Blackened Salmon Recipe: Spice Up Your Salmon

Blackened salmon is a great way to spice up your normal salmon. We try to eat fish at least once a week and salmon is our most often cooked fish. I usually bake it with lemon and herbs in foil packet but lately I’ve become bored with it.

My inspiration for this blackened salmon recipe comes from sumac. The tangy red spice is something I’ve only had when eating Persian food (sumac is delicious sprinkled over rice). I decided to blend it with some other spices to give my wild salmon a punch of Cajun flavor.

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Blackened Salmon

A spicy rub is applied to the salmon and is then seared to lock in all the delightfully charred flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Low Carb, Low Glycemic, Salmon
Servings: 4


  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets (cut in either 2 or 4 pieces)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sumac
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  • Place salmon skin side down into a glass container and coat with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Mix seasonings together and liberally rub over the flesh.
  • Place container into refrigerator for 20 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to a heated cast iron skillet (medium-high heat). Add the salmon flesh side down.
  • Fry for 3 minutes and then flip so that skin side is down.
  • Fry until done, about 3 minutes depending on thickness of the fish.
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Creating the Blackened Salmon Crust

The key to blackened salmon is getting a nice crust of the herbs on the flesh. I heated a cast iron pan insert for our grill but you could do this over a stovetop as well. Cast iron would be my pan of choice as I think it retains heat best which leads to a nice blackened crust.

Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around to coat the pan. Lay the fish flesh side down to begin. Don’t move the salmon for 2-3 minutes, then gently flip so the skin side is down. Continue frying for 3 minutes longer or until the fish is done.

I also added a few lemon wedges to the pan so they could release their juices for an extra bump in flavor. It’s not necessary to do this but if you have an extra lemon sitting around, give it a try.

What is your favorite way to cook salmon?

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare salmon so share your ideas in the comments below. Although this blackened salmon recipe used wild salmon, we often use the fattier farm-raised salmon. While I do like the oilier farmed salmon, I did get a scolding from another shopper at Trader Joe’s when she saw me pick up the farmed fish. Ever since then, I find myself alternating between the two types.

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