Food & Nutrition

Easy Skillet Salmon with Avocado and Basil

skillet with salmon lemon and avocado
skillet with salmon lemon and avocado
close up salmon with avocado basil and lemon
skillet salmon collage text overlay

This Easy Skillet Salmon with Avocado and Basil mash comes together in 15 minutes for a healthy restaurant-quality dinner in minutes! 

close up of the salmon in the cast iron skillet with the avocado mash on top and lime wedges

I originally shared this recipe on February 12th, 2016. I have updated some of the text today.

Table of contents

Why We Love This Easy Skillet Salmon with Avocado and Basil

I used to make this crispy skillet-seared salmon with avocado mash at least once a week for a client I had when I was a personal chef and my clients always loved it! This recipe makes a fast and delicious main course for busy nights because it is ready in only 15 minutes!

The fish is golden and crispy, and is tender, flaky, and cooked to a medium-well temp inside. Then, it’s topped with a refreshing and zesty avocado and basil topping.

In the years since I first created this recipe, I make salmon all the time. From Easy Baked Salmon in Foil to Maple Glazed Salmon, my salmon expertise runs the gamut. One thing is consistent though – I’ve returned to skillet salmon over and over (and over) again. My family and I never grow tired of this classic, and I hope you love it just as much as we do!

Recipe Highlights

  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free, low-carb, and grain-free!
  • The trick to perfecting the crispy, tender, flakiness is very simple! Just remove the salmon skin and sprinkle on some salt, pepper, herbs, and spices. I used Italian Seasoning herb mix plus some crushed red pepper.
  • It’s on the table in only 15 minutes!
  • Serve it over a bed of cauliflower rice, on a garden salad, or alongside green beans!

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

  • Salmon Filet: Choose a boneless filet with the skin removed. The filet should be glossy, and it should never smell “fishy.” I also recommend looking at the Seafood Watch app or website to see if there are sustainable options in your area.
  • Coconut Oil: I used coconut oil today, but avocado oil or organic grapeseed oil would work great too.
  • Avocado
  • Basil
  • Seasonings: I used crushed red pepper, ground black pepper, salt, and Italian seasonings.

How To Make Crispy Salmon and Avocado

Step 1: Cook Salmon

Heat your oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt, Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper and black pepper all over the salmon. Lay the salmon filet skinned side up in the hot oil and let it cook undisturbed. The fish is done when it’s browned and crispy along the bottom edge, and the flesh is opaque about half way up the side of the filet. This should take about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness.

Then, flip the salmon over and remove the skillet from heat. Allow the salmon to remain in the hot skillet to allow the carry-over heat to continue cooking the other side to desired doneness. This should take about 4 minutes more.

Step 2: Make Avocado Basil Mixture

While your salmon is cooking in the skillet, peel, pit, and mash the avocado with the basil, lime juice and the remaining salt.

Step 3: Serve and Enjoy

Serve your salmon topped with avocado mash and sprinkled with scallions if desired. Enjoy!

the skillet of salmon on a wooden table top with a metal serving spatula

FAQs and Expert Tips

Is salmon better in the oven or in a skillet?

They’re both great options, it just depends what you’re looking for! The skillet tends to be quicker, so if you’re looking to get your meal on the table in about 15 minutes – go for the skillet. If you’re looking to set it and forget it, just throw it in the oven.

How do I know when the salmon is done?

The best way to tell if the salmon is done is to test the internal temperature of the salmon with a digital instant-read thermometer. It should be 125 degrees in the center. You can also flake it apart with a knife to check if the center is still undercooked.

Can this be made ahead?

You can prep this ahead by making the avocado mash and storing it in an air-tight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed down against the surface to prevent it from browning. You can also skin the salmon and portion it. Keep refrigerated until ready to cook it.
For leftovers, note that it doesn’t reheat super well the next day. If you do have leftovers, either heat the salmon up in a pan or enjoy it cold (microwaving salmon tends to dry it out).   

Tips on How to Cook Salmon in a Skillet Without Sticking

When it comes to cooking salmon, you may be afraid that it will stick to the pan, but it won’t if you just keep a couple of things in mind.

  • The major thing to remember is to let your skillet heat up well before you add the salmon.
  • Once the salmon is in the hot pan, don’t try moving it.
  • If it is ready to be flipped it will release from the pan without sticking at all.
  • If you have a fish spatula, you’ll want to use that. If not, choose a thin metal spatula.
  • Once you flip the salmon over, take the pan off the heat and allow the salmon to remain in the hot pan to cook the other side. The technical term for this is “carry over” heat. The end result is that the inside of the salmon will be ever so slightly translucent, aka medium-well, but the top will have a beautiful sear on it.
close up of the salmon in the skillet with the avocado on top

Additional Healthy Salmon Recipes

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Description

This skillet salmon with avocado and basil mash comes together in 15 minutes for a healthy restaurant-quality dinner in minutes! 


  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless salmon filet, skin removed
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • chopped scallions, for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle ¾ teaspoon salt, Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper and black pepper all over the salmon. Lay salmon filet skinned side up in the hot oil. Let cook, undisturbed until browned and crispy along the bottom edge, and the flesh is opaque about half way up the side of the filet, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Flip salmon over and remove skillet from heat. Allow salmon to remain in hot skillet to allow the carry-over heat to continue cooking the other side to desired doneness, about 4 minutes more.
  2. Meanwhile, peel pit and mash avocado with basil, lime juice and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt.
  3. Serve salmon topped with avocado mash sprinkled with scallions if desired.

Notes

Ingredient Note: I used crushed red pepper, ground black pepper, salt, and Italian seasonings. Teeny Tiny Spice Co makes Hot Italian Spice that is perfect to use if you have that on hand. I love that stuff! I use it all the time.

  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5 ounces salmon, 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado
  • Calories: 232
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 525
  • Fat: 9
  • Saturated Fat: 4
  • Carbohydrates: 7
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 32

Keywords: skillet salmon, Salmon and Avocado

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.

Source: healthyseasonalrecipes.com