Learn how to make crispy skin salmon that’s perfectly cooked and has skin as crisp as bacon.
I’ve cooked salmon a lot of ways—baking, grilling, pan-frying, air fryer—always with one main goal in mind: a perfectly cooked fillet, with the crispiest skin. I’m talking crisp-like-bacon crisp. Aside from a little sticking here and there, I thought each of those methods worked fairly well, until I tried my oven’s broiler.
Mind blown. Seriously.
Cooking salmon under the broiler was one of those “why didn’t I try this sooner” moments for me. The skin was crispy like bacon, and it stayed crispy throughout the entire meal. The inside was also cooked to a perfect medium in just seven minutes, making it one of the quickest (and healthiest) dinners I regularly make for my family.
10-Minutes Per Inch Rule For Cooking Fish
Generally speaking, fish will need about 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness to be cooked all of the way through, using moderate heat. Atlantic salmon is usually about one and one-half-inch at its thickest part, and tapers. King salmon is often a little thicker. Because both can be served medium or medium-rare, I tend to lean toward the seven minutes for salmon.
Head to TheCookful if you want to learn more about salmon and the different types.
How To Broil Salmon With Skin That Is Soooo Crispy
For this to work without burning the fillet, the oven rack needs to be positioned in exactly the right spot, which is the upper-middle. That translates to being about the second or third rack notch from the top, or about seven-inches from the heating element. Anything closer, and the salmon will burn. Anything lower, and the salmon will overcook before the skin reaches that crisp-like-bacon stage we’re after.
The ingredient list is minimal, which is another reason why this recipe is a favorite of mine. Salmon, oil, salt. That’s it. Herbs, spices, or butter will burn from the high heat of the broiler, including black pepper, so apply those after the salmon comes out of the oven, and not before.
Slather each salmon fillet with the olive oil, and then sprinkle each with the salt, all over. Place the fillets on a parchment-lined baking sheet, skin-side-up, and place the pan in the oven on the upper-middle rack. The parchment will darken under the broiler, but unlikely to burn as long as the rack is not closer than the upper-middle position. If burning is a concern, a silicone mat works well, too. I sometimes even skip the parchment all together and place the fish directly onto the pan after I’ve greased it with a little bit of the oil.
Remember to set a timer for seven minutes; the cook time goes by fast, and it’s easy to forget.
What To Serve With Broiled Salmon
As soon as the salmon is in the oven, I’ll start up my air fryer to cook up a quick side veggie. My favorite go-to is whole, “skinny” carrots, meaning the carrots are thin, not “light” as in diet. The thinner carrots cook in about five minutes in the air fryer, and are ready at the same time as the salmon. A side salad is my other side dish hero, and I’ll often buy a few prepared salads from the produce section to save time when I know the week is extra busy. I call this a “mom-cut” (a mom shortcut!).
When you make this Crispy Salmon recipe, take a video of you scraping the skin so I can hear that crunch! Tag me @cookthestory so I can see (and hear).Print
For salmon skin that is crisp like bacon, turn to your broiler.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this salmon, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 4 (5-6-oz.) fresh, skin-on King or Atlantic salmon fillets
- 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; preheat broiler to high.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- Coat each piece of salmon in oil. Sprinkle salt evenly over top and bottom of each salmon fillet.
- Place salmon fillets, skin side up, on sheet pan, about 1-inch apart.
- Place pan in oven. Broil 7 minutes, adjusting cook time based on thickness of fish*.
*As a general rule, plan for 7-10 minutes of cooking time per inch of salmon. For example, most Atlantic salmon is about 1 and ½-inches at its thickest point, so about 7 minutes under the broiler will yield a medium fillet; with 10 minutes yielding a well done fillet.
- If there is concern about the parchment becoming too dark under the broiler, try a silicone mat instead, or grease the pan with a little oil and place the fish directly onto the pan.