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20 May 2019

This blackened salmon recipe brings the spice you crave, and it’s so quick and easy to make. Loaded with Cajun flavor, it’s crispy and moist and cooks up in only 5 minutes!

Spicy food loving friends, here is another recipe that will not only satisfy that spice-loving craving, but is also super quick and easy to whip together.

You don’t need many ingredients on hand other than readily available seasonings, a few salmon fillets, and some butter. We’re talking Blackened Salmon, and it is one of my favorite recipes.

Have you ever had blackened salmon? If you’ve ever visited the American south, you may have enjoyed it in restaurants. If you’ve ever thought salmon was boring or might not satisfy your hunger, this recipe is going to change your mind.

Blackened salmon, baby!

Blackened Salmon, ready to serve

What is Blackened Salmon?

Blackened salmon is salmon that has been dipped in or brushed with butter and seasoned with a mixture of piquant seasonings, called “Blackened Seasoning” or “Blackening Seasoning”, then seared over high heat, usually in a cast iron skillet.

The combination of butter, high heat, and seasoning develops a dark crust on the salmon that gives it its characteristic charred look and spicy flavor.

You can also achieve this on the grill or in an oven, usually with the broiler, but a cast iron skillet or very hot pan is really the best tool for blackening foods.

Blackened Seasoning for Salmon

All of the ingredients in my Homemade Blackening Seasoning Recipe

Blackening seasoning is very similar to Cajun Seasoning or Creole Seasoning. It is sort of a balance between the two. It is a mixture of chili powders, spices and herbs. 

The most typical ingredients include a mixture of chili pepper, garlic and onion powder, black pepper, oregano and thyme, along with salt, though you’ll find variations from region to region and cook to cook.

You can make your own blend to fit your own personal tastes. See my Homemade Blackened Seasoning Recipe to start from.

I often like to slip in a bit of ghost pepper powder into my mix for an extra spicy blend. Spice it up, my friends! It’s such a great spice rub.

Let’s talk about how we make it, shall we?

Blackened Salmon in a pan with garnish

How to Make Blackened Salmon – the Recipe Method

First, make your blackened seasoning by mixing together in a small bowl the paprika (regular or smoked), cayenne (if desired for a spicier version), onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt, dried basil, dried oregano and dried thyme.

Next, brush one side of each salmon fillet generously with melted butter.

Buttering the salmon before seasoning them

Generously spoon on the blackening seasoning.

Seasoning the salmon with blackening seasoning

Next, heat a large cast iron skillet to high heat and add the salmon fillets, buttery-seasoned side down.

Cook salmon 3-5 minutes to blacken.

Brush or drizzle on the remaining butter, then generously add more of the seasoning.

Flip the salmon and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily. The fillets will be crusted on the outside and moist on the inside.

Searing the Blackened Salmon in a pan

Look at that gorgeous color. 

Serve them up once they’re cooked through!

For me, I like to sprinkle the salmon with extra red pepper flakes. Toss on fresh herbs in the end. A squeeze of lemon juice would be a great way to finish off the dish.

You can store any extra blackening seasoning in airtight containers and use as needed. Be sure to save it! It’s great on so many foods.

Different from Grilling

Blackening is different from grilling in that we’re searing the highly seasoned salmon over high heat to develop a thick spicy crust.

The butter also plays a role in developing the outer crispiness. You can, of course, grill the seasoned salmon over a high heat grill, but if  your grates are thinner, you may not get that crust over the entire salmon fillet. In most cases you can, so I would encourage trying it both ways – in a cast iron pan or on a hot grill.

Serving Ideas for Blackened Salmon

I normally like to serve my blackened salmon as the main course with a vegetable as the side dish. Just the other night I tossed some jalapeno peppers and chopped spinach into the hot pan just after I removed the salmon.

The spinach and peppers cooked up quickly and absorbed the remaining butter and seasonings. SO. GOOD. I also like to serve it alongside grilled or charred vegetables, like squash or zucchini.

It’s also fun to slice the salmon thin and serve it on tortillas for blackened salmon tacos, or on buns for blackened salmon sandwiches.

Drizzle on some homemade Cajun Remoulade Sauce. Yes!

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your blackened salmon. I can’t get enough of this stuff. Talk about flavor. It’s a spicy food lover’s dream meal!

Also try my blackened shrimp recipe!

TRY SOME OF MY OTHER POPULAR SALMON RECIPES

Blackened Salmon in a pan

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Blackened Salmon Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Blackened Salmon Recipe

This blackened salmon recipe brings the spice you crave, and it's so quick and easy to make. Loaded with Cajun flavor, it's crispy and moist and cooks up in only 5 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cajun, recipe, salmon, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 368kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE BLACKENING SEASONING

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika or use regular paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne powder use more for a spicier blend
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

FOR THE SALMON

  • 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each, skinless
  • ¼ cup butter melted

Instructions

  • Mix all of the blackening spices together in a small bowl. Make sure it is blended evenly.
  • Brush one side of each salmon fillet generously with melted butter.
  • Generously spoon on the blackening seasoning.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet to high heat and add the salmon fillets, buttery-seasoned side down.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes to blacken.
  • Brush or drizzle on the remaining butter, then generously add more seasoning.
  • Flip the salmon and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flaky.
  • Serve!

Notes

Store any extra blackening seasoning in airtight containers and use as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 762mg | Potassium: 964mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 2665IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2.7mg

4 comments

  1. Sarah Pritchard

    5 stars
    Did you have butter melted in iron skillet? Mine got to blackened almost burn but it was delicious. Did I have my heart too high? I had it on high. Will make this again.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sarah, yes, the heat is a big factor in that. I would reduce the heat for the next time so you don’t get so much of a sear. Let me know how it goes for you.

  2. Cheryl Constien

    5 stars
    We made this last night, super easy & super delicious!! Can hardly wait to make it again!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Thanks, Cheryl! I do appreciate it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. We really LOVE this recipe, too. SO good!

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