This air fryer salmon is so flaky and delicious. It is a quick and easy to make salmon recipe. Ready in 10 minutes and low carb!
Salmon in Air Fryer
What’s tasty, healthy, and will cook in less than ten minutes? This awesome, easy air fryer salmon recipe, that’s what! Cooking salmon in an air fryer will give you a surprisingly succulent, tasty piece of fish. There’s something of an art to cooking salmon perfectly, maintaining that buttery, flaky firmness without over (or under) cooking it. Fortunately, thanks to the air fryer, it’s never been easier to cook salmon to perfection time and time again.
Best of all, this only takes ten minutes to make, it’s really low in carbs, and really high in healthy fats and protein. If you’re pressed for time after work and need a healthy meal ASAP, this is a great option. Air fryers even brown the salmon just like they do in a restaurant!
Why Should I Use an Air Fryer?
The main benefit of the air fryer is convenience. The salmon cooks perfectly in under ten minutes, your clean-up is minimal (assuming you didn’t make a mess of the preparation surface) and you don’t need to worry about flipping the salmon or oil spitting from a hot pan. You can actually use less oil in an air fryer than conventional frying methods, too, and get similar results. That makes this salmon just as tasty, but much more delicious, than typical fried fish. It’s easier, healthier, and you don’t need to clean as much.
To make this delicious salmon in air fryer, you will need salmon fillets, olive oil, paprika, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar, thyme and salt.
How To Make Air Fryer Salmon
- First, cut your salmon fillet into even sizes. Each salmon chunk should be of similar width and depth. This ensures that they cook evenly. You can purchase pre-cut fillets, but if you have a good, sharp knife at home (and you should), it’s pretty quick to do this yourself.
- Season the fillets next. We’ll be using a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar, paprika, thyme and salt. Don’t over-season the salmon as this pink fish has a lovely natural flavor of its own that you don’t want to obscure. Instead, we’re interested in complementing that fishy flavor. The paprika also helps give the cooked salmon an attractive golden brown color, and the salt will heat up nicely, providing an additional cooking surface for the lovely salmon sear. Be sure to rub the seasoning in to get some deep flavor penetration.
- Put the salmon in the air fryer for 7-9 minutes. Thicker fillets take longer to cook, and higher volumes of salmon will take longer to cook. Test the salmon for doneness by flaking the flesh with a fork. If the salmon is opaque and flakes easily, it’s cooked!
What To Serve with Air Fryer Salmon
There are plenty of side dishes that perfectly complement salmon. The fish has a pleasant, relatively neutral flavor, so you can be as creative as you like with the sides. It’s a surprisingly versatile main!
We love a nice, bright salad like Fattoush as a side with salmon. Anything with a burst of citrussy freshness is a great option. Salads featuring tomatoes or avocado are particularly well-suited to a salmon main, but it’s really up to you.
If you’re looking to bulk up this meal, try using some high-quality whole grains. Rice, couscous, barley, or farro are great accompaniments to this salmon dish. You could even combine grains and salad, Mediterranean style, and make a couscous or Quinoa salad.
Vegetables, of course, are always welcome at the table. Roast veggies like Roasted Green Beans or Cheesy Roasted Asparagus from the oven, air fryer vegetables, or even better, veggies cooked in the air fryer with the salmon! Carrots, broccoli, broccolini, and green beans are perfect with this salmon dish. We love green vegetables with fish dishes because they nicely balance out the natural saltiness of the fish with a fresh, verdant flavor.
Air Fryer Salmon Tips
- Always be sure to have fillets of similar thickness. This makes sure they take the same amount of time to cook, they all cook evenly, and you don’t end up with errant over- or under-cooked pieces of salmon. You may need to cook salmon in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. That’s OK! It’s better to have perfectly cooked salmon and wait a little longer than imperfectly cooked salmon for the impatient.
- Check how done your salmon is with a fork! The time needed to cook your salmon will vary depending on the thickness of each piece. Take a fork, see if the salmon flakes easily under a little pressure, and decide if it’s done or not. Cooked salmon is opaque, not translucent. It should be barely opaque. Overcooked salmon dries out and has a solid orange-pink color, while undercooked salmon will retain a line or band of translucent, darker pinkness.
- Preheat your air fryer! An air fryer is pretty much a miniature oven. Just as you would when baking, always preheat the air fryer. This ensures that the salmon goes in at the appropriate cooking temperature and gets a nice sear. If the salmon goes into an air fryer that is still heating up, it won’t sear, and may lose moisture in the process. It’s easier just to preheat the fryer as you’re preparing your salmon fillets.
- Avoid overcrowding the basket. It’s better to cook your salmon in batches. Crowding the basket will make the salmon take longer to cook, compromise the sear, and in some cases prevent the sides of the fillet from being exposed to the heat in the fryer. Worse, the moisture from the fillets touching each other will prevent the deliciously crispy sear from forming.
Can You Store Air Fryer Salmon?
Like pretty much all seafood, fresh is always best. However, this salmon recipe, once cooked, is great for meal prep. You can store your cooked salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can freeze cooked salmon, too! Cooked salmon can go into the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the salmon in the fridge overnight and warm it until it’s heated through - perhaps measuring with a meat thermometer - when you’re ready to eat it.
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