Spicy cajun Blackened Salmon is an easy recipe quickly made in under 15 minutes! Fresh filets are coated in homemade blackened seasoning, then cooked in a cast iron skillet or baked in the oven until tender and flaky. Serve this healthy main dish with rice, or roasted veggies for a low-carb dinner!
Some nights you want to whip up dinner in less time than it takes you to search for a recipe or watch your favorite TV show. Allow me to introduce you to this simple Blackened Salmon recipe!
It’s healthy, low-carb, and filled with omega-3 fatty acids.
You can either prep your blackened seasoning mix ahead of time, or buy one from the store.
Serve it with some steamed broccoli, rice, pasta, roasted vegetables, or over a salad and you can have dinner ready and on the table in 20 minutes flat.
(All of the hangry bellies rejoice!)
Cook this dish up in a cast iron skillet or bake it in the oven. No matter how you make it the flavors are un-beatable!
The simple ingredients you need to make this Blackened Salmon recipe include:
- Salmon. Fresh and wild salmon is by far the best type of salmon to purchase. Not only does it taste good, but it is also better for you. Previously frozen salmon does not have quite as good taste and texture, but the salmon is still REALLY good for you!
- Blackened seasoning mix. This spice mixture is made with paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, thyme, basil, oregano, and cayenne pepper. You can make homemade or buy it in the store. Some of the more popular brands (Zatarain’s!) actually contain MSG while others also have added sugar, wheat, or stabilizers. Emeril’s, A Cajun Life, or Chef Paul’s Magic Seasoning are good options.
- Butter. To make this recipe dairy-free or Whole30 approves select plant-based “butter” sticks. Olive oil is not recommended as the high heat will cause it to smoke too much.
- Lemons. These are optional but add a beautiful freshness.
- Parsley. This garish is also optional but definitely recommended.
How to Make Blackened Salmon
The basic steps for making Blackened Salmon are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.
Cut into Filets
Use a sharp knife to portion the fish into five 4-ounce filets. Leave the skin on, or remove it if you’d prefer.
The skin will easily fall off after cooking, so you can save yourself an extra step here!
Season the Fish
Sprinkle the blackened seasoning blend onto the filets and rub it in. By pressing it gently into the flesh you ensure the seasoning will stick while searing.
Cook in Skillet
A cast iron skillet works the absolute best when making anything blackened. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, a large stainless steel skillet will work well, also.
Melt the butter in the pan over medium-high heat. Place the filets flesh side-down.
Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes on one side. Use a spatula to carefully flip, then cover with a lid, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
It is done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
This can be determined by using a simple meat thermometer and placing it in the thickest portion of the filet.
-or- Bake in Oven
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. This will help form a crisp crust as well as make cleanup easy.
Arrange the salmon filets in a single layer, top with cubed butter, and bake for 10 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.
When eating, simply remove the skin (leaving the fatty and good-for-you grey part!) and either discard or give it to your furry friend.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: Portion the salmon into filets 1-2 days in advance and mix up the blackened seasoning.
- To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: Seal in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to 4-6 months.
- To Reheat: Warm in a skillet over medium-heat for best results, or pop it in the microwave.
Salmon is cooked through when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the filet reaches 145°F.
No, blackened refers to the seasoning blend used to flavor the fish, as well as the method of cooking on a flat surface to create a charred crust.
It depends on the seasoning used. Some store-bought mixes can contain gluten. Your best bet is to make your own to ensure there is no gluten.
Yes, this recipe cooks the fish completely.
The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free, low-carb, and keto friendly as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Dairy-free and Whole30 – Use either vegan “butter” sticks or ghee.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Go for the best. Wild fresh salmon tastes amazing and is the healthiest choice.
- Mix your own. Homemade blackened seasoning is easy to make and allows you to control the spice and salt.
- Use the right tools. Cast iron skillets are ideal for hot, even heat.
- Keep the skin. This helps to protect the flesh, as well as hold it together while cooking.
- Check with a fork. The fish is done cooking when the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
Make it a Meal
This easy salmon recipe is already loaded with Cajun spices and is quite flavorful on its own. My suggestions would be to serve it alongside a pretty mild side dish like:
More Delicious Salmon Recipes
Enjoy more of this healthy fish with these easy meals:
Blackened Salmon Recipe
Spicy cajun Blackened Salmon is an easy recipe quickly made in under 15 minutes! Serve this healthy main dish with rice, or roasted veggies for a low-carb dinner.
Mix together your blackened seasoning ingredients.
Cut salmon into 5 filets and leave the skin on. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix over the salmon filets.
Skillet Blackened Salmon:
Heat up butter, or dairy-free “butter”, in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Place salmon filets into the skillet flesh side-down and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Flip filets, cover skillet, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature in the thickest portion of the filet reaches 145 degrees and fish flakes easily with a fork.. (You can measure this using a meat thermometer.)
Baked Blackened Salmon:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Place salmon filets in a single layer and divide cubed butter between the fillets.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees and fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serve blackened salmon immediately with lemon slices and a sprinkle of parsley. Enjoy!