This pan seared salmon is tender salmon fillets coated in the most delicious garlic butter sauce. A super easy dinner option that can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Salmon is a quick and healthy meal that takes minimal effort to cook. I often find myself making marinated salmon, salmon foil packets and this fabulously delicious pan seared salmon.

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Pan seared salmon fillets in garlic butter sauce.

When I’m looking for a simple meal that I know everyone will love, I turn to pan seared salmon. Salmon takes just minutes to cook, and the sauce for this dish only contains 5 ingredients! It doesn’t get much easier than this.

How do you make pan seared salmon?

This recipe starts with salmon fillets. The salmon fillets get seared to golden brown in a little olive oil until they’re cooked through. The next step is to remove the salmon from the pan and make a sauce of melted butter, garlic and lemon. Add the salmon back to the pan and spoon the sauce over the top. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of parsley and then you’ll be ready to eat!

Raw salmon fillets in a pan.

Tips for pan seared salmon

  • To get the best golden brown crust on your fish, you’ll want to make sure your pan is very hot and that the salmon fillets are patted dry before they are added to the pan. Let your salmon cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes for the best results.
  • I like to use wild salmon when possible, as it’s more flavorful and has more nutrients than farmed salmon
  • Be sure not to overcook your fish! Your salmon is done when it’s opaque and easily flakes. This typically takes about 5 minutes per side for an average sized salmon fillet.
  • Serve your salmon over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes to soak up all that delicious butter sauce. I also add a green vegetable on the side such as asparagus, broccoli or zucchini.

Sauteed salmon fillets in a metal skillet.

Pan seared salmon variations

This is a basic recipe for pan seared salmon, but there are so many different ingredients you can add to customize this dish to your tastes!

  • Vegetables: You can cook some vegetables in the garlic butter sauce before you spoon it over the salmon. Some great options include spinach or mushrooms. You can also add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes to the finished dish.
  • Seasonings: Try adding some sun dried tomatoes, olives or minced shallots to the sauce.
  • Finishing Touches: Instead of parsley, try chives or dill. You can also add a sprinkling of feta cheese or cooked crumbled bacon.

A pan of seared salmon in a butter sauce.


Salmon is a great choice for a healthy diet. This fish is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Salmon is full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B12, potassium and selenium. Salmon is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have numerous health benefits. It’s recommended to eat salmon about once a week if possible.

A pan seared salmon fillet served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

When I’m looking for a recipe that’s hassle free yet totally satisfying, I turn to this salmon. It just can’t be beat!

More great salmon recipes

5 from 47 votes

Pan Seared Salmon

AuthorSara Welch
Pan seared salmon fillets in garlic butter sauce.
This pan seared salmon is tender salmon fillets coated in the most delicious garlic butter sauce. A super easy dinner option that can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 4


  • 4 salmon fillets 4-6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the salmon fillets, skin side up, in the pan. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until a golden brown crust forms.
  • Carefully flip the salmon and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until fish is opaque and easily flakes.
  • Remove the salmon from the pan. Add the butter to the pan and melt.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the salmon back in the pan. Spoon the sauce over the top.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over the salmon, then serve.


Calories: 349kcal | Protein: 33g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 833mg | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.4mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this on a whim- I usually sear then bake but it was delicious and only used 1 pan!! So good! I served it with green beans and scallions and asparagus! Healthy, easy and delicious!

  2. About to make this but I find step 6 is unclear. I’m not sure how others know what need to be done.

    Step 6 : return salmon to pan.

    Question : skin side up or down?

  3. 5 stars
    I have 3 young kids, only my oldest(17y/o) has my taste buds! This recipe was quick, easy and was delicious! We both enjoyed it!! Thank you for this recipe!!! (Yes, I’m following you in insta!)

  4. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Paired with oven roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli. I typically bake salmon, but I’ll be following this recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Well documented recipe, I appreciate the timing per side even thought I cut mine to 4/side as they were a tad thinner than those picture and we like pink. Great idea to use sauce for mushrooms and asparagus that adds another layer of flavor. I S&P the skin side too just to add more flavor to the sauce and it worked well as my wife commented on the nice pepper flavor, should have opened a Pinot Noir.
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  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this salmon recipe! It was delicious! I served sautéed squash, zucchini, red potatoes and onions on the side. My husband thought he was at a 5-star restaurant!

  7. 5 stars
    I had no idea a salmon filet could be so delicious and easy to prepare. Thank you for sharing your recipe and method for the perfect dish. We enjoyed every bite!

  8. Delicious!! I successfully made salmon for the first time tonight with this recipe. My daughter and I loved it. Any tips on how to store and/or reheat this?

    1. 5 stars
      I can barely cook, and tried this recipee and it was a success! Im excited to do this again for family and friends. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Easy to make and adding the butter def elevated the whole dish! Thank you for the recipe.
    PS: I prefer drizzle the lemon juice on the salmon at the last step as I am using non-stick pan 🙂

    1. Wow! I love this recipe. I thought I would never buy salmon fillets but was tempted by a sale. I found your recipe online and must say it is a quick and delicious recipe. Mmmm good.

  10. 5 stars
    Love this!! Made 4 pieces for myself and my husband. I figured I would eat most of it because he is super picky about his fish but he ate dang near all of it hahaha . It was delicious and I will definitely be making this more often.
    Thank you

  11. 5 stars
    The Best!! Always bought smoked salmon because I looked for a good recipe.
    Came across yours and I make it weekly!

  12. I made this tonight. I normally don’t like salmon but had two filets and ran across this receipe, tried it and absolutely loved it. I’ll definately make again.