Easy Air Fryer Salmon Recipe (+ Video)

If you’re anything like me, finding quick, easy, and tasty recipes for dinner is a daily mission. This is why I’m so fond of my air fryer. It’s a game-changer, especially for fish dishes. One of my absolute favorites is this easy air fryer salmon recipe.

This air-fried salmon, seasoned with a homemade rub, is tender, succulent, flaky, and flavorful. Brushed with olive oil and garlic, it offers a perfect balance of sweet and smoky with an earthy hint. Crisp outside and tender inside, this simple, easy air fryer salmon recipe impresses every time.

Ready to cook some fish?

Here Is What You Need For This Recipe

air fryer salmon ingredients

Let’s talk ingredients. For this quick and delicious air fryer salmon, we’re keeping things simple but oh-so flavorful. Here are the ingredients you need:

  1. 2 skin-on salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
  2. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  3. 1 tsp brown sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1/4 tsp thyme
  7. Olive oil for brushing
  8. 2 garlic cloves pressed

Now, let’s move on to the air frying part.

How To Cook Salmon in an Air Fryer?

cooking salmon in air fryer

Ready to get cooking? Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how to make this delicious air fryer salmon. This omega-3-rich fish is a breeze to prepare, and I’m sure you’ll love the fantastic flavor and texture we’ll achieve!

Step 1: Alright, so we’re going to start by putting together the rub for the salmon. This is the part where I love to get creative. I recommend a mix of smoked paprika powder, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, and thyme.

making dry rub for salmon fillets

The smoked paprika adds a nice smoky flavor, and the brown sugar gives it a bit of sweetness to balance things out and caramelize the fillets on the top.

The thyme, salt, and pepper just round it all up perfectly. But hey, feel free to use your own seasoning mix if you like. Cooking is all about making it your own, right?

Step 2: Now, onto the salmon. I like to brush the fillets with some olive oil first. This is going to help our seasoning stick, and it’s also going to give us a beautifully crispy exterior as it cooks. After that, go ahead and rub in some garlic. Trust me, garlic and fish are a match made in culinary heaven!

preparing salmon fillets before cooking

Step 3: It’s seasoning time! Sprinkle that delicious dry rub we made earlier all over the salmon. You know what they say, the more, the merrier. A good seasoning ensures we get mouthfuls of flavor with every bite!

seasoning salmon fillets before cooking in an air fryer

Step 4: Lightly brush the air fryer basket with some oil, or I like to use parchment paper for easy cleaning. Place the seasoned salmon fillets into the air fryer basket.

I’ve got to tell you why I prefer using an air fryer for this salmon fillets recipe. It cooks the fish evenly with hot air circulating all around, which means we get a perfectly cooked, moist, and flaky salmon every time. Plus, it’s faster than using an oven and doesn’t heat up the entire kitchen!

placing the salmon fillets into the air fryer basket

Step 5: Now, dial your air fryer to 390°F (200°C). The cook time will depend on the size of your fillets. I usually go for about 8-10 minutes in the air fryer. What you’re looking for is a salmon that’s flaky in the middle and slightly brown on top.

salmon cooked in air fryer for 10 minutes

And there you have it! You’ve just made a fantastic, restaurant-quality dish right in your own kitchen. Serve it straight away and drizzle with some fresh lemon juice if you wish.

How To Serve This Air Fryer Salmon?

creamy mashed potatoes for salmon recipe

You know what’s great about this easy air fryer salmon recipe? It goes with just about anything. It’s pretty awesome with a fresh green salad, rice, or some roasted or steamed veggies. But, let’s be honest, nothing beats pairing it with a heap of creamy mashed potatoes.

The moist and flaky salmon, combined with the smooth, buttery taste of mashed potatoes, creates a satisfying meal that’s both simple and delicious.

And guess what? I’ve got just the recipe for those creamy mashed potatoes here. You’ve got to try it! It’s easy to make and a guaranteed hit at the dinner table. So, why not give it a go?

Skin On or Skin Off?

salmon fillet with skin on

Cooking salmon with the skin on or off largely comes down to personal preference, but there are advantages to both methods.

Cooking salmon with the skin on helps to keep the fillet together, making it easier to handle when placing it in and removing it from the air fryer. The skin also helps to retain moisture in the fish, preventing it from drying out during the cooking process.

Plus, if crisped up well, the skin can add a delightful textural contrast to the tender, flaky meat.

Personally, I like to cook my salmon with the skin on for the reasons I mentioned, but feel free to experiment with both methods and see which one you prefer!

Foil or No Foil?

air fryer salmon in foil

Wrapping your salmon in aluminum foil is a cooking technique often used to lock in moisture and create a more poached or steamed-like taste. However, when cooking salmon in the air fryer, I recommend cooking it without foil to achieve a slight crispiness and a satisfying fired texture.

This allows the air to circulate around the salmon, promoting even cooking and enhancing the flaky texture.

So, skip the foil and let your air fryer work its magic to create a deliciously crispy exterior while keeping the salmon moist and tender on the inside.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Storage Instructions: Leftover air fryer salmon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. First, let the salmon cool completely. Then, transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

Reheating Instructions: For the best results, I recommend reheating the salmon in the air fryer to maintain its crisp exterior and tender, flaky interior. Set your air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover salmon in the air fryer basket and heat for about 6-7 minutes or until it’s warmed through.

You can also reheat the salmon in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), place the salmon on a baking sheet, and warm it for about 15 minutes.

Remember, the key is to heat it gently and slowly to prevent the salmon from drying out. You want to keep all those beautiful flavors intact for your leftover delight.


frozen salmon fillets

Got questions about cooking salmon in your air fryer? Check out the answers below to find the information you need to cook up some delicious air fryer salmon. Whether it’s about seasoning, cook times, or other tips and tricks, I hope I got you covered. If not, leave a question in the comments section below.

What temperature should I use to cook salmon in an air fryer?

Most recipes, including mine, recommend cooking salmon at around 390°F (200°C) in an air fryer. This temperature ensures that the salmon cooks quickly, sealing in the moisture and yielding a tender, flaky interior, and a nicely browned exterior.

How long should I cook salmon in an air fryer?

The cooking time for salmon in an air fryer can vary based on the thickness of the salmon fillets and the specific model of your air fryer. Generally, a 6-ounce salmon fillet will take around 8-10 minutes to cook in an air fryer.

Do I need to preheat my air fryer before cooking salmon?

While not always necessary, preheating your air fryer can help achieve a more evenly cooked and browned result. If your air fryer has a preheat setting, feel free to use it.

How do I know when my salmon is done?

Salmon is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check for doneness by looking at the color and texture of the salmon. Cooked salmon is opaque and will flake easily with a fork.

Can I cook frozen salmon in an air fryer?

Place the frozen salmon fillets in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer at the recommended temperature for 12-15 minutes. Once the salmon has partially thawed during cooking, you brush the fillets with olive oil and add your desired seasonings. Continue cooking until the salmon is fully cooked and until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

My salmon came out dry; what did I do wrong?

Overcooking is usually the culprit when salmon turns out dry. Ensure that you’re not cooking the fish for too long, and remember, it will continue to cook a bit even after you take it out of the air fryer. Also, be sure not to skip the step of brushing the salmon with olive oil, which helps to keep it moist during cooking.

Does salmon go skin-side down in an air fryer?

When cooking salmon in the air fryer, it is recommended to place the fillets skin-side down and not flip them. This allows for even cooking and helps to ensure that the skin becomes crisp and delicious.

Can I make this recipe in an oven instead?

Absolutely! While this recipe is designed for the air fryer, you can easily adapt it to cook salmon in the oven. Preheat your oven to 390°F (200°C), season the salmon fillets as instructed, and bake them for about 12-15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Remember to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of your fillets. Enjoy your oven-baked salmon!

Read Also: How To Tell If Frozen Fish Is Bad? (5 Signs of Spoilage).

Easy Air Fryer Salmon Fillets Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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I love using my air fryer for quick, tasty dinners, especially for this salmon fillet recipe. The homemade rub of smoked paprika, brown sugar, and thyme creates a beautiful balance of flavors. Once air-fried, the salmon is moist and flaky and boasts a crispy exterior that’s hard to resist. It’s a simple yet impressive dish that’s ready in no time.

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  • 2 salmon fillets, about 6 oz each

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp thyme

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed


  • Prepare the salmon rub: In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon of smoked paprika powder, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Mix well. Feel free to substitute it with your favorite seasoning or spice mix.
  • Prep the salmon: Take two salmon fillets, each about 6 ounces. Brush the fillets on both sides with olive oil.
  • Season the salmon: Rub the fillets generously with the pressed garlic, making sure to cover all areas. Then, evenly sprinkle the salmon rub that we prepared earlier onto the fillets.
  • Cook the salmon: Lightly spray the air fryer basket with some oil, ole cover it with some parchment paper for easy cleaning. Place the seasoned salmon fillets into the basket of the air fryer. Set the temperature to 390°F (200°C).
  • Air fry the salmon: Cook the fillets for about 8-10 minutes. The exact time may depend on the thickness of the fillets. The salmon is done when it’s flaky in the middle and slightly brown on top.
  • Serve: Carefully remove the salmon fillets from the air fryer using a spatula. Serve your air fryer salmon straight away for the best dining experience. For an extra burst of flavor, consider drizzling some fresh lemon juice over the salmon fillets. The acidity of the lemon complements the rich flavors of the salmon, adding a refreshing touch to each bite.

Recipe Video


  • Choosing Salmon: Opt for fresh, high-quality salmon or trout for the best flavor. Look for bright, moist, and firm fillets. If using frozen salmon, check out my instruction above.
  • Seasoning: Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You can also experiment with different spices or add a squeeze of lemon for a citrusy touch.
  • Air Frying: Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. The hot air needs to circulate freely to cook the salmon evenly. If you’re cooking more than two fillets, you might need to cook in batches.
  • Checking Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the salmon’s internal temperature. It should reach at least 145°F (63°C) at the thickest part. The salmon should also flake easily with a fork.
  • Serving: Serve the salmon immediately for the best texture and flavor. It pairs well with a variety of sides, like steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or a fresh salad.

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Read Also: How To Cook Frozen Chicken Wings In An Air Fryer (Recipe & Video).

In Conclusion

This easy air fryer salmon recipe is a fantastic option for a quick, healthy, protein-rich, and flavorful meal. With its moist and flaky texture, paired with the delightful seasonings, it’s a dish that is sure to impress. Whether you choose to make it with fresh or frozen salmon, the air fryer simplifies the cooking process and delivers delicious results.

Give this recipe a try, and enjoy the perfectly cooked salmon straight from your air fryer. Get ready to savor every bite!

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.