Cajun Salmon for a Quick Weeknight Meal

I don’t know about you, but Cajun seasoning is one of those things I have to have on hand at all times.

Vertical image of a piece of spiced fish fillet on mashed potatoes on a white plate with a blue pattern next to glasses of white wine and a towel, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

When it comes to trying to figure out a fast and easy recipe for weeknights, or even to spice up a sandwich for lunch, Cajun seasoning is one of my go-tos.

Lately, I have been craving salmon. The juicy, flaky fish happens to be my favorite type of seafood of all time, and it’s so versatile with different cooking techniques, from grilling to cooking in the Instant Pot.

Rich and filling, it’s satisfying and delicious, offering a little something extra than your other types of  plain ol’ white fish.

Unfortunately my husband is not a salmon fan, so I rarely get the chance to make it unless I am eating by myself. Thankfully, that happens every once in a while when he has to work late…

Vertical image of a fork piercing a blackened piece of salmon over mashed potatoes on a white plate with a blue pattern.

I know, it’s probably not the nicest thing to say I am happy when I don’t have to eat with my husband on occasion, but this fish is really that good!

In addition to being tasty, this pink fish is actually full of good things for your body too, as a source of high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon also happens to be a fantastic source of B vitamins, which help to protect and maintain your heart, brain, and nervous system.

Have I convinced you that you need more of this seafood in your life yet?

Vertical top-down image of a plate with one cooked fish fillet on mashed potatoes next to a striped towel and a metal fork.

When it comes to preparing this fish at home, I usually go one of two ways. I either broil the fish, or I cook it quickly in a pan on the stove. Either way, the salmon cooks quickly, and gets all juicy and flaky while maintaining its flavor.

This particular recipe requires such little work, it’s almost laughable.

There are essentially three steps:

  1. Prep the fish by cutting it in half to create two equally-sized fillets, then use tweezers to remove any pin bones you find. I like to ask my local fish guy to remove the pin bones for me when I place my order at the seafood counter. They will do this for you, no problem.
  2. To make the seasoning blend, you simply throw everything in a bowl and mix it all together. It’s that simple, and all you have to do is spread it on the fleshy side of each fillet to form a nice crust.
  3. Cook the fillets for a few minutes on each side.

That’s it, and making this delicious fast fish entree only takes about 10 minutes total. Can you believe it?

Vertical image of a plate of mashed potatoes with salmon and a fork holding a piece of salmon with wine glasses and white wine in front of a blue background.

The Cajun spice provides the fish with so much punch and flavor, and you don’t even have to worry about having premade Cajun seasoning on hand.

The ingredients required to make the blend are a combination of spices that you likely already have in your spice rack. We love putting it on everything, from skillet shrimp to sweet potato fries to blackened chicken.

Now the only question is, what do you serve it with? Keep reading through to the end of the article for my tips and suggestions!

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Horizontal image of a cooked salmon fillet on mashed potatoes in front of glasses of white wine.

Cajun Salmon

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


This Cajun salmon is a quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for adding to your weeknight dinner rotation. It’s flaky, juicy, and full of flavor.



For the Seasoning Blend:

  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme

For the Fish:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1216 oz skin-on wild salmon fillet, cut in half


  1. In a small bowl, stir together spices for the Cajun seasoning blend until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm butter and olive oil together. Heat until the pan is hot, but not smoking, and butter is melted.
  3. While the oil and butter are heating up, rub the Cajun seasoning blend evenly on the flesh side of the fillets.
  4. Place fillets skin side down in the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until you can see the outer pink of the salmon begin to turn white at the bottom and creep up about halfway through the fillets. The skin should be brown and crispy at this point.
  5. Flip the fillets and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. Salmon is done when cooked through and flaky. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Main Course

Keywords: seafood, salmon, fish, Cajun

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal image of a raw salmon fillet next to glasses of oil and butter.

Cut the salmon in half, to form two equally sized fillets. Use tweezers to remove any small pin bones that you find, checking with your fingertips to locate them.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Seasoning Blend

Horizontal image of a blue bowl with assorted spices.

In a small bowl, add the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, salt (freshly cracked is best!), cayenne, and thyme. Stir until well combined.

Set aside.

Horizontal image of a blue bowl with a mix of spices.

Step 3 – Cook

Horizontal image of seasoned uncooked fish fillets

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the pan with butter and olive oil, allowing the butter to melt.

Rub the fleshy side of both fillets evenly with the Cajun seasoning blend.

Horizontal image of two seasoned fish fillets cooking in a pan.

Once the butter is melted, when the oil is shimmering but not smoking, place the fillets skin side down in the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. You’ll see that the outer pink of the fillet begins to turn white at the bottom and the color will creep up halfway through the fillets.

Horizontal image of two salmon fillets with crispy skins cooking in a skillet.

Flip the fillets (the skin should be brown and crispy at this point) and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. The salmon is done when cooked through and flaky. Keep an eye on it, and don’t overcook the fish.

Serve immediately.

Horizontal image of a cooked salmon fillet on mashed potatoes in front of glasses of white wine.

A Delicious Weeknight Fish Entree with Simple Sides

My personal favorite side dish to serve this with is garlic parsley mashed potatoes (recipe coming soon!), which you see in some of the photos. The garlic and parsley flavors are fresh and rich, making this a lovely pairing with the flavor-rich salmon.

If you prefer not to use potatoes, you can also make a cauliflower mash instead as a tasty alternative. Either way, you’ll get some creaminess that balances so well with every bite of the fish.

Horizontal image of a plate of mashed potatoes with salmon and a fork holding a piece of salmon.

Want more ways to eat this lovely fresh seafood? Check out some of our favorite salmon recipes below:

What will you serve this entree alongside for dinner this week? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you try it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 8, 2013. Last updated: July 7, 2023 at 7:19 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

9 thoughts on “Cajun Salmon for a Quick Weeknight Meal”

  1. Salmon is all my all-time favorite fish — it’s what I always order at restaurants because I never eat it at home (Murdo hates fish). And I love “Mom” recipes. I have quite a few emails like that from my mom, too. Oh and hey, it’s Friday! Have a good weekend!

  2. We eat salmon probably once a week, and I agree that getting that crust is not easy! I usually just roast it, but when I’ve tried searing it I use a method from Ina Garten where you sear it quickly and then finish it in the oven.

  3. I spent so much time trying to recreate the meals my mother cooked (and still cooks) but somehow, they never quite taste the same. A mother’s love is that extra-special ingredient I think.


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