This has become one of our all-time favorite dishes to prepare. And it’s fast. And it’s healthy. Oh, and it’s through-the-roof delicious.
We developed this recipe when we were trying to lose a little weight. We like anything that is blackened (practically anything), but there is something about the moist yet flakiness of the salmon that just makes this dish sing. We’ll even provide you with the perfect side salad to serve it with. And it all comes together in less than 30 minutes! Winner Winner Salmon Dinner!
How To Make Blackened Salmon
The process of blackening fish (or any protein or vegetable) was developed and popularized by the legendary late Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme. Learn more about this amazing chef here.
Although the process is very simple, the results are truly spectacular.
You can control the spice level by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne pepper and/or black pepper.
Our recipe has a nice heat that hits you on the backend, but is not too intense, at all.
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What Is the Best Fish for Blackening
So many seafood fillets are ideal for blackening. You want to pick one that will be nice and flakey, but not overly fragile.
In addition to salmon, you could use this method on redfish, catfish, sole, halibut, trout, tuna, and/or grouper.
EXPERT TIP: It’s up to you if you go with skin-on or no-skin salmon fillets. When you are searing the salmon in your piping-hot skillet (preferably a cast-iron), sear the seasoned side first. We start off by applying a little oil to the flesh side of the salmon and then pressing the rub in with your fingers. After it’s nicely blackened, flip it over. If your salmon has skin, it will crisp up beautifully, if not, it will brown nicely as well. The skin is nutritious and 100% edible.
The brown sugar and the spices will turn a beautiful almost black color as you are searing the fillets in the piping hot skillet.
We recommend opening a window or door to the outside as it may produce smoke. You might need to unplug your smoke detector, but don’t forget to plug it back in! A hood works nicely, of course.
EXPERT TIP: We recommend using a small spatula to press the fillets into the hot skillet. For a more traditional version, we add a little butter to the skillet to blacken the fish in. For a slightly healthier version, substitute the butter with extra-virgin olive oil, or regular olive oi.
What to Serve with Blackened Salmon
As mentioned, this blackened salmon has a little kick to it, and pairs wonderfully with a super-easy Southwestern salad that takes no time at all to prepare.
Easy Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad
In a large bowl, mix together:
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice (Instant is just fine)
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted corn, drain (or any type of corn, such as thawed frozen corn)
- Half a jar (about 8 oz.) of your favorite salsa (more or less, depending on taste)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional…but really tasty)
- Healthy pinch of salt and pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Other Favorite Salmon Dishes
- Poached Salmon with No-Fuss Hollandaise Sauce
- The Perfect Salmon Burger
- Grilled Salmon with Poblano Butter
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Salmon
In the meantime, you’re going to want to sink your teeth into this incredible dish!
Ready to make the best recipe for blackened salmon this side of New Orleans? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
- Cast-iron skillet or another sturdy skillet that can handle high heat.
- 4 7 oz salmon fillets either with or without skin
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp brown sugar light or brown
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper See NOTES about spice level
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp thyme dried
For the Corn and Bean Salad
- 2 cups brown rice cooked, Instant is perfectly fine
- 1 15 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted corn drained, or regular corn, or thawed frozen
- ½ jar salsa or more, to tasted
- ¼ cup cilantro fresh, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- Salt and pepper
- Place the fillets on a cutting board, skin-side down (if your fillets have skin). Rub a little oil over the tops of the fillets. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme.
- Use your fingers to press the seasoning mixture all over the top flesh of the fillets.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil (or butter) in a large sturdy skillet over medium-high heat. Heat until oil is just starting to whisp and a tiny bit smokey.
- Carefully, add the fillets to the hot skillet, flesh-side down. Use a spatula to gently press down on the fillets. Cook for about 4 minutes, until nicely blackened. (You will most likely produce a fair amount of smoke from the skillet).
- Carefully flip the fillets over and continue cooking for another 4 to 6 minutes, until the fillets easily flake, and are cooked through. You should reach an internal temperature of about 120°F (the fillets will continue to cook even after they are removed from the skillet. Then internal temp should rise to about 14o to 145°F).
- Serve at once, over the black bean and corn salad and garnished with extra chopped cilantro if desired.
In the spice mix, cayenne pepper is 1 tbs, but in the notes your say use 2 tsp if you like it hotter? Should the recipe be 1 tsp?
Hi Johanna! Sorry about that. It’s actually a typo in the Notes. The recipe correctly calls for 1 tbsp, we’ve updated the Notes to say for more heat, increase to 2 tbsp cayenne. That’s for bringing this to our attention. And we hope you try it! We think it’s really delicious! Keep us posted if you do make it! Best, Kris & Wesley
The salmon is good, I’ve made blackened before so not a huge undertaking or surprise, but the salsa side made it for me 100%! And I just top the salmon with a lemon dilly sauce! So so so good!
Hi Becky! We are so so happy you enjoyed the blackened salmon! A lemon dilly sauce sounds amazing! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley
I’ve tried to cook fish before and never succeeded. I bought salmon and then my husband left on a trip (He’s the chef in the house.) I followed the directions exactly, I’m luring opening doors, and it turned out perfect!!!!! So, so perfect, can’t believe I did it!!! I took a pic but I can see how to add it. Trust me it is perfect!
Hi Kathy! Woo hoo!! You just made us so so happy! We are beyond thrilled that you had such great success with the salmon! You did it!!!! Perfectly!!!! Woo hoo! Thank you so much for sharing and for letting us know! Now…hubby is going to start expecting you to cook!!! LOL! xoxo