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!
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
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?
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.
Generously spoon on the 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.
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
- Szechuan Salmon with Chili-Basil Rice
- Szechuan Salmon Tacos
- Grilled Salmon with Honey-Sriracha Sauce
- Salmon Tacos with Pomegranate Guacamole
- Baked Salmon with Cajun Lemon Butter
- Cajun Baked Salmon with Cajun Rice
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.
- 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
- 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each, skinless
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 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.
Store any extra blackening seasoning in airtight containers and use as needed.