Garlic butter salmon is tender, flaky, and flavorful. Salmon fillets are seasoned with salt and pepper, seared to perfection, and basted in the perfect garlicky buttery lemony sauce until it's juicy and soaks up all that delicious flavor. It's easy to make with just a handful of simple recipes and quick too in just 20 minutes — perfect for busy weeknights but also great for a fancy Date Night in. It's seriously the best.
Why You'll Love Garlic Butter Salmon
- It’s quick and easy. Who doesn’t love a quick and easy recipe with a few simple ingredients that is also incredibly delicious? Like almost all our other salmon recipes (looking at you Creamy Garlic Salmon, Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon, and Greek Salmon), This garlic butter salmon is ready in just twenty minutes. Cooking fish at home is perfect for busy weeknights!
- Well-balanced flavor. What can I say? This fish tastes amazing. Garlic and butter is the perfect match when it comes to fresh salmon, and the addition of lemon balances out the richness of the butter so well, making it so much better (and barely noticeable!). Once you make this garlic butter salmon, you might never cook salmon any other way.
- The pan drippings. Do not discard your pan drippings. That garlicky buttery lemony sauce is perfect for scooping and drizzling over your salmon and sides like rice, pasta, veggies, and more for added flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this easy Garlic Butter Salmon, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in the recipe card below):
- salmon fillets - you can use both skinned and skinless salmon. If you like the skin, I have some tips below on how to get it extra crispy.
- salt and pepper - to season the salmon.
- olive oil
- butter + garlic - it wouldn't be garlic butter salmon without a generous amount of butter and garlic.
- lemon juice - adds a little tang that compliments the other flavors so well.
- fresh parsley - optional, for serving.
You will also need measuring cups and spoons and a skillet.
How to Make the Best Garlic Butter Salmon
- Prepare the salmon. Pat dry the salmon fillets and season with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s ideal to bring the salmon fillets from the refrigerator to room temperature to achieve even cooking.
- Sear the salmon. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until sizzling hot, about 1 minute. Sear the salmon fillets for 5-6 minutes on each side (skin side down first) until golden brown and fully cooked. When salmon is cooked, the flesh will turn opaque, and it will flake easily when using a fork.
- Baste the salmon. Add butter and melt until it starts to bubble, about 1 minute. Add garlic and lemon juice and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Baste the salmon fillet by drizzling the garlic butter mixture constantly over the salmon using a spoon, about 1 minute. You can tilt the pan and scoop the mixture with a spoon to drizzle over the salmon easily.
How to Serve
Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. Drizzle with more lemon juice if desired.
Pair this garlic butter salmon with veggies and carbs for a balanced meal. Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Harvest Vegetables
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Cacio e Pepe Pasta
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Rice Pilaf with Carrots
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How to get crispy skin: If you are a fan of salmon skin and want it extra crispy, the secret is to thoroughly pat the salmon dry before searing. Excess water will cause it to steam, and you don’t want that. So, make sure your salmon skin is as dry as possible. You'll get charred to perfection, crisp, crunchy, and salty skin.
- How to store: Keep leftover garlic butter salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- How to reheat: Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through or in the air fryer at 350 F for 5 minutes.
More Salmon Recipes
- Creamy Garlic Salmon
- Greek Salmon
- Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon
- Miso Salmon
- Baked Maple Salmon
- Teriyaki Salmon
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.