Cooking salmon in an air fryer is not only quick and easy, but it is also a great way to enjoy a healthy meal with very little work.
Many years ago, when I first received my Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker/Air Crisper, I never even considered cooking salmon fillets in it. In fact, the thought never even crossed my mid.
Instead, my sole intention was to use this new appliance in an effort to decrease fried foods from my diet.
Therefore, the first thing that I made in my new air fryer were Potato Chips. Crunchy, homemade potato chips that were light, crispy and not greasy! I knew I was off to a good start.
Then, because it was football playoff season, I made an attempt at making Buffalo Chicken Wings. However, because I didn’t plan the timing very well, I was not confident in how they word turn out.
I had no time to thaw them out so I put them in the air fryer directly out of the freezer. I was super shocked, and amazed at how well they turned out!
Then the beginning of the new year rolls around. And we all know what that means! It is time to focus on healthy food choices.
Although the air fryer helps transition some recipes like potato chips and chicken wings to be more healthy than when deep fried, I was looking for something different.
I wanted to cook healthy foods, with a lot of nutritional value, with very little time and effort. And that is when I decided to try cooking salmon in an air fryer.
Not only is it a healthy dinner choice, it takes only seconds to prepare and can be on the dinner table in under 15 minutes!
I was absolutely shocked at how well the salmon turned out. It had a slightly crispy exterior and a light, flaky and moist interior after being air fried.
The perfect combination of texture and flavor that can be served as a stand alone main dish or as the main protein in a fresh green salad.
Ever since then I have made countless numbers of salmon fillets this way. I will often switch up the seasonings, or add a glaze on top, but I always make my fillets in the air fryer.
Below I have included my traditional, and favorite recipe that includes an easy to make dry rub seasoning
Air Fryer Salmon Recipe
*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.
- Salmon fillets, approximately 6 ounces each*
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
More Information About Salmon
As always, I recommend using wild-caught fresh salmon whenever possible. Just looking at the color difference of wild-caught vs. fresh-caught salmon and you will know that there is a huge difference.
Wild-caught salmon has a deeper pink hue to the flesh. In contrary, farm-raised salmon is much lighter pink in color.
But that is not why it is important to use salmon that has been raised in the wild. I won’t get into all the details, but there is a huge difference in health benefits when eating wild-caught fish.
However, if you are a careful shopper, and have many options to purchase fish in your area, there are a few farm-raised salmon farms that are certified as humane and sustainable. Just be sure to do your research before purchasing the farm raised salmon from your local grocery store.
Although, no matter what salmon that you choose to buy, the cooking time will only vary depending on the thickness of the salmon filets. The air fryer cooking times that I have listed below are for medium thickness salmon fillets that are approximately 3/4 – 1 inch in thickness.
Cook times will need to be adjusted not only on how thick your fillets are, but also by the brand of the air fryer that you have. In my experience, my Ninja Foodi Air Crisper cooks faster than my oven-type air fryer.
But the good thing about cooking in an air fryer is that you can always open the door and check on how things are cooking without disturbing the cook settings.
Because all air fryer brands cook at different rates, and each manufacturer requires different instructions for cooking, I will provide you with the instructions in which I find that works best for me.
Preheat the air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes. Even if your brand doesn’t require you to preheat, do so for this recipe. This will help the salmon heat up quickly and not risk the chance of over cooking
Rub each piece of salmon with olive oil on each side, set aside.
Then in a small bowl mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with the seasoning.
Then spray or brush the air fryer basket with olive oil, or line it with parchment paper, and place the salmon in the air fryer, skin side down (if the fillets still have the skin on). Press the cook time for 7-9 minutes, depending on this thickness of the salmon and the brand of your air fryer.
Be sure to check doneness at the 7 minute mark by opening the air fryer basket and check for desired doneness with a fork. The salmon should be light and flaky and no longer dark pink and soft in the center.
Continue to cook the salmon in the air fryer until it is cooked through. Carefully remove from the basket and let rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Salmon made in an air fryer will keep well in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze the cooked salmon filets in an air tight sealed container for up to 3 months. However before you go to reheat the leftovers, be sure to thaw the filets in the fridge overnight.
Reheating salmon is a tricky subject. For the love of everyone, do not reheat salmon in a public office space. We have all been the recipient of someone that has heated up fish for lunch. And we all know how the smell can linger for days.
Instead, if you are going to take salmon to work or in a public space for lunch, plan to eat it cold on top of a salad, or in a spread.
However, if you are at home and want to reheat the salmon that you cooked in an air fryer it is easiest to do so in the microwave. With just 30-45 seconds, your salmon will be ready to enjoy!
Although, I find it best to go ahead and cut the salmon so that it reheats evenly.
Other Favorite Air Fryer Recipes
As mentioned above, there are all types of foods that you can cook in the air fryer. Be sure to check out this page for recipes to use in your Air Fryer:
And if you want to download a FREE AIR FRYER COOKING CHEAT SHEET visit https://icookfortwo.com/air-fryer-cooking-guide/
Mary and Jim
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- 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Preheat the air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes. Even if your brand doesn't require you to preheat, do so for this recipe.
- Rub each piece of salmon with olive oil, set aside.
- In a small bowl mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with the seasoning.
- Place the salmon in the air fryer, skin side down if the fillets still have the skin and air fry for 7-9 minutes, depending on this thickness of the salmon.Open basket and check for desired doneness with a fork. The salmon should be light and flaky. Continue to cook until the salmon is cooked through.
Cooking time may vary on the thickness of the salmon fillets and the brand of your air fryer, adjust time accordingly.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 179mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 38g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.