Tender, flaky salmon done in the Air fryer has a crisp skin and nice crust. This 15-minute flavorful salmon recipe uses a mixed-herb dry rub to give fantastic flavor and crust on top.
While salmon can be done in myriad ways, cooking them in an air fryer is the quickest. You can get crisp skin and flaky salmon ready on your table in 15 minutes. You should have no fear of breaking the fillets while flipping. This Air fryer salmon recipe is my site's quickest and easiest salmon recipe.
The salmon is cooked perfectly, resulting in tender, flaky meat, and it has a nice crust on the skin from the dry rub. The skin and the other side have turned crisp without even turning the salmon; that's the beauty of Airfryer.
I have been using my air fryer to whip up recipes since I got it. Its convenience and health benefits have vowed me since you need very little fat to cook in this. You can cook the best salmon fry with little butter, just brushed on either side.
Salmon fillets - Get the fillets that have a consistent orange color all over. I recommended getting them one and a half inches, which is ideal for baking or frying. Ensure the skin is not torn and the fillets do not appear dry.
Butter - melted butter is used to help stick the dry rub applied on the skinless side of the fish.
- Brown sugar - Brown sugar is what caramelizes when the fillets get cooked and give a glaze on top of the fillets.
- Chili power - To give a bit of heat. Use it as per your taste and tolerance level.
- Smoked paprika - gives a smoky taste to the fillet. I love the haute cuisine treatment given to the fish, which adds complexity to flavors.
- Onion powder - Onion powder to complement the garlic powder.
- Garlic powder - I love garlic flavor profile, and I use it often in most meat dishes.
- Mixed herbs seasoning/ Italian seasoning - This mix of herbs add a balanced flavor profile to the crust of the fillets.
- Salt - as per taste.
- Pepper - more heat and balance the herbs and salt as per taste.
How to cook salmon in an Air fryer?
Thaw if frozen - If the fish is frozen, take it out to thaw and bring it to room temperature.
Prepare the dry rub - Preparing the dry rub is simple and involves mixing all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.
Dry pat and butter - The salmon fillets must be pat dry with a kitchen towel or tissue paper. Doing so removes any excess water from the surface and allows the butter to be applied later to stick to the outside.
Butter the side - Take melted butter and apply it on the side without the skin. The butter adds a moist layer of fat on the side and helps in two ways - it helps in sticking the dry rub to the skinless side, and it allows to cook and caramelize that side of the fish resulting in a slightly crispy side.
Rub on the fillets - Sprinkle the dry rub over both sides of the fillet, i.e., on the skinny and skinless sides, with butter. You may use a spoon or take a pinch of the dry rub.
Air fry - Place the skillets on the tray of the air fryer. Allow at least an inch distance between the skillets to avoid overcrowding them. Cook for 8 minutes, and you may check the internal temperature at around 6 minutes of cooking and allow for a couple more minutes in the fryer.
Rest for 5 minutes - resting the fillets once you take out the tray is very important. It allows for further cooking and brings them to the desired temperature. Let the heat settle and the fillet cool down before you cut them further. Cover the fillets with aluminum foil while resting.
Detailed Video Recipe Here
- Make sure to pat the salmon fillets to dry them. Making the sides dry allows the butter to stick.
- We need the dry rub to stick to both sides of the fillet. Since the fillet has skin on one side, it is oily enough to let the dry rub stick to it. While it cooks in the air fryer, the fat in the skin allows it to cook more and crisp up.
- Apply butter only on the skinless side of the fillet as it needs fat to let the dry rub stick to it.
- Put an aluminum foil on the air fry basket and put the fillets on the foil. It helps in cleaning up later.
- Allow for more cooking time if the size of the fillet is thicker. For every quarter of an inch, cook it for a minute, more or less.
- If the fillets are wide but of the standard thickness of an inch and a half, cook for the recommended 8 minutes.
- It is essential to allow the fillets to rest for 5 minutes once you take the tray out of the air fryer. While resting, the salmon's core temperature increases by another 10 °F before it starts cooking down again. This extra time allows the fillets to cook a bit more.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend cooking salmon to an internal temperature of around 135 ℉. I have seen a range between 125 and 145 from America's Test Kitchen and USDA.
Note that this is the internal temperature of salmon to be cooked. Also, when you take out salmon and rest it outside for 5 minutes, the temperature rises further by another 10 ℉ to take it to the 140-150 range, which is ideal for cooking the fish perfectly.
Now, when you use an air fryer, I recommend running it at 200 °C or 390 °F for the recommended duration, bringing the internal temperature to the desired range.
You can use a cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fillet. After 6 minutes of cooking in the air fryer, take the tray out and insert the thermometer in the meatiest part of the fillet. Insert it only till midway to get the right temperature. If the temperature checks around 130, put the tray back and allow it to cook for a couple more minutes.
I have used salmon fillets which are an inch and a half thick. It took me 8 minutes to cook it properly with nice crusty skin and tender meat.
The time to cook depends on the salmon fillets' thickness and size. For every quarter inch more on the fillet, add a minute more or less if it's thin.
The problem with cooking frozen salmon is that the outer parts will be overcooked when the inner gets cooked to the proper doneness. I see many advocating over the web that you can do with just a few more minutes in the air fryer.
I have not tried it and would prefer my salmon thawed to room temperature to get them to cook right the first time.
You can keep air-fried salmon in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The skin tends to lose its crispiness in the fridge.
You can reheat it in the air fryer for a couple of minutes, or better still, heat it in a microwave for a minute.
You should serve salmon with either a salad like Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Cucumber Strawberry Salad, Easy and Zesty Quinoa Salad, or roasted vegetables like Pecan Honey Roasted Carrot, Roasted Beetroot Arugula Salad With Balsamic Dressing.
You may also have it with a mix of green leaves like lettuce, spinach, etc.
Crispy Salmon in Air fryer
- 3 salmon fillets each weighing 180 - 200 gms
- 2 tablespoon Melted Butter
- 2 heaping teaspoon Brown Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder (reduce for less spice)
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lightly grease the inner basket of the air fryer ( To prevent Salmon from sticking) or place a piece of parchment paper.
- Clean and pat dry salmon fillets with a kitchen towel.
- In a small bowl mix all the seasoning ingredients (except butter).
- Brush salmon with melted butter ( only the topside, not the skin).
- Rub the seasoning well on both the sides of the salmon fillets.
- Place seasoned fillets skin side down in the Airfryer basket.
- Air fry for 10-12 minutes. Use a digital meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the salmon has reached 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve with your favourite sides.