Main dish

Cast Iron Skillet Seared Salmon

Easy seared salmon with fresh tarragon and roasted baby tomatoes. Cooking this seared salmon over a really high heat helps seal in all of the amazing flavor

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cast iron salmon
Recipe insights & TIPS

I absolutely love to whip up this classic seared salmon in a cast iron skillet. It's become a staple in my household for its simplicity, speed, and, of course, its incredible taste. There's nothing quite like the sizzle of salmon hitting a hot cast iron skillet, and it’s guaranteed to have the whole family running into the kitchen asking, “What’s for dinner?”

Salmon is perfect for a weeknight dinner. Not only does it cook up in a flash, but it's also incredibly versatile. Whether it's Cajun-spiced or simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salmon is the perfect canvas for experimenting with flavors. Plus, it's a nutritious choice, too, packed with those essential omega-3 fatty acids that are fantastic for growing bodies and busy brains. While there are many different ways to cook salmon, I prefer to cook it fast with high heat. Once your cast iron pan is very hot, add the oil, sear the salmon for a few minutes, and put it in a preheated oven to finish off. The whole process shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. 

When it comes to salmon, sourcing matters. While farmed Atlantic salmon is the most common find in stores, opting for wild-caught varieties like sockeye, king, or coho can make a world of difference in flavor and environmental impact. Sure, they might be a tad pricier, but the taste payoff is well worth it. As for keeping things healthy, I love using an avocado oil-based cooking spray, which allows you to achieve the perfect sear on your salmon without worrying about excessive smoke or sticking to the pan since avocado oil has a high smoke point.

skillet seared salmon


Can I eat the salmon skin? 

Absolutely! Crispy salmon skin is a delicious treat, and it's good for you too, loaded with healthy fats and collagen. Just make sure to cook it until it's golden brown and crispy.

Can I freeze leftover seared salmon? 

Sure, but fridge leftovers are best. Flake the leftover cooked salmon and add it to a salad or top some pasta for a quick and healthy lunch the next day.

Should I remove the salmon skin before cooking? 

The skin actually helps the salmon cook evenly and prevents it from breaking apart. You can take it off if you prefer, but I find it easier to leave it on.

Can I overcook salmon?

Unfortunately, yes. Salmon is a delicate fish, and overcooking can dry it out. The key is to cook it until it's just opaque in the center. Remember, it will continue to cook for a few minutes even after you take it off the heat.

What are the best cuts of salmon? 

I like center-cut fillets for this recipe. They cook evenly and have a nice thickness. You can also use salmon steaks, but be mindful that they may cook a bit faster than the center-cut fillets.

How do I store seared salmon?

Seared salmon is best enjoyed fresh, however, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

What can I serve with seared salmon?

This seared salmon can be served alongside grains like quinoa, brown rice, or couscous and roasted veggies like broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini. You can also serve it with potatoes or a side salad. 

Cast Iron Skillet Seared Salmon Recipe
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This easy cast iron skillet salmon recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. Packed with flavor and healthy fats, it's ready in under 30 minutes.

Main dish
7 minutes
Total TIME:
17 minutes
10 minutes


  • 2 fresh salmon filets
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Avocado oil spray
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Ingredient Swaps

  • Look for wild-caught salmon that is MSC certified. 
  • Whenever possible, choose tomatoes that are in season and grown locally. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Lightly spray the salmon with the avocado oil spray.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Heat an ovenproof pan over a high heat for about 1 minute.
  5. Generously spray the pan with the avocado oil spray.
  6. Place the salmon into the pan, skin side up, and sear for about 1 minute.
  7. Using a spatula, carefully turn the salmon over onto the skin side.
  8. Add the tomatoes around the fish and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon.
  9. Finally, add the butter in two pieces to each side of the pan.
  10. Place the pan into the oven and roast for 7-8 minutes.
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