salt content.
    • Oil – I used olive oil in this recipe. However, you can use whatever you are comfortable with.
    • Onion – Shallots and garlic are needed for the sauce.
    • Herbs – Fresh dill dramatically enhances the flavor of this dish. You can use dry dill.
    • Cream – Heavy whipping cream is used to make the sauce creamy and stabilized.
    • Wine – I used chardonnay to help add some more flavor to the sauce. 
    • Lemon – A few tablespoons will help add some bright notes to pan-seared salmon.
    • Capers – These will some nice textures and flavors to the sauce.

    How to Pan Sear Salmon

    Season the fish well on both sides with salt and pepper.

    seasoning salmon fillets

    Add the olive oil to a large cast iron skillet, sauté, or use a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

    adding oil to a pan

    Wait until it begins to smoke lightly.

    oil smoking in a pan

    Add the fish and pan sear for 2 to 3 minutes or until well browned.

    adding salmon to a pan with hot oil

    Immediately add the butter and turn the heat down to medium-high heat.

    adding butter to pan seared salmon

    Flip the fish over.

    flipping over salmon

    Generously baste the fish constantly until it is finished cooking, which takes about 2 to 3 more minutes.

    basting salmon

    Serve the salmon or set it to the side.

    setting pan seared salmon to the side

    Pan Sauce for Salmon

    To make the lemon butter sauce for the salmon, go back to the pan the fish was cooked in, drain off the oil, and add a few tabs of butter.

    adding butter to a pan

    Throw in the shallots and garlic and caramelize, which will only take a few minutes since the pan will be so hot.

    cooking shallots or garlic in a pan

    Deglaze with the fresh lemon juice and cook it until it is au sec or the liquid is almost gone.

    adding lemon juice to a pan

    Next, deglaze again with the chardonnay wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. This is a crucial step for making this lemon butter sauce for salmon.

    cooking shallots and garlic in wine

    Pour in the heavy whipping cream and cook it over medium heat until it becomes thick, like an alfredo sauce.

    adding cream to a pan

    Mix in the remaining butter, capers, and dill until combined. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

    finishing a sauce with dill

    Serve the salmon on top of the sauce.

    seared salmon with butter sauce

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right away. However, you can make it up to 30 minutes ahead of time. Just keep it warm before serving.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of salmon and sauce to a pan and cook in the oven at 350° for 4-5 minutes or until warmed. You can also heat it in the microwave until warm.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • You can grill the salmon instead of cooking it over medium to high heat for 3-4 minutes per side and then separate the sauce in a pan.
    • The oils I prefer to use are olive, avocado, or peanut oil.
    • Any breed of salmon is good to use in this recipe.
    • You can use your favorite frying pan for this.
    • It is ok to cook salmon to temperature.  I enjoy serving and eating it at a medium to medium-well internal temperature.
    • The sauce is not the traditional way to make a beurre blanc. However, if you ever want your sauce to hold, use heavy cream first. It’s a guaranteed solidifier.

    More Salmon Recipes

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Pan-Seared Salmon Recipe

    4.98 from 35 votes
    You will love this simple-to-prepare pan-seared salmon recipe that comes together in minutes and is served with a dill cream sauce.
    Servings: 2
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 2 8- ounce wild caught salmon fillets
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 peeled and small diced shallot
    • 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • ¼ cup chardonnay
    • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon capers
    • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh chopped dill
    • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Season the fish well on both sides with salt and pepper.
    • Add the olive oil to a large cast iron skillet, sauté, or use a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Wait until it begins to smoke lightly.
    • Add in the fish skin side up and pan sear for 2 to 3 minutes or until well browned. Immediately add in 2 tablespoons of butter to help brown and turn the heat down to medium-high heat.
    • Flip the fish over. Generously baste the fish constantly until it is finished cooking, which takes about 2 to 3 more minutes.
    • Set the salmon to the side and drain off the cooking oil.
    • Return to the pan the fish was cooked in and add 2 tablespoons of butter.
    • Throw in the shallots and garlic and caramelize, which will only take a few minutes since the pan will be so hot.
    • Deglaze with the fresh lemon juice and cook it until it is au sec or the liquid is almost gone.
    • Next, deglaze again with the chardonnay wine and cook it until the liquid is almost gone. This is a crucial step for making this lemon butter sauce for salmon.
    • Pour in the heavy whipping cream and cook it over medium heat until it becomes very thick, like an alfredo sauce. Mix in the remaining butter, capers, and dill until combined.
    • Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve the salmon on top of the sauce.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right away. However, you can make it up to 30 minutes ahead of time. Just keep it warm before serving.
    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of salmon and sauce to a pan and cook in the oven at 350° for 4-5 minutes or until warmed. You can also heat it in the microwave until warm.
    You can grill the salmon instead of cooking it over medium to high heat for 3-4 minutes per side and then separate the sauce in a pan.
    The oils I prefer to use are olive, avocado, or peanut oil.
    Any breed of salmon is good to use in this recipe.
    You can use your favorite frying pan for this.
    It is ok to cook salmon to temperature.  I enjoy serving and eating it at a medium to medium-well internal temperature.
    The sauce is not the traditional way to make a beurre blanc. However, if you ever want your sauce to hold, use heavy cream first. It’s a guaranteed solidifier.
     

    Nutrition

    Calories: 968kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 31gFat: 90gSaturated Fat: 46gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 266mgSodium: 199mgPotassium: 842mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2343IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 2mg
    Course: dinner, lunch, Main
    Cuisine: American