Pan Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce is one of the tastiest, easiest recipes you’ll ever try! Tender salmon fillets are pan seared until perfectly golden brown then covered in a simple, vibrant and rich lemon butter sauce. A reader favorite!
Easy Pan Seared Salmon Recipe
I love to sear salmon in a skillet because it yields a perfectly crisp seared exterior while the interior stays nice and tender. When you think there’s just no time for dinner, there’s always time to sear a salmon fillet and add a bright squeeze of lemon juice.
But here we’ve got 5 extra minutes so I made this seriously delicious garlic butter lemon sauce. That saying the “the secret’s in the sauce” holds true on this one.
The lemon butter sauce for salmon is made up of 4 basic ingredients (garlic, butter, fresh lemon juice and chicken broth) and once you try it you’ll want to add it to everything.
This pan fried salmon recipe is a restaurant-worthy dish that you can make in the comfort of your own home in 20 minutes!
Want to see how easy it is? Watch this video.
Pan Seared Salmon Ingredients
- Salmon fillets – main ingredient. Rich in omega 3 and great source of protein!
- Salt and pepper – so the salmon isn’t bland.
- Olive oil – to help brown the salmon and prevent sticking.
- Chicken broth – to create a sauce. White wine will work great too.
- Fresh lemon – for bright flavor. It’s the perfect complement to salmon.
- Garlic – for another layer of flavor.
- Butter – for richness.
- Honey – to balance out the tartness of the lemon.
- Parsley – for a nice colorful garnish.
How to Cook Salmon in a Pan
- Let salmon rest at room temperature briefly, so it cooks evenly.
- Make the lemon butter sauce. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth and lemon juice.
- Let sauce simmer until it has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and honey, set sauce aside.
- Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add salmon and cook until done to your liking.
- Plate salmon and drizzle each serving generously with lemon butter sauce, sprinkle with parsley.
How Long to Cook Salmon in a Pan
For this garlic butter salmon recipe, I used 6-oz salmon fillets. I cooked them for about 4 minutes on the first side until golden brown then flip and cooked through, about 2 – 3 minutes longer.
What to Serve with Salmon
I just served this lemon garlic salmon with rice and steamed asparagus and it all came together perfectly! If you need a few more ideas, here are some additional sides for salmon I enjoy:
Other Ways to Use the Lemon Butter Sauce
Love this lemon butter sauce recipe? Try it on:
- On any fish fillets
- With chicken breasts or a roast chicken
- On steak with extra herbs such as rosemary or thyme
- On boiled potatoes or other boiled or steamed veggies
If you want an even richer sauce, you can add an extra tablespoon or two of butter here but I like to keep it on the healthier side so I kept it at a minimal 3 tablespoons (plus the teaspoon to sauté the garlic) and it’s just enough.
Tips for Making Pan Seared
- Let salmon rest briefly before cooking so it cooks more evenly.
- Preheat the pan and oil, this will help salmon brown better. Don’t add to a cold skillet.
- Dab salmon dry before adding to pan, this will give you better browning.
- Don’t move salmon as it cooks. Again, better browning.
- Don’t over-cook it! Salmon should still look slightly pink in the center.
- Serve it with a sauce. Pan seared salmon is great on its own, but a lemon butter sauce like this just takes it to a whole new level of delicious.
More Salmon Dinner Ideas to Try!
- Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa
- Baked Parmesan and Panko Crusted Salmon
- Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Creamy Salmon Piccata
- 5-Ingredient Marinated Grilled Salmon
- Salmon and Asparagus in Foil
- Lemon Garlic Herb Grilled Salmon
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Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
- 4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter , diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
- Lemon slices for garnish (optional)
- Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the garlic lemon butter sauce. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute until lightly golden brown, about 1 - 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and lemon juice.
- Let sauce simmer until it has reduced by half (to about 3 Tbsp), about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and honey and whisk until combined, set sauce aside.
- Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a (heavy) 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is shimmering add salmon and cook about 4 minutes 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.
- Plate salmon (leaving oil in pan) and drizzle each serving generously with butter sauce, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon slices if desired. Serve immediately.
- If you want an even richer sauce, you can add an extra tablespoon or two of butter here but I like to keep it on the healthier side so I kept it at a minimal 3 tablespoons (plus the teaspoon to sauté the garlic) and it's just enough.
- Recipe source: Cooking Classy