Deliciously tender and flaky inside, with a touch of crispiness outside, this air fryer salmon recipe will give you perfect fish every time – and keep a fresh cooking atmosphere in your kitchen.
Though you can bake or pan-fry your salmon, I’ve always found that it leaves a lingering fragrance in your kitchen. Putting salmon in the air fryer eliminates this concern and gives you delicious, flavorful fish in a fraction of the time.
- Salmon: For the best flavor and nutrients, I recommend using wild salmon like Sockeye, Coho, or Chinook. This salmon tends to be leaner with fewer contaminants but is still flavorful. Keep the skin on for deboned fillets – you can remove it before serving if you prefer. You can also use frozen salmon filets, though you’ll need to add an extra few minutes to the cooking time.
- Oil: I use olive oil, but any neutral cooking oil will work.
- Salt & black pepper: Season to taste. Feel free to experiment with other dried herbs and spices like garlic powder, Italian seasoning, green herbs, paprika, cumin, and more.
How to make air fryer salmon
Make the best Air Fryer Salmon with these easy steps. Season it up, cook it quick, and enjoy a tasty flaky salmon with little effort!
Prepare the Salmon: Use paper towels to pat the salmon completely dry, you may want to use this time to check for any lingering pin bones in the fish. To do this, rub your fingers across the filets, feeling for any bumps under the flesh. I find tweezers are best for removing them if you find any leftover bones.
Using your hands or a silicone brush, cover or rub the filets with oil on both sides before seasoning generously with salt and pepper. This is also the time to add your favorite seasonings or glazes if you prefer.
Preheat the Air Fryer to 400ºF/200ºC and allow it to preheat for a few minutes.
Arrange in the Air Fryer Basket: spraying the bottom of the basket with a small amount of oil to stop the fish from sticking. Place the salmon filets into the basket, leaving space between them so they don’t stick together.
Chef’s Tip: Avoid sticking by layering a piece of parchment paper underneath the salmon filets or using a silicone basket – this saves lots of clean-up time!
Cooking Time: Cook the salmon for 8-10 minutes aiming for an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) or until it becomes opaque on the outside with a slightly translucent center. With a fork or your finger, gently press the thickest part of the salmon to see if it flakes easily. If it does – it’s ready.
The exact cooking time for your air fryer salmon will depend on the size and thickness of the filets, as well as the individual model of your air fryer. Check on the salmon at 8 minutes, then continue to cook if needed.
Air fryer salmon makes for a great mid-week meal or meal prep option. Try serving these filets with these pairings:
- Vegetables: Salmon works best with green veggies. Try it with asparagus, sugar snap peas, or broccolini. It also works great with mushrooms, artichokes, or Brussels sprouts.
- Grains and Starch: Try it with potatoes au gratin, roasted, or mashed . It’s also easily added over rice with sauce and avocado for an easy and quick lunch.
- Salads: Serve alongside a colorful salad for a light but nutritious meal.
How to store and reheat
- To Store: Allow the fish to cool completely before storing any leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and make a great option for weekly meal prep.
- To Freeze: First, spread the fillets out on a tray. Place, uncovered, in the freezer and allow to freeze until solid for a few hours. Then, transfer the frozen filets into a Ziplock bag or an airtight container. It’ll keep for up to three months.
- To Reheat: Place the salmon back in the air fryer for a few minutes (I find 3-4 minutes is long enough). You can add a splash of water to the air fryer basket – this will create steam and ensure you get juicy results from your reheated air fryer salmon.
More seafood recipes
If you try this recipe for air fried salmon, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Air Fryer Salmon
- Use paper towels to pat the salmon filets dry. Then, allow them to come to room temperature on the counter for 15 minutes.You may also want to check for any remaining pin bones in the salmon. Rub your fingers across the fillets, feeling for any bumps under the flesh. You can use tweezers to help remove any.
- Using a silicone brush or your hands, brush/rub oil into both sides of the salmon filets before seasoning them generously with salt and pepper.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF/200ºC, spraying the bottom of the basket with a small amount of oil (to avoid sticking).
- Place the salmon filets in your air fryer basket, leaving space between them.
- Cook the salmon for 8-10 minutes until the salmon becomes opaque on the outside with a slightly translucent center. Use a finger to gently press the thickest part of the salmon to see if it flakes easily. If so, it's done.The exact salmon air fryer time will vary based on the size and thickness of the salmon fillets and your individual air fryer model. Check at 8 minutes, then continue to cook if needed.
- Allow the fish to cool completely before storing any leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and make a great option for weekly meal prep.
- Use even-sized fillets: This will ensure they cook at the same rate. I usually like to use fillets around 1 ½ in thick.
- Use skin-on salmon: You can remove it after cooking if preferred, but it will help hold the salmon together and keep it moist while cooking.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket: Make sure there is space between each fillet for the best results. If you’re making a large amount, cook the fillets in batches.
- Preheat the air fryer: Even if your machine doesn’t say it is necessary, I prefer to preheat it.
- Seasoning and marinades: Feel free to swap out the salt and pepper for your choice of dry rub or marinade. You can use lemon juice (and/or slices), garlic, fresh herbs like thyme or dill, a quick dry rub with onion and garlic powder and smoked paprika, Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, sweet chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.
- Add veggies: If you’re only making 1-2 fillets, add veggies like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli . As long as the vegetables cook in a similar time frame, it’s a super low-effort meal.