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7 Best Air Fryer Salmon Recipes

Introduced to the market a little over a decade ago, the air fryer has become more popular than ever, thanks to its ease of use, the speed with which it cooks food, and its relatively small countertop footprint. Essentially a tiny convection oven, an air fryer works by blowing hot air over the food in the basket that cooks and browns whatever you’re cooking. One of the biggest selling points for air fryers is their ability to cook food in substantially less time than it would take using a traditional oven.

Let’s set the scene: It’s Wednesday evening and you just got home from work after a hellish day and you’re starving. You open the refrigerator to look for an option for a quick, hot meal and only find a jar of marinade, some salmon, and some (too) old takeout. You think to yourself, “I should really throw that out.” You then peruse the pantry and find nothing but saltines, cans of tuna, some pasta sauce, and dried pasta. The former is a hard pass and the latter just takes too long.

All you want after a hard day is something good to eat that doesn’t take an hour. We’ve all been there, so we decided to put together a list of the best air fryer salmon recipes that take less than 20 minutes to cook.

To Few Pointers:

  • Salmon should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, when you cook salmon in an air fryer, use an instant-read thermometer and remove the salmon once it hits 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and then let carryover cooking do the rest.
  • For easy cleanup, line the air fryer tray with aluminum foil.
  • Keep the salmon skin on while cooking, as it helps hold the meat together, and it’ll be easier to remove when it’s done cooking.
  • Make sure you preheat the air fryer first.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tray, as you need to make sure the hot air can cook everything evenly.

Salmon With Soy-Dijon Glaze

Air fryer salmon with salad
Well Plated

If you’re looking for a recipe with a little Asian influence, this one from Well Plated is for you. The glaze of brown sugar, umami-rich soy sauce, and pungent Dijon mustard is a perfect pairing with salmon. The air fryer does its thing and creates a deeply caramelized fillet in about 10 minutes.

Total: 18 minutes
Activate: 8 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. With paper towels, pat the salmon dry. Sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

  2. For easy cleanup, line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. In a small bowl or larger liquid measuring cup, mix together the brown sugar, Dijon, oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, and ginger (if using). Spoon all over the top of the salmon.

  4. Slide out the air fryer basket and set it on a heatproof surface. Place the fillets in the basket so they aren’t touching.
  5. Cook the salmon in the air fryer for 6 to 11 minutes, depending on their thickness and your model (fillets around 1 inch need 8 to 9 minutes). Don’t overcook it or the salmon will be dry. Salmon is done when it registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.
  6. Transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy hot, with a sprinkle of additional salt and pepper as desired.

Paprika and Garlic-Rubbed Salmon

Air fryer salmon with green beans and lemon on a plate
Feel Good Foodie

Paprika is not only a great seasoning choice for fish but it also helps promote browning during cooking, ensuring you get a nice crust in the end. This simple recipe from Feel Good Foodie is a definite winner for a weekday quick and healthy dinner. We recommend using smoked paprika instead of sweet for a smoky, spicy kick.

Total: 10 minutes
Activate: 8 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tartare sauce, for serving

method

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub each fillet with olive oil and season with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Place the salmon in the air fryer and air fry for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Please note, the time may vary between air fryers.

  3. Open the basket and check for the desired doneness with a fork. You can return the salmon for another 1 or 2 minutes as necessary.

Salmon With Whole-Grain Mustard Glaze

Air fryer salmon with salad on a plate
delicious

In our minds, adding whole-grain mustard to just about anything is a good idea, especially sauces and glazes. This awesome recipe from Delish is a winner in our book for the glaze alone. Whole-grain mustard combined with garlic, thyme, and brown sugar? Yes, please.

Total: 15 minutes
Activate: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Spread on top of salmon.
  2. Arrange salmon in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes.

Spicy Dry-Rubbed Salmon

Air fryer salmon on a plate
Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

We’re big fans of spicy dry rubs here, so this recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen is perfect. The spice rub is full of south-of-the-border flavors like chili, garlic, and cilantro that really sing with roasted salmon. A cilantro-lime crema on the side would really take this dish into the stratosphere.

Total: 10 minutes
Activate: 8 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges, optional for serving

method

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub each fillet with olive oil and season with the seasoning blend.
  3. Place the salmon in the air fryer and set the air fry for 7 to 9 minutes; this depends on the thickness of the salmon.
  4. Open the basket and check for the desired doneness with a fork. You can return the salmon for another 1 or 2 minutes as needed.
  5. Serve with optional lemon wedges and enjoy!

Brown Sugar-Garlic Salmon

Roasted salmon with asparagus and lemon wedges
The Recipe Critic

This recipe from The Recipe Critic may just be our all-time favorite. Packed with flavor from paprika, garlic, and chili powder alongside brown sugar and a dash of Italian seasoning, this dish is just what we think of as a killer weekday dinner in less than 20 minutes.

Total: 15 minutes
Activate: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. Salt and pepper the salmon. In a small bowl, add the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Rub on the salmon.

  2. In the basket of your air fryer, add the salmon skin side down. Turn the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes. If adding asparagus, add to the basket after 5 minutes.

Cajun-Style Salmon

Cajun air fryer salmon with lemon on a platter

We couldn’t do a round-up of salmon recipes without including blackened salmon. This recipe from the Recipe Teacher gives us one of the best spice mixtures to pair with salmon. A Cajun spice-rubbed salmon fillet is hard to beat, especially if it’s paired with an ice-cold Pilsner. It’s always best to combine strong, full-flavored spices (like paprika, chili, and garlic) with proteins like salmon that have a high-fat content and strong flavor.

Total: 15 minutes
Activate: 8 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

method

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brush salmon fillets with olive oil.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and generously apply them to the salmon.
  4. Place seasoned salmon in the air fryer basket or the middle tray position and then set the air fry to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon). The salmon will be done when the internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove from the air fryer and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before enjoying.

Garlic Butter Salmon

Garlic butter air fryer salmon with green beans and lemon
Everyday Family Cooking

Garlic butter is a classic sauce for fish for a reason: It’s easy to make, it’s delicious, and the flavors pair beautifully with anything from the sea. One of the simplest preparations, this recipe from Everyday Family Cooking is bound to be a weekly go-to dinner choice. Make it a date night (or just treat yourself) with a bottle of white Burgundy to drink alongside the salmon.

Total: 15 minutes
Activate: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian parsley (or 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the fresh salmon with salt and pepper and then mix together the melted butter, garlic, and parsley in a bowl.
  3. Baste the salmon fillets with the garlic butter mixture and carefully place the salmon inside the air fryer side by side with the skin side down.
  4. Cook for approximately 10 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a knife or fork.

Over the years, the air fryer has cemented its place in our home kitchens for quick, roasted meals, and unlike the larger countertop convection ovens, the air fryer can easily be tucked away in a cabinet while not in use. The air fryer does have some downsides, mainly the small size of the tray means you can only cook a small amount of food, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons for this little appliance.

While the air fryer will never fully replace a convection (or traditional) oven, it’s a machine that’s hard to beat when it comes to making a quick and healthy meal. If you’re in the market for an air fryer and looking for some helpful advice on which model to choose from, take a look at our guide for the best air fryer deals around.

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