Air Fryer Salmon is a heartbreaker. Utterly tender and flaky inside, with a blush of crispness on top, it is so darn delicious it will make it basically impossible for you to ever order salmon in a restaurant again.
A firm believer that you don’t need to arm yourself with an array of fancy gadgets to cook a fantastic meal, I generally loathe purchasing new kitchen appliances.
Thus, it is no small announcement when I tell you that salmon cooked in the air fryer (this is the model I eventually bought) is something to brag about.
Call your mom, text a pic to that foodie friend, and post to social media.
You cooked a seriously tasty piece of fish that is hands-down better than 97% of the salmon I’ve ordered out.
- If you don’t have an air fryer but want to cook salmon, try my top-rated Baked Salmon in Foil or Broiled Salmon, along with these healthy salmon recipes.
- If you DO have an air fryer, then I share your obsession. Be sure to check out my full collection of air fryer recipes. (Air Fryer French Fries, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, and Air Fryer Chicken Breasts are on our menu almost weekly.)
How to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer
You can cook salmon in the air fryer with any of your favorite seasonings, using the time and temperature in this recipe.
The marinade I used for this recipe is very loosely based on the absolute favorite, back-pocket 5-Ingredient Maple Dijon Salmon from my cookbook.
It’s a lovely blend of sweet and savory.
- Salmon. I prefer to cook this salmon with skin on, as the fillet holds together more easily, and I find skin-on salmon turns out more moist and flaky results than salmon with the skin removed. Once the salmon is cooked, it will flake away from the skin easily. For the best taste, seek out fresh salmon that is sustainably sourced (it feels good to do too!). A delicious protein, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Brown Sugar or Honey. Brown sugar or honey gives the salmon the perfect amount of sweetness and helps it caramelize.
- Dijon Mustard. Tangy, zippy, and pairs wonderfully with the brown sugar/honey and soy sauce.
- Soy Sauce. A salty umami bomb that coats the salmon in scrumptious flavor.
- Ginger. While optional, adding a pinch to make salmon with ginger gives the sauce a subtle, lively touch.
- Garlic. A seafood flavor BFF (Garlic Salmon with Lemon Butter agrees).
- Dry the salmon, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Stir the glaze together. Spread the mixture over the salmon.
- Add the salmon filets to an air fryer basket lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Air fry the salmon at 400 degrees F for 6 to 11 minutes cooking time. ENJOY!
The best way to know when salmon is done is to use an instant read thermometer like this one.
Per the FDA, salmon should be cooked to internal temperature of 145 degrees F in the thickest part of the salmon. To make sure your air fry salmon isn’t dry, remove it around 135 degrees F, then cover it and let it rest. The carryover cooking will bring it to temperature, and your salmon will be moist and flaky.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fry Salmon and Asparagus. Asparagus and salmon are a classic pairing. While the salmon is in the air fryer, prepare this fast Grilled Asparagus or Roasted Asparagus, or make Air Fryer Asparagus.
- Air Fryer Salmon and Vegetables. You can pair any veggie with salmon. For a comfort-food dinner, try Oven Roasted Potatoes or Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. For something green, Roasted Broccoli and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts are excellent.
- Air Fryer Salmon with Salad. Salad is an ideal side dish with salmon. Ramen Salad or Asian Noodle Salad would pair perfectly.
- To Store. Refrigerate salmon in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the fridge.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat until just warmed through.
Flaked leftover cooked salmon can be used in many ways!
- Add it to scrambled eggs or Crustless Quiche (especially good with goat cheese and dill).
- Add it to Homemade Fried Rice.
- Serve it over a salad, such as this meal-prep-friendly Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- Make Salmon Salad to serve in a sandwich, in lettuce wraps, or over greens or a bed of quinoa.
- Turn it into air fryed salmon patties by swapping it for the canned salmon in this Salmon Patty Recipe or the Salmon Quinoa Cakes in my cookbook.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. Perfect for any of your favorite air fryer recipes!
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to make sure your salmon is cooked through is using a meat thermometer.
- Liquid Measuring Cup. These are a must-have in my kitchen.
Air fryer salmon may have wholly ruined me from all future restaurant salmon orders, but thankfully it has a few important distinctions from heartbreaks of the past.
It exceeds expectations, never lets me down, and the only tears I’ll cry is if Ben beats me to the last serving!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can cook frozen salmon in the air fryer! To make this recipe with frozen salmon, preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees F. Lay the salmon on aluminum foil in the air fryer and cook for about 7 minutes or until thawed. Drizzle the soy/mustard mixture over the top of the filets as directed, then cook for another 6 to 11 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
Air Fryer Garlic Lemon Salmon. In the glaze spread over the salmon, replace the Dijon mustard and soy sauce with 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, increase the garlic powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons, and add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange lemon slices on top of the salmon while cooking.
Dry Rub. Remove all liquids and add your favorite seasonings for the dry rub, such as paprika, oregano, basil, and garlic powder. Or try this special Salmon Seasoning combination of mine!
Spicy Salmon. Season the salmon with your favorite Cajun seasoning, or try the seasoning from this Spicy Salmon recipe.
Air Fryer Salmon
- With paper towels, pat the salmon dry. Sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
- For easy cleanup, line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for my air fryer, that is 3 minutes).
- 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.
- Slide out the air fryer basket and set it on a heatproof surface. Place the fillets in the basket so that they are not touching.
- Cook the salmon in the air fryer for 6 to 11 minutes, depending upon their thickness and your model (fillets around 1 inch will need 8 to 9 minutes). Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry. Salmon is done when it registers 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (I remove mine a few degrees early, let it rest, then the carryover cooking finishes the job). Check it a few times towards the end to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy hot, with a sprinkle of additional salt and pepper as desired.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat until just warmed through.
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