Air frying salmon is a great way to cook it—especially if you like crispy salmon skin. It’s quick, simple, and seriously good!
If you have an air fryer and you love salmon, you’re in for a treat. (If you don’t, here’s the one we love.) Air frying and salmon go great together.
Why? Because cooking something relatively thin and lean like a salmon fillet on high heat with lots of air moving around is a great way to get it really crisp and brown on the outside before it gets overcooked on the inside.
You could also achieve that in your oven on a convection setting, but the air fryer has the added benefit of quick preheating and easy clean up. Win-win.
Prefer to go low and slow? See this post on How To Bake Salmon Perfectly.
Tips For Crispiness
A couple of things will help your salmon crisp up. One is to pat it dry before cooking. Just use a paper towel or two and gently dab up any moisture on the surface of your fillets.
Now that you’ve patted your salmon dry, get it wet—with oil. And since you’ll be cooking at 400°F, ideally use a high heat cooking oil. I tend to use grapeseed oil for my high heat cooking because it has some health benefits, but you can use any you like or have on hand—sunflower, safflower, corn, avocado, you name it. (For more about high heat and cooking oils, here’s a great article on MasterClass.)
Finally, if you want crispy skin, cook your salmon skin side up. That leaves the skin exposed to as much of the circulating air as possible, helping it crisp up.
Not into salmon skin? No worries. Skinless fillets will get nicely crispy on the outside in the air fryer too.
Ideas For Enhancements
My air fryer salmon recipe is purposefully simple, using a basic blend of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
But you could include other herbs and spices if you like. I adore salmon with rosemary, herbs de Provence, or even a light sprinkle of Chinese five-spice.
After cooking, serve your salmon as-is or add a sauce on the side. I like pesto, salsa, or any Asian-style dipping sauce. Even a drizzle of balsamic vinegar can be divine.
But whatever you do, don’t make it too complicated. Part of the deliciousness of air fryer salmon is the ease of it. 🙂
- 4 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets, about 3/4-inch thick, with or without skin (see note)
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. sunflower, safflower, avocado, or other high heat cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Meanwhile, pat the salmon dry. Brush the salmon on both sides with the oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt.
- Arrange the salmon, skin side up if any, in the air fryer basket. Cook until the skin is crisp and the flesh is barely opaque throughout, about 10 minutes.
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*Note: If your air fryer can only accommodate 2 fillets, just halve all the ingredients in the recipe.
This post originally appeared in July 2021 and was revised and republished in February 2024.