These easy Instant Pot air fryer salmon fillets turn out so well. Using ingredients that you probably have on hand, you can quickly make a healthy meal with little effort and delicious results. If you don’t have a Duo Crisp, Pro Crisp, or Instant Pot air fryer lid, you can use a traditional air fryer or bake the salmon in the oven.
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Salmon, and fish in general, can be tricky to get just right. Oftentimes, it can end up being overcooked and dry. I really like how this salmon air fryer recipe turns out.
By air frying the salmon, you can have a delicious fish dinner with minimal prep. The bold flavors of this air fryer blackened salmon come from the Cajun-style spice rub, but you can use your choice of seasonings and just stick to the rest of the recipe.
Air frying salmon is also a great option when you’re only cooking for one or two people. You don’t need to heat up the oven for such a small quantity of food.
Whether you’re making the salmon in the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, Instant Pot Pro Crisp, Instant Vortex, using the Instant Pot air fryer lid, or using a traditional air fryer, I personally think this is the best salmon recipe!
You can serve air fryer fish with a variety of side dishes including air fryer brussel sprouts, air fryer cauliflower, air fryer potatoes, or just a green salad. Another great way to serve the fish, especially for kids, is with air fryer frozen french fries.
You might also like to check out some of my easy air fryer recipes like air fryer pork chops and air fryer pear cake. For a comprehensive list, take a look at these Instant Pot air fryer recipes.
Tips for Success
How to Prevent Sticking
I haven’t had any issues with sticking but I do coat the air fryer basket (or metal rack if using an Instant Pot air fryer) with a little olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil. The fish is also coated with oil before applying the spice rub.
To coat the air fryer basket, you can either spray the oil on it or apply it using a paper towel. If using a spray, don’t use the canned oil spray, but instead use an oil spray mister that can be filled with oil.
It is important to make sure that the salmon is dried really well before applying the oil and seasonings. I use paper towels to thoroughly dry the fish filets.
You can use frozen or fresh salmon fillets. I buy frozen salmon fillets and bring them to room temperature before using them. You can air fry the salmon from frozen too.
I air fry salmon with the skin on or off. How do you remove salmon skin? I find that the best way to remove the skin is while the salmon is still frozen. I separate the skin from the fish in one corner and use a paper towel to grip the skin to gently pull it off. It takes a bit of practice but it works!
Keep in mind that the cooking time can vary based on the thickness of the salmon. I use salmon that’s about 1 inch thick.
Checking for Doneness
Check for doneness a couple of minutes before the cook time is up. Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature in the thickest part of the salmon.
Once the internal temperature is close to 145 degrees F, turn off the air fryer and immediately remove the air-fried salmon and let the pieces rest for 5 minutes.
Keep in mind that the salmon will continue cooking after removal, so it’s very easy to overcook it.
If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, I recommend buying one. I really love the Thermoworks brand of digital thermometers. I’ve had the red Thermopop for years and it still works great and is very accurate.
This recipe is for blackened salmon with spices similar to a Cajun blend and it has the best flavor! You can change things up by adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make the salmon spicier. If you like milder food, feel free to leave out the cayenne pepper.
The recipe yields about 5 teaspoons of spice. You don’t need to use up all the spices. Use as much as you need to. The rest can be saved for another time or used on a third piece of fish. You can also double or quadruple the spices and save yourself some time the next time you make the salmon. This is what I do.
Here are some other ideas for seasonings. Just watch out for the salt content. Each brand is different:
The salmon can stick to the bottom if you don’t spray enough oil in the basket. If you find it is stuck, use a nonstick spatula to gently move the salmon. You can also line the basket with parchment paper or aluminum foil to prevent sticking next time.
You can purchase parchment sheets with pre-cut holes but if you don’t have them, make sure you poke holes in parchment or aluminum foil to allow for circulation.
It could be because the fish pieces were too thin or your air fryer runs hot. The next time you make them, check the internal temperature to see if it’s at 145 degrees Fahrenheit a few minutes before the time’s up and decrease the cooking time. Different air fryers may have slight variations, so you have to find a time and temperature that works for you.
Yes. For this recipe, I recommend preheating the air fryer before air frying. Preheat for 4 minutes before adding the salmon.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Salmon – Ingredients
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Oil (olive oil or avocado oil)
Ingredient quantities are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to make Salmon in the Air Fryer
- Season the salmon
- Preheat the air fryer
- Place salmon in air fryer and program the air fryer
- Remove salmon
Season the salmon
- Mix the paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, white pepper, basil, thyme, oregano together in a small bowl.
- Dry the salmon filets thoroughly and rub a small amount of oil on the fish.
- Coat the salmon with the seasonings. If the salmon is skinless, apply to both sides. You don’t need to use up all the seasonings, but I do! Depending on how much you use, there may be enough seasoning for 3 fillets.
Preheat the Air Fryer
- Press the Air Fry Button.
- Press Temp + or – until the temperature says 390F.
- Press the Time + or – until the time says 00:04.
- Press Start.
- The display will say On, and it will start counting down from 00:04 to 00:00.
Place salmon in air fryer and program
- Open the air fryer and spray the air fryer basket liberally with oil or place perforated parchment paper or aluminum foil on the rack.
- Transfer the salmon, skin side down, to the air fryer basket. Make sure the fish is in a single layer.
- Close the air fryer.
- Program the air fryer to cook salmon for 10 minutes at 390 degrees F. If the salmon is skinless, flip the fish fillets at the 5-minute mark.
- Keep testing the temperature of the fish in the final few minutes, in order to prevent overcooking. Once the temperature is at 145 degrees F, remove the salmon.
- Open the air fryer immediately and transfer the salmon to a serving dish with a spatula or tongs.
- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of the filets or top with a creamy dill sauce, if desired.
- Store any leftover salmon in an airtight container.
Oven Instructions for Baked Salmon
To make this recipe in the oven:
- Stir together all the dry spices and add the oil.
- Pat the salmon dry and rub the seasoning on the salmon until evenly coated.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Coat baking sheet with oil.
- Lay the salmon on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 13 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Air Fryer Salmon
- 2 salmon filets thawed
- 2 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper powder
- ⅛ tsp white pepper
- ⅛ tsp dried thyme
- ⅛ tsp dried basil
- ⅛ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp vegetable oil or avocado oil or olive oil
- Pat the salmon with paper towels until they're completely dry. This is an important step.
- Mix the paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, basil, and oregano in a small bowl.
- Rub the salmon filets with oil. Sprinkle spice mix on the top of the salmon. If the fish is skinless, sprinkle both sides with the spices. Use as much of the spice mix as desired. You don't need to use it all; you may have enough spice for a third piece of salmon.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat the air fryer at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 minutes.
- Grease the air fryer basket. You can either use a paper towel soaked with oil or an oil sprayer. Don't use canned aerosol oil as that can harm the coating of the air fryer basket. You can also use perforated parchment paper or aluminum foil to prevent sticking. *
- Place the salmon pieces, skin side down, in the basket and make sure they're evenly spaced and not crowding each other.
- Close the air fryer and air fry for 10 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the salmon is skinless, flip the salmon at the 5 minute mark.
- When the cooking time is up, open the air fryer and use a digital thermometer to make sure the salmon is at about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, cook for another minute. **
- Press Cancel and transfer the fish to a serving plate using a spatula or tongs. Let the salmon rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Oven Instructions ***
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and coat with oil.
- Lay the salmon on the baking sheet, skin side down, and bake for 13 minutes or until the internal temperature is just about 145 degrees. *
- Transfer the salmon to a serving plate and let the fish rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Cooking time can vary based on the air fryer model and the size of the salmon filets. At the 7-minute mark, check the salmon to see if they’re done.
- To make 4 filets, do it in two batches if the salmon is overcrowded in one batch.
- * The Instant Pot air fryer basket rack is not nonstick and you may experience sticking, so use parchment or aluminum foil just to be safe. Poke the parchment or foil with a skewer for air circulation.
- ** Salmon can easily dry out so be careful not to overcook so check on the internal temperature with a meat thermometer before the cooking time is up! Every air fryer is different so you’ll need to find a time that works best for you.
- *** If baking in the oven, the recipe can be doubled or tripled.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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I just made this, my first time using my new pro crisp Instant Pot, and it was fantastic. I love the extra details you included! I didn’t use up all the spice – I’ll save it for another time.
Paint the Kitchen Red
Hi Charlene, thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you liked the recipe.