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Pan-Seared Salmon With Apple Cranberry Sauce

This Pan-Seared Salmon With Apple Cranberry Sauce is delicious proof that fish has a place at the dinner table throughout the cooler months, too.
Course Entree
Cuisine Pescetarian, Seafood
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Killing Thyme



  • 2 7 oz Regal New Zealand King Salmon fillets, skin on if using other salmon, see notes
  • Kosher salt
  • Neutral oil, like vegetable or grapeseed oil (enough to generously cover the bottom of your skillet)

Apple Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 thinly sliced shallot (approx. 1 oz)
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 apple, diced I used Gala apples
  • 1/2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup apple juice You can use apple cider
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup You can use pure honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 TBSP dried cranberries


Preparing the Salmon

  • Remove the fillets from the fridge and, with a paper towel, pat the entire fillets dry — skin included. Sprinkle a little salt over the flesh of the fillets and let them sit on the counter for about 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature. In the meantime you can prep your ingredients for the sauce.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a pan over moderate heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook until lightly browned — about 5 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • While the onions cook, place all of the ingredients from the diced apple to the ground allspice in a medium-sized bowl; stir well to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  • Add the apple mixture to the pan with the onions and stir well. Bring the heat down to low and let the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture becomes a little thicker. (In the meantime, cook your salmon.) Once thickened, remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

Pan-Searing Salmon With Crispy Skin

  • Add a generous amount of neutral oil, like vegetable oil or grapeseed oil, to your skillet — enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over high heat until the oil starts to smoke.
  • Carefully place one salmon fillet into the hot pan, skin-side down. As soon as the fillet hits the pan, press down on it with a spatula until the fillet flattens out (this only takes seconds) while bringing the heat down to medium. Pressing the fillet keeps the skin firm against the pan and will give you crisp results without curling your fillet upward. Let your salmon cook for about six minutes, or until you can see a nice golden brown color on the edge of the skin. DO NOT touch, push, or try to budge your salmon beforehand, or you'll tear the skin. Once you see the golden edges, carefully slide your spatula underneath the fillet and turn it over. (If it doesn't release, give it another 30 seconds and try again.)
  • Once you've flipped your salmon, it's likely a little over halfway cooked so it only needs another 2-3 minutes of cooking. If you have a meat thermometer, remove the salmon once it's reached an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook the fish until it's opaque, and then go order a meat thermometer ;)
  • Once the fillet is cooked, carefully remove it from the pan and set it on a plate; cover with tin foil so it stays warm. Repeat the same process for the other fillet.
  • Once the fillets are done, plate, and spoon the apple cranberry sauce evenly over each fillet.


King salmon is thicker and fattier than other cuts of salmon, so if you're using a different type of salmon, cooking times may vary. It's always best to use the 8-10 minute rule when cooking fish; measure the thickest part of the fillet, and cook the fillet 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping 3/4 of the way through cooking time.