Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Recipe

Lemon Pepper Salmon Air Fryer is a recipe that involves cooking salmon fillets seasoned with lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper, and other complementary spices in an air fryer.

An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses circulating hot air to cook food, similar to a convection oven, but in a smaller, more compact size.

It’s a convenient and efficient way to cook a wide range of foods, including fish, with minimal oil and fuss.

How do I Make Lemon Pepper Salmon in Air Fryer

The combination of zesty lemon, bold black pepper, and perfectly cooked salmon fillets is simply irresistible!

Not only is this recipe incredibly easy and quick to make, but it also yields restaurant-quality results right in the comfort of my own home.

I remember the first time I tried making Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon, I was amazed at how well the air fryer cooked the fish to perfection.

The fillets came out with a beautiful crispy crust on the outside, while the flesh remained moist and tender on the inside.

The tangy and aromatic flavors of the lemon and pepper perfectly complemented the natural sweetness of the salmon, creating a truly delightful culinary experience.

Since then, this dish has become a regular on my menu, and I have received countless compliments from friends and family whenever I serve it.

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Ingredients

Before we get started, let’s make sure we have everything we need. Here are the ingredients for Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon:

  • Fresh salmon fillets: Look for high-quality, skin-on salmon fillets that are about 6-8 ounces each. You can use any type of salmon, such as Atlantic, Pacific, or sockeye, depending on your preference and availability.
  • Lemon: You’ll need both lemon juice and lemon zest to add that tangy citrus flavor. Choose a plump and juicy lemon for maximum flavor.
  • Black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper adds a warm and aromatic kick to the dish. Use a pepper mill to grind your pepper for the best results.
  • Salt: You’ll need a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors of the dish. You can use regular table salt or sea salt, depending on your preference.
  • Optional: You can also add other herbs or spices to taste, such as minced garlic, chopped fresh dill, or smoked paprika, to customize the flavor profile of your salmon.

Step by Step Instructions to Make Lemon Pepper Salmon in Air Fryer

How do You Prepare the Salmon

Once you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to prepare the salmon for cooking. I Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pat dry the salmon fillets with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will help the seasonings stick better and ensure even cooking.
  2. Place the salmon fillets skin-side down on a clean cutting board or a plate. If there are any pin bones in the fillets, you can use tweezers to carefully remove them.
  3. Drizzle lemon juice over the salmon fillets, using about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per fillet. The acidity of the lemon juice will help brighten the flavors of the salmon and add a zesty tang.
  4. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt evenly over the salmon fillets. You can adjust the amount of pepper and salt to your taste preference. Remember, you can always add more later if needed, so start with a small amount and taste as you go.
  5. Using a microplane or a fine grater, zest the lemon directly over the salmon fillets. The lemon zest adds a burst of citrus aroma and flavor that complements the tangy lemon juice and the pungent black pepper.
  6. If desired, you can also add other herbs or spices at this stage, such as minced garlic, chopped fresh dill, or smoked paprika. These optional additions can elevate the flavor profile of your salmon and add extra depth to the dish.

What kind of salmon should you use?

Using fresh, high-quality wild-caught salmon fillets is the best option for this Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon recipe. However, farm-raised salmon or other types of salmon can also be used with proper consideration of their quality and source. Salmon fillets with or without skin can be used based on personal preference.

  1. What type of salmon is best for this recipe?

The best type of salmon for this recipe is fresh, high-quality wild-caught salmon fillets. Wild-caught salmon is known for its rich flavor, firm texture, and higher omega-3 fatty acid content, which adds to the overall taste and nutritional value of the dish.

  1. Can I use farm-raised salmon for this recipe?

Yes, you can use farm-raised salmon if wild-caught salmon is not readily available. However, farm-raised salmon may have a milder flavor and softer texture compared to wild-caught salmon. Look for farm-raised salmon that is sustainably sourced and of good quality to ensure the best results in your dish.

  1. What about other types of salmon, such as Atlantic or Pacific salmon?

While wild-caught salmon is generally recommended, you can also use other types of salmon, such as Atlantic or Pacific salmon, for this recipe. However, be mindful of the source and quality of the fish, as it can impact the flavor and texture of the final dish.

  1. Should I choose salmon fillets with or without skin?

It is recommended to use salmon fillets with the skin on for this recipe, as the skin can help protect the delicate flesh during cooking and add an extra layer of flavor and crispiness to the dish. However, if you prefer skinless salmon fillets, you can still use them for this recipe.

Cooking the Salmon in the Air Fryer

I Open the air fryer drawer or lid and carefully place the seasoned salmon fillets in the air fryer basket or on the air fryer tray, skin-side down. Make sure to leave some space between the fillets, so they cook evenly.

Close the air fryer drawer or lid and set the timer for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets.

Cooking times may vary depending on the specific model of your air fryer and the desired level of doneness for your salmon.

It’s always best to check the salmon for doneness using a fork or a meat thermometer. The salmon is done when it flakes easily and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

During cooking, you can open the air fryer drawer or lid and flip the salmon fillets halfway through the cooking time, if desired. This can help ensure even browning on both sides of the fillets.

Once the salmon fillets are cooked to perfection, carefully remove them from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula. Be mindful of the hot air and surfaces of the air fryer.

Let the salmon fillets rest for a minute or two before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and the flavors to meld together.


Can I use frozen salmon for this recipe?

It’s best to use fresh salmon fillets for this recipe, as frozen salmon may release excess moisture during cooking and produce a less crispy crust. If you only have frozen salmon, make sure to thaw it completely before seasoning and cooking.

Can I adjust the seasoning to my liking?

Yes, feel free to customize the seasoning to your preference. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of lemon juice or black pepper. On the other hand, if you like it extra tangy and spicy, you can add more lemon juice and black pepper. You can also experiment with other herbs and spices, such as garlic powder, paprika, or cayenne pepper, to add different flavors to the salmon.

Can I double the recipe for a larger batch?

You can easily double or even triple the recipe to make a larger batch of Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly, as cooking times may vary with larger quantities of fish in the air fryer. You may need to cook it in batches if your air fryer is not large enough to accommodate all the fillets at once.

How do I store leftovers?

If I have any leftovers, stored them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. To reheat, you can place the leftover salmon fillets in the air fryer for a few minutes at a lower temperature (around 300°F/150°C) to warm them up and restore their crispy texture. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 8-10 minutes.

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Variations

  • Lemon Garlic Salmon:

Add minced garlic to the lemon pepper marinade for added flavor. Before air-frying, marinate salmon fillets in chopped garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper.

  • Honey Lemon Pepper Salmon:

For a sweeter marinade, add honey. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and honey to marinate salmon fillets. The salmon is acidic, sweet, and peppery.

  • Cajun Lemon Pepper Salmon:

Add Cajun flavor to your Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon marinade for some spice. Lemon juice, olive oil, Cajun seasoning, and pepper marinate fish fillets. Cajun salmon is tangy and spicy.

  • Herb-Crusted Lemon Pepper Fish:

Combine chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or thyme with lemon zest and pepper to make a delicious fish crust. Before air-frying, press the herb mixture onto the salmon fillets.

  • Asian-inspired Lemon Pepper Salmon:

Add soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil to your Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon marinade. Marinate salmon fillets in soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, grated ginger, and pepper. The salmon is acidic, flavorful, and sweet with Asian spices.

  • Smoked Lemon Pepper Salmon:

Smoke your salmon before air frying if you have a smoker attachment for your air fryer. To smoke salmon fillets in an air fryer, marinate them in lemon pepper and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Smoky, lemon-pepper-flavored fish is the result.

  • Lemon Pepper Salmon Salad:

Top salads with Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon. Top mixed greens or your favorite salad base with flaked lemon pepper salmon fillets. For a healthy salmon salad, add cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Recipe

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Recipe

My step-by-step recipe for succulent Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon. With a zesty marinade, quick cooking time, and mouthwatering results, this dish is a must-try for seafood lovers.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 222 kcal


  • 4 salmon fillets approximately 6 ounces each
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
  • Fresh parsley or dill for garnish (optional)


Step 1: Prepare the Marinade

  • Start by squeezing the juice from one lemon into a small bowl.
  • Add olive oil, black pepper, and salt (if using) to the lemon juice.
  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together until well combined.

Step 2: Marinate the Salmon

  • Place the salmon fillets in a shallow dish or a Ziploc bag.
  • Pour the marinade over the salmon fillets, making sure they are well coated on all sides.
  • Let the salmon marinate for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to meld and infuse into the fish.

Step 3: Preheat the Air Fryer

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Arrange the Salmon in the Air Fryer

  • Once the air fryer is preheated, lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush with oil to prevent the salmon from sticking.
  • Place the marinated salmon fillets in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving some space between them for even cooking.

Step 5: Air Fry the Salmon

  • Place the air fryer basket with the salmon fillets in the preheated air fryer.
  • Cook the salmon for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, flipping halfway through the cooking time for even browning.
  • The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork and has a golden crust on the outside.

Step 6: Serve and Garnish

  • Carefully remove the cooked salmon fillets from the air fryer and transfer them to a serving platter.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked salmon fillets for an extra burst of citrus flavor.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or dill, if desired.
Keyword Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon, air fryer salmon recipe, lemon pepper salmon air fryer, salmon in air fryer

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