This very basic Crispy Air Fryer Salmon recipe is ideal for those of us who love a nice crisp on the outside with a tender inside. A wise go-to for healthy weeknight eating when you don’t want to spend a ginormous amount of time cooking! Easy air fryer recipes are at the top of my list on a busy weeknight when I’m craving the juiciest salmon without a long cooking time.
Okay, I get it now.
It took me a minute to get on board with the air fryer, but after a majorly successful run with Air Fryer Chicken Wings, followed up by insane restaurant quality Buffalo Wings and now this crispy yet tender salmon, I’m a believer.
For me, it’s a two-part sell. 1.) Crisp. 2.) Time.
Well-played crispy texture on any animal protein brings great joy to my life, and the fact that air frying requires so little time with said marvelous texture is what makes the whole apparatus worth-while.
So let us discuss the air fryer salmon situation. Surprisingly great!
If you’re a lover of crispy salmon skin, you’ll deeply appreciate this method for cooking salmon!
Because air flows underneath the salmon in an air fryer, the skin becomes crispy on the bottom (amazing for those of us who love to eat the salmon skin). Similarly, the top of the salmon becomes crispy too, leaving the inside nice and tender.
Bonus: the smell of salmon is confined to your air fryer and doesn’t permeate the whole house!
Let’s chat about the few, simple ingredients needed to make this recipe happen.
Ingredients for Crispy Air Fryer Salmon:
Salmon: The reason we’re all here! I recommend using fattier cuts of salmon, like Atlantic or King Salmon for the best tasting result. The fat content keeps the salmon nice and tender on the inside and generates that mouth-watering crisp both top and bottom. I recommend using fresh salmon as opposed to frozen salmon for the best results.
Sockeye salmon filets can be cooked in the air fryer too, but due to the low fat content, I recommend marinating it first in a marinade that contains plenty of fat and cooking it for less time. Sockeye fillets are typically much thinner and contain less water than the fattier cuts, so they need less cook time.
Avocado Oil or Olive Oil: A little drizzle of avocado oil goes a long way in protecting the salmon and seasonings from burning and keeping it nice and tender. Because we’re cooking at 400 degrees, a high-temperature cooking oil like avocado oil is recommended to avoid burning.
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Sea Salt: If you’re a seasoned user of this site, you know I’m obsessed with making a dry rub with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and sea salt for seasoning all forms of animal protein. It’s just pure magic!
If you want to try out other seasonings or rubs, feel free to use them! Black pepper, cumin, and chili powder work great, and so does a salmon marinade or soy sauce.
How Long to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer?:
The short, non-nuanced answer is between 6 to 12 minutes at 400 degrees.
The amount of time needed to cook salmon in the air fryer is dependent upon the thickness of the fillets, the temperature of the fillets going into the air fryer, and whether or not you’re aiming for a crisp on the bottom and top of the salmon.
For thinner fillets, you’ll need 6 to 8 minutes, where thicker salmon will take 10 to 12 minutes to cook through. Salmon is considered fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re looking for accuracy, be sure to use a meat thermometer!
How to Make Crispy Salmon in the Air Fryer:
Drizzle the salmon with avocado oil and use your fingers to gently spread it around until the salmon is lightly coated in oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
Place the salmon fillets in the air fryer (I use a Ninja Air Fryer) and select the ‘Bake’ function. Adjust the temperature to 400 degrees and the time for 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes is up, check the salmon for done-ness. Continue cooking as needed, until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
The best way of checking the temperature of salmon is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon. The exact amount of time it takes depends on the thickness of the salmon.
Serve with your desired side dishes and enjoy!
Drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the delicious flaky salmon filet and enjoy with your favorite sides!
I always love pairing salmon with steamed brown rice (or Coconut Rice if I’m feeling frisky!) and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, Stir Fry Vegetables or Roasted Vegetables. Italian Pasta Salad would be amazing too!
And that’s it! This easy air fry salmon may just be one of your new favorite ways of preparing juicy salmon for the whole family.
You can prepare it in bulk and save any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, as this is a great recipe for meal prep!
Also try my Air Fryer Chicken Breasts!
More Healthy Salmon Recipes:
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Maple Glazed Baked Salmon
- Paleo Asian Baked Salmon and Asparagus
- Creamy Turmeric Ginger Baked Sockeye Salmon
- 4-Ingredient Mediterranean Stuffed Salmon
Get your crispy salmon skin on!
Crispy Air Fryer Salmon
- Drizzle the salmon with avocado oil and use your fingers to gently spread it around until the salmon is lightly coated in oil. Sprinkle the salmon with sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
- Place the salmon fillets in the air fryer drawer and select the ‘Bake’ function. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes is up, check the salmon for done-ness. Continue cooking as needed, until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Serve with your desired side dishes and enjoy!