Air Fryer Salmon

Fork tender salmon with light seasoning done just right in the air fryer every time, makes for a fast dinner.

Air fryer salmon on a stack of white plates with a salad beside
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Salmon has long been a scary fish to try and cook at home, as it overcooks so easily. With an air fryer, though, everything gets a lot easier, and you can get perfectly cooked salmon every time.

Don’t forget to make your own Tartar Sauce to pair with your salmon! Why not also try making Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp?

Air fryer salmon on a stack of white plates with a salad beside

Air Fryer Salmon

Salmon is one of those dishes that people avoid cooking with entirely because of its tendency to become almost inedibly overcooked if you aren’t super experienced.

However, with the use of an air fryer and a few simple cooking techniques, cooking salmon can be incredibly simple and without any kind of risk.

Done right, your air fryer salmon should be tender, delicate, and deliciously flavored; it’s so good it is almost worth getting an air fryer just to make this salmon!

Air fryer salmon ingredients in small clear bowls beside salmon fillets

How To Tell When Your Salmon Is Cooked?

Cooking salmon is something that a lot of people struggle with, as it is just one of those things in the kitchen that seems incredibly easy to mess up.

Salmon is a surprisingly delicate fish, and its flesh can overcook incredibly quickly without you even realizing it. The risk of overcooking it is one of the biggest reasons that many people don’t even attempt to cook salmon in the first place.

However, thanks to the uniform cooking of the air fryer, getting a salmon cooked absolutely perfectly is easier than ever.

While you do need to adjust the timings a little bit based on the thickness of your pieces of salmon, cooking salmon for an average of around 8 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit is usually enough to cook it perfectly.

Fork Flaking Test

If you aren’t sure, you can always use the fork flaking test to determine your salmon’s doneness.

Simply take a fork and drag it lightly through the thickest part of the salmon fillet. If it is cooked through, the meat should start to flake away gently. If not, the meat will cling to itself and refuse to break apart.

If it doesn’t flake, put it back in the air fryer for another minute or two and check it again using the same technique, and you should end up with perfectly cooked fish every time.

Air fryer salmon in the air fryer basket uncooked

Do You Have To Use Olive Oil?

Olive oil is often recommended in recipes like these for a good reason. Not only is it a healthy oil to use to help increase the cooking efficiency of your salmon, as well as to prevent sticking, but it is also probably the tastiest cooking fat there is.

While you could certainly use any kind of cooking fat that you prefer, olive oil is undoubtedly the best flavored of all of the oils out there, and the subtle grassy and bitter notes complement the natural flavor o the fish really well.

However, feel free to use those cheaper olive oils or even a simple vegetable oil instead. It might not taste as great, but it will be a lot cheaper!

Air fryer salmon on a white plate with a caesar salad

The Easiest Way To Zest A Lemon

Lots of recipes involving fish tend to include lemon in the form of lemon zest, but rarely will you find any kind of specific instruction on how actually to zest a lemon.

By far, the easiest way to zest a lemon for this recipe would be to use a micro plane or an actual zester.

These tools are basically just mini graters with super small holes, allowing you to gently grate the lemon rind without getting into the white pith layer underneath.

If you don’t have one of these tools, then you can easily use a normal grater on its smallest side and just be really gentle. You want to avoid getting too much of the white pith, as that is where a lot of the bitter flavor compounds in the lemon are located.

As long as you stop grating once you start to see white, you should be fine to use a normal grater.

Air fryer salmon on a plate with a caesar salad and slices of lemon

Could You Use This Air Fryer Method To Cook Other Fish?

Air fryers aren’t just great for cooking salmon; they are able to perfectly cook all sorts of different fish as long as you play around with the temperature and time in the air fryer.

  • Trout

Trout is a great mainstay when it comes to fish recipes because it tends to be among the cheaper fish.

If you are cooking trout, you might consider cutting it into fillets, as it usually comes prepared as part of an entire side of trout – by cutting it into smaller pieces, you can get a lot more even cooking, ensuring that it is done in around the same time as salmon.

  • Cod

Cod isn’t just the ultimate fish for frying, but it can also because really tasty when cooked in an air fryer.

Keep in mind that cod is generally a lot thicker than salmon, so make sure to slightly lower the temperature of the air fryer and cook it a little bit longer as well.

Looking for more delicious Air Fryer recipes? Try these out:

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Air Fryer Turkey Bacon

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Happy Cooking




Fork tender salmon with light seasoning done just right in the air fryer every time, makes for a fast dinner.

Air Fryer Salmon

Fork tender salmon with light seasoning done just right in the air fryer every time, makes for a fast dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Air fryer salmon on a stack of white plates with a salad beside
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Dinner, Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon Salt and pepper to taste (to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (to taste)
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Tartar sauce


  • Preheat your air fryer to 400° if needed.
  • Pat the salmon dry, then rub each salmon fillet with olive oil
  • Season with garlic powder, paprika, and salt and pepper.
  • Place the salmon in the air fryer at 400° and air fry for 7-9 minutes, depending on this thickness of the salmon. The time may vary slightly between air fryers.
  • Open the basket and check for desired doneness with a fork. It should flake easily. You can return the salmon to cook for another 1 or 2 minutes if needed.
  • Garnish with parlsey, serve with a Caesar salad, some tartar sauce on the side and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 366mg, Potassium: 850mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 192IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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