Air fryer salmon cooks quickly and has a slight crust on the outside, but is tender on the inside. With a delicious rub, this salmon recipe can be on your table in 15 minutes!
This air fryer salmon is ready in the time it takes to heat your oven! Slightly crispy on the outside, but tender and moist on the inside, I'm sharing all the tricks to ensure you get perfect salmon in your air fryer each and every time.
Reasons you'll ♡ air fryer salmon
- it's cooked through before your oven has even pre-heated
- my tricks ensure the salmon is not over-cooked and doesn't stick to the air fryer
- it has a slightly crispy outside with tender, flaky insides...the perfect salmon texture!
Wondering exactly how to cook air fryer salmon? Watch this 1-minute video for step by step instructions! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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Use equal-sized salmon fillets
The only tricky thing about cooking salmon in the air fryer is that it can overcook quickly if you don't pull it out at the right time. For this reason, it's important that you have similar-shaped salmon fillets so that they cook through evenly.
If you have salmon fillets of different thicknesses, you're going to want to pay special attention to prevent overcooking them, and you'll need to pull some out earlier than others.
For this recipe, I've used 5-6 oz relatively equal-sized fillets.
Cook time depends thickness
When experimenting, I found that cook time does not necessarily depend on the weight of the salmon fillet, but rather the thickness. Here's a rough estimate of how the cook times vary based on thickness (but you should still use an instant read thermometer and check yourself)
- 1 inch or less thick- 5 minutes
- 1 - 1 ½ inches thick- 7 minutes
- 1 ½ inches + - up to 9 minutes
Use an instant read thermometer
When it comes to cooking salmon, always always ALWAYS rely on an instant read thermometer. Salmon can overcook so quickly, and different air fryer models may cook differently than others, so the best way to know when your salmon should come out is by checking with a digital thermometer.
Like steak, salmon can be cooked to different doneness, depending on your preference.
Here's a breakdown (read more about it here):
- 110-125°F- medium- rare * what I recommend (TRUST ME carryover cooking will ensure it is not raw in the middle, but flaky and moist)
- 125-140°F- medium- well
- 140+ - well done
I found that pulling the salmon out at 110°F, then covering and resting, was perfect for us, as the salmon continues to cook as it rests. At this temperature, it was flaky and tender in the middle.
Carry over cooking
Carry over cooking refers to the fact that after removing your protein from the heat, it continues to cook as it rests. In my experiments, I found carry over cooking of salmon to be more intense in an air fryer than it is on the grill or oven.
Removing the salmon at 110°F, and covering with a baking dish allows carry over cooking to continue gently cooking the salmon so that it is cooked through in the middle, but still moist.
Use a foil sling
In this recipe, we place a strip of foil underneath the salmon. This makes it easier to remove the salmon from the air fryer, and also prevents it from sticking. Unfortunately, even with spray oil, the salmon stuck to the basket without the sling.
Make sure that your sling does not have long ends as they can blow onto the salmon and stick.
Step by step directions
- Brush salmon with olive oil. This helps the rub stick to the salmon and helps the salmon crisp up slightly in the air fryer.
- Mix up a simple rub of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano. You can also add a touch of paprika for color.
- Rub the spice mixture all over the salmon, making sure to press it on so it sticks.
- Place a narrow foil sling into the basket. You'll want to take the basket fully out of the fryer so it doesn't blow around.
- Using tongs, carefully place the salmon onto the sling. Allow space between the salmon fillets and the edge of the basket.
- Cook to an internal temperature of 110°F, then carefully remove the salmon from the basket. Cover with a baking dish and allow to rest for 5 minutes, or the time it takes to cook the next batch.
What temperature to cook salmon at? Set your air fryer to 390°F or 200°C.
How long to cook salmon in an air fryer? Cook time depends on the thickness of your salmon fillets. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then check the internal temperature.
What temp should salmon be? Depending on your preference, you can cook it to:
- medium rare: 110-125°F* what I recommend due to carryover cooking
- medium-well: 125-140°F
- well done: 140+
More air fryer recipes
- Ultra Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Tofu
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower
Perfect Air Fryer Salmon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika (optional; for color)
- 24 oz salmon cut into 5-6 oz fillets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat air fryer to 390°F or 200°C.
- Stir together the rub in a small bowl.
- Brush salmon with olive oil, then sprinkle with the rub. Using your hands, rub the spices all over the salmon, pressing it on gently.
- Cut a strip of foil 1 inch thick and long enough to cross the air fryer and come up the sides slightly (you don't want long overhangs on the side).
- Using tongs, place the foil into the air fryer basket. Spray with oil, then place the salmon on the foil.
- Cook for between 5-7 minutes, and check salmon with an instant read thermometer.110-125°F- medium- rare * recommended temperature.125-140°F- medium- well140+ – well done
- Remove salmon from the air fryer and place on a clean plate. Cover with a baking dish and rest for 5 minutes.