This Salmon Seasoning brings the best flavor to salmon! Use it on grilled salmon, baked salmon or air fryer salmon.

Smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and brown sugar in a small bowl.

This simple dry rub is the best seasoning for salmon! It’s made with just 5 pantry ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen right now. You can make a batch to use now, or make it ahead to keep on hand, ready to use whenever you need to season salmon.

This recipe is so simple, but it brings delicious flavor to salmon or other types of fish. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, smoky and savory.

The Best Salmon Seasoning

Salmon recipes are some of my favorites for healthy dinners, and this salmon seasoning is so versatile. Use it on Grilled Salmon, Air Fryer Salmon or Baked Salmon. It’s the easiest way to bring incredible flavor to your salmon dinner!

Homemade seasoning blends are so easy to make and taste much better than store bought. By mixing up your own seasonings, you can control the ingredients, salt content and flavors. Other homemade spice blends that you may enjoy include this Chicken Seasoning, Pork Rub, Taco Seasoning and Cajun Seasoning.

Like this recipe? Pin it to Pinterest!

Spices and olive oil in small bowls, and four raw salmon fillets on a plate.

Salmon Seasoning Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need for this salmon seasoning recipe:

  • Brown Sugar: For a touch of sweetness that nicely balances out the savory flavors. You can omit the brown sugar if you want a sugar-free recipe.
  • Smoked Paprika: Brings delicious smoky flavor. I highly recommend using smoked paprika rather than sweet paprika in this recipe.
  • Dried Thyme: Thyme pairs well with salmon.
  • Salt: Enhances all of the flavors.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic powder is an easy way to bring garlic flavor to a seasoning rub.

Want it spicy? You can add a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes or a teaspoon of chili powder for heat. To better distribute red pepper flakes throughout the seasoning, I like to chop them up more finely.

Salmon seasoning in a small bowl with a spoon.

How to Season Salmon

This salmon seasoning recipe makes enough spice rub to season about 2 pounds of salmon. You can scale the recipe up or down as needed. I like to save time by making a double batch and storing the extra for another meal later on.

First, whisk together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, dried thyme, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl until well combined. If there are any clumps in the mixture, use the back of a spoon to break them up.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the salmon and use your fingers to rub it over the flesh of the fish. Then sprinkle on the salmon seasoning and gently rub it over the salmon.

Seasoning sprinkled over four salmon fillets on a cutting board.

Let the seasoned salmon rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. This will marinate the fish, making it more flavorful. Letting salmon come to room temperature before cooking it also helps it to cook more evenly.

How to Cook Salmon

You can use this seasoning blend to season salmon for cooking with any method that you choose. The exact cook time will depend on the size and thickness of your salmon fillets. According to the USDA, salmon is done when the internal temperature reaches 145° F. However, some prefer it cooked to 135° F for a moister, less firm salmon fillet. Try not to overcook salmon so that it stays moist and succulent.

For specific cooking instructions, refer to these recipes:

I like to slice lemon wedges to serve with the salmon. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens up the flavors.

Four grilled salmon fillets on a plate with lemon wedges.

Storage Instructions

Salmon seasoning may be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Store it in a cool, dry place at room temperature, such as in a spice drawer or spice cabinet. I usually store homemade seasonings in small jars or small zip-top plastic bags. Label the container with the date that you made the seasoning and the name of the seasoning.

Smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Salmon Seasoning

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This Salmon Seasoning brings the best flavor to salmon! Use it for grilled salmon, baked salmon, air fryer salmon or pan seared salmon. With just a few ingredients, this easy recipe is sure to become a favorite!


  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  • Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk or stir until well combined. Use right away, or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to 6 months.
  • To season salmon, first rub a little olive oil over the salmon (I use 2 teaspoons for 4 salmon fillets). Then sprinkle on the salmon seasoning and gently rub until it evenly coats the flesh of the fish. Let marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cook salmon on the grill, in the oven, in the air fryer, or on the stove, as desired. Serve salmon with lemon wedges.


  • This recipe makes enough seasoning for 2 pounds of salmon, or about 5 (6-ounce each) fillets.
Calories: 16kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Sodium: 438mg, Potassium: 33mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 502IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Seasoning
Tried this recipe?Mention @kristines_kitchen on Instagram or tag #kristineskitchenblog.
This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Kristine's Kitchen!