Lemon Butter Pan Seared Salmon


Make this Lemon Butter Pan Seared Salmon with 7 ingredients and in 30 minutes or less. This salmon is pan seared in a delicious lemon butter sauce leaving it so tender and flavorful.

If you love this pan friend salmon recipe, check out some of our other delicious and salmon recipes: Dill Salmon and Eggs Scramble, Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon, and my favorite, Lemon Dill Salmon Burgers.

seared salmon fillets on plate

Incredible Pan Seared Salmon (best way to cook salmon!)

Salmon has been on the menu in the Fit Foodie kitchen left and right. First, it was our amazing baked salmon in foil, then leftover salmon patties, then salmon burgers, then grilled salmon, and now… pan seared salmon!

This pan seared salmon recipe is the best way to cook salmon. It’s quick, flavorful, and ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, the lemon butter sauce is so dreamy.

Why make this pan seared salmon recipe?

  • 30-minute meal: dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes!
  • Healthy: salmon is high-protein, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and low-carb making it an excellent healthy meal.
  • Perfectly flakey: pan seared salmon slightly crisps up the outsides of your salmon fillets, while leaving the insides super tender.
uncooked salmon fillets with lemon and dill on plate

What You Need

Salmon fillets: the star of the show here is beautiful, fresh salmon fillets. We used 4 1/3-lb. fillets right from the butcher.

Salt and Pepper: salt and pepper may seem basic, but don’t skip this part!

Butter: butter is the fat used to pan sear salmon. If butter isn’t your jam, you can also try olive oil.

Minced Garlic: we are garlic people. It’s such a fragrant addition to this recipe. Feel free to use minced garlic or to mince your own.

Lemon: a little bit of citrus will brighten up this buttery pan seared salmon!

Fresh Dill: fresh dill is like the cherry on top. It pulls all of these wonderful flavors together.

Can I use a large salmon fillet for this?

If you’re having a hard time finding salmon fillets, feel free to buy one large fillet that is around 1.33 lbs. Cut it into 4 equal fillets using a very sharp knife.

How to Pan Sear Salmon

Wondering how to cook salmon on the stove? Don’t be intimidated about cooking your salmon on stove because it’s super simple. Here’s how to pan sear salmon in 4 simple steps:

  1. Heat: Heat a large, nonstick skillet or cast iron pan (we used a cast iron pan and highly recommend using one) over medium-high heat. Add butter and garlic.
  2. Sear: Once the butter is fragrant and bubbling, place the salmon skin-side up and sear for 4ish minutes. If you have a thick piece of salmon, sear for an extra minute or two.
  3. Flip: Flip salmon and sear for 3-4 minutes or until it’s no longer bright pink in the middle and a meat thermometer reads 145ºF.
  4. Let rest: Remove salmon from the pan and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top. Let it rest for 5 minutes before eating. Serve with fresh dill.

Salmon internal temperature

When making pan seared salmon, always have a meat thermometer on hand so that you can measure the internal temperature of your salmon. It should read no less than 145ºF to be considered safe to consume.

meat theremometer


Meat Thermometer

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pan seared salmon with lemon in cast iron pan

What side of salmon do you sear first?

We recommend searing the salmon skin-side up first and then flipping it over and searing the skin.

How do you know if your pan fried salmon is done?

The best way to know if your salmon is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 145ºF.

The look and feel of your salmon should be firm to touch, light pink in color, and easy to flake.

Is it better to bake or pan fry salmon?

Neither is better than the other, but we prefer pan seared salmon because it cooks faster and we just love the crispy edges.

What to Serve with Pan Seared Salmon Fillets

Greek Yogurt Dill Pickle Sauce: This healthy dill pickle dip doubles as a sauce and is a favorite in our house. Eat it with chips or serve it on top of a salmon filet.

Roasted Red Potatoes: Make these crispy roasted red potatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! They are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are ready in under an hour and perfect for meal prep!

Arugula Salad:This is a simple and delicious arugula salad recipe. It is made with arugula, dried fruit, veggies, and fruit. It is the perfect side dish to any meal!

Oven Roasted Asparagus: Oven roasted asparagus is the best way to eat asparagus! It’s a healthy side dish recipe that’s cooked to perfection.

What to do with Leftover Pan Seared Salmon

Got leftover pan seared salmon? Here are some ideas to use up that extra flakey fish!

seared salmon on plate


If you have leftover pan seared salmon, let it cool completely. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

Perfect Pan Seared Salmon (with lemon and butter!)

Make pan seared salmon for dinner! The salmon is seared in butter and served with fresh lemon and dill.

Prep: 10 minsCook: 10 minsTotal: 20 minutes

Fat 18 Carbs 3 Protein 28

Yield 2 1x


  • 1.33 lbs. salmon (4 1/3-lb. fillets)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 34 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh dill


  1. First, prep salmon by patting it dry with a paper towel to remove moisture. Then, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Place 3-4 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon minced garlic into a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium/high heat.
  3. Place salmon skin-side up in the pan and sear for 4 minutes. Flip salmon and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until barely pink in the middle.
  4. Once flakey and cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145ºF, remove the salmon fillets from the heat.
  5. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of salmon and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh dill.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/2 Calories: 292 Sugar: 0 Fat: 18 Carbohydrates: 3 Fiber: 0 Protein: 28

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: Fish and SeafoodMethod: Stove TopCuisine: American

Keywords: pan seared salmon

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