Easy Pan Seared Lemon Salmon

This Pan Seared Lemon Salmon is cooked in a garlic, maple and lemon buttery sauce. Ready in 20 minutes; it’s crispy on the outside and soft, tender and flaky on the inside.

a piece of salmon with lemon on a plate with rice and broccoli

Stovetop seared salmon is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon. While there are a lot of ways to cook salmon, there are a few specific reasons why I love this recipe.

Easy enough to prepare by anyone, you don’t need any special equipment or ingredients, either. It comes together fast, and with minimal ingredients.

One reason why I turn to this recipe time and again because of its simplicity. You really can’t go wrong with this easy recipe, it’s foolproof.

Aside from it being an easy salmon recipe, this lemon garlic salmon recipe hits home with a super delicious taste.

Lemon compliments salmon so well because the acidity of the lemon cuts through the fish’s natural richness and enhances its other flavors as well.

Yet when that lemon is combined with maple, garlic and butter? Over the top goodness that is simple yet vibrant.

a rectangle white plate with 4 pieces of salmon with sliced lemon

This pan fried salmon recipe is a delicious dish with much flavor, to serve for a dinner party or for special occasions. It’s an elegant dish.

Yet this restaurant-worthy meal is one that you can make from the comforts of home. So it’s also a simple pan-seared salmon recipe for the everyday.

This best salmon is a great main dish for any night of the week, even those busy weeknights.


Pan Seared Salmon Ingredients

  • Salmon Fillets – main protein ingredient and rich in omega 3.
  • Salt and Black Pepper – simple salmon seasoning.
  • Butter – for that rich silky taste.
  • Fresh Lemon – the bold and fresh acidity makes salmon less fishy and helps to tenderize.
  • Garlic Cloves – because, garlic.
  • Maple Syrup or Agave – a bit of sweet to balance the lemon tart.
  • Fresh Dill – aromatic garnish.
ingredients to make lemon salmon

How to Make Lemon Salmon

Note: The full on the simple ingredients and instructions for this how to make pan-seared salmon with lemon garlic butter sauce are below in the printable recipe card.

The full flavour of this recipe comes from the buttery sauce, so a simple seasoning for salmon steaks is best.

The first step is to sprinkle the salt (or kosher salt) and black pepper on each piece of salmon.

Add the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once you have melted butter, add the skinless salmon fillets.

salmon in a frying pan

Cook uncovered for 4 minutes. When until golden brown, flip the filets over and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until they are fully cooked.

During that time, zest the lemon and squeeze out the fresh lemon juice from it, into a small bowl.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic, maple syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice on top of the salmon and into the pan. Continue to cook for two minutes.

This recipe has a cook time of just 10 minutes. With about a 10 minute prep time, this is an easy dinner made in just 20 minutes.

How to Tell When Salmon is Done

The easiest and best way to see if salmon is cooked is to gently press down on the top of the fillet with a fork. If the flesh of the salmon flakes, it’s finished cooking. When checking with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the filet, the temperature should be between 110 °F and 140 °F.

Transfer the cooked salmon to a serving plate, and drizzle the lemon butter sauce on top of the filets.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh dill and serve immediately.

a pan of seared Lemon Salmon with a spatula lifting one piece up

How to Serve Salmon

You don’t need to get all fancy when serving salmon recipes, yet it can be an elegant dish if you’d like.

Serve this moist salmon recipes on a serving tray or nice baking dish covered in that beautiful buttery sauce.

Serve lemon butter garlic salmon topped with with fresh dill (or other fresh herb) and lemon slices. For an extra twist, you can add any type of citrus to the lemons. Try slices of lime, orange, or grapefruit.

a pan of salmon and lemon slices

What to Serve with Salmon

You can serve this salmon with steamed green veggies like (steamed broccoli) for a low-carb meal and healthy dinner.

For a low carb meal try our Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash.

I like to pair salmon with white rice or brown rice, and cooked vegetables. Here are some suggestions for side dishes for salmon recipes that include some starch.

a white plate of Pan Seared Lemon Salmon with fresh lemons

Recipe Variations

  • Fresh herbs are best over dried herbs, especially for salmon recipes.
  • Substitute the maple syrup with agave.
  • For an extra twist, add any type of citrus to the lemons. I suggest slices of lime, orange, or grapefruit.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of capers for extra flavours.

TIPS FOR COOKING SALMON

  • Let salmon rest briefly at room temperature before cooking.
  • Season with salt and pepper right before cooking and not in advance.
  • Dab salmon dry with a paper towel before adding to pan. This will give you better browning.
  • Don’t add salmon to a cold skillet. Make sure the pan with the butter and oil are preheated.
  • Try not to move salmon around as it cooks for better browning.
  • When searing salmon, be careful not to overcook it as it can become dry.
  • Salmon cooks pretty quickly so for best results, have your sides ready before cook the salmon so you can serve immediately when the salmon is cooked.
a piece of salmon with lemon on a plate with rice and broccoli

How to Store / How to Reheat

  • How long does salmon last in the fridge? Store leftover salmon in the fridge for up to 3 days. Place in an airtight container or ziplock bags bags to refrigerate. 
  • To reheat, place salmon it in a covered skillet over low heat or covered in an 350˚F oven. When it reaches a safe internal temperature of 140˚F, it is done.
salmon on a fork

Can I Freeze Salmon?

Personally I try not to freeze cooked salmon. When doing so, the texture can come out a bit mushy after thawing. It is safe to do so, yet the texture might change if you are alright with that possibility.

Yet, you can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months. Thaw the salmon in the fridge overnight, then heat through and serve as you would fresh salmon.

You can also freeze this easy lemon sauce for salmon recipe. This delicious salmon sauce can be easily thawed, simply heated up, and served. 

a pan of seared Lemon Salmon with a spatula lifting one piece up

Easy Pan Seared Lemon Salmon

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Pan Seared Lemon Salmon is cooked in a garlic, maple and lemon buttery sauce. Ready in 20 minutes; it's crispy on the outside and soft, tender and flaky on the inside.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless boneless salmon filets (6-oz filets about 1 inch thick)
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • sliced lemons, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the salmon filet.
  2. Add butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the salmon filet.
  3. Cook uncovered for 4 minutes, flip the filets over and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until they are fully cooked. 
  4. During that time, zest the lemon and squeeze the juice on of it.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic, maple syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Continue to cook for two minutes.
  6. Transfer the salmon to a serving plate and drizzle the lemon sauce on top of the filets.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped fresh dill.
  8. Serve immediately.

Notes

    • Dab salmon dry before adding to pan, this will give you better browning
    • When searing salmon, be careful not to overcook it as it can become dry.
    • Serve with steamed green veggies for a healthy, low-carb meal. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 587Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 474mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 51g

Did you make this recipe?

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Lemon Salmon lifted off plate with text

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