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Pan Seared Salmon

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This pan seared salmon is perfect for dinnertime, with fresh lemon juice, herbaceous thyme, briny capers, and savory olive oil.

Pan Seared Salmon on a plate with orzo.

Looking for a healthy dinner option that’s packed full of flavor and nutrients?

This pan seared salmon is delicious center-cut salmon filets, seasoned with a combination of olive oil, butter, fresh thyme, and earthy garlic, which infuses them with a fragrant and delicious aroma. 

The combination of savory herbs, zesty lemon, and salty capers creates a perfect balance of flavors that complement the richness of the salmon and is totally worthy of being the main course on any special occasion.

And let’s not forget, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which makes it a definite winner in my book!

Trust me, you’re going to love making this cast iron lemon salmon for family and friends.

Salmon filets, lemon, butter, and thyme on a table.

Ingredients for pan seared salmon

  • Center-cut salmon filets – These are juicy and flaky and nutrient-dense salmon filets.
  • Olive oil and butter – Both of these fats will help cook the salmon to perfection and add moisture and flavor.
  • Fresh thyme – Thyme is herbaceous and floral and pairs perfectly with the salmon.
  • Garlic – Garlic is a classic addition that will add earthiness to the salmon.
  • Capers – Capers will give the salmon little bits of saltiness.
  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice will help elevate the flavors and provide a burst of freshness.
Salmon cooking in a skillet.
Salmon with crispy skin in a skillet.

What are Omega-3s?

You hear it all the time: “salmon is full of Omega-3s!” But what does it mean?

Omega-3s are fatty acids that are good for you! They can have been shown to help prevent heart disease, and stroke, and can even help with skin conditions like eczema. 

You can also find it in flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts!

Pan Seared Salmon served with a fork on a white plate.

Serving suggestions

This pan seared salmon is the star of the show, and pairs beautifully with so many sides! 

Some of my favorites are roasted asparagus, air fryer roasted potatoes, or even a delicious butternut squash salad

How to buy the perfect salmon

My favorite way to buy salmon is actually frozen! 

The freezing process helps preserve the texture, taste, and freshness of the salmon unless, of course, you have access to fresh-caught right off the boat! 

Pan Seared Salmon served with pasta and lemon.

Storage and leftovers

Any leftover lemon salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, place on a microwave-safe dish covered loosely with a damp paper towel and heat for 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly. 

A hand holding a fork going into a piece of pan seared salmon.

More salmon recipes

Pan Seared Salmon

Pan Seared Salmon

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This pan seared salmon is perfect for dinnertime, with fresh lemon juice, herbaceous thyme, briny capers, and savory olive oil.


  • 2 center cut salmon filets, about 2 inches thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • ½ lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat a large heavy-bottomed (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium heat. 
  1. Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel and season them with kosher salt and black pepper. 
  2. Add the oil to the skillet and allow it to heat. When the oil is hot (but not quite smoking), add the salmon filets skin side down. 
  3. Sear the salmon for 3-4 minutes, or until the skin releases naturally from the pan. You shouldn’t have to tug on the salmon. It will release easily when it’s ready to flip. 
  4. Flip the salmon and add the butter, thyme, garlic, capers, and lemon juice. Cook the salmon for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until your desired doneness. 
  5. While the salmon sears on the second side, baste the skin with butter from the pan. 
  6. Serve the salmon with your desired sides.
  7. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 752Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 51g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Pan Seared Salmon pin for Pinterest.

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