Cajun Blackened Salmon

Cajun blackened salmon has skyrocketed in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. This dish is packed with bold flavors and is incredibly easy to make!

The smoky, spicy seasoning creates a mouth-watering crust that pairs perfectly with the tender, flaky salmon. But it’s not just about the taste. Salmon is also a nutritional powerhouse with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and important vitamins. In this article, we’ll talk about the steps to make this delicious recipe.

We’ll cover everything from preparing the salmon to cooking it in an air fryer or oven. Let’s get cooking!

Background on Cajun Cuisine

Cajun cuisine originated from the French-speaking Acadian settlers displaced from Canada to Louisiana. It’s deeply rooted in home-style cooking that combines French, African, and Spanish influences. Traditionally, Cajun dishes are known for their hearty flavors and the use of locally available ingredients.

Spices like paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper are often featured prominently. The cooking techniques typically include slow-cooking and one-pot meals, which make the cuisine both flavorful and efficient. Over time, Cajun food has grown from simple, rural fare into a beloved culinary tradition full of bold, spices.

Ingredients and Preparation List

Ingredients Needed for Cajun Blackened Salmon

Before we dive into cooking, let’s gather all our ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning: This gives the salmon its signature kick.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: Adds a rich, aromatic element to the seasoning blend.
  • Black pepper to taste: Season with as much or as little as you prefer.
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder: Enhances the savory profile of the dish.
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika: Offers a hint of smokiness and bold color.
  • ¼ lemon, zested and juiced: Brightens up the flavors and balances the spice.
  • 4 salmon filets (about 3 oz each, with or without skin): The main protein, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil: This helps the seasoning stick and ensures a crispy finish.
  • Lemon wedges for garnish: Add a fresh, citrusy touch when serving.
  • Minced fresh parsley for garnish: Provides a burst of green and a mild, slightly peppery flavor.
Cajun blackened salmon on a dish

Preparation Steps

Make the Cajun Seasoning Blend: If you prefer homemade seasoning, mix the following:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • (Optional: Use your favorite commercial Cajun blend like Britscookin for convenience)

Prepare the Salmon Filets: Brush olive oil over the tops and bottoms of the salmon filets, then rub them on all sides with the Cajun seasoning, dividing it equally among the filets.

By preparing all the ingredients and getting everything ready in advance, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth and enjoyable cooking experience. Get ready to create a dish that’s both delicious and nutritious!

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

4 step process to cooking Cajun blackened salmon

Air Fryer Method

  1. Cook the Salmon: Place the seasoned salmon filets into the air fryer basket. Make sure they do not touch each other. You might need to cook them in batches.
  2. Set the Temperature: Set the air fryer to 400°F. Cook the salmon for about 8 minutes.
  3. Check for Doneness: The salmon is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. You can also check if it flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Serve and Garnish: Once cooked, carefully remove the salmon from the air fryer basket. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Oven Method

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  2. Prepare the Salmon: Follow the previous steps to brush the salmon filets with oil and rub them with the Cajun seasoning.
  3. Bake the Salmon: Place the seasoned filets on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes.
  4. Check for Doneness: The exact cooking time may vary depending on the salmon’s thickness and size. The salmon should reach an internal temperature of 145°F and flake easily with a fork.
  5. Serve and Garnish: Remove the salmon from the oven, sprinkle with minced parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.

Whether using the air fryer or oven, this Cajun blackened salmon will impress with its bold flavors and ease of preparation.

Serving Suggestions

one serving of Cajun Blackened Salmon on bed of lettuce

Pairing Cajun blackened salmon with complementary sides and accompaniments can elevate your meal to new heights. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

  • Rice Pilaf: A savory rice pilaf infused with herbs and spices provides a comforting, hearty base for the
  • bold flavors of the salmon.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Oven-roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini, add a vibrant, nutritious touch to your plate.
  • Quinoa Salad: A light and fresh quinoa salad with chopped vegetables, feta cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette offer a perfect balance to the rich salmon.
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy, garlic-infused mashed potatoes create a luxurious side that complements the Cajun seasoning.
  • Green Salad: A crisp green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing provides a refreshing counterpoint to the bold flavors of the salmon.
  • Cornbread: Traditional Southern cornbread can be a delightful addition. The sweet and crumbly texture harmonizes well with the spicy salmon.

Feel free to get creative with your sides, but these ideas should help round out your meal. Enjoy your Cajun blackened salmon with your favorite accompaniments and savor each delicious bite!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use Fresh Salmon: Whenever possible, use fresh salmon filets for the best flavor and texture. If using frozen salmon, make sure to thaw it completely and pat it dry before seasoning.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Whether you’re using an air fryer or an oven, ensure the salmon filets have enough space and are not touching each other. This helps them cook evenly and achieve that perfect crispy exterior.
  • Adjust Seasoning to Taste: Cajun seasoning can vary in heat level. Feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or use a milder blend if you prefer a less spicy dish.
  • Rest Before Serving: Allow the salmon to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring each bite is moist and flavorful.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure perfectly cooked salmon, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Recipe Variations for Cajun Blackened Salmon

Cajun blackened salmon on a bed of salad greens
  • Cajun Honey Glazed Salmon: For a sweet and spicy twist, drizzle honey over the seasoned salmon before cooking. The honey caramelizes during cooking, adding a delightful sweetness that complements the Cajun spices.
  • Herb-Crusted Cajun Salmon: Mix fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and parsley into the Cajun seasoning to add a fragrant and flavorful crust to the salmon.
  • Cajun Salmon Tacos: Use the cooked Cajun blackened salmon as a filling for tacos. Serve with fresh salsa, avocado slices, and a drizzle of lime crema for a delicious meal.
  • Lemon Butter Cajun Salmon: After cooking, top the salmon filets with a pat of lemon-infused butter. The butter melts into the salmon, creating a rich sauce with spicy flavors.
  • Cajun Salmon Salad: Flake the cooked salmon and toss it with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and a light vinaigrette for a healthy salad.

Experiment with these tips and variations. Make this Cajun blackened salmon recipe your own. Tailor it to your taste preferences and culinary creativity.


Cajun blackened salmon is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed year-round, whether grilled or baked in the oven. The combination of smoky, spicy seasoning and tender, flaky fish creates an unforgettable flavor profile that is both satisfying and nutritious.

Moreover, the adaptability of this recipe allows for creative experimentation. This also makes it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts and home cooks alike. Enjoy your culinary journey with Cajun blackened salmon and let every bite be a celebration of bold, vibrant flavors!

Cajun blackened salmon on a bed of salad greens

Cajun Blackened Salmon
Cajun blackened salmon has skyrocketed in popularity, and it's easy to see why. This dish is packed with bold flavors and is incredibly easy to make!
Servings 4


Cajun Seasoning Blend

  • tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme


  • 4 3 oz salmon filets with or without skins
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning from the recipe above
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  • minced fresh parsley for garnish


  • Prepare salmon
  • Brush olive oil over the tops and bottoms of the salmon filets, then rub on all sides with cajun seasoning, dividing the seasoning equally among the filets.
  • Air fry
  • Add salmon filets to air fryer basket, ensuring they’re not touching each other. This may need to be done in batches.
  • Set air fryer to cook at 400°F for about 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Salmon is cooked through when cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, or it flakes easily when pierced with a fork.
  • Serve
  • Remove from basket and sprinkle with parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
  • Oven cooking directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Mix cajun seasoning blend as directed.
  • Brush salmon filets with oil and rub with seasoning blend as directed.
  • Add salmon filets to prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork, and the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • The exact cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness and size of your salmon filets.


Nutrition Estimates:
SERVING: 1(of 4)
CALORIES: 313kcal
FAT: 17g
IRON: 2mg

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