Creamy Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

4.85 from 52 votes
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Creamy Pan Seared Salmon is a quick, crispy salmon recipe prepared in one skillet and ready in 20 minutes! Served with an incredible lemon garlic cream sauce, this is one seriously good salmon dinner idea.

Close-up shot of a pan seared salmon fillet topped with white creamy sauce.


Creamy Pan Seared Salmon Fillets

Crispy salmon fillets swimming in a creamy, lemony, garlicky sauce… can I get an AMEN?! This recipe is a cross between my Salmon with Tomatoes and Spinach and my Creamy Lemon Chicken with Asparagus. It is a recipe that we go back to again and again. Salmon with any lemon sauce is our favorite way to enjoy fish. Pan-seared is also my favorite way to cook salmon fillets, especially when pressed for time.

Easy fish recipes that come together fast are perfect for a weeknight dinner. This simple salmon recipe is made with several ingredients but tastes absolutely delicious!

Three salmon fillets topped with a creamy lemon garlic sauce.

How To Make Crispy Salmon Fillets

Searing salmon fillets in a skillet gives the fish a slightly charred exterior and also helps make the skin extra crispy.

The magic of nailing that perfect pan seared salmon lies in picking just the right size fillets, seasoning them well, and showing a little patience—no fiddling with the fillets while they’re sizzling away. Let the salmon do its thing in that hot oil, and you’ll see it transform into a golden, crusty delight that could easily give a fancy restaurant dish a run for its money.

Searing salmon fillets in a skillet.
  1. Season the fillet and cook, skin-side down, first. Then flip and continue to cook until done.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the sauce by whisking the Half & Half with flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and seasonings.
  3. Remove the salmon fillets from the skillet. Return the skillet to the burners and add in the butter.
  4. Whisk in the prepared sauce and return the fish back into the skillet.
  5. Cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
    Three salmon fillets topped with a creamy lemon garlic sauce.

    Tips For Cooking Creamy Pan Seared Salmon

    • Choosing the Salmon: Opt for wild-caught over farmed for the best taste and texture.
    • Skin-On Fillets: Skin-on salmon fillets are recommended for this recipe. The skin provides a safety layer between the fish and the hot pan, helping the flesh stay tender and moist.
    • Searing: Resist the temptation to move your salmon around in the pan. Leaving it to sear undisturbed achieves a restaurant-worthy golden crust.
    • Sauce: While the salmon is the star, the lemon garlic cream sauce is its perfect pairing. Make sure to taste the sauce before adding the salmon back in, adjusting the seasonings if necessary.
    • Doneness: To check for doneness, gently press down on the top of the fillet. If it flakes easily, it’s done. An internal temperature of 145°F means your salmon is perfectly cooked.

    Serving Suggestions

    Close-up shot of a pan seared salmon fillet topped with white creamy sauce.

    Our Pan Seared Salmon Recipe with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce is truly a restaurant-caliber dish that you can prepare in the comfort of your home and in just about 20 minutes! It’s a combination of perfectly cooked, moist, flaky fish coupled with a silky, creamy lemon and garlic sauce. Tempted yet? Give this recipe a shot for dinner tonight and share your feedback, please. 🙏

    Salmon Recipes To Try


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    4.85 from 52 votes

    Creamy Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

    Quick, delicious, bright, and creamy salmon dinner prepared in just one skillet and served with an incredible lemon garlic cream sauce.
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Servings: 6 Serves


    For The Salmon Fillets

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 skin-on salmon fillets,, room temperature, each fillet should be about 4 to 5 ounces
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste

    For The Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 cup Half & Half,, you can also use heavy cream or low-fat evaporated milk
    • ½ tablespoon all purpose flour
    • cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • zest and juice from 1 whole lemon
    • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried dill
    • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
    • lemon slices,, for garnish
    • fresh chopped parsley,, for garnish
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    For The Salmon Fillets

    • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper and transfer to the skillet, skin-side down, cooking 3 fillets at a time.
    • Cook for 6 minutes, or until cooked about three quarters of the way through. Do not move the fish around; just let it cook.
    • Using a spatula, flip the salmon fillets over and cook for 2 more minutes; remove from skillet and set aside.
    • Repeat with the rest of the fillets and set all aside.

    For The Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

    • In the meantime, combine the Half & Half, flour, cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, dill, thyme, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
    • Add butter to the skillet and melt it over medium heat.
    • Add the prepared sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer.
    • Place previously prepared salmon fillets back in the skillet.
    • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until salmon is heated through.
    • Remove skillet from heat.
    • Spoon the sauce over the salmon.
    • Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.
    • Serve.



    • Select Quality Salmon: Use fresh, wild-caught salmon for optimal taste and texture. Each fillet should be 4 to 5 ounces.
    • Perfect Sear: Let salmon sear untouched for a beautiful golden crust.
    • Sauce: Adjust seasonings in your lemon garlic cream sauce to taste before adding it to the salmon. You can also use Heavy Whipping Cream or Evaporated Milk instead of Half & Half.
    • Check Doneness: If the fillet flakes easily, it’s done. Alternatively, check for an internal temperature of 145°F.
    • Storing Leftovers: Leftover salmon fillets can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan set over medium heat or microwave until just warmed through.


    Serving: 1fillet + sauce | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 191mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 1.2mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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    1. Holly says:

      Fabulous meal. This salmon recipe is added to my list. I try to change it up and this did the trick!

      1. Katerina says:

        That’s wonderful to hear! It’s great that the salmon recipe added some variety to your meals and made it onto your list. Thank YOU! 🙂

    2. Breck says:

      This recipe is incredible and I shared it with my bestie who agrees. We follow it to a tee!