Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce


You can never have too many salmon recipes right? Well this Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce is most definitely going to a be a new go-to recipe for my family! Salmon is one of my favorite foods and I love that the flavor combinations in preparing it are endless. Lately I’ve been obsessed with just searing the salmon in a pan, I think it may actually be my choice method of cooking it – with grilling in a close second. I just love the way it gets this perfectly seared crisp crust on the exterior while the interior stays perfectly tender and doesn’t dry out. I also love the pan searing method because it’s one of the quickest. No preheating an oven or grill and it’s ready in about 7 minutes (with that said letting it rest at room temperature, as listed in the recipe, is optional I just feel it gives a better crust and helps it cook more evenly, but if you don’t have the 10 minutes no big deal).

Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

This salmon is packed to the max with flavor thanks to a simple light rub, which consists of cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper, then it’s topped with the simplest fresh sauce, which consists of sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, green onions and garlic. All good things right? I knew this was going to be good but it was even better than I was expecting. When measuring out the cilantro just be sure to pack it into the measuring cup otherwise you won’t get as much flavor – the cilantro really is the crowing flavor it. Also be sure to let the skillet get hot before you add the salmon so you get a good sear on it.


If you like salmon and easy, quick recipes then please try this salmon recipe! I’m really just obsessed with how delicious it is! On a side note if you have a bigger family than me and need more servings, you should have enough sauce for about 5 – 6 fillets just be sure to increase the amount on the spice rub and use two skillets.

Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce


Skillet Seared Salmon with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

5 from 6 votes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 cup natural sour cream
  • 2 green onions , end trimmed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro (mostly leaves, some stem)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic , sliced


  1. Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare sauce.
  2. For the sauce, add sour cream, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and season with salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp). Process until cilantro has been very finely minced. Set aside at room temperature while preparing salmon.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, 1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt (depending on how salty you like things) and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season both sides evenly with cumin mixture and lightly rub over salmon. Heat a (heavy) 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and once oil is shimmering add salmon (top side down first. Also leave space between fillets) and cook about 4 minutes, without moving, on the first side until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook salmon on opposite side until salmon has cooked through, about 2 - 3 minutes longer. Serve warm with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce.
  4. Recipe source: Cooking Classy


  • Kelly Senyei @ Just a Taste: I agree, you can never have too many salmon recipes! And this one is calling my name! May 9, 2017 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Catering Den Haag: This looks incredible! Yum! May 9, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

  • trisha: do you leave the skin on the salmon? May 9, 2017 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I forgot to add that note at first. I removed it but if you like to eat the skin you can leave it on. May 10, 2017 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Alyssa O: Looks delicious! Do you think plain greek yogurt would substitute well for the sour cream? May 9, 2017 at 5:39pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes it just won’t be as rich. If you do I’d use whole Greek yogurt. May 10, 2017 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Paige: That sauce looks incredible! I’m totally making this next week for one of my meal prep meals!

    Paige May 9, 2017 at 7:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Paige! May 10, 2017 at 10:41am Reply

  • Mama V @ Snowflaks & Coffeecakes Cooking School: Beautiful photos and delicious recipe Jaclyn! Salmon dishes are our family-favorites as well! Thanks for sharing! May 10, 2017 at 5:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the compliment! May 10, 2017 at 10:39am Reply

  • Marie Wyatt: What a simple and yummy recipe! I have this planned for next week now! What’s the side veggies you served it with? Those look delicious. May 10, 2017 at 9:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just added those for some color for the photo :) it’s just tomatoes, avocado and corn. I just ended up serving this with corn on the cob and rice. May 10, 2017 at 10:39am Reply

  • Pamela: I wonder how this cilantro dressing would taste as the dressing in a tuna sandwich. May 10, 2017 at 9:59am Reply

  • Sara @ Last Night’s Feast: Whoa the crust on that salmon is perfection! Looks amazing =) May 10, 2017 at 6:33pm Reply

  • Carol: Outstanding!! The crispy salmon and the cool flavors of the sauce were a delicious and amazing combination!! I can see the sauce used for so many other things, my tilapia fish tacos for one…..!! May 12, 2017 at 4:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed it Carol! Thanks for your review! May 22, 2017 at 3:21pm Reply

  • Kathy: This sounds AMAZING! How do you think it would do on tilapia? I LOVE salmon but have a ton of tilapia to use. May 16, 2017 at 10:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It would probably be good on just about any fish is my guess :). It’s a pretty versatile sauce that can blend well with different flavors. May 22, 2017 at 3:21pm Reply

  • Beverly Stokes: I made the skillet seared salmon with the creamy cilantro lime sauce along with corn/red pepper/avocado side dish and it was absolutely a hit at my house. I will definitely try other recipes. May 18, 2017 at 12:19pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad it was enjoyed Beverly! Thanks for letting me know! May 22, 2017 at 3:20pm Reply

  • Katie: I made this tonight, on the charcoal grill. It was excellent! We had steamed pee wee potatoes as a side, the sauce was excellent on fish and potatoes. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you for sharing:) May 20, 2017 at 6:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Katie, thanks for your comment! May 20, 2017 at 7:49pm Reply

  • Marketa Mojer: What is the recipe for the side? May 21, 2017 at 9:40am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s just a blend of corn, tomato and avocado. It goes well with the sauce and rice. May 22, 2017 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Neha: When making the sauce do you make it in a saucepan on low heat or do you mix it in a bowl? The reason I’m asking is because at the end it says serve sauce warm so I was a little unclear on that. June 20, 2017 at 9:03am Reply

  • Neha: Also with the sauce is it supposed to be blended in a blender? June 20, 2017 at 9:08am Reply

  • PassinThru: You spilled corn and cilantro on the table. The food does look delicious though. July 19, 2017 at 8:21pm Reply

    • Jenny: You are silly. It is supposed to be like that. It makes the dish look more tantalizing. I can almost smell it through the internet. Yum! July 19, 2017 at 8:26pm Reply

  • Jenny: I’m guessing you don’t keep comments that don’t give 5 star reviews. How many people don’t like your food compared to those who do? I’d be willing to try your recipes if I could trust the comments. Too bad. Please add a way to vote. BTW, nice pictures. Just my two cents. July 19, 2017 at 8:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I always allow negative reviews unless it’s bullying and flat out rude (like “f” you/hate you). If you were to skim through comments throughout all my recipes you’ll find some negative reviews. July 20, 2017 at 10:43am Reply

  • Penny Redmond: Some people are born to complain. How unfortunate for them. So sad!!
    I need your help. I just found you on instagram and I love love your recipes. I am having 14 for dinner on Sunday and thought I would make your Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad, Classic Macaroni Salad, Moroccan Carrot Chick Pea Salad and Garlic Herb Potato Salad ( I have an old chicken picatta casserole recipe I will use too) Two Questions:
    1. can I make most of the salads the day before but hold back on the dressing until Sunday?
    2. Would you mind if I used your recipe on my website and FB giving you full credit of course. I will take my own pictures which will sadly pale compared to yours. My website is brand new! It is still being worked( the photography is poorly sized) but I was anxious to start publishing.
    Thanks and take care,
    Penny July 20, 2017 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you found my site Penny! To answer your question, yes you should be fine to make the salad and dressing the day before, with the broccoli salad and macaroni salad I’d add the dressing the next day then with the carrot chick pea and garlic herb potato salad you could add the dressing the day before. And that would be fine to share on Facebook :). I hope you love all of them! Good luck with the new site! July 21, 2017 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Chandra: I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream because that is what I had in my fridge…otherwise I followed the recipe. Delicious. July 20, 2017 at 6:20pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you enjoyed it Chandra! Thanks for your feedback! July 21, 2017 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Heather Hardin: This was delicious. I used half fat free Greek yogurt and half sour cream. The sauce was great on salad and roasted asparagus as well. July 23, 2017 at 5:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it Heather! July 26, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

  • Jessica: Yummy! I made this tonight for my husband. The only changes I made were adding just a little more salt to taste for the cilantro cream sauce and in the seasoning for the salmon I added a few dashes of magic salmon into the already made salmon seasoning. Paired this with veggies and loved it! So good! July 27, 2017 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Megan @ Meg’s Meal Planning: I agree, this is my favorite way to cook salmon too! I use my cast iron and the fish is cooked perfectly! August 18, 2017 at 1:47pm Reply

  • Leslie Jackson: Would this work with frozen salmon fillets that have been thawed? I’m landlocked in a small town and can’t get my hands on great fresh salmon usually. ;) September 10, 2017 at 5:55pm Reply

  • MathieuA: How much oil do you put in your pan? September 11, 2017 at 4:35pm Reply

  • Natalie: This was so amazing! I didn’t have the ingredients for the sauce so I just did my salmon with your rub. My husband LOVED it! Thank you!! September 28, 2017 at 7:46am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you loved the salmon recipe Natalie! September 28, 2017 at 10:26am Reply

  • traci vitug: my gawd, this is good. I could bathe in that sauce!!! October 16, 2017 at 9:32pm Reply

  • Jen: I made this reciepe tonight and it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever eaten. I used a fresh 2lb peice of salmon with skin on and pan seared it then finished it in the oven, with the sauce on top. It was amazing. November 2, 2017 at 8:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Jen, I’m so happy to hear that!! November 2, 2017 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Evelin: Hi! I made this tonight and it was amazing! I love salmon and this was a great recipe. I didn’t have any cilantro but really wanted to make that awesome looking sauce so I used parsley instead and it came out good. Next time I’ll definitely make sure I have cilantro though. Thank you for sharing such great recipe! January 16, 2018 at 5:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feedback! January 23, 2018 at 1:50pm Reply

  • becky: It was delicious! Added an avocado salsa and coconut basmati rice for the hubs.
    Will def make again! January 21, 2018 at 8:24pm Reply

  • KAREN: Used Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Yogurt dressing for the sauce – 40 calories for 2 Tbsp. February 18, 2018 at 4:20pm Reply

  • Rachel M: I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! Went in the “make again” category. I served with orzo (you have us addicted to orzo). Thank you for feeding my family (again) with another yummy recipe! March 1, 2018 at 7:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you enjoyed it – thanks for leaving a review! March 2, 2018 at 2:15pm Reply

  • ellen: How much oil do you use? March 21, 2018 at 6:44am Reply

  • Janelle: This was amazing! Love your photos too:) thanks for sharing! May 7, 2018 at 9:00pm Reply

  • LeeAnne: Hi, silly question, but do you heat the sauce? May 14, 2018 at 12:16pm Reply

  • Leah: Delicious and easy! Thank you for the terrific recipe. June 16, 2018 at 12:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the 5 star feedback! June 18, 2018 at 2:42pm Reply

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