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The Best Way To Cook Salmon Perfectly In An Air Fryer

Salmon is a versatile and nutritious fish that can be prepared in numerous ways, but achieving that perfect balance of a crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior can be a challenge. Enter the air fryer, a kitchen appliance that has revolutionized home cooking with its ability to deliver delicious, healthy meals quickly and effortlessly. Cooking salmon in an air fryer not only ensures an even cook but also brings out the best flavors and textures with minimal fuss. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the steps to cook salmon perfectly in an air fryer, from preparation to seasoning and cooking times. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking for an easy and reliable method, this guide will help you master the art of air-fried salmon. Get ready to enjoy restaurant-quality salmon right from your own kitchen, with tips and tricks that guarantee a perfect result every time.

Prep the Salmon

Before cooking, it’s essential to prepare the salmon fillets properly. Start by patting the salmon dry with paper towels. This step is crucial because it removes excess moisture from the surface of the fish, allowing it to crisp up nicely in the air fryer. Wet salmon can lead to steaming rather than searing, resulting in a less desirable texture. By ensuring the fillets are dry, you set the stage for a beautifully crisp and flavorful exterior. This drying process also helps the seasonings adhere better to the fish, enhancing the overall taste.


Next, it’s time to season the salmon. Drizzle the fillets with a bit of olive oil, which helps to lock in moisture and promotes even cooking. Then, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. For additional flavor, consider adding seasonings such as lemon pepper, garlic powder, or fresh herbs like dill or parsley. Lemon pepper adds a zesty brightness, garlic powder brings a savory depth, and fresh herbs infuse the fish with a fragrant, aromatic quality. Feel free to customize the seasonings to your liking or experiment with different spice blends to keep things interesting.

Preheat the Air Fryer

Preheating your air fryer is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. Set the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and allow it to preheat for a few minutes. Preheating ensures that the salmon fillets get a nice sear when you place them in the air fryer basket. A properly preheated air fryer will start cooking the salmon immediately, creating a crisp exterior while keeping the inside tender and moist. This step is similar to preheating an oven and is essential for achieving the best possible texture and flavor in your finished dish.

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Place in Air Fryer Basket

Once the air fryer is preheated, arrange the seasoned salmon fillets in the air fryer basket. Make sure to place them in a single layer, ensuring they are not overcrowded. If the salmon has skin, place it skin-side down for even cooking and easier removal later. Overcrowding the basket can lead to uneven cooking and less crispiness, so it’s best to cook the fillets in batches if necessary. Proper spacing allows the hot air to circulate freely around each piece, ensuring they cook evenly and develop a deliciously crisp exterior.

Cook Time

Cook the salmon in the preheated air fryer for about 10 to 12 minutes. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. As a general rule, cook for about 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. Thicker fillets may require the full 12 minutes, while thinner ones might be done in as little as 8 minutes. It’s essential to monitor the cooking process closely, especially if you’re cooking fillets of varying sizes. Adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure each piece is perfectly cooked through without being overdone.

Check for Doneness

To check if the salmon is done, gently flake apart the thickest part of the fillet with a fork. The flesh should be opaque and easily flake apart, indicating that it’s cooked through but still moist. If the center is still translucent and resists flaking, the salmon needs a few more minutes in the air fryer. Be careful not to overcook, as this can lead to dry, tough fish. Achieving the perfect level of doneness ensures that the salmon remains juicy and flavorful, providing a delightful eating experience.


Once the salmon is done, carefully remove it from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula. Let the fillets rest for a minute or two before serving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the fish, ensuring each bite is moist and flavorful. For added flavor, finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of chopped herbs, or your favorite sauce. Lemon juice adds a bright, tangy contrast to the rich salmon, while fresh herbs provide a burst of color and freshness. Serve the salmon alongside your favorite sides, such as steamed vegetables, rice, or a fresh salad, to complete the meal.

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