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. Sprinkle on some homemade salmon seasoning to make this dish even more delicious!

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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 48 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
    This was an awesome and tasty dish. I am new to cooking, so I had no idea how this would turns out. The instructions were great and easy to apply, and the outcome was delicious. This will be a go to recipe for me!

  2. Yes, I made it.
    Yes, I accidentally changed it, my bad.
    I misread a couple steps. My heat was too high, I finally reduced the heat in time .
    I sliced the garlic instead of dicing it. I used lemon juice concentrate, didn’t have real lemon. I used dried dill and dried parsley . Gotta use what you got these days.
    I used 3 tablespoons olive oil ( made it too greasy). I mixed up the butter amount with the olive oil amount. Made my dish too heavy. My bad.
    Yes, I saved it.
    Yes I will make it again.
    I will have leftover salmon in my salad for lunch tomorrow.
    My Hubby hates any fish that tastes fishy. This is definitely a me dish. Yes, I will learn from my mistakes. Yes, I will enjoy this dish again. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this salmon recipe!!! It’s so delicious!!! I’ve made it nemesis times now in the past year since I discovered it.

  4. 5 stars
    I didn’t realize I did not have any salmon today, so I used just the sauce portion of the recipe to baste and bake some trout. It turned out absolutely amazing. Everyone kept wanting to go back for more, including the ones in my family that aren’t a big fan of trout! Awesome recipe, thank you!

  5. I tried this recipe for the first time, and it was delicious! I’ve tried other salmon recipes and they all came out really dry. This is definitely a recipe than I intend to save and make again!

  6. 5 stars
    I took this recipe and improved on it. I marinated the salmon in salt/pepper and milk for about 20 minutes, then rinsed the pieces off, and followed the recipe. I added an extra tbsp of fresh chopped parsley after melting the butter and garlic, and then added about 2 tbsp of capers, and tsp of the brine juice from the capers. It came out absolutely flavorful and delicious. Served with basmati rice with a touch of parsley on top with fresh asparagus. Plated beautifully. I’ve never made salmon before because of the fishy aroma, but by marinating in the milk, it was tender and did not have that nasty aroma.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner and it came out really good. Thank you for sharing this easy and delicious recipe.
    Will definitely make it again.