Garlic Butter Pan-Seared Salmon

updated Sep 6, 2022
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Garlic Butter Pan-Seared Salmon

Once you try this buttery method, you'll never pan sear plain salmon again.


Prep10 minutes

Cook12 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Pan-seared salmon is pretty great — you get a nice amber crust that gives way to moist and tender salmon underneath without a ton of effort. But when you add a stick of butter and a heap of garlic, pan-seared salmon goes from wonderful to wow.

Basting pan-seared salmon in garlic butter not only speeds up the cooking time, but it also flavors the fish beautifully. Once you try this method, you’ll never pan-sear plain salmon again.

Give Pan-Seared Salmon a Garlic-Butter Baste

Basting, or pouring cooking liquid over something as it cooks, is mostly reserved for steak and turkey — but it doesn’t have to be! Here, you’ll start by cooking the salmon flesh-side down in hot olive oil. When you give your fillets a flip, you’ll also add butter and garlic to the pan. While the underside of the salmon continues to cook from the heat of the pan, you’ll spoon the melted garlic butter over the fillets to season and cook them from the top. Keep an eye on the cooking time — especially for thin fillets that can cook in under 10 minutes. The goal is opaque flesh that flakes easily.

Garlic Butter Pan-Seared Salmon

Once you try this buttery method, you'll never pan sear plain salmon again.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2

    medium lemons

  • 4 cloves


  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 4

    (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter


  1. Juice 1 of the lemons until you have 2 tablespoons juice. Cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into 4 wedges for serving. Mince 4 garlic cloves. Chop until you have 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves. Pat 4 salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon skin-side up and and sear until golden-brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the salmon. Add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter and the garlic and continue to cook, occasionally using a spoon to baste the salmon with the butter, until the salmon is just cooked through cooked, about 4 minutes more.

  3. Sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with the lemon juice. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.