A tasty chili rub gives this blackened salmon a wonderful flavor, and cooking it in a hot pan seals the juices in, keeping it extra juicy.
I really like salmon and make it quite often for my family. I love making baked salmon because it's so easy and tasty. And poached salmon is moist and delicate. But this recipe is even better because it's exceptionally juicy and flavorful.
The spice combination is amazing. And when it gets charred in a hot skillet, the flavor is so intense. Blackening also keeps the inside of the fish extra juicy because searing the fish in a hot skillet seals the juices in.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make blackened salmon. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Dry rub: I use kosher salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the fish could end up too salty.
Salmon fillets: Whether wild-caught or responsibly farmed, try to use sustainable salmon if you can.
Avocado oil for frying: This oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it very suitable for high-heat cooking. So it's perfect for this recipe!
How to make blackened salmon? It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by mixing the dry rub ingredients in a bowl. Then you rub the spices all over the salmon.
The next step is to cook the salmon in avocado oil over medium-high heat, 2-3 minutes per side. It won't be fully cooked at this point, but the outside will be nicely blackened.
Now, remove the skillet from the heat. Cover it tightly, and let the salmon finish cooking in the residual heat for 5 more minutes. After those 5 minutes, it will be juicy and perfectly cooked!
variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can add more spices to the rub. Try a teaspoon of onion powder and a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
- Instead of olive oil, you can use ghee (clarified butter) for frying the fish.
Frequently asked questions
Many cooks prefer using a cast-iron skillet when making blackened food. But I find that fish sometimes sticks to cast iron, even well-seasoned. So I prefer to use a nonstick skillet when making this recipe.
Yes, but you should defrost it overnight. In fact, one of the reasons I like making this recipe is that I always have frozen salmon on hand. But you do need to defrost it before using it in this recipe.
Blackening means coating the food in a mixture of spices, then cooking it in a hot skillet. The spice coating gets charred, giving the food a very dark, almost black appearance. Blackening definitely walks a fine line between "blackened" and "burnt," and it's your job as a cook to stay as close as you can to "blackened" and as far away as you can from "burnt."
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. I sometimes crumble them cold over a salad the next day for my lunch. Or I use them in this cobb salad instead of chicken.
I typically publish a new recipe once a week. Want the new recipes in your inbox? Subscribe!
Blackened Salmon with a Chili Rub
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 (6 oz) fillets wild-caught sockeye salmon ½-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, chili powder, and garlic powder.
- Dry the fish with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the fish.
- Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet* over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Brush with the oil.
- Place the salmon fillets in the skillet. Cook until the outside is blackened, 2-3 minutes per side.**
- Remove the skillet from the heat and cover it tightly with foil (or use a lid if has a tight-fitting lid). Allow the salmon to finish cooking in the pan's residual heat, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.