Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa

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Blackened Salmon is a pink, flaky salmon crusted in black caramelized sugars and spices making for a healthy, flavorful bite at any lunch or dinner. In just 15 minutes you can have a healthy, seemingly fancy, salmon filet with mango salsa on your plate.

Close up image of blackened salmon topped with mango salsa in a white bowl with rice. In the background a cast iron skillet with blackened salmon and mango salsa.
Sweet, crispy, spicy, and juicy! All things you want in a Blackened Salmon bowl.

Fresh seafood is presented best, in my opinion, with equally fresh fruit and vegetables. Often seafood is cooked with an array of spices that give bold flavor, like this Cajun rub, or simply with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. This fresh mango salsa is the perfect pairing to make your plate a tropical treat no matter where you live.

What is blackened salmon?

To blacken a food refers to the cooking method often found in Cajun cuisines. It requires a fat content, oil or butter, and a dry spice rub on a piece of meat. It is then added to a very hot cast iron skillet, 320F or over, creating a sear or crust. The result is an almost black color of caramelization on the food. Blackened salmon is this method of cooking as applied to salmon filets.

A close up image of blackened salmon topped with mango salsa in a cast iron skillet.
Serve Blackened Salmon over rice or directly from the skillet.

Tips for cooking Salmon

Do I need to remove skin on salmon before cooking?

You can actually eat the skin on a salmon filet. It’s not going to hurt you. Using this blackened salmon recipe, you may find that you actually enjoy the spicy, crusty crunch of the skin as you dig in for a bite with sweet mango salsa.

Does salmon have to marinate with a dry rub?

No. As soon as you set your skillet to preheat on the stovetop, go ahead and season your salmon. You do not want to season and have it marinate in the fridge as you would a piece of chicken or steak. According to thekitchn’s 5 Mistakes to Avoid when cooking Salmon, the use of salting your salmon too soon can make it watery.

Can you overcook salmon?

Yes and it’s very easy to do. Salmon filets, depending on size, really only need about 3-5 minutes per side. Salmon, as it’s cooked, starts to loose its vibrant color. A perfectly cooked salmon filet still has a bit of the vibrant orange/pink color in the middle when pulled from the skillet. The internal temperature, if using a meat thermometer, should be at 145F. The trick to perfectly cooked salmon is quick, high heat.

Should fish smell, fishy?

NO! This is a tell tale sign that your fish is expired or on its way out. It is very easy to get sick from expired fish. This is not something you want to risk. A pungent smell is a warning sign. Fresh fish has little to no smell. If it smells like fish, set it free – into the trash.

What’s in salmon seasoning rub?

This salmon seasoning rub includes smoked paprika for the beautiful red color and smokey taste, cayenne for a bit of heat, brown sugar for caramelization, cumin for the signature earthy, nutty flavor, onion powder to marry the fish to the salsa, and salt.

Overhead image of the ingredients required for blackened salmon with mango salsa: two salmon filets, salt, brown sugar, cayenne, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro, mango, purple onion, lime juice, garlic, and salt. All in glass bowls on a white marble countertop.
6 simple pantry spices make for a quick and easy Cajun rub.

How to make Blackened Salmon

Mix the ingredients of your dry rub in a bowl and pat dry your salmon with a paper towel. Rub the seasoning onto the salmon all over.

Pour two tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil into your hot skillet. Be sure the skillet reaches 320F for optimal caramelization. Place your salmon skin side down first in the skillet and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. Then use a pair of tongs to flip and cook the other side. Loud sizzling and a bit of smoke are perfectly normal.

Can pregnant women eat salmon?

Yes, if wild-caught or organically farmed. I’ve been there friends. Five kids and every pregnancy I craved some sort of seafood bowl. But the question was always, is salmon safe to eat during pregnancy? Thankfully, salmon is one of the best natural sources of DHA and Omega-3s, both of which mom and baby need. Just make sure to enjoy it fully cooked as any type of raw meat or seafood is not a good idea when pregnant due to Listeria.

What are the health benefits of eating salmon?

  • Reduces blood clotting.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • High in Omega-3 fatty acids, known for improving memory and mood.
  • Known as a high-quality protein, where each 3.5 ounce of salmon contains roughly 25 grams of protein.
  • High in vitamin B variations.
  • Next to bananas, is an excellent source of potassium.
  • and many more!

What to serve with Blackened Salmon

Take it to the next level or round out the meal with these delicious pairing options!

Swap out the white rice for quinoa to add even more protein to this dish!
Serve with a cup of Lobster Bisque to make the most of this seafood feast!
Happen to have some leftover salmon and salsa? Try these bagels the next morning!
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Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people
Blackened Salmon with fresh mango salsa makes for a quick, easy, and healthy lunch or dinner option any day of the week. All it takes is a skillet making it perfect for at home or seaside camping.


  • 10.25 inch skillet
  • fish spatula
  • Whisk


  • 10 ounces Salmon Filets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mango Salsa

  • 1 Mango peeled and medium diced
  • 1/2 Purple Onion medium diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or one clove
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup prepared rice


  • Combine all ingredients for the mango salsa in a medium bowl and set aside while preparing the salmon.
  • In a small bowl mix the smoked paprika, cayenne, brown sugar, onion powder, cumin and salt.
  • Rub the spice mixture over the entierty of the salmon filets.
  • Preheat the skillet over medium heat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Lay the salmon flesh side down on skillet and allow to caramilize for 2-3 minutes. Flip to skin side down for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve the salmon over rice and dressed with mango salsa.


Calories: 1059kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1879mg | Potassium: 1957mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 4720IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg

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