How to Cook Salmon Perfectly

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Kayla

If you are intimidated by cooking salmon – or any fish for that matter – then this post is for you!

Many people want to eat more fish. However, cooking the perfect fillet is daunting! Fish is delicate, unforgiving, and easy to overcook. An extra minute or two can make or break the perfect fish fillet.

I learned how to cook salmon perfectly during my dietetic internship. I was fortunate enough to complete my supervised clinical hours with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During this time, I had the opportunity to participate in a live cooking demo with an on-site chef.

I clearly remember the demonstration and am here to share a few essential tips to help you build confidence and nail a perfect fillet of fish. Every. Single. Time.

Tips for preparing the perfect fish fillet

There are a few things to be aware of before we get into the nitty-gritty for preparing fish perfectly. First, here are a few ingredients you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Large non-stick pan – A solid non-stick pan will ensure your fish doesn’t stick
  • Paper towels – Patting the fish fillets dry is key to getting a good sear
  • Coarse salt – This ingredient creates a barrier between the fish and the pan
  • Avocado oil^ – This oil has a high smoke point making it a sturdy option for searing
  • Digital thermometer^ – Optional, yet highly recommended

Once you’ve got the goods listed above, you’re ready to get started!

**If you plan to use frozen fish fillets, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Cooking the perfect salmon fillet

You might be nervous using this method the first few times, but I promise it gets easier! Follow the step-by-step instructions here, and you will be a pro before you know it!

1) Preheat oven to 425F.

2) In a large non-stick pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil over medium-high heat.

3) In the meantime, prepare your fish fillets by patting them dry with a paper towel. Once dry, season both sides with coarse salt and pepper.

4) Add salmon to pan, skin side up. The side of the fish you plan to serve facing up will be the side you will be searing.

Pan seared salmon with skin

5) Looking from the side, remove fish from pan once you see it’s cooked halfway through. Place seared side up on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven.

6) Bake for 6-12 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets. Cook to an internal temperature of 140-145F. This is where a digital thermometer comes in handy!


I hope this post gives you the tools and confidence to nail the perfect salmon fillet! If you try this method or have another fool-proof way you use to cook fish, post in the comments below!

Yours truly,

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