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The Best Way To Cook Salmon Perfectly In An Air Fryer

Cooking salmon perfectly can sometimes seem like a daunting task. However, with the advent of the air fryer, achieving restaurant-quality salmon at home has become simpler and more consistent. This method ensures your salmon is cooked evenly, with a deliciously crispy exterior and a tender, flaky interior. Let’s dive into the best way to cook salmon perfectly in an air fryer.

Why Use an Air Fryer for Cooking Salmon?

Why Use an Air Fryer for Cooking Salmon?

Air fryers have revolutionized home cooking by offering a quick, healthy, and efficient way to prepare meals. Here’s why you should consider using an air fryer for cooking salmon:

  • Healthier Cooking: Air fryers use significantly less oil compared to traditional frying methods, making your meals healthier without compromising on taste.
  • Consistency: The air fryer ensures even cooking, so your salmon will be perfectly cooked every time.
  • Speed: Cooking salmon in an air fryer takes less time than traditional methods, making it perfect for quick weeknight dinners.
  • Flavor Retention: The rapid air circulation helps to lock in the natural flavors and moisture of the salmon, resulting in a juicy and flavorful dish.

Essential Ingredients and Tools


  • Salmon fillets (skin-on or skinless)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Optional: additional spices or herbs (e.g., garlic powder, paprika, dill)
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)


  • Air fryer
  • Cooking brush
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Air-Fried Salmon

Step 1: Prep the Salmon

Prep the Salmon

Start by patting the salmon fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial as it helps the seasoning stick to the fish and ensures a crispy exterior. Season the salmon generously with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices or herbs. You can customize the flavor profile to your liking by adding garlic powder, paprika, or fresh dill.

Step 2: Preheat the Air Fryer

Preheating the air fryer is essential for even cooking. Set your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and let it preheat for a few minutes. This step ensures the salmon starts cooking immediately upon being placed in the basket.

Step 3: Prepare the Air Fryer Basket

Prepare the Air Fryer Basket

To prevent the salmon from sticking, lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush it with a small amount of oil. This also helps to create a crispy skin on the salmon.

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Step 4: Place the Salmon in the Air Fryer

Arrange the seasoned salmon fillets in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure to leave some space between each fillet to allow for proper air circulation. This ensures the salmon cooks evenly on all sides.

Step 5: Cook the Salmon

Cook the salmon in the preheated air fryer for about 8-10 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Thicker fillets may require a few extra minutes. It’s better to check early and add more time if needed, rather than overcooking the salmon.

Step 6: Check for Doneness

To ensure the salmon is cooked to perfection, use a fork to gently flake the flesh. The salmon should easily flake apart and be opaque throughout. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).

Step 7: Serve Immediately

Once the salmon is cooked through, carefully remove it from the air fryer basket using tongs. Transfer it to serving plates and serve hot. You can garnish with lemon wedges for a fresh burst of flavor. Pair the salmon with your favorite sides such as steamed vegetables, rice, or a fresh salad.

Tips for Enhancing Flavor

  • Marinate: Consider marinating the salmon for 30 minutes before cooking. A simple marinade of soy sauce, honey, and garlic can add incredible depth of flavor.
  • Seasoning Blends: Experiment with different seasoning blends like Cajun or lemon pepper for a unique twist.
  • Herb Butter: Top the cooked salmon with a dollop of herb butter right before serving for an extra layer of richness.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overcrowding the Basket: Make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket as it can prevent even cooking.
  • Skipping the Preheat: Always preheat your air fryer to ensure even cooking.
  • Ignoring Thickness: Adjust cooking time based on the thickness of your salmon fillets to avoid undercooked or overcooked fish.

Health Benefits of Eating Salmon

Health Benefits of Eating Salmon

Salmon is not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits:

  • Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fats are known for their heart health benefits.
  • High in Protein: Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein.
  • Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals: Including B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.
  • Supports Brain Health: Omega-3s in salmon are beneficial for cognitive function.