Learn how to cook Salmon Steaks and enjoy this delicious and healthy protein that turns out restaurant-quality fish in less than 15 minutes. The prep is simple and easy and you can use your favorite spice blend or rub to make a dinner that is perfect for weeknights or company!

Salmon is one of our favorite proteins that we enjoy often. Some of our other favorite salmon recipes are Blackened Salmon TacosSmoked Salmon Chowder, and Grilled Soy Brown Sugar Salmon in Foil.

An image of a grilled salmon steak on a plate with asparagus.

One of our favorite Japanese restaurants offers grilled salmon steak on their menu and it's seriously so good. The fish is always perfectly cooked and so rich and moist. I decided I had to learn how to cook salmon steaks at home so we could enjoy this wonderful cut of meat anytime!

This simple recipe for how to cook salmon steaks is something I came up with while doing Whole 30 a few years ago (we just left off the compound butter back then but have added it back in since) and it is a dinner we have kept making over and over. It is healthy, so easy (you can make it from start to finish in under 15 minutes) and so good!

Serve it with grilled veggies and you have a super healthy, quick and yummy dinner that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes!

Pan seared salmon steaks in a cast iron skillet with lemon halves.

Ingredient Notes

  • Salmon steaks: While fillets are a more popular cut of fish, we love both the look and flavor of salmon steaks. Plus, they tend to be easier to cook and stay moist thanks to the skin and bones, much like other cuts of meat! We always recommend looking for wild caught salmon as opposed to farmed salmon when available.
  • Seasoning: I find that keeping it simple is the best approach with salmon. My personal favorite for salmon steaks is a sprinkling of salt and pepper with some garam masala. But any barbecue rub or lemon pepper seasoning are also delicious on salmon steaks! Whatever you choose, you just want to keep in mind that it shouldn't overpower the naturally delicious flavor of the salmon steaks.
  • Compound butter: If you have some compound butter on hand in the fridge, you can use that! Or make a quick version by mashing chopped fresh herbs into some salted butter to add even more flavor to your fish.
Salmon steaks on a baking sheet with salt, pepper, oil, butter, and fresh herbs around it.

How to Make This Recipe

Start by seasoning the salmon steaks on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be sure to sprinkle both from at least 6 inches over the salmon for more even coverage. I also like to season our fish with a little garam masala which adds a wonderful warmth to the dish, but simple salt and pepper will work just fine and let the meat shine through with its own wonderful flavor.

To cook the salmon steaks, my favorite method is to heat a large skillet over medium-high heat just because I can do it year round and it's quick and easy. But the same timing and approach works if you want to grill salmon steaks, which is fun when the weather is nice.

Start by heating either a large pan (I love my cast iron skillet) or grill. Starting the salmon on a hot surface helps it to sear better, which also helps the salmon not stick to the surface.

When the pan is hot, add a little olive oil (or brush onto the grill with a paper towel), then arrange the steaks in the pan and let them sear without moving. They need to cook between 3-5 minutes on the first side and should release pretty easily when they are ready to be flipped.

Carefully flip them to the other side with a large spatula (watch out for grease splatters) and let them cook another 3-5 minutes until opaque in the center. Be careful not to let the fish overcook or it will be dry. I like to stop just shy of fully opaque because the residual heat finishes cooking the salmon while it rests before we eat.

Roasting Salmon: If you prefer to roast your salmon steaks in the oven, you will want to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and roast in a pan for 15-20 minutes until done.

You might want to make an easy compound butter to add to the pan during the last few minutes of cooking or to place on top of the hot salmon to melt as soon as it comes off the grill. To do this, just mash a few of tablespoons of salted butter with some minced garlic and chopped fresh herbs. I did chives and fresh oregano this time and it was absolutely delicious, but rosemary, basil, and tarragon are all really good.

As the butter melts in the pan, you can spoon it over the salmon to add wonderful flavor. It's not necessary for delicious fish, but it really does elevate this method to give you a restaurant-quality dinner!

Combining butter, herbs, and garlic in a bowl with a fork.

FAQ's

What is garam masala?

Garam Masala is a spice blend made from ground coriander, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, ginger, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. It's such a fantastic spice blend and I always have a jar in my cupboard for this salmon, Chicken Tikka Masala, or just sprinkling over other foods that need a little kick. It's not spicy at all, so no need to worry about that, and I have never had a problem finding it in the spice aisle at the regular grocery store.

Can I make this with salmon fillets?

You could absolutely use salmon fillets if you prefer although you would want to watch your cooking time since the edges of fillets can cook faster and get dry more easily than a salmon steak if you aren't careful.

What to serve with salmon?

Salmon goes well with so many side dish options, but you can't go wrong with creamy mashed potatoes or rice pilaf. And a vegetable like roasted asparagus, roasted green beans, or roasted broccoli always tastes so good with salmon.

What's the difference between salmon steaks and salmon fillets?

They both come from the same part of the fish, but the difference is in how the meat is butchered. A salmon steak is cut straight through the side of the fish crosswise, so it includes the spine bone. A fillet is removed from the side of the fish and is what most of us are more familiar with.

Recipe Tips

  • Be careful to avoid the small pin bones that are usually in this cut of salmon. I don't mind them because they are easy to remove and I think they keep the fish moist and flavorful, but you could actually go to the trouble of removing the spine bone and smaller bones before cooking the salmon by pulling them out with tweezers.
  • If your salmon steaks are frozen, be sure to let them thaw completely in the fridge overnight before cooking them.
  • Look for salmon steaks that have good color and smell fresh. If it has a strong, fishy odor, chances are it's not as fresh as it should be.
  • Use a large spatula to help flip the salmon steaks but don't try to flip them until they have seared on the first side. The fish should release easily from the pan or grill when it is ready to be flipped.
  • Leftovers are good for a couple days when stored in the fridge. You can reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 5-8 minutes until hot, or add the meat to scrambled eggs for a delicious breakfast!
Flaked salmon on a white plate with a fork and roasted asparagus.

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How to Cook Salmon Steaks

5 from 25 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Learn how to cook salmon steaks and enjoy this delicious and healthy protein that turns out restaurant-quality fish in less than 15 minutes. The prep is simple and easy and you can use your favorite spice blend or rub to make a dinner that is perfect for weeknights or company!

Ingredients
  

Salmon

  • 4 1-inch thick salmon steaks, 6 to 8-ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons Garam masala divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Compound Butter

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (like chives, oregano, dill, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Season both sides of the salmon steaks evenly with salt, pepper, and garam masala or your favorite spice blend or rub like lemon pepper or bbq.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat or clean, oil, and preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Add olive oil when the pan is hot and let it heat up.
  • Place each piece of salmon into the pan or on the grill over direct heat (right over the flames or coal) and let them cook without flipping or moving for 3-5 minutes. Once the salmon releases easily from the pan or grill, it is ready to be flipped.
  • Make the compound butter by mashing the softened butter together with the minced garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • When the fish releases easily from the pan or grill, flip it and ook for another 3-5 minutes on the second side. Add the butter to the pan after flipping the salmon and spoon it over the fish as it cooks. If grilling, hold the butter in reserve until you remove the salmon from the grill, then top each piece with a dollop of the butter, which will melt from the residual heat of the fish.
  • The salmon is done when the center is opaque and flakes easily. Be careful not to overcook. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the fish and watch out for small bones.

Notes

  • Roasting Salmon: If you prefer to roast your salmon steaks in the oven, you will want to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and roast in a pan for 15-20 minutes until done.
  • Leftovers can be stored for 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 2526mg | Potassium: 1166mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in July, 2016. The photos and content were updated November, 2021.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This looks awesome! Something both me and my wife would love! Always in for a new Salmon recipe! Never tried it with garam massala! Thanks for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    I eat a lot of salmon but havenever paired it with garam masala. What an awesome idea - esp as I can actualy make it for supper tonight.

  3. 5 stars
    These salmon steaks sound delicious, I love garam masala too! I've never tried the Whole 30 thing, but I've been thinking of doing Harcombe which is very similar - it's a good way to have a little detox, and also get me off my sugar addiction!

    1. I know! The sugar addiction is so real! I've never heard of Harcombe but might have to look into it!

  4. 5 stars
    We need a reset right now - the Whole 30 sounds like a great plan and your salmon looks delicious! I think I could do this!

    1. Whole 30 isn't nearly as bad as it seems when you first contemplate doing it! I have a bunch of recipes that I loved and that we make on a regular basis still. I plan to post more of them soon!

  5. 5 stars
    I'd never thought to pair garam masala with salmon; we always just do citrus or asian flavors! We all loved this one.

  6. 5 stars
    I love garam masala seasoning. I never tried it on the salmon steak before. I will definitely give this recipe a try. Looks amazing!

  7. 5 stars
    This salmon is so perfect, flavorful, and delicious! I eat salmon every week and I'm sure this will be my new favorite way to prepare it!

  8. 5 stars
    The salmon came out excellent. Thanks so much for your recipe. It is the best that I have found. It will be a staple! 

  9. 5 stars
    I love cooking salmon at home and thanks to your easy recipe and instructions it was perfect! This was my first time cooking salmon for dinner and it was such a hit. We loved all the flavors too. Thanks for another delicious meal Amy!

  10. 5 stars
    This post is so helpful to prepare salmon steaks, thank you so much Amy! My kids were so happy with the result! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I don't cook fish much as I find it intimidating; however, after coming across this salmon recipe, I decided to give it a shot. It turned out just perfect! I'm so glad I found this recipe and will start cooking more salmon and fish in the future. Thank you for giving me the confidence to start!

  12. 5 stars
    This post was really a great help. Sometimes when I make salmon it's a hit and miss dinner. Either I cook it too long or not long enough. Your tips really helped and my salmon steaks turned out perfect. We especially loved finishing it off with the herb compound butter. Thank you!!