Love salmon? Try making air fryer salmon fillets with your Instant Pot Air Fryer Basket! It's simple, delicious, and ready in minutes.
It's probably no surprise that I love salmon.
After all, salmon's one of the most popular (or maybe-- the most popular) fish out there.
And actually, I'd argue that if you like fish in general, but you don't like salmon, it's possible you just haven't tried the right type of salmon for your taste preferences.
If you prefer mellow, mild fish, try cooking with Atlantic salmon or (the much pricier and harder to find) king salmon.
And yes, Atlantic salmon is farmed, but that doesn't mean you can't buy it. Read more about farmed vs. wild salmon.
For the record, I like king salmon best (it's eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head delicious), but when I can't find it, I pick sockeye salmon. It's a close second.
Once you figure out which type of salmon is for you, it's time to learn how to cook salmon.
My favorite way to cook salmon is to pan-sear the fish. However, while pan-searing isn't hard, it does have a little bit of a learning curve.
Baking salmon is probably the easiest salmon technique, but it can be tricky to keep the salmon from drying out in the oven.
Happily, I've got a solution for you.
These air fryer salmon fillets are a happy middle between pan-seared fish and baked fish.
The salmon is tender and delicious with a crispy skin (like with pan-seared fish), and the technique is as easy (and even faster!) than baked salmon.
Here's how to do it.
What Air Fryer Do You Use?
Can I Use Frozen Salmon?
Yes, but you need to thaw it before cooking it in the air fryer.
Either move the salmon from the freezer to the fridge the night (or morning) before cooking, or quick-thaw in a cold water bath.
How to Make Air Fryer Salmon
Start by patting the salmon fillets dry.
Season them with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Spray (or brush) oil onto the bottom of the air fryer basket. This will help keep leaner salmon fillets (like pink salmon) from sticking to the basket.
Set the salmon fillets skin-side-up in the basket. I've found that placing the fillets skin-side-down results in the skin sticking (badly) to the air fryer basket.
What Temperature Should I Use to Air Fry Salmon?
I like to air fry my salmon at 370°F.
Some recipes will tell you to cook the salmon at a hotter temperature for less time. That technique will work, but I've found that the salmon develops "white stuff" (aka albumin protein deposits) when air fried at higher temperatures.
You've probably seen the white protein appear when baking salmon. It's totally harmless, but pretty unattractive. Lowering the temperature a little will keep it from appearing.
How Long Should I Air Fry Salmon?
Cook it for about seven minutes per inch of thickness.
That means if your fillets are very thin (like with pink salmon), you might cook it for less time. If your fillets are extra-thick (like with some Atlantic salmon or king salmon), you might need to increase the cook time.
Can I Use This Technique with a Different Recipe?
Think of this as a basic technique that you can adapt as needed.
Keep in mind that air fryers work best with dry ingredients, so to adapt this recipe, try rubbing the salmon with different seasonings. Air fryer salmon is delicious when seasoned with garlic powder, or I especially love it with smoked paprika.
I like to serve mine with an easy yogurt sauce, but the sauce is totally optional.
If you want to try a different sauce, go for it! Just make sure to prepare it separately from the salmon, don't coat the salmon in a wet sauce before cooking.
After cooking, you'll have tender, delicious salmon fillets, and a new cooking technique to carry into your everyday meals.
Air Fryer Salmon Fillets
- 8 ounces salmon (~2 fillets)
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch ground pepper
- spray oil (or olive oil)
Yogurt Sauce (Optional):
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon capers, plus caper brine (if needed)
- Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper.Spray the air fryer basket with oil, or brush with olive oil.Set salmon fillets skin-side-up in the air fryer basket. (If placed skin-side-down, the skin will likely stick to the basket.)
- Preheat air fryer to 370°F. Place the air fryer basket in the air fryer. Cook time will depend on how thick your salmon is. Cook for 7 minutes per inch of thickness.Note that not all air fryers alike, so the exact cook time for your air fryer model may vary.Flip once (halfway through cooking). The salmon is finished cooking when it is opaque and tender. You should be able to flake it apart easily with a fork.
- While the salmon cooks, mix together the yogurt sauce. Depending on how thick your yogurt is, you might want to add a splash of caper brine to thin the sauce.Serve the salmon fillets and yogurt sauce immediately.Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.