Easy Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce

Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce is quick, easy, flavorful and comes out perfect every time. The air fryer creates a beautiful, slightly crispy outside while the inside stays tender, juicy and succulent. Drizzle with lemon butter sauce, flavored with garlic and rosemary, for the perfect weeknight dinner that’s delicious enough for special occasions. Air fry with asparagus for a meal that is ready in less than 15 minutes with little cleanup needed.

This recipe has been sponsored by Minerva Dairy and their creamy, rich slow-churned butter. The recipe and all opinions are 100% my own.

Salmon and asparagus dinner plated with Minerva butter package.

Salmon is the perfect fish to air fry! It’s a moist, fatty fish, full of omega 3s, that cooks up quickly while still staying moist and tender.

Of course, there are other ways to cook salmon, such as Grilled Salmon with Red Pepper Sauce for a smokier flavor or baking a hands-off one dish meal like Bloody Mary Salmon.

However, nothing beats the quickness, ease of cooking and almost non-existent cleanup that the air fryer provides. Just follow the few tips below for the perfect outcome every time.

Tips for the perfect air fryer salmon

  • Make sure your fillets, whether skin on or off, are brightly colored and free from any discoloration.
  • Purchase fillets that are of the same thickness throughout, preferably 1 to 1-1/2-inches thick.
  • Pat salmon dry with paper towel and season by rubbing gently into flesh.  
  • Remove salmon immediately from the hot air fryer basket to stop possible overcooking.

Cooking air fryer salmon with skin

Some salmon is sold with the skin still on while other selections are just pure fillets. I prefer to cook air fryer salmon with the skin on as it helps keep the moistness in the fish as well as holding it together.

And if you are wondering if you should use fresh or frozen, the answer is either! If frozen, just let it thaw in the refrigerator and then cook as directed. They both come out wonderfully flaky and flavorful.

Closeup bite of salmon with lemon butter plated with fork.

Just check out that color! You can almost taste the moist tenderness and savory flavors just by looking at it! 

Drizzling butter sauce over air fryer salmon.

Of course, this salmon dinner wouldn’t be complete without a rich, awesome lemon butter sauce! After all, Grandma Lorraine (from the Minerva family) always said “There’s not much in life that can’t be made better with butter.” Right?!

And Minerva Dairy butter comes from American’s oldest family-owned creamery. They gather their milk from pasture-raised cows and slow churn it in small batches for the riches 85% butterfat product you’ve ever tasted. That’s what makes this Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce one of my favorite recipes. Quick. Easy. Delicious!

This lemon butter sauce uses butter to add richness while the addition of lemon brightens the flavor. A quick toss in the microwave with garlic and rosemary adds another tasty dimension that pairs perfectly with fish. It also works great on chicken, just sayin’.

Overhead of salmon dinner plated with garlic lemons and Minerva package.

Frequently asked questions on air frying salmon

How long do I cook salmon in the air fryer?

A piece of salmon that is 1 to 1-1/2-inches thick should be cooked 7-9 minutes. If it is not quite done, the salmon can go back into the air fryer for another 1-2 minutes.

How can I tell if salmon is done?

Use a fork or your finger and gently press down on the top of the fillet. If the fish flakes or separates easily, it is done. This is my go-to method.

If using a thermometer, there is some debate about the perfect temperature. 145 degrees is what the FDA proposes, while chefs will tell you to take out at 120 degrees and let rest for 10 minutes.

Another way is by checking the overall color. Cooked salmon will be an opaque pinkish white outside with a translucent pink inside. 

Should I wash the salmon prior to cooking it?

The FDA does not recommend washing raw fish. It can spread bacteria and contaminate surfaces and other food. The bacteria will be killed once the fish is cooked.

Can I eat the salmon skin?

Salmon skin is considered safe to eat and can actually be nutritious but it also depends on where you got your salmon.

Easy to follow directions for Air Fryer Salmon and Asparagus

Prepping salmon and cooking salmon and asparagus in air fryer.

  1. Gather the few simple ingredients – fresh salmon that is bright red in color and of equal thickness, rich creamy Minerva Dairy butter, lemon, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. (photo 1)
  2. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. You don’t need any more flavor than that as the lemon butter sauce will do the rest. (photo 2)
  3. Preheat the air fryer then remove basket and spray with nonstick spray. Place the seasoned salmon and asparagus (totally optional) in the air fryer basket. Lightly spray the top of the fish and vegetable. (photo 3)
  4. Cook as directed. Notice the color of the salmon has changed to a orangey or pinkish white opaque color signaling it is done. (photo 4)

Making Lemon Butter Sauce for salmon

Making lemon butter sauce prep steps.

  1. Simple ingredients to make a deliciously easy sauce – butter, lemon juice, garlic and a sprig of rosemary, chopped. (photo 1)
  2. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and heat in microwave. (photo 2)
  3. Stir to mix flavors. (photo 3)
  4. Pour into pitcher and serve with air fryer salmon. (photo 4)

Salmon dinner with asparagus and lemon slices on white plate.

This air fryer salmon and asparagus dinner is easy to make, takes less than 15 minutes, and is ideal for every day or a romantic Valentine’s Day or anniversary dinner for two. The simple Lemon Butter Sauce complements both the fish and the asparagus and makes the dinner into a gourmet treat. Plus, this tasty dinner easily fits low carb, low calorie and  keto lifestyles. Enjoy!

More easy, delicious Air Fryer recipes

Easy Air Fryer Tuna Patties creates a dinner out of a can of tuna and a few simple ingredients. Ready in 20 minutes!

Air Fryer Filet Mignon is the answer when the weather is not cooperating. Moist, tender and seriously delicious. Ready in 10 minutes!

Easy Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan is so easy , you may never go back to baking it! All the Italian flavor you love ready in less than 30 minutes.

Check out more air fryer recipes on 2CM!

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Easy Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce

Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce is quick, easy and comes out perfect every time. Crispy outside, tender, flaky inside and ready in 15 minutes.
5 from 11 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 473kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 2 6- oz salmon fillets
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup Minerva butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound asparagus optional

Instructions

Salmon

  • Season salmon with salt & pepper. Rub gently into flesh.
  • Preheat air fryer at 380 for 5 minutes
  • Spray basket with nonstick cooking spray and lay fillets skin-side down.
  • If cooking asparagus, clean, snap off thicker ends and lay beside salmon.
  • Lightly spray top of salmon and asparagus with nonstick olive oil spray.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes depending on thickness.

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • While salmon is cooking, make lemon garlic butter sauce.
  • Add all sauce ingredients to a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high in microwave, about 1 minute, or until butter has melted.
  • Remove salmon and top with butter sauce. Garnish with parsley, lemon slices and a sprig of rosemary. Serve additional sauce on side.

Notes

Tips for the perfect air fryer salmon

  • Make sure your fillets, whether skin on or off, are brightly colored and free from any discoloration.
  • Purchase fillets that are of the same thickness throughout, preferably 1 to 1-1/2-inches thick.
  • Pat salmon dry with paper towel and season by rubbing gently into flesh.  
  • Remove salmon immediately from the hot air fryer basket to stop possible overcooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1693IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 4mg
Easy Air Fryer Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce
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