Here’s How To Cook Salmon In Your Air Fryer—Without Drying It Out

Salmon is not only a delicious food, it’s also a versatile and nutritious dish. It’s high in protein and healthy fats; plus, it’s packed with vitamins like B12, B6, selenium and niacin. It’s known to be one of the best sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. You can only get omega-3 fats from your diet since your body can’t create them, and eating this fish is a great way to do that.

You might be surprised to hear that you can learn how to cook salmon in an air fryer — and it’s pretty quick and easy! The hot air will crisp the exterior while keeping the flesh tender and juicy. Where deep fryers rely on oil to create crunch, an air fryer uses hot air to prepare meals.

You still may need to use a touch of oil, but you can use way less in an air fryer. Some home cooks prefer not to use any oil at all with certain dishes. And of course, air fryers are great for roasting vegetables to go with your salmon. You can also make cookies, cakes and even pies for dessert! They can be a great tool if you’re looking to improve your health and cut calories.

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Here’s how to cook salmon in an air fryer:

  • Preheat like a pro. You want to start with a hot air fryer just as you would with a hot frying pan. For a crispier edge, cooks recommend adding 10 minutes to preheat your device. Make good use of this time by seasoning the salmon and prepping your side dishes. For this meal, 400 degrees Fahrenheit is best.
  • Standardize the size. Start by trimming your fillets to similarly sized pieces, but keep the skin on. Don’t hesitate to ask your supermarket butcher to select cuts that are close in thickness and size. Similar-sized pieces cook more evenly. Keep the protective layer of skin on to help it to stay moist while cooking.
  • Season well. A light coat of oil and a dusting of salt and pepper is all you need. If you really want to wow, add a splash of lemon, minced garlic and parsley, or go a different route by using brown sugar and mustard plus herbs. You can always pat the fish to create a dry surface for the seasoning to stick better.

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  • Place your salmon strategically. For a quick cleanup and to prevent salmon from sticking, put a piece of parchment paper under the fish. Keep your salmon fillets skin side down. Be sure to leave room in the basket, as overcrowding can cause it to burn.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature by piercing the thickest section with your thermometer. You want your temp to read 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Or you can check the chef’s way: insert a fork and gently twist. If it flakes, you’re ready to dig in. Remove the basket ASAP. If not, the salmon will continue to cook.

This fatty fish pairs well with so many things. Try it with rice, potatoes or pasta for a comforting dinner. Eat it with a salad or pair it with cooked vegetables like green beans, Brussels sprouts or broccolini for a healthy but filling repast.

Pro tip: Overcooked salmon oozes albumin, a protein that solidifies and escapes as the fish cooks. If you see that your salmon has white bubbles along the sides, it’s a sign that it could be overcooked.

cooked salmon on plate with vegetables
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Now that you know how to cook salmon in an air fryer, do you think you’ll try it?