Learn how to cook salmon in the air fryer (fresh or frozen) topped with a simple and delicious sauce for added tenderness and flavor. Pair it with your favorite side dishes for a complete meal in minutes!
Part of our Minimal Ingredient March series, salmon in the air fryer is the perfect option for an easy main course that can be paired with tasty sides for nutritious meals in minutes!
Salmon Made Simple (and FAST!)
Have you ever wanted a homemade dinner but didn’t have the time or patience to turn on the oven? Yeah, been there. Oftentimes, this results in mindless snacking and even opting for takeout, but what if I told you there’s a better way? In fact, you can have a healthy, home-cooked dinner on the table in minutes! No, really, it’s true!
You see, I was determined that there had to be a better way. That’s when I remembered the air fryer! If you haven’t jumped on this trend yet – here’s your sign. Seriously, they’re life-changing. In fact, I use mine to make tasty sides like asparagus, buffalo cauliflower, and sweet potato fries every week!
However, they’re just as great for main courses, too – something even I’m guilty of forgetting about. So, when I needed dinner in a pinch, I decided to test it out and learned how to cook salmon in the air fryer. Luckily, it was super easy! In fact, I even had time to whip up my favorite mustard sauce to add even more flavor to my meal.
Wanna know the best part? It was ready in just 12 minutes! Plus, this recipe works with thawed and frozen salmon and is super versatile to fit all your needs and preferences. Even better, cleanup is a breeze, and leftovers store well for omega-rich meals throughout the week!
Why We Love Salmon – Health Benefits
Did you know that salmon is considered to be a superfood? For good reason, too! Not only is it a great source of high-quality protein, but it’s also rich in unsaturated fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and more!
As a result, it offers many health benefits including: (Source)
- Improved Heart Health
- Reduced Inflammation
- Improved Brain Health
- Healthy Skin
Nutrition Tip: Of course, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, but not all salmon is created equal! To get the most anti-inflammatory bang for your buck, opt for Sockeye salmon over Atlantic salmon. Get a closer look at the differences here.
How to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer (Video)
Video below walks you through how to air fry salmon from frozen. See instructions below or recipe card for how to air fry fresh (or thawed) salmon.
Forgot to thaw the salmon before you left for work? No worries! Learning how to make salmon in the air fryer is just as easy from frozen as it is fresh.
No matter how you choose to do it, you’ll want to make sure to whip up your mustard sauce (or sauce of choice) before you begin and preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Air Fryer instructions for fresh and frozen salmon
Cooking Salmon From Frozen
- Once heated, spray the air fryer basket with a cooking oil spray, and add your salmon fillets, skin side down. Let it cook for 5 minutes to thaw.
- After 5 minutes, generously season your salmon with salt and pepper, and brush each filet with 2 tablespoons of sauce.
- Air fry your salmon for an additional 5 -7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
- Let your salmon rest 5 minutes before serving.
Pro-Tip: For extra crispy skin, place the salmon in the air fryer skin side up for the first 5 minutes.
Cooking Fresh Salmon (or Thawed)
- Generously season your salmon with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once heated, spray your air fryer basket with a cooking oil spray, and add the salmon skin side down.
- Air fry for 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Then, brush each filet with 2 tablespoons of sauce. Air fry again for another 5 – 7 minutes.
- Let your salmon rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: For both fresh and frozen versions, you’ll know your salmon fillets are fully cooked when they are slightly opaque and flaky, and their internal temperature has reached 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I Air Fry Salmon with the Skin?
Yes! Follow the same directions, depending on whether you’re using fresh or frozen salmon, and enjoy!
Time & Temperature Notes for the Best Results
Depending on the size and thickness of your salmon, the cooking times may vary. However, it’s important to remember that, like other meat, salmon will continue to cook once removed from the air fryer. For this reason, we pull it out a few minutes before it is fully cooked and let it rest (covered) on the counter for 5 minutes.
During this time, your fish will continue to cook, and the juices will redistribute throughout the fillets, creating juicy pieces of salmon. For this reason, the most accurate way to cook your salmon in the air fryer is by using a meat thermometer.
Seasonings & Sauces
Obviously, I used mustard sauce for this air fryer salmon. However, feel free to use whatever you like best! For example, if you prefer to stick with sauces, try using Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Chipotle Mayo, or Herb and Garlic Aioli. Or, for a super simple meal, add your favorite herbs and seasonings instead.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Salmon
The great thing about learning how to make air fryer salmon is that it pairs perfectly with pretty much any side dish you can think of! Some of my favorites include:
The best way to prevent your salmon from sticking in the air fryer is to liberally spray the air fryer with a quality cooking spray. Or, you can rub it with avocado oil instead.
Yes! Store air fryer salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Yes, store leftover salmon in the freezer for 4-6 months.
No, this air fryer salmon recipe will work with several types of salmon. Just remember, the thicker the salmon, the longer it will take to air fry!
Honestly, learning how to cook salmon in the air fryer is a gamechanger for meal times. It’s ready in less time than it takes to order carryout and is full of nutrients to fuel your body! If you give this recipe a try, I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!