How to Cook Salmon in a Sauté Pan

How to Cook Salmon in a Saute Pan

Salmon is probably the most popular fish to be ordered in a restaurant or cooked at home. It is one of the healthier types of fish because it has a good amount of good natural fat and full of omega-3 fatty acids. No matter how the fish is cooked, it is delicious and can leave you craving for more. One of the most popular methods is a good old pan sear to bring out the natural flavors of the fish.

Choosing the Best Ingredient

There are several different types of salmon to choose from and each kind is better than the predecessor. The problem is, trying to find that type of salmon and the price of that cut. Salmon can be anywhere from 4 or 5 dollars a pound up to 40 dollars a pound. The best type of salmon is called king salmon and comes in large thick steak like cuts. The least impressive cut is called chum salmon which is farm raised, very cheap to purchase and very easy to find. There are others in the mix like Scottish, pink, sockeye and Coho salmon. No matter the type you decide to go with, make sure the color is bright red or orange and the fat marbling is thick and abundant.

Preparing the Ingredients

Start with a salmon steak that is no more than ½ inch thick and about 5 or 6 ounces in size. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper generously. You will only need a little vegetable oil to sear the salmon in the pan, but not much else.

During the Cooking Process

Before cooking the salmon, make sure the pan is very hot. This will help to gain a nice sear on the salmon initially and keep it from sticking to the pan. If you place the salmon in the pan and wait for it to heat up, there will be no color on the sear and it will stick to the pan which will tear the salmon up and break the filet apart ultimately. Salmon cooks very quickly, so you will only need to cook it for about 6 minutes total. Only flip the salmon once as well. There is no need to keep flipping the salmon over and over.

The Final Touches

Once the salmon is done cooking, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving. Even though it is a fish, salmon is more steak like and will retain some juices after it is done cooking. Once plated, you can squeeze some fresh lemon wedges over the fish to brighten up the flavors or add some fresh herbs like dill. Salmon goes great with lighter starches as well, like rice or sauteed veggies.


  1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Place a pan on stovetop and heat to high with a little vegetable oil in the pan.
  2. Once the pan starts to smoke slightly, gently lay the salmon in the pan away from yourself so you don’t get burned by the hot oil. Once you lay the salmon in the pan, gently shake the pan back and forth to keep the salmon from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Sear the salmon on one side for a couple of minutes, then gently flip over and sear for an additional 3 or 4 minutes until finished cooking to your liking.
  4. Remove the salmon from the pan and transfer to a plate. Allow the salmon to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Serve with some fresh lemon wedges and steam vegetables or cooked rice. Enjoy!

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