Say goodbye to bland and hello to the Best Ever Salmon Dry Rub! This simple homemade seasoning blend has the perfect balance of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors to take your salmon to the next level!
Salmon is one of my favorite proteins to cook. Not only is it a nutritional superstar, it's also incredibly versatile. Whether it's coated in a delicious miso glaze, simmered in a creamy Thai coconut curry, crisped up in the air fryer or grilled as burgers, salmon is definitely a regular in our dinner rotation!
Now, I'm excited to share my latest culinary creation – this amazing Salmon Dry Rub. This simple and delicious salmon seasoning combines brown sugar, smoky paprika, and a handful of aromatic dry spices to create the perfect spice rub. It's a pantry staple in my kitchen!
Why I Love Spice Rubs
Spice rubs like this salmon dry rub are more than just flavor enhancers- they're your ticket to healthy eating. Spice rubs add a burst of deliciousness to your dishes without adding extra calories and fat.
Simply sprinkle some of this flavorful spice rub onto your salmon for an instant pop of flavor. Then, cook your salmon just the way you prefer, and you're in for a tasty treat. It's that easy!
When you make your own homemade spice blends, you can control the ingredients. That way you can steer clear of added preservatives and excessive sodium, which is often found in store-bought alternatives. For more low sodium cooking tips, check out my Low Sodium Chili Lime Salmon post.
And unlike a salmon marinade which requires marinating time, a dry rub doesn't require any time at all. Just sprinkle on some of this simple 7-ingredient salmon seasoning and cook the salmon using your preferred method. It's a great way to add instant flavor so that you can enjoy delicious salmon dinners any night of the week!
Not sure if your salmon is past its prime? Read my post on How To Tell If Salmon Has Gone Bad so that you can always enjoy this delicious fish at its best!
Why You'll Love This Dish:
- Packed with flavor: this salmon dry rub recipe strikes a perfect balance between sweet and smoky, enhancing the buttery flavor of your salmon
- Versatile: this homemade salmon seasoning blend works wonders with various salmon cooking methods – from pan-searing to grilling to air frying
- Wholesome Ingredients: made with 7 basic pantry spices without added preservatives, artificial ingredients or excessive sodium
- Salmon is a real superfood! Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have incredible health benefits. It's also packed with protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Our bodies don’t make omega-3s so we must get them from our diet. Here are just a few of the important things that omega-3s do:
- They help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- They're important for neurological development, especially in fetal development and young children. They may also help reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly.
- They reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
- To learn more, read my post all about the health benefits of salmon.
You only need 7 basic ingredients to make this simple salmon dry rub! See recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Smoked paprika- smoked paprika is made from smoke-dried chili peppers that are dried over an oak fire before being ground into a powder. It has a distinct smoky flavor. If you don't have it, you can substitute a mixture of 2 teaspoons paprika + 1 teaspoon ground cumin. You can also substitute chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Brown sugar- adds a subtle sweetness that balances out the savory spices
- Kosher salt
- Cayenne pepper (optional)- I like to add cayenne for a little spice to balance out the sweet brown sugar but you can add more or less depending on your preference
How To Make Salmon Dry Rub Step-By-Step
See recipe card at the bottom of the post for full recipe instructions.
- In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika , garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, brown sugar, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Place the salmon skin-side down on a plate and sprinkle the seasoning on top, evenly coating the pieces. Lightly pat the seasoning into the salmon. Then, cook the salmon according to your preferred method – be it air frying, grilling, pan-searing or baking. See recipe card at the bottom of the post for cooking instructions.
- You'll need about 1 tablespoon of spice rub per pound (16 ounces) of salmon. This recipe makes about ¼ cup of salmon dry rub. Store extra dry rub in a sealed jar like a mason jar or these spice jars, in a cool place. It will last up to 6 months.
- I like to add a pop of flavor to my spice-rubbed salmon by squeezing a little fresh lime or lemon juice on top just before serving. You can also top your salmon with fresh herbs like dill, parsley or cilantro.
- Tailor the amount of cayenne pepper in this salmon seasoning to your personal taste- increase the amount for more heat or leave it out for a milder flavor.
- You can cook your salmon a number of different ways depending on your preference. If you have an outdoor grill, you can cook it on the grill. Otherwise, you can cook it on an indoor grill pan, in a skillet, in the oven, or even in an air fryer.
What To Serve With This Dish
You can also serve this salmon with a salad or vegetable on the side like zucchini, or Brussels sprouts. You can round out the meal with a starch like diced potatoes, celery root puree, or risotto. Here are some side dish ideas:
Salmon Side Dishes
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Best Ever Salmon Dry Rub (Salmon Seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or mix 2 teaspoons paprika + 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Salmon Dry Rub:
- In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika , garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, brown sugar, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper together.
- Place the salmon skin-side down on a plate and sprinkle the seasoning on top, evenly coating the pieces. Lightly rub the seasoning into the salmon. Then, cook the salmon according to your preferred method (see below).
- Store extra salmon dry rub in a sealed jar like a mason jar or spice jar, in a cool place. It will last up to 6 months.
- To grill the salmon on a grill: Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium high heat. Brush the grill rack well with oil. Place the salmon on the grill, seasoned side down and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes to desired doneness.
- To bake the salmon in the oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the salmon on an oiled sheet pan and bake in the oven 10-15 minutes until it reaches desired doneness.
- To cook the salmon on the stove: Heat a nonstick skillet on the stove over medium high heat and spray with olive oil. Place the salmon in the pan, seasoned side down and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes to desired doneness.
- To cook the salmon in an air fryer: Heat an air fryer to 400°F. Spray or brush the rack with olive oil. Add the salmon to the air fryer in a single layer. Cook 6-10 minutes to desired doneness.