Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce is perfect for a weeknight meal but is impressive enough for guests.
Fresh salmon is pan seared to buttery, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. A simple sauce of cream, wine, garlic, and fresh dill elevates each delicious bite.
Salmon is a common go to, weeknight meal in our house. It’s readily available fresh, not frozen, at most grocery stores which makes a big difference, is incredibly good for you, and when properly cooked, is so amazingly delicious. Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce has the added benefit of having dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. All good things in my book!
How to make Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
Start by choosing a quality piece of salmon.
Where you live and the season of the year often will determine the salmon available, but I choose based on the ‘fresh is best’ rule of thumb and always prefer wild caught when it’s available. I also prefer salmon with the skin still on. You don’t have to eat it if you prefer not to, but it helps keep the fish moist when cooking. Also, it crisps up delightfully when prepared this way, and is really quite deliciuous. The scales, however, I quickly scrape off with the edge of a sharp knife.
If purchasing pre-portioned pieces, like from the seafood counter, choose ones that are thick and similar in size.
If you buy a whole side of salmon, which I usually do, try to portion it in 6-8 ounce pieces.
Using similar sizes and weights will help each piece to cook at the same rate.
Preheat a cast iron skillet or non stick pan to a high heat. Use two skillets if necessary. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of butter and olive oil to the pan, and when the butter foams, add the salmon skin side down. It should sizzle.
Love my cast iron. I use one like this:
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Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom third of the of the fish turns lighter in color, signalling that portion has started to cook through.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the edge of the pan, and when it melts, spoon it over the tops of each filet.
The butter makes for an ultra luxurious bite and also acts to keep the fish uber moist.
Remove the skillet from the stove top and place in a preheated oven. Finish cooking the salmon to a medium to medium well doneness, spooning the melted butter over the top of the salmon once while in the oven. The fish will cook up a little as it rests and the sauce is prepared, so do not cook it to well-done. You can pull it when an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees or judge it by color. The interior should be slightly translucent, while the outside will be a lighter pink and will flake easily with a fork.
Side note of my two cents: The FDA recommends fish be cooked to 145 degrees. Keep in mind this is the finished temperature. The fish continue to cook up as it rests. My opinion on that is, if you like overcooked fish, follow that rule. America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated recommends removing the salmon from the heat at 120-125 depending on the variety of Salmon. I meet in the middle with 130 degrees.
Carefully, remove the fish from the skillet and place on a platter, loosely tented with foil. The salmon will continue to cook up as it rests and the sauce is prepared.
Saute 2 minced garlic in the fish drippings at a medium high heat for a minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the wine and simmer until it reduces by a third to a half, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream and dill. Taste the sauce to judge if additional salt and pepper is needed.
My go to cooking wine is often a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a popular choice for a white in the US and is known for its refreshing crispness. Perfect for seafood. However, choose any dry white that you enjoy and make sure to serve the remainder of the bottle with dinner excluding the glass you should be drinking as you cook this dish, of course.
Serve your dish by either placing the salmon fillets in the sauce and spooning a little over each filet, or serve the sauce on the side for each to garnish on their own.
My Oven Roasted Asparagus is a perfect side for Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce. It roasts for only 10 minutes and can be cooked while the sauce is made.
If you love Salmon as much as I do, make sure you check out Salmon with Garlic Wine Sauce and Baked Fresh Salmon Cakes.
Tried this? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you?
Easy Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
- 2.5 pounds salmon, fresh with skin on
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 cup dry white wine `
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Scrape the scales from the side of salmon with the edge of a sharp knife, season with salt and pepper, and portion it into pieces consistent in weight, about 5-8 ounces each.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet or non stick pan to a high heat. Use two skillets if necessary.
- Add one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to the pan, and when the butter foams, add the salmon skin side down.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom third of the of the fish turns lighter in color, signalling that portion has started to cook through.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the edge of the pan, and when it melts, spoon it over the tops of each filet.
- Place your skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 3 minutes.
- Spoon the melted butter from the edges of the pan over the top of the salmon, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove the salmon from the oven when an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees or when the interior is just slightly translucent it flakes easily with a fork. The fish will cook up a little as it rests and the sauce is prepared, so do not cook it to well done.
- Carefully remove the fish from the skillet and place on a platter, loosely tented with foil.
- Saute 2 minced garlic in the fish drippings at a medium high heat for a minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the wine and simmer until it reduces by a third to a half, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream and dill. Taste the sauce to judge if additional salt and pepper is needed.
- Serve salmon in the pan with the sauce or serve it on the side. Garnish with fresh dill is desired.
Mother, Gardener, Book Devourer, and Food Obsessor. I love being inspired with fresh, seasonal ingredients and relish every opportunity to elevate my home cooking. Join me!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
I have everything I need to make this heavenly salmon for dinner tonight. Yay! Thank you for the inspiration (and the recipe).
Let me know how it turned out for you Lisa. Enjoy!
LOVED this. I could eat salmon every single day and never tire of it. Definitely one of my favorite fish to cook with. The dill sauce was very creamy and satisfying. Greatly enjoyed.
So glad you loved it Mike!
Yum! I’m always looking for delicious salmon recipes. I love the creamy dill sauce on top.
Me too! Thanks Danielle
Such a delicious recipe. Love that dill Sauce. I will make that soon since dill in season . 🙂
I’m a dill fan as well.
Salmon and dill go SO well together. This creamy sauce looks amazing.
I quite agree. Thanks Dannii.