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April 5, 2023 | Cooking

The Most Popular Ways to Cook Salmon

The most popular ways to cook salmon

So many people love salmon that it is, in fact, one of the most popular types of fish ordered out in restaurants today. But while many enjoy eating it out, few know how to properly cook it at home. 

Working with salmon is much different than, say, chicken or steak. So even those who can whip up something delicious and have quite the skills in the kitchen will shy away from making something as delicate as salmon. Whether you had tried before and failed or you have been too intimidated to give it a try in the first place – we’ve got the 411 on salmon to help you create an unforgettable meal.

Important Things to Know About Cooking Salmon

Ok, let’s talk about all the things you need to know about cooking salmon before you cook it. Some of these things you may be wondering about now, and some you may not have thought of. But the more you know, the better. 

Leave the Skin On

You may be inclined to remove the salmon skin, but in most recipes (unless you are slow-roasting or poaching), you can leave the skin on. It actually gives you a nice barrier between the delicate fish and the heat. Start skin side down and end up with a nice, gentle crunch. 

How to Know It’s Done

One thing you never want to do is overcook or undercook salmon (though overcooking is the worst of the two offenses). So, knowing how to tell when it is done is key. To check the salmon, poke it in the center with your finger or a fork to look for flakiness. Or, use a kitchen thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the filet. It should be no lower than 120-degrees to ensure doneness.

Opt for Wild-Caught Salmon

If you are looking for the salmon with the most desirable flavor, you will want to invest in that which is wild-caught. Don’t worry if you buy it frozen, as it is flash-frozen to preserve the quality. Tip: Don’t worry about thawing it out before cooking!

Remove the Pin Bones

Most of the time you purchase salmon from the fish counter or frozen, it should have the pin bones removed. However, it is important to take a couple of minutes to make sure that you don’t end up swallowing something that won’t feel so good. Simply rest your salmon on the counter with the skin side down. Running your fingers back and forth along the flesh, you will be able to feel if the thin bones are in there. If so, gently remove them with a pair of tweezers. 

Season It Right

There are many different seasonings that pair well with salmon – and there are many others that don’t. Seasoning your fish with the right flavors is an important part of cooking at home. Stick to things like cilantro, thyme, dill, parsley, basil, tarragon, sage, rosemary, bay leaves, and fennel. Though experiment with different combinations – or other seasonings – to find what your taste buds enjoy most. 

Most Popular Ways to Cook Salmon

There are many different recipes and many different ways to cook salmon, but these are a few of the best ways to get the job done – and delight while eating it. 

Pan-Fried Salmon

This pan-frying method is a delicious way to cook a salmon filet, thanks to the crispy texture you are left with. The best part is that it is simple and quick. 

Season your salmon however you desire and place it in a skillet, skin side down, with either oil or butter. You only need to cook it for about 5 minutes or so on medium-high heat before flipping and cooking for another five minutes.

Grilled Salmon

Heading into the warm months, some grilled salmon sounds mighty tasty. This is another very common way to order salmon out – and it is super easy to make at home. So, let’s go fire up that grill outside.

You can, again, season the salmon to your liking, then place it on a grill that has been lightly oiled. On high heat, you will want the skin side down on the grill grate first. Grill it for about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping it about halfway through. Tip: Don’t keep flipping your salmon over as you would a different type of meat. Flip it once.  

Broiled Salmon

Broiling is another popular way to cook salmon, but it requires a careful eye. It can quickly turn into a burnt mess if you aren’t paying attention. Go ahead and add some seasonings to your fish if you’d like, then turn on your broiler with the heat rack 6-inches from the top. 

Using a sheet pan, place the skin side down first and stick them in your oven for 5 minutes on broil. Then, flip and cook for another 5 minutes. If you prefer your salmon a little more done, you can flip the broiler off and just let the salmon sit in the hot oven for a few minutes or so. Just be sure to monitor it.

Air Fried Salmon

A more recent discovery is the air-fried salmon – and it is becoming quite a popular method for cooking salmon at home. The most exciting part about this method of cooking is that it leaves you with an incredibly crispy crust – in less than 15 minutes!

Season it up, set your air fryer for 370 degrees. Be sure to spray the basket with cooking spray, so the salmon doesn’t stick. Place it in the air fryer – skin side down – and cook for about 15 minutes. 

Endless Ways to Cook Salmon

Well, there you have it – everything you have ever wanted to know about cooking salmon at home. Even the greatest chefs started somewhere – so give one (or all) of these methods a try so you can add a specialty salmon dish to your cooking repertoire. Once you do – let us know: 

Do you have a favorite method for cooking salmon? A favorite recipe?