Pan Seared Salmon is so easy to make in less than 10 minutes and always turns out perfectly crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside. What really sends this entree over the top is the buttery garlic sauce that smothers every bite. It’s got plenty of flavor from fresh lemon, fresh herbs, garlic, and of course BUTTER!

Salmon is plated next to a side of fresh vegetables.

Pan Seared Salmon

Summer is somehow already upon us! To prepare for the sunny season, I’m planning to make all of my favorite seafood recipes – especially light and easy ones like this pan seared salmon. It’s such an easy, vibrant protein to make and it pairs perfectly with both fresh or roasted summertime veggies. This is an ideal dinner for those hot summer nights when you don’t want anything too heavy!

I love lighter dishes when the weather’s warm. With that being said, don’t worry about this entree not filling you up. Salmon filets have a great amount of protein to keep you nice and full, especially when paired with some veggies or more filling sides like rice/pasta. You could even serve this salmon over a bead of leafy greens to make a super nutritious lunch.

Besides the pretty perfect consistency of pan seared salmon, there’s another huge element of this recipe that’ll keep you coming back for more. And that, my friends, is the garlic butter sauce! It’s not just garlic and butter than come together to make this salmon so irresistible. There’s also a good amount of fresh lemony tang and fresh herbs to really make your mouth water!

Four salmon filets are being cooked in a skillet.

How to make Pan Seared Salmon

Grab you skillet and let’s get to searing the BEST salmon with garlic butter sauce!

  1. Prepare. Preheat your skillet over medium heat. While that’s heating up, whisk together a mixture of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Season the salmon with these seasonings.
  2. Sear the salmon. Add olive oil and butter to the hot skillet. Once simmering, place the filets skin side down and turn the heat up to high. Cook the salmon for about 3 minutes, then flip it and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  3. Make the garlic butter sauce. Place the salmon on a plate and keep warm. Add more butter to the skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.
  4. Enjoy! Serve the salmon with the garlic butter sauce spooned all over the top. Garnish with more herbs and lemon juice if you’d like, and enjoy!
A spoon is drizzling garlic butter sauce all over a salmon filet.

Tips for the Best Pan Seared Salmon

Here are just a few ways to make this salmon entree the very best it can be:

  • Try not to over-cook it. When cooked for too long, salmon can very easily dry out and lose a lot of the natural flavors we’re trying to compliment. Sometimes, it’s best to check for doneness with a fork. See if the salmon flakes easily – if it does, it’s done cooking.
  • You can use frozen salmon. In fact, did you know that more often than not, the salmon that you buy at the seafood counter has been previously frozen? You can buy a bag of frozen salmon filets for this easy recipe. Just be sure to let the filets fully thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. Also, you’ll want to gently pat them dry with paper towels to get rid of any excess moisture before seasoning them.
  • Use fresh lemons and herbs. There’s just nothing quite like the way that fresh lemon juice and herbs compliments salmon! Avoid using dried herbs if possible, and really be sure to steer clear of any lemon juice from concentrate. It just won’t lend the same zesty, fresh flavor that real lemons will.
A fork is placed on a plate with veggies and salmon.

Enjoy more of the best seafood dinners this summer!

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Four salmon filets are being cooked in a skillet.

Get the Recipe: Pan Seared Salmon with Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

Crispy Pan Seared Salmon is a quick dinner that's drenched in a savory garlic butter sauce. Simple, healthy and so delicious.
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  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets, patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley


  • 1 skillet


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • While the skillet is preheating, whisk together the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Season each salmon filet with the salt mixture on both sides.
  • Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet.
  • Once the oil is shimmering, place the salmon filets in the skillet skin side down and increase the heat to high.
  • Cook the salmon for 3 minutes or until it easily releases from the pan when lifted with a spatula. Turn the salmon over and continue to cook until the salmon flakes easily with a fork, approximately 4-5 minuets longer.
  • Transfer the salmon to a platter and keep warm.
  • Add the remaining butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium high.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped dill and parsley.
  • Serve the salmon with the pan sauce spooned over top and garnish with lemons, if desired.


Pan Seared Salmon is best served soon after cooking.
Serve alongside steamed veggies, on top of a salad or use for a simple salmon rice bowl!
Calories: 317kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 368mg, Potassium: 894mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 2mg