This Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon is a bright and flavorful main dish seafood recipe that takes only 10 minutes to cook in your air fryer! Delicious, simple to make and perfect for those quick weeknight dinners!
It’s time to embrace fish for QUICK meals and easy clean up!! I go in phases for how much I cook fish – sometimes I’ll go a few months without, and some weeks it’s on the menu twice!
No matter how often I do it, I never regret cooking up some wild salmon filets. Especially with how easy the air fryer makes the entire process! This recipe takes 20 minutes, start to finish!
Total Time: 20 minutes
Method: Air Fryer
Prep: 5 Ingredients or Less
Watch how to make this Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon (1 min 40 sec):
What are the ingredients in this Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon?
This is a very simple recipe – all you need is a fresh lemon, wild salmon, and some pantry supplies! Here’s a detailed list of each ingredient and what it’s all about:
- lemon – Make sure to zest the lemon before slicing, using a fine cheese grater or a microplane zester. I also prefer to wash my lemon since we’ll be using the outside zest!
- sea salt – Salt is always important but here I specifically decided to mix the salt and lemon zest together first to help bring out just a little more lemon flavor from the zest. My preference here is coarse or flaky sea salt.
- fresh ground black pepper – For this recipe, it’s important to use fresh ground black pepper. This means grinding peppercorns in a grinder right when you add them to this recipe! Since our flavors are so simple, it’s important to use fresh quality ingredients.
- garlic powder – I’m an absolute garlic lover, so for me, this simple addition adds so much more flavor and deliciousness.
- avocado oil – I prefer to use avocado oil because of the high smoke point, but you can use olive oil if you prefer.
- wild salmon fillets – I will always recommend wild over farmed fish, as I believe it is more sustainable and tastes better. For this recipe, you’ll want at least two (4-6 ounce) filets. It is possible to fit four filets into larger air fryers, but I usually only need two so that’s how many I cook.
How do you make Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon?
If you’ve never made salmon before, it’s a lot easier than you might think! Just don’t overthink it. Plus, cooking in the air fryer is a reliable and hands off method. No need to hover the stove top or guess on oven time.
Start with the lemon zest and salt. Mix the two together in a small bowl using the back of a spoon to really grind them together. This helps release more of the lemon zest flavor! Then add the rest of the spices to the same bowl and mix.
Take your room temperature salmon filets and lay them out on a plate or cutting board. Use a paper towel to pat dry both sides. Next, coat all sides liberally with oil.
Set the salmon skin side down and grab the bowl of seasoning you made earlier. Divide the seasoning evenly between each salmon fillet. Use your fingers to coat the salmon on the top and sides with the lemon pepper seasoning mix.
Place the salmon skin side down in the air fryer, taking care not to let the portions overlap or touch if possible.
Air fry the salmon at 350F for 8-12 minutes. Cook until the salmon flakes with a fork or until the internal temperature reaches 145F when measured with a meat thermometer.
Let it sit for a couple minutes, then peel off the skin and serve! Watch for bones, depending on the quality of the cut.
What kind of salmon should you use?
What kind?: Honestly, any species of salmon will work for this recipe. If you have a favorite, go for it!
Wild vs farmed: It is my personal preference and recommendation to always use wild salmon, as it is generally more sustainable, tastes better, and has less of a negative impact on the environment. Generally, I would recommend purchasing the highest quality salmon you can access. Frozen is just fine too!!
Do you cook salmon with the skin on or off?
Usually when you purchase salmon, it comes with the skin on. You should cook salmon with the skin on to help it retain moisture. It’s super easy to peel off after cooking! Check out the picture below!
Can I use lemon pepper seasoning?
Yes, you can. But I prefer to use a fresh lemon if I have it, along with fresh ground black pepper.
Some tips for cooking Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon:
- Cooking with the skin on is helpful to keep the salmon nice and juicy.
- Thinner salmon will cook faster (around 8 minutes or so). Thicker salmon will take 2-4 minutes longer to cook.
- I prefer to coat the entire piece of salmon in oil instead of spray the inside of the basket. That feels a lot messier to me!
- Try to cook fillets that are all about the same thickness, so they will be done at the same time.
How do you meal prep this recipe?
This is generally not a recipe I meal prep. It is more of a quick weeknight dinner recipe that’s perfect when nothing is thawed or you don’t feel like doing too much work (or both!).
It’s also great because you only have to make as many as you need, and you shouldn’t have any leftovers.
With that being said, there are a couple meal prep options:
- Cook the salmon and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy cold from the fridge or reheat in the air fryer at 350F for 4-5 minutes.
- Prep the spice mixture up to 2 days in advance, including zesting the lemon and mixing the spices. This will save you about 5 minutes of prep time on cooking day!
What should you serve with this salmon recipe?
My favorite way to eat this salmon is on a salad with fresh veggies and my favorite dressing. And anytime you involve potatoes is gonna be a good time. I would also suggest serving with roasted veggies like asparagus or summer squash.
Alternative customization ideas:
You can use this method and cook time for salmon with any kind of seasoning!
You can also use different types of fish. Most white or pink fish filets about 1 inch thick should cook at roughly the same pace.
Which air fryer do you recommend?
The air fryer I have currently, and the one that is pictured in this post is the Cosori XL 5.8 qt Air Fryer . If you’re going to invest in an air fryer to cook things for 2 or more people, you should opt for a larger size like this one, in my opinion!
I previously had a slightly smaller Philips Air Fryer with a metal grate basket which I liked, but I prefer the larger Cosori model with the nonstick coated basket.
This air fryer can probably fit four (4-ounce) salmon filets perfectly at one time – just make sure they aren’t touching each other! Simply double this recipe to make four filets instead of two. If you have a smaller air fryer, stick with two filets.
Is this recipe freezer-friendly?
No, I would not recommend freezing this recipe. Your salmon will be best quality if you eat it when you cook it.
Cook only as much as you need – remember, raw salmon can be frozen in vacuum sealed or airtight containers for up to 6 months or so.
How to store in the fridge:
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How to freeze:
I would not recommend freezing this recipe. Your salmon will be best quality if you eat it when you cook it. Raw salmon can be frozen for up to 6 months. I keep filets in the freezer and thaw individually before using.
How to reheat:
Enjoy cold from the fridge or reheat in the air fryer at 350F for 4-5 minutes.
This Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon is a bright and flavorful main dish seafood recipe that takes only 10 minutes to cook in your air fryer! Simple to make and perfect for quick weeknight dinners!
- 1 lemon, zested then sliced into wedges
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 (4-6 ounce) wild salmon fillets, skin-on, room temperature
- Make the seasoning: In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and sea salt. Use the back of a spoon to lightly grind and mix together for 10-15 seconds. Add remaining spices to the bowl including the fresh ground black pepper and garlic powder, and mix to combine.
- Prepare the salmon: Place room temperature salmon fillets out on a plate or cutting board. Use a paper towel to pat dry both sides. Next, coat all sides of the filets liberally with oil using a pastry brush or your fingers. Place the salmon skin side down and divide the seasoning evenly over each salmon fillet. Use your fingers to coat the salmon on the top and sides with the lemon pepper seasoning mix.
- Cook the salmon: Place the salmon skin side down in the air fryer, taking care not to let the portions overlap or touch. Air fry the salmon at 350F for 8-12 minutes. Cook until the salmon easily flakes with a fork or until the internal temperature reaches 145F when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Serve and store: Let the salmon cool on a cutting board for a couple minutes, then peel off the skin and serve with lemon wedges. Watch for bones, depending on the quality of the cut. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy cold from the fridge or reheat in the air fryer at 350F for 4-5 minutes.
If you have a larger air fryer, feel free to double this recipe and cook four fillets at a time. Air fryer cook times and settings will vary depending on the brand and model. Start with minimum cook time and adjust from there. Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.
- Serving Size: 1 filet
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 7g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Protein: 24g