This skillet salmon comes together in 15 minutes and is naturally gluten-free, low-carb and paleo. Top it off with avocado, lime, basil, and salt and enjoy!

skillet salmon with mashed avocado on top

Creating This Skillet Salmon Recipe

Almost 15 years ago, when I was a personal chef, I used to make salmon this way at least once a week for a client I had. She had celiac disease and in addition to being strictly gluten-free she was on a pretty low-carb, grain-free diet. She adored salmon, and requested it regularly. I was more than happy to prepare this skillet salmon for her and her family because it was so easy to make and always brought in rave reviews. In the years since then I return to this recipe over and over again. It makes a fast and delicious main course for busy nights, because it is ready in only 15 minutes.

The trick to getting the salmon golden and crispy on top and tender, flaky medium-well temp inside 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. (Note: 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.)

skillet salmon with lime wedges and mashed avocado

Tips on How to Cook Salmon in a Skillet

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 things in mind.

  • The major thing to remember is to let your skillet heat up well before you add the salmon.
  • I used coconut oil today, but avocado oil or organic grapeseed oil would work great too.
  • Once the salmon is in the hot pan, don’t mess with 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.

skillet salmon

How to Serve Skillet Salmon

You can make your healthy salmon dinner as simple or fancy as you’d like. I served my skillet salmon with a dollop of mashed avocado with basil, lime and salt mixed in. It’s so easy and the whole recipe only takes 15 minutes start to finish! 

However, you can also serve your pan seared salmon atop a salad like this cucumber noodle and napa cabbage coleslaw. Or for a more traditional dinner try it with healthier mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts — really, anything you want! I’d just recommend eating this skillet salmon right away, as 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).   

skillet salmon with mashed avocado on top

And guess what? I made this 1-minute video to show you just how simple this is! Yay!


How do you like to cook salmon?

If you had a personal chef would you request salmon every week?

Have you ever heard of “carry over” heat?

More Healthy Salmon Recipes:

Sheet Pan Salmon Dinner with Moroccan Spice

Meal Prep Wasabi Glazed Salmon Power Salad

Lemon Caper Salmon Cakes

Maple Tahini Roasted Salmon

Simple Sriracha Marmalade Glazed Salmon

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Healthy Easy Salmon with Avocado and Basil. Naturally Gluten-Free, Paleo and Low-Carb on by Katie Webster

easy skillet salmon with avocado and basil

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This skillet salmon comes together in 15 minutes and is naturally gluten-free, low-carb and paleo. Top it off with avocado, lime, basil, and salt and enjoy!


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


  • 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, how to cook salmon, healthy salmon recipe, pan seared salmon

Salmon and avocado mash photo collage with text