Air Fryer Salmon


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


This Air Fryer Salmon is one of our very favorite easy salmon recipes. It’s incredibly tender, with an irresistible caramelized crust made from the best simple seasonings.

four air fried salmon fillets on a plate with parsley and lemon slices

If you haven’t tried cooking salmon in the air fryer, you are missing out! This air fryer salmon is succulent, flaky and tender on the inside, with the most delicious caramelized crust on top. It’s a healthy dinner idea that is so quick and easy to prepare, you’ll want to add it to your regular recipe rotation!

You’ll need just three pantry ingredients, plus salt and pepper, to make the simple seasoning for this salmon recipe. The spice rub brings a delicious blend of sweet and savory flavors. My Baked Salmon and Grilled Salmon recipes also feature a combination of sweet and savory ingredients because they pair so well with salmon.

air fryer salmon fillet flaked with a fork

Along with Air Fryer Chicken Breast and Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, this air fryer salmon recipe has become one of our go-to air fryer recipes when we need a quick dinner idea. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Ingredients

ingredients for air fryer salmon recipe

  • Brown Sugar: The brown sugar helps to caramelize the top of the salmon, creating a delicious crust on top of the fish. It also adds a touch of sweetness to the salmon rub, which plays really well with the savory, spicy notes of the chili powder. You can use either light or dark brown sugar.
  • Chili Powder & Garlic Powder: These two seasonings combine with the brown sugar to make the salmon so flavorful. Chili powder adds just a hint of spice, but it does not make the salmon spicy. 
  • Salt and Pepper: For flavor.
  • Salmon: It is best to cut the salmon into fillets before air frying because the smaller pieces of salmon cook more evenly. I keep the skin on the salmon because it helps to keep the flesh of the salmon from sticking to the air fryer basket. It is easy to slide the fish right out of the skin after cooking.

Do you need olive oil? There is no need for oil when air frying salmon. The fish has plenty of natural oils which keep it moist, and I find that the seasonings stick to the salmon without adding extra oil. You may wish to lightly grease the air fryer basket with olive oil, canola oil or cooking spray, but I do not find this necessary when cooking salmon with the skin on.

Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

How to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer

  1. Stir together the seasonings in a small bowl. 
  2. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. 
  3. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the salmon fillets and gently pat it onto the fish.
  4. Put the salmon fillets, skin side down, in the air fryer basket. four raw salmon fillets with seasoning in air fryer basket
  5. Air fry at 400° F for 8-14 minutes, until the internal temperature of the salmon is 145° F when measured with an instant read thermometer. The cook time depends on the size of the salmon pieces. Thin salmon fillets will cook faster than thick or large fillets.

cooked salmon fillets in air fryer basket

Recipe Tips

  • You do not need to preheat the air fryer for this recipe.
  • You can cook the salmon with the skin on. The skin is very easy to remove after cooking. Cook the salmon in the air fryer with the skin side down, and do not flip the salmon during the cook time.
  • If you prefer to make salmon without sugar, you can omit the brown sugar from the spice rub and add 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.
  • Different air fryers may cook differently, so adjust the cook time as needed.

air fryer salmon served with green beans with a plate of three salmon fillets in background

Can You Cook Frozen Salmon in the Air Fryer?

Yes! First, you will thaw the salmon (before seasoning) in the air fryer. To thaw the salmon, place the frozen salmon fillets in the air fryer and cook at 370° F for 5-7 minutes, until the fish is thawed. Then rub the seasonings onto the tops of the fillets. Air fry at 400° F according to the cook times given in the recipe card below, or until salmon is cooked through to 145° F at the thickest part.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Salmon

This healthy salmon pairs well with potatoes and roasted vegetables. I recommend trying it with Air Fryer Baked PotatoesMashed Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Roasted Sweet Potatoes. It’s delicious with Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower and Sautéed Green Beans

If you are only cooking one or two salmon fillets and have extra room in your air fryer, you can cook a serving of Air Fryer Asparagus or Air Fryer Broccoli alongside the salmon.

This air fryer salmon is a perfect way to cook salmon for my Salmon Salad recipe. We also love to serve it with this easy Greek Salad and soft, buttery Dinner Rolls. 

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes

air fryer salmon fillet served with green beans and lemon slices

The next time you’re not sure what to make for dinner, give this air fried salmon a try. My guess is that you’ll become as enamored with this tasty salmon recipe as we are!

Air Fryer Salmon

This Air Fryer Salmon is one of our very favorite easy salmon recipes. It's incredibly tender, with an irresistible caramelized crust made from the best simple seasonings. Serve it with potatoes and roasted veggies for a meal you'll want to make again and again!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer salmon, salmon in air fryer
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time17 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 256kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on (about 6 ounces each)

Instructions 

  • Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir or whisk until well combined.
  • Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the salmon fillets and gently pat it onto the fish.
  • Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in a single layer in the air fryer. Air fry salmon at 400° F for 8-14 minutes, or until cooked to 145° F. The cook time depends on the size and thickness of the salmon pieces. Very thin pieces may cook faster than 8 minutes and very thick pieces will take longer to cook.

Notes

  • If you prefer to make salmon without sugar, you can omit the brown sugar from the spice rub and add 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 853mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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