Air Fryer Salmon: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Juicy, Flavorful Fish
Cooking salmon in an air fryer is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare incredibly moist, tender, and flaky salmon fillets or steaks.
Air frying salmon requires little to no oil, resulting in healthier versions of crispy, savory salmon dishes.
This comprehensive guide provides tips for selecting and cooking salmon in the air fryer, answers frequently asked questions and includes many tasty air fryer salmon recipe ideas.
Benefits of Cooking Salmon in an Air Fryer
Air frying salmon has many advantages over other cooking methods:
Healthier: Using little or no oil reduces the calories, fat, and oil waste versus deep frying. Salmon is already packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Fast and Convenient: Salmon cooks quickly in an air fryer for 8-12 minutes. The air fryer also makes salmon a breeze to cook any night of the week.
Delicious Results: Air frying gives salmon a crisp, seared exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender. You get the taste of pan or deep-fried salmon without the excess grease.
Versatile: Cook salmon in the air fryer for any meal. It’s easy to adapt for cooking one portion or for serving a crowd.
Tips for Air Frying Salmon Perfectly
Follow these tips and tricks to achieve delicious air-fried salmon every time:
- Pat salmon fillets or steaks dry before air frying to prevent sticking.
- Lightly brush or spray salmon with oil or melted butter to add flavor and moisture.
- Always preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes before cooking salmon at 400°F.
- Adjust salmon cook time based on thickness – see chart below.
- Salmon is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
Handy Salmon Air Frying Time Chart
|Salmon Thickness||Cook Time at 400°F|
|1/2 inch||7-8 minutes|
|3/4 inch||8-10 minutes|
|1 inch||10-12 minutes|
FAQs About Cooking Salmon in an Air Fryer
Can you cook frozen salmon in an air fryer?
Yes, cooking salmon in the air fryer is possible straight from frozen. Cook at 360°F for 5 minutes first to initially thaw the fish. Then, season as desired and cook for 5-8 more minutes until done.
How do you keep air-fried salmon from drying out?
- Don’t overcook. Remove salmon from the air fryer at 145°F internal temp.
- Lightly brush or rub salmon with oil or butter before air frying.
- Tent foil over salmon and let rest for 5 minutes after cooking.
Does salmon skin get crispy in an air fryer?
Yes, salmon skin will get crispy and delicious when air-fried. Place salmon fillets or steaks skin-side up in the air fryer basket for best results. Lightly brush the skin with oil.
Can you put aluminum foil or parchment in an air fryer?
Yes, aluminum foil or parchment paper can be used to prevent salmon from sticking and overcooking in the air fryer. Just don’t block the airflow holes.
Choosing Salmon for Air Frying
When selecting salmon to cook in your air fryer, look for:
Fresh, moist salmon that smells mildly like the ocean. Avoid dull, dry or discolored fish.
Salmon fillets or steaks with even thickness, ideally 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
Wild caught or sustainably farmed salmon such as Atlantic salmon.
Skin-on salmon fillets if you want crispy skin. Skinless still air fries well.
Salmon Air Frying Temperatures
For medium doneness, cook salmon until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
For salmon cooked medium well, aim for 155°F internal temperature.
Use an instant read thermometer to check doneness, especially for thick cuts.
If you don’t have a thermometer, check that salmon flakes apart easily at the thickest area.
Serving Your Air-Fried Salmon
Salmon pairs well with many healthy sides and flavors. Consider serving it with:
Fresh leafy greens like salads or sauteed spinach
Roasted vegetables like potatoes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts
Grains like rice, quinoa or couscous
Pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, basil, cilantro
Lemon or lime wedges
So in summary, cooking salmon in the air fryer results in a quick, healthy meal with crispy seared salmon ready in under 15 minutes. Use this guide to achieve perfectly cooked salmon every time.
Delicious Air Fryer Salmon Recipes
Once you master the basics, try out these top air fryer salmon recipes:
Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Salmon – simple and delicious
Air Fryer Salmon with potatoes – easy salmon dinner
Honey Glazed Air Fryer Salmon – blackened salmon flavor
Air Fryer Teriyaki Salmon – fast and flavorful
Air Fried Miso Ginger Salmon – fun salmon taco night
The air fryer makes it easy to enjoy healthy, tasty salmon any night of the week. Give these recipes a try!
More Delicious Air Fryer Recipes
While salmon is amazing in the air fryer, there are so many other meals and sides you can also make. Try out these air fryer recipe ideas:
Air Fryer Chicken Recipes – chicken breasts, wings, tenders and more
Air Fryer Tilapia – Cook beautiful fish that is moist and tasty
Air Fried Pork – juicy, tender pork recipes
Air Fryer Cauliflower – Amazing Caluifloer recipes from steaks to Air fryer Tandoori Gobi
Air Fried Vegetables – crisp-tender veggies like green beans, asparagus, broccoli
Air Fryer Snacks – crispy fries with less oil
Air Fried Breakfast Recipes – Granola, pop tarts, pancakes, apple fritters and more.
Air Fryer Desserts – air fry donuts, cookies, apple pies
You can cook just about anything from mains to sides to snacks to sweets with an air fryer. It’s a versatile kitchen appliance that makes cooking fast, easy, and healthier.
Common Air Fryer Models
There are many different air fryer brands and models to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:
Philips Airfryer – The original air fryer, available in various sizes including the XXL.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid – Turns your Instant Pot into an air fryer.
Ninja Air Fryer – Features multiple cooking modes with a large capacity.
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven – Air fryer and convection oven in one appliance.
Cosori Air Fryer – Budget-friendly with 11 presets and a nonstick basket.
Instant Vortex Air Fryer – Eye-catching design with touchscreen controls.
Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer – Compact 3.6 quart capacity. Dishwasher safe basket.
GoWise USA Air Fryer – Digital touchscreen with 8 cooking presets.
When shopping for an air fryer, look for one with enough capacity for your household needs.
Air fryers with adjustable temperature and time settings provide the most flexibility.
Air Fryer Maintenance Tips
To keep your air fryer working its best:
Wipe basket and drawer clean after each use. Wash detachable parts as needed.
Avoid abrasive scouring pads or cleaners which can damage the nonstick coating.
Check and clean the air fryer heating element periodically. Unplug first!
Don’t immerse the air fryer base in water. Clean exterior with a damp cloth.
Replace accessories like parchment paper or silicone mats when worn.
Store air fryer with basket/drawer removed so moisture doesn’t build up.
With proper care and maintenance, an air fryer can last for years of healthy cooking. Be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care and cleaning recommendations.
Is An Air Fryer Worth It?
Air fryers come with a higher upfront cost than many other kitchen appliances. But they can actually save you money over time in several ways:
1. Lower energy costs
Air fryers use less energy than a full-size convection oven. They heat up and cook food very quickly.
2. Reduced need for oil
Cooking with little to no oil saves money spent on purchasing cooking oils.
3. Faster cooking
Meals cook rapidly in the air fryer, using less electricity than longer cooking times.
An air fryer can replace several other appliances like deep fryers, dehydrators or toaster ovens.
5. Healthier eating
Air frying makes it easier to cook healthier versions of traditionally fried foods. This can improve your overall well-being.
For those reasons, an air fryer can be well worth the investment for your kitchen. It pays off over time by enabling faster, healthier, less expensive meals.
Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: What’s the Difference?
While air fryers and convection ovens both use a fan to circulate hot air around food, there are some key differences:
Size – Air fryers have a much smaller footprint, great for kitchens with limited space.
Preheat Time – Air fryers preheat in just 3-5 minutes while convection ovens can take 10+ minutes.
Cooking Time – Air fryers cook food faster, in about half the time of a full-size convection oven.
Temperature Range – Convection ovens reach higher temps, up to 500°F vs. 400°F for most air fryers.
Capacity – Convection ovens accommodate larger items like whole chickens or roasts. Air fryers work best for individual servings or smaller portions.
Features – Convection ovens offer more bake, broil, and pizza modes. Air fryers focus mainly on air frying, but some include grill, roast, and dehydrate functions.
For quick weekday meals, an air fryer can be very convenient. But a full convection oven provides greater versatility.
Many people find owning both appliances gives the best of both worlds!
Air Frying Safety Tips
While air fryers are generally safe appliances, be sure to follow these precautions:
Location – Only operate the air fryer on a stable, heat-resistant surface away from water or flammable items. Don’t place it under cabinets.
Foods to Avoid – Don’t air fry extremely oily foods, foods with runny batter, or items prone to grease splatter like sausages.
Don’t Overfill – Only air fry the amount of food that can fit in a single layer with some space around each item. Overfilling causes uneven cooking.
Attend Air Fryer – Don’t leave the air fryer unattended, especially when cooking at higher temperatures or longer cook times.
Let Cool Before Handling – Allow air fryer basket and contents to cool before touching to avoid burns.
Clean Ventilation – Ensure not to block the air intake or exhaust vents during cooking or when storing appliances.
No Deep Frying – Don’t fill the air fryer basket with oil like a deep fryer. Use small amounts of oil by brushing or spraying food only.
Following basic safety precautions keeps your air frying risk-free and enjoyable. Refer to your specific air fryer manual for any additional tips or warnings.
Common Air Fryer Accessories
There are many useful air fryer accessories available:
Extra Baskets – Allow batch cooking of multiple foods. Helpful for larger households.
Skewers – Hold food like meats, veggies, or shrimp in place while air frying.
Racks – Provide an additional layer for air-frying chips, bacon, etc.
Parchment Paper – Prevents sticking for easier food removal and cleanup.
Silicone Mats – Reusable, nonstick mats to line air fryer baskets.
Cooking Trays – Allow air frying loose ingredients like fries that would slip through basket holes.
Cookbooks – Offer ideas and recipes tailored specifically for air fryers.
Tongs – Help remove smaller cooked items from the air fryer safely.
Oil Sprayers – Use to lightly mist a bit of oil over food before air frying.
Accessories help maximize the usefulness and enjoyment of your air fryer. Start with essentials like parchment or a cooking tray based on your planned air-fried recipes.
Common Problems and Solutions For Air Frying
Here are some frequent air frying issues and how to troubleshoot them:
Food is not crispy:
Ensure food is not overcrowded in the basket, leaving space for air circulation.
Spray or brush a small amount of oil on food before cooking for crispness.
Increase the air fryer temperature slightly. Extra cooking time can also cause limpness.
Food is unevenly cooked:
Refrain from filling the air fryer basket. Cook in smaller batches if needed.
Toss or flip food midway during cooking time.
If some pieces are browning too fast, place foil over them.
Food is dried out:
Reduce the air fryer temperature and cook for less time.
Lightly oil food before cooking to add moisture.
For thicker foods, finish cooking at a lower temperature after browning at a higher temperature.
Food is not done in the center:
Increase the air fryer temperature to 25°F and extend the cooking time.
Cut food into smaller, thinner pieces so it cooks faster.
Use a meat thermometer to verify internal temperature reaches food safety recommendations.
Please look at your air fryer’s user manual for troubleshooting tips for your make and model.
This complete air fryer salmon guide gives you all the information you need to cook delicious, tender, and healthy salmon meals in your air fryer.
Please follow the tips for choosing high-quality salmon to ensure the best results.
Air fry at the proper times and temperatures for your desired doneness. Check out the many flavorful recipe ideas as well.
With some practice, you’ll be making incredible air-fried salmon dishes any night of the week. Enjoy all the benefits of quick cooking, easy cleanup, and healthier eating from the air fryer.
Explore recipes for chicken, steak, pork, vegetables, snacks, and more for more air-frying inspiration.
The possibilities are endless, from full dinners to sides, appetizers, and desserts.
Experiment with all the delicious ways you can put your air fryer to use for faster, healthier meals your whole family will love.