Pan-seared salmon coated in the most delicious honey garlic sauce. This is an easy salmon recipe that you can make in 20 minutes! Serve with your favorite salad or vegetables for a lighter meal or with rice for a hearty and filling dinner.

Pan-seared Salmon in Honey Garlic Sauce

Why you’ll love this Recipe

  • Sweet, savory, and garlicky–flavors that work so well with salmon.
  • Easy to prepare and made of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
  • Not too sweet nor too salty–using just the right amount of honey and less-sodium soy sauce is the key.

What goes in the Honey Garlic Sauce

To make the honey garlic sauce, you will need honey, garlic (obviously), soy sauce, onion, and ginger. That is it! Super simple ingredients.

What I love about this recipe is it specifically calls for less-sodium soy sauce. It has all the flavors you love about soy sauce only with less salt. Note that it is not the same with light soy sauce.

In this recipe, I used the Japanese low sodium soy sauce (Kikkoman brand). You can buy it online (link in the recipe card) or at any Asian grocery store.

Moist Pan seared Salmon in Honey Garlic Sauce

How to Pan Sear a Salmon

Crispy skin, and moist meat is my definition of a perfectly cooked salmon. It took me quite a few tries to get the right techniques and today I’m going to share everything I learned with you.

Let’s start, shall we?

Prepare the Salmon

  1. Take salmon out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking. If you’re using frozen fillets, thaw completely.
  2. Check if there are any pin bones left in the fillet. Unfortunately, some stores don’t remove this. Remove it with a fish tweezer, surgical clamp, or jewelry pliers. Clean or sterilize it with hot water before using it.
  3. Pat dry the skin and flesh to prevent it from steaming and getting a mushy texture.

Pan Sear the Salmon

  1. Make sure that the oil and pan are hot enough before placing the salmon. A wisp of smoke and shimmering oil are good signs. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the pan and of course, will make the skin crispy-brown.
  2. Sear the salmon skin-side down to keep the fish from falling apart. This will also keep the flesh moist without overcooking.
  3. To prevent overcooking the salmon, use a timer. You can either use a kitchen timer or even just your phone. This really is a good technique for all home cooks out there like myself. Eyeballing doesn’t really work for me.
Pan Seared Salmon with Honey Garlic Sauce


A few minutes before the salmon finishes cooking, pour the sauce into the pan. Let it simmer for a few minutes while basting the skin with the sauce.

The sauce may become saltier as it reduces. If this happens, just add water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Immediately remove from heat and serve with your favorite salad, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Frequently asked questions

How to keep salmon from sticking to a stainless pan?

Add oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Swirl the oil to coat the sides of the pan. If the oil is not hot enough, the fish will stick to the pan.
When the oil is ready, carefully place the salmon skin side down. Don’t touch or attempt to flip it.
Once the skin is crisp and brown, gently slide a thin spatula under the fish and give it a flip. Cook the other side. minutes. Note that a lesser cooking time is needed for thinner fillets. See below for exact cooking times.

How long is the cooking time of pan-seared salmon?

Total cooking time for thicker cuts of a salmon fillet is about 8 to 10 minutes or 4-5 minutes on each side. Add another minute or two if cooking extra thick cuts.
Thinner cuts of salmon require about 6 minutes of cooking time or 3 minutes per side.

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Pan-seared Salmon in Honey Garlic Sauce

Pan Seared Salmon with Honey Garlic Sauce

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Sweet, savory, garlicky pan-seared salmon. Serve with your favorite salad or vegetables for a lighter meal or with rice for a hearty and filling dinner.
Servings4 servings
preparation time10 minutes
Total cooking time10 minutes


Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 2 tbsp honey (see note 1)
  • ¼ cup less-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp grated onion
  • pinch grated ginger (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice, to taste


  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 400 grams / 3-4 salmon fillet (deboned, skin-on)
  • salt and pepper

Optional Garnishes

  • green onion leaves or parsley (for garnish)
  • lemon wedges (for garnish)


  • In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients of the sauce until well combined. Taste, adjust soy/ honey/ lemon juice according to preference.
  • Pat dry salmon with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. When you see a wisp of smoke, it should be hot enough. Place salmon skin-side down and cook for 4 minutes until crispy-golden. Turn, then cook the other side for 3 minutes until golden.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Remove excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 tbsp of pan juice for added flavor. Pour sauce over salmon. Cook for 1-2 min or to the desired doneness. I like mine well done but still moist and juicy. If sauce thickens before the salmon is done, add about 1 tbsp of water at a time.
  • Turn off heat. Garnish with lemon wedges/green onion leaves or parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  1. Honey – can be reduced up to 1 tbsp if you like it less sweet.
  2. Cooking time – the total cooking time for average cuts of a salmon fillet is about 8 to 10 minutes or 4-5 minutes on each side. Add another minute or two if cooking extra thick cuts.
    Thinner cuts of salmon require about 6 minutes of cooking time or 3 minutes per side.
Author : Mella
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Western
Keyword : pan-seared salmon with sauce, salmon in honey garlic sauce
Nutrition Facts
Pan Seared Salmon with Honey Garlic Sauce
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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