Recipe: Air Fryer Salmon with Sweet/Savory Rub

For salmon lovers, there is no need to overpower its pure flavor bomb, but we’ll give a few ideas if you want to stretch out a bit.  Not required to use an air fryer… instructions are included to use your oven or a rangetop roasting/grilling pan. Please note, salting for at least 30 minutes before cooking is desirable, and part of the instructions.

Parchment is optional, but don’t wrap around.

Ingredients, in order of use (no specific measurements!)

  • Salmon filet, skin on, of desired size. Suggested minimum: ¾ lb
  • Finely ground sea salt or celery salt
  • Paprika
  • Kitchen Bouquet (usually found at grocer in aisle with gravies)
  • Oil aerosol or mister
  • Brown sugar or maple syrup (brown sugar produces nicer crust)
  • Options: cayenne, dehydrated lemon powder, Red Boat salt, small amount of sesame oil and/or green top (low salt) soy sauce. We think garlic would muddy the salmon flavor rather than enhancing it.


1. Examine the salmon filet and remove any errant scales or other undesirables.

2. 30 minutes to 1 hour before beginning to cook it, place filet on countertop (you could leave it in the foam packaging for convenience), sprinkle all over with sea salt.  Cover with plastic wrap or an item such as an inverted pan lid. 

It wouldn’t be a disaster if the salt sat on it longer than 1 hour, but this is the ideal amount of time.

3. Uncover and sprinkle with paprika.  Optionals at this point: very light sprinkle of cayenne, dehydrated lemon powder, Red Boat salt, small amount of sesame oil and/or green top (low salt) soy sauce.

4. Drizzle filet lightly with Kitchen Bouquet and rub in with fingers or spatula.  Spray with oil, and rub in again if oil is not evenly distributed

5. Below are suggested baking times (please adjust to your familiarity with your air fryer).  We will also check the fish’s internal temp a time or two, to allow for thinner or thicker filets.

Internal temp goal: 155° for well-done, assuming 5 minutes resting time for carryover cooking.  140° internal temp would leave it a bit softer.

Air fryer: 325°  15+/- minutes

Oven roast: 350° 20 to 30 minutes

Range grill pan: Heat to 375° or 400° (use your laser temp gun), spray with oil, place filet skin side down, cover and reduce heat to medium-low, trying to achieve 300° to 325°.

NOTE: the thicker the filet, you actually want to use a slightly lower temp.  May sound counter intuitive, but what you’re trying to achieve is the heat reaching the inside of the filet without over-heating the outside.

Check internal temperature with your probe thermometer about 2 minutes before the expected completion. If it is more than 20 degrees below desired temp, add 3 to 5 minutes to cook time.

FINAL COOKING STEP: Remove filet from heat source and sprinkle all over with brown sugar (most easy if you use your fingers to crumble it lightly).  For a smooth glaze without scorching, use your water spray bottle to moisten the sugar.  No need to do this if you’ve chosen maple syrup.

Return to heat.  Air fryer: 1 minute, oven: 5 minutes, range top: 5 minutes or until sugar is visibly melted.  In the oven you could also broil it for about 20 seconds, but please be careful to not scorch.

Yay !!  Let rest on cutting board for about 5 minutes while you finish up whatever will be served with it.  This refrigerates beautifully for reheating or using at room temp on a salad.


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