Skillet Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce

12.01.2018

Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce is one of the tastiest, easiest salmon 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!

Seared salmon fillets on a serving platter topped with a garlic lemon butter sauce. Served with a side of asparagus.

My Favorite 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.

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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.

It’s 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 salmon is a restaurant worthy dish that you can make in the comfort of your own home in 20 minutes!

Salmon Recipe Video (1 min)

Showing how to sear salmon fillets in a skillet.

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Salmon

  • 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 compliment 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 Make Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce

  • Let salmon rest at room temperature briefly, so it cooks evenly.
  • Make the sauce – In a small saucepan melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 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 about 4 minutes on the first side until golden brown then flip and cooked through, about 2 – 3 minutes longer.
  • Plate salmon and drizzle each serving generously with butter sauce, sprinkle with parsley.

Pouring lemon butter sauce over salmon fillets on a white platter.

Tips for Pan Searing Salmon

  • 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 it it’s own but a sauce like this just takes it to a whole new level of delicious.

Overhead image of four cooked salmon fillets on a serving platter.

What Should I Serve with This Salmon?

I just served this with rice and steamed asparagus and it all came together perfectly (roasted vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, couscous, and quinoa are good choices too).

Other Ways to Use This Sauce

Love this 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 saute the garlic) and it’s just enough.

Close up image of single salmon fillet after cooking.

More Delicious Salmon Recipes to Try!

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Skillet Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce

4.85 from 66 votes

This Skillet Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce is one of the easiest tastiest dinners you can make! This salmon recipe requires minimal ingredients and it comes together so quickly.

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature 10 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile prepared garlic lemon butter sauce. In a small saucepan melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat. 
  3. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden brown, about 1 - 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and lemon juice. 
  4. 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.

  5. Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt and pepper. 
  6. Heat olive oil in a (heavy) 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Skillet Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 347 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 116mg 39%
Sodium 81mg 3%
Potassium 856mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 9.9%
Vitamin C 7.1%
Calcium 2.8%
Iron 8.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Salmon, salmon recipes
Calories: 347 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

213 comments

  • Camille: Thanks for this recipe. Perfect if you are looking for a really delicious and hearty meal with a busy schedule. <3 <3 The sauce recipe was pefect. It really blends well with the salmon. Gotta make this again. January 20, 2019 at 8:25am Reply

  • Robb Landau: Just made it for lunch- really good. Will definitely make it again. January 13, 2019 at 11:24am Reply

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