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Pan Seared Salmon (with butter & lemon!)

Make this Lemon Butter Pan Seared Salmon with 7 ingredients and in 30 minutes or less. This stove top salmon is cooked in a delicious lemon butter sauce leaving it so tender and flavorful.

If you love this pan friend salmon recipe, check out some of our other delicious and salmon recipes: Dill Salmon and Eggs Scramble, Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon, and my favorite, Lemon Dill Salmon Burgers.

seared salmon fillets on plate.

Best Way to Cook Salmon = Salmon on Stove

Pan seared salmon comes out so tender and perfectly cooked. Flavored with lemon and butter, this stove top salmon recipe is flakey and delicious.

Salmon has been on the menu in the Fit Foodie kitchen left and right. First, it was our amazing baked salmon in foil, then leftover salmon patties, then salmon burgers, then grilled salmon, and now… pan seared salmon!

Why make this pan seared salmon recipe?

  • 30-minute meal: dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes!
  • Healthy: salmon is high-protein, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and low-carb making it an excellent healthy meal.
  • Perfectly flakey: pan seared salmon slightly crisps up the outsides of your salmon fillets, while leaving the insides super tender.
uncooked salmon fillets with lemon and dill on plate.

What You Need

Salmon fillets: the star of the show here is beautiful, fresh salmon fillets. We used 4 1/3-lb. fillets right from the butcher.

Salt and Pepper: salt and pepper may seem basic, but don’t skip this part!

Butter: butter is the fat used to pan sear salmon. If butter isn’t your jam, you can also try olive oil.

Minced Garlic: we are garlic people. It’s such a fragrant addition to this recipe. Feel free to use minced garlic or to mince your own.

Lemon: a little bit of citrus will brighten up this buttery pan seared salmon!

Fresh Dill: fresh dill is like the cherry on top. It pulls all of these wonderful flavors together.

Can I use a large salmon fillet for this?

If you’re having a hard time finding salmon fillets, feel free to buy one large fillet that is around 1.33 lbs. Cut it into 4 equal fillets using a very sharp knife.

Try Surrender Salmon!

Our all-time favorite salmon is Surrender Salmon. They catch wild-Alaskan salmon off of Bristol Bay in Alaska. The salmon is bright orange, so flakey and delicious, and truly the best.

Surrender Salmon is a family-run company based here in Minneapolis and they are good friends of ours! Support a local business if you can.

How to Cook Salmon on the Stove

Wondering how to cook salmon on the stove? Don’t be intimidated about cooking your salmon on stove because it’s super simple. Here’s how to pan sear salmon in 4 simple steps:

  1. Heat: Heat a large, nonstick skillet or cast iron pan (we used a cast iron pan and highly recommend using one) over medium-high heat. Add butter and garlic.
  2. Sear: Once the butter is fragrant and bubbling, place the salmon skin-side up and sear for 4ish minutes. If you have a thick piece of salmon, sear for an extra minute or two.
  3. Flip: Flip salmon and sear for 3-4 minutes or until it’s no longer bright pink in the middle and a meat thermometer reads 145ºF.
  4. Let rest: Remove salmon from the pan and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top. Let it rest for 5 minutes before eating. Serve with fresh dill.

Salmon internal temperature

When making pan seared salmon, always have a meat thermometer on hand so that you can measure the internal temperature of your salmon. It should read no less than 145ºF to be considered safe to consume.

meat thermometer

Try it!

Thermoworks Thermapen

We swear by using a meat thermometer when cooking any cut of meat. The Thermapen is our go-to meat thermometer that works every time.

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pan seared salmon with lemon in cast iron pan.

How long to cook salmon on stove?

Depending on the thickness of your salmon, it should take around 7-10 minutes to cook salmon on stove top.


What side of salmon do you sear first?

We recommend searing the salmon skin-side up first and then flipping it over and searing the skin.

How do you know if your pan fried salmon is done?

The best way to know if your salmon is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 145ºF. The look and feel of your salmon should be firm to the touch, light pink in color, and easy to flake.

Is it better to bake or pan fry salmon?

Neither is better than the other, but we prefer pan seared salmon because it cooks faster and we just love the crispy edges.

great jones king sear.

Great Jones

Cast Iron Pan

The Great Jones King Sear is our favorite cast iron pan. It’s definitely worth the splurge to add to your kitchen collection!

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What to Serve with Pan Seared Salmon Fillets

Greek Yogurt Dill Pickle Sauce: This healthy dill pickle dip doubles as a sauce and is a favorite in our house. Eat it with chips or serve it on top of a salmon filet.

Roasted Red Potatoes: Make these crispy roasted red potatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! They are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are ready in under an hour and perfect for meal prep!

Arugula Salad:This is a simple and delicious arugula salad recipe. It is made with arugula, dried fruit, veggies, and fruit. It is the perfect side dish to any meal!

Oven Roasted Asparagus: Oven roasted asparagus is the best way to eat asparagus! It’s a healthy side dish recipe that’s cooked to perfection.

What to do with Leftover Pan Seared Salmon

Got leftover pan seared salmon? Here are some ideas to use up that extra flakey fish!

seared salmon on plate with lemon wedges.


If you have leftover pan seared salmon, let it cool completely. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

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