How to cook salmon with skin

Ola Faleti

Cooking salmon with skin

Delicate salmon fillets are delicious, easy to cook, versatile, and chock-full of nutrition. They don't taste quite as “fishy” as other types of fish, making salmon popular among a variety of flavor palates — including children’s! Perhaps you’re tempted to scrape the skin off a salmon fillet when eating, but in addition to being nutritious, the cooked skin’s crispiness adds a pleasing texture to the fish. We suggest that you don’t scrape off the skin just yet.

Salmon health benefits

Salmon, like most fish, has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats, meaning that your body can’t produce them. You can only receive omega-3s from your diet. You can get omega-3 from fish oil capsules, but eating salmon is a much more satisfying way to get your fill. Omega-3s have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation and support your arteries' function.

Salmon is also an excellent source of protein, which helps maintain muscle mass and promote post-injury healing.

If you’re looking for brain food, salmon’s many B vitamins support your brain and nervous system, along with lowering risk of heart disease. Some of the vitamins loaded in salmon include vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6.

More omega-3s

Salmon skin has the highest concentration of omega-3s.  Additionally, keeping the skin on the salmon will help seal in flavor, prevent the fish from drying out and preserve the nutrients inside.

Is it safe to eat salmon skin?

For the most part, salmon with skin is generally safe to eat. Salmon from the Atlantic Ocean tends to have higher levels of contamination than that from the Pacific Ocean. Common pollutants in salmon are polychlorinated biphenyls and methylmercury. However, anyone who consumes moderate amounts of salmon — think one to three times a week — should be fine. To be on the safe side, pregnant people and people who are breastfeeding should avoid all salmon skin entirely.

Best ways to cook salmon with skin

Salmon is pretty easy to cook with the skin intact. First, note that salmon cooks through at 130 degrees, so it’s easy to overcook. To get that perfect flakiness, try the fork test. Gently press a fork into the flesh. If it easily comes off the fillet, it’s finished. You may also check the internal temperature by sliding a butter knife into the thickest part of the salmon fillet for a few seconds. Touch the blade to your tip. If it’s warm, the salmon is done.

How to cook salmon with skin in an oven

If you’re in a hurry or cooking multiple fillets at once, oven-roasted salmon is an excellent choice. Making oven-baked salmon is easy: simply season the salmon with salt and pepper (you may also add the herbs of your choice) and place the fillet's skin side down in an oven-safe dish greased with oil. The oven should be preheated to 400 degrees. Leave the fish in there for 15 minutes maximum, taking care to not overcook it. Do not turn the fish over. You may serve it with the sauce of your choice. A simple sauce with water, lemon juice, sour cream and dill would do quite nicely.

How to cook salmon in a pan with skin

Pan-searing salmon is a great way to get maximum crispiness on the skin. It’s a fairly straightforward process, too. You may use a nonstick pan or regular pan (cleanup might be harder with a regular pan, however). First, pat the skin dry to remove excess moisture, then sprinkle the skin with salt. Add the cooking oil of your choice, such as olive oil, to the pan, and once it’s shimmering, gently place the fillets in the pan, cooking the salmon skin down on medium heat for five to six minutes, then flipping the fillet and letting the fleshy side cook for one minute.

How to cook salmon on the grill with skin

If you’re craving some smokiness, grilled salmon is another easy option. First, be sure your grill is already fired up and ready to go. Season and brush both sides of the salmon with the oil of your choice. Place the salmon skin side down on the grate and let it cook for five minutes, or until grill marks are visible. The spatula should slip under the salmon smoothly and without sticking - if it does stick, let the salmon cook a little bit longer and then flip it. Cook for another five minutes, then move to a platter to serve.

How to cook poached salmon with skin

If you’re on a diet or simply fat-conscious, consider poached salmon. This involves cooking the fish in a small amount of liquid. For salmon, you can try chicken broth, veggie broth, white wine or simple water. First, score the salmon flesh with a knife tip. Season both sides with salt, pepper and the seasoning of your choice. Meanwhile, add your poaching liquid to a pan and let it preheat on medium-low heat. Once the liquid is simmering, add the fillets to the pan. There should be enough liquid to cover the salmon. Cover the pan and let the salmon cook for five to 10 minutes. While the skin won’t be as crispy as pan-seared or grilled salmon, it will be moist and flavorful.


Can’t get enough of crispy salmon skin? Broiling is an additional method to try. Simply preheat your broiler to high. As it’s warming up, rub the salmon fillets with salt, pepper, other seasonings of your choice and butter. Place the fillets a few inches away from the heat source and leave it to cook for five to eight minutes, until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Once finished, serve with the sauce of your choice.

Ola Faleti is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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