Blackened Salmon

July 13, 2021

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Blackened Salmon with a buttery honey lime sauce! It’s a quick and easy dish that packs in so many layers of well balanced flavor.

Photo: Blackened salmon shown topped with buttery honey lime sauce. Parsley and limes are shown as garnishes.

Bold Blackened Salmon

Blackened salmon is made using a cooking technique where fish fillets are liberally seasoned with a cajun spice rub then pan seared in a hot skillet until fairly well darkened (or blackened) on the exterior.

A beautiful crisp crust is formed and it has a nice hint of a charred flavor which highlight its more mellow interior.

Then with this specific recipe you also get a welcome final upgrade of a butter based honey and lime sauce to take it to a whole new level of delicious!

So much flavor in every tender bite!

Here as far as heat goes you can control just how spicy (or mild) you’d like it by adjusting the cayenne pepper to taste. That’s part of the beauty of cooking at home, making things to taste.

On a side note don’t shy away from the recipe just because there appears to be a daunting list of ingredients. Most of it is just spices you likely already have on hand.

And if you even insist you could skip the sauce and still have an incredibly satisfying seafood dinner.

Image of ingredients used to make blackened salmon shown overhead on a marble surface.

Blackened Salmon Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 (7 oz) salmon fillets (skinless or skin-on), about 1-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-Tbsp pieces

Collage of four photos showing process of making cajun spice seasoning for blackened salmon and spreading it over the fillets.

How to Make Blackened Salmon (+ Sauce)

  1. Preheat skillet: Pour oil into 12-inch cast iron skillet, tilt pan to coat with oil. Heat pan over medium heat (monitor the oil while you prep the salmon don’t let it over-heat).
  2. Season salmon: Season both sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
  3. Rub salmon with spices: In a mixing bowl whisk together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano. Sprinkle mixture evenly over tops of salmon fillets and spread evenly over to coat top surface.
  4. Sear salmon in skillet on first side: Place salmon fillets in heated skillet spice rubbed side facing downward. Let sear until blackened on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  5. Cook opposite side: Flip salmon to opposite side and let cook until browned on bottom and just barely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer (if needed you can reduce burner temperature to medium-low if it’s getting too dark on exterior before interior cooks through).
  6. Transfer salmon: Remove salmon to serving plates, turn off heat for the pan.
  7. Make sauce: While salmon is cooking mix together honey and lime in bowl (you can use now empty spice bowl). Carefully pour chicken broth into pan pouring in from the edge.
  8. Finish with butter: Add lime mixture and butter, stir to melt butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste as needed.
  9. Pour sauce over salmon fillets and serve right away garnished with parsley.

Collage of six images showing how to blacken salmon in skillet then making a honey lime sauce to serve atop.

Variations

Grilled blackened salmon: Brush salmon fillets with olive oil or melted butter then rub with spice mixture. Grill over moderately high heat until cooked through, turning once halfway.

Blackened salmon tacos: Omit the sauce, cook salmon as directed then break into pieces. Serve in corn or flour tortillas with all your favorite toppings (ideas are finely lime, shredded cabbage, onion, fish taco sauce, cotija cheese).

Top with a fruity salsa: Instead of serving with the blackened salmon sauce here serve with a mango salsa or avocado salsa instead.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to pre-heat the skillet for a nice sear.
  • Don’t move the salmon while it cooks, this is also for better blackening.
  • Use a high smoke point oil such as light olive oil or vegetable oil so it doesn’t get smokey in the kitchen (and so the oil doesn’t burn and impart an off flavor).
  • If salmon is browning too quickly before center is cooking through reduce burner temperature (as always).
  • If preferred you can test center of salmon with a thermometer for doneness to take out the guess work. USDA recommends a safe temp of 145 (which is a bit well done), but many chefs recommend 125 to a medium doneness for more tender flaky fish that isn’t dry.

Close up photo of blackened salmon with buttery honey lime sauce.

What to Serve with Blackened Salmon

Close up photo of blackened salmon with buttery honey lime sauce. Sautéed vegetables are shown to the side as a serving suggestion.

More Tasty Salmon Recipes to Try

 

Photo: Blackened salmon shown topped with buttery honey lime sauce. Parsley and limes are shown as garnishes.
5 from 7 votes

Blackened Salmon

Salmon fillets are liberally seasoned with a homemade cajun style seasoning then pan seared in a hot skillet until lightly charred and blackened. Then last but not least it's finished with a super flavorful and rich buttery honey lime sauce to compliment it.
Servings: 4
Prep15 minutes
Cook8 minutes
Ready in: 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (7 oz) salmon fillets (skinless or skin-on), about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (can adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Buttery Honey Lime Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-Tbsp pieces

Instructions

  • For the salmon: Pour oil into 12-inch cast iron skillet, tilt pan to coat with oil. Heat pan over medium heat (monitor the oil while you prep the salmon don't let it over-heat, pull pan from heat if needed).
  • Season both sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano. Sprinkle mixture evenly over tops of salmon fillets and spread evenly over to coat top surface.
  • Place salmon fillets in heated skillet, spice rubbed side facing downward. Let sear until blackened on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip salmon to opposite side and let cook until browned on bottom and just barely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer (if needed you can reduce burner temperature to medium-low if it's getting too dark on exterior before interior cooks through).
  • Remove salmon to serving plates, turn off heat for the pan.
  • For the sauce: While salmon is cooking mix together lime juice and honey in bowl (you can use now empty spice bowl).
  • Carefully pour chicken broth into pan pouring in from the edge (it will steam wildly from the residual heat of the pan so only pour from the edge).
  • Add lime mixture and butter, stir to melt butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste as needed.
  • Pour sauce over salmon fillets and serve right away garnished with parsley if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Blackened Salmon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 424 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 132mg44%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 1053mg30%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 40g80%
Vitamin A 1139IU23%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 43mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.