Air Fryer Salmon is the best quick and easy way to enjoy a healthy dinner on a busy weeknight! It's simple prep and takes less than 20 minutes to make the juiciest salmon you've ever had. Plus it tastes amazing and can be easily customized using your favorite spice rub or seasoning blend.
We love easy recipes with minimal effort that deliver restaurant quality results. This perfect salmon is one that makes both parents and kids happy! The juicy salmon is loaded with healthy fatty acids that we all need, and everybody loves having lemon wedges to squirt over their salmon.
Salmon cooks quickly and while it's easy to make on the stovetop or in the oven, air frying salmon just might be our new favorite way. The outside of the salmon develops a nice crust thanks to the air fryer and a little brown sugar in the rub, which the inside is perfectly cooked through.
This is a brief overview of what you will need to make this air fryer salmon recipe. The exact amounts are included in the printable recipe card below.
- Salmon fillets: You can use skin-on salmon fillets or skinless salmon. We like both and tend to go with whatever looks best or that we already have on hand in the freezer. Frozen salmon is delicious and great to keep on hand for an easy weeknight meal like this one when fresh salmon isn't available or pricey. Keep in mind that the thickness of the salmon will impact the cook time, so look for salmon filets that are similar in size.
- Olive oil: This is more to help the rub stick to the salmon. If you prefer something lower calorie, you could use dijon mustard to brush the salmon instead.
- Spices: Use the classic dry rub below that is a blend of sweet and savory with brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika or chili powder, or go with your favorite premade seasoning blend in the cupboard. Really almost any seasoning blend works well with salmon, from simple blends like lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning to taco seasoning, bbq rub, and more.
How to Make Air Fryer Salmon
Be sure to see the recipe card for full ingredients and instructions.
- Preheat the air fryer. If your air fryer has a preheat function, you will get the best results by taking the 5 minutes to preheat while prepping the salmon.
- Drizzle and rub. To help the seasonings and spices stick to the fish, first pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and rub with a little olive oil or brush on a thin coating of Dijon mustard. Sprinkle on the seasoning blend in the recipe below or use your favorite spice blend or rub instead. We only seasoning the top of the salmon because otherwise the seasoning can overwhelm the natural taste of the fish that we enjoy so much.
- Cook. Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray, then arrange the salmon fillets in a single layer in the bottom of your air fryer basket, leaving space between the fillets so that the hot air can circulate. If your air fryer is smaller, you may need to work in batches. Cook for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. The salmon should flake easily with a fork when done and be opaque throughout. We like to serve them with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the top.
Salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F when tested with a digital meat thermometer in the thickest part of the salmon. However, keep in mind that the temperature of the salmon will continue to rise another 5-10 degrees F for about 5 minutes after removing it from the air fryer, so it's best to take it out when it's around 135-140°F and let it come up the rest of the way so that it doesn't dry out.
If you forget to let your salmon fillets thaw first, you can get away with cooking the salmon straight from the freezer while still frozen. You will just need to add a few extra minutes to your cook time and check to be sure it is done all the way through.
- Individually portioned salmon fillets are easier to work with than a large piece of salmon when it comes to the air fryer, but either will work.
- Be careful not to overcook the salmon. This can result in the salmon being dry inside instead of moist and tender. Pull it out when it is just done and the flaky salmon will easily separate with a fork. You can always pop the salmon back in for another minute or two with the air fryer if it isn't quite done yet.
- Serve with a side of veggies like air fryer asparagus, cauliflower, or broccoli and a baked potato for a healthy meal that takes very little brain power to plan out.
- If you have room in your air fryer, you can cook the salmon and asparagus at the same time. Otherwise, I recommend cooking the salmon first, then doing the asparagus while the salmon rests.
This is a great recipe to make your own by using your favorite seasonings or even switching out the protein.
- Use another firm fish: Try halibut, tilapia, and cod are all delicious and easy to make in the air fryer as well!
- Salmon marinade: If you want to take a different approach, try using your favorite salmon marinade. Something as simple as equal amounts of soy sauce and maple syrup is fantastic with salmon. Honey mustard salmon would also be delicious. And there are numerous store-bought version like teriyaki sauce that add delicious flavor to the salmon for a fun change.
Storage & Reheating
- To store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. We recommend reheating in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes until warm, although you can use the microwave or stovetop just as well.
- To freeze: You can freeze cooked salmon leftovers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the air fryer until warmed through before serving, about 4-5 minutes.
More Air Fryer Recipes
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Air Fryer Salmon
- 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pat salmon fillets dry. Brush with olive oil.
- Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl. Sprinkle over the salmon fillets.
- Cook in a 400°F air fryer for 7-10 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork. It should have an internal temperature of 145°F when tested with a digital meat thermometer.