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Blackened Salmon - Gimme Some Oven

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My favorite blackened salmon recipe is easy to make in 20 minutes and features a perfectly-blackened, flavorful, crispy crust.

One of my all-time favorite 20-minute meals — blackened salmon. ♡

I don’t know how I’ve never posted my favorite blackened salmon recipe here, since Barclay and I have been cooking up some version of this recipe a few times a month for years now. It’s one of our fallbacks on busy nights when we’re craving something healthy but don’t have much time to cook, and genuinely couldn’t be easier. Simply brush a few salmon filets with oil, sprinkle on some blackened seasoning, pan-sear until those flavorful spices char to crispy perfection and — voila! — an unfailingly delicious dinner is ready to go in minutes.

We most often roast up a quick pan of veggies or toss together a big green salad while the salmon cooks to serve alongside it. But blackened salmon can also be absolutely delicious with tacos, pastas, rices, grain bowls, salads of all kinds, quiches, dips, and more. It’s one of those impressively low-stress, high-reward recipes that’s nearly impossible to mess up and never lets us down. So let me show you my favorite way to blacken salmon!

Blackened Salmon Ingredients

Before we get to the full blackened salmon recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:

  • Salmon: Any type (species) of salmon that you love best will work well in this recipe. I typically use individual salmon filets, but you’re also welcome to use one larger slab of salmon if you prefer. If you are using frozen filets, please be sure that they are completely thawed before you begin cooking.
  • Olive oil: I typically use olive oil when blackening salmon, since I like the flavor and it has a higher smoke point than butter. But traditional Cajun blackened fish is typically made with melted butter, which you are totally welcome to use instead.
  • Blackened seasoning: I use a homemade blackening seasoning made with a blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, fine sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Please feel free to tinker around with the ingredients and amounts, though, and customize your own blend to taste.
  • Lemon or lime: Finally, I always serve blackened fish with a generous squeeze of citrus, which compliments all of those savory, smoky, spicy blackened seasonings and really helps the flavor of the salmon to shine!

Blackened Salmon Tips

Here are a few additional tips for blackening fish that may be helpful:

  • Prep a big batch of seasoning in advance. To save time on busy weeknights, I highly recommend prepping a big batch of blackening seasoning in advance. You can use blackened seasoning on so many things, from proteins (seafood, chicken, pork, beef, tofu, etc) to veggies, potatoes, rices, sauces, and more.
  • Go heavy on the seasoning. I’m a big believer that more is more when it comes to seasoning the fish in this recipe. So be sure to generously coat the top of each filet for a flavor-packed crispy crust.
  • Be sure that your pan is nice and hot. Don’t jump the gun and add the fish to a cold pan! It’s essential that the oil is completely hot when the fish is added so that the blackened crust can properly crisp up.
  • Don’t move or flip the fish too soon. On a similar note, be patient and let the fish rest completely undisturbed so that the crust can crisp up and blacken before you flip it over. You’re welcome to carefully lift up a small corner to peek and check on the progress of the crust to know when it’s time to flip.
  • Use a cooking thermometer if needed. I’m always a fan of using a cooking thermometer to double-check the temperature of the fish so that it is not over- or under-cooked. The FDA recommends that salmon be cooked to 145°F, but I usually pull mine off the stove once they reach 135°F since the fish will continue to cook a bit more as it sits.
  • Make this recipe your own! Finally, I recommend trying this recipe as written the first time, and then tinkering around with the ingredients to make it your own! Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the flavors they love best in blackened seasoning. So please adjust as like and enjoy!

What To Serve With Blackened Salmon

Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for sides to serve with blackened salmon to make it a full meal:

  • Veggies: We most often roast up some quick-cooking veggies (such as asparagus, broccolini or green beans) to go with this recipe. But you’re welcome to prepare any of your favorite veggies however you prefer (roasted, steamed, grilled, etc).
  • Salad: A simple green salad is always a winner, such as my basic everyday salad. Or a fruity green salad would also be a lovely way to add in some sweetness to balance out the meal, such as this strawberry avocado salad.
  • Rice or pasta: A rice dish of your choice would be lovely as a side, or a simple lemony, cheesy, or pesto pasta. (I must note that mac and cheese is a heavenly pairing with blackened fish!)
  • Potatoes: Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or roasted potatoes would all be delicious sides.
  • Fresh fruit: Fresh fruit or a fruit salad would add a nice balance of sweetness to the meal.
  • Sauce: There are countless sauces that could be delicious served with blackened salmon, such as a simple aioli, lemon butter sauce, creamy herb sauce, or even guacamole.

Other Fun Ways To Serve Blackened Salmon

Love blackened salmon and want to try incorporating it into some other dishes? It would be fantastic in:

  • Salads
  • Tacos, tostadas, etc.
  • Pastas and rices
  • Kabobs
  • Egg dishes
  • Creamy dips

Blackened Salmon FAQ

What is blackened seasoning? Blackened seasoning (a.k.a. blackening seasoning) is a combination of herbs, spices and chili that is a cross between Cajun and Creole seasonings.

What is blackening? Blackening is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish, chicken, and other foods. It was developed by Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme, whose specialties were Cajun and Creole cooking, and typically involves dipping food in melted butter or oil, sprinkling on a seasoning mixture (herbs, spices and chili), and cooking in a pan over high heat until blackened.

Is blackened fish burnt? No, the term “blackened” refers to the way that the seasonings are charred while forming the crust. The fish is not burnt and is perfectly tender and flaky.

How do you prevent blackened fish from sticking? Again, be sure that your pan and oil are very hot before adding the fish, which will help the seasoning to properly cook and release from the pan. I highly recommend using a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet.

Is blackened salmon gluten-free? Yes, the recipe as written below is naturally gluten-free.


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My favorite blackened salmon recipe is easy to make in 20 minutes and features a perfectly-blackened, flavorful, crispy crust.

Salmon Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large lemon, cut into four wedges

Blackened Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  1. Mix the blackening seasoning. Combine all of the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  2. Season the salmon. Brush the tops of the salmon filets evenly with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture (be sure to use all of it) evenly on the tops of the filets and gently pat it down to adhere.
  3. Cook. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add the salmon filets seasoning-side-down and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until a charred blackened crust has formed. (Feel free to lift up the corner of a filet to check the doneness of the blackened crust.) Carefully flip the filets over and continue cooking for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until the salmon reaches your desired level of doneness. (The FDA recommends salmon be cooked to 145°F.)
  4. Serve. Serve the salmon immediately with lemon wedges for drizzling.

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