Smoked paprika salmon is an easy recipe for Mexican salmon that is seasoned, pan-fried (or baked), and served alongside sweet and spicy mango salsa. A quick low carb salmon dinner for busy and hungry weeknights!
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About salmon with paprika
Too tired to cook? Are there too many things going on in your life that dinner is the last thing on your mind? I’ve been there several times.
And this is the easiest salmon recipe that springs to my mind when disaster strikes. No, seriously.
Paprika salmon is one of those quick and easy dinner recipes you can make with your eyes closed. I mean, not literally, but you get the point.
Having salmon in my fridge almost always helps tremendously. It cooks incredibly fast, tastes delicious, and requires only mild seasoning with a few ingredients.
Salmon is so versatile that it can be baked (like salmon kabobs and easy pesto crust salmon), pan-fried (brown butter honey garlic salmon) or steamed. Any mode of cooking salmon doesn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes.
(If you happen to have any white fish at home, make this easy fish curry with coconut that needs just 7 ingredients and 25 minutes.)
Like most of my seafood recipes, this Mexican-style salmon needs only a handful of simple ingredients with smoked paprika being the dominant flavor.
Smoked paprika is a fine powder with a deep warm red colour. It is made by drying peppers over smoking oak wood for many days.
It has a wonderful smoky, slightly charred savoriness that complements the bold flavor of salmon. Salmon with paprika is more than a match made in heaven!
Season the salmon fillets with smoked paprika rub and splash some lime juice on them before frying/baking. Serve the delicious flaky salmon with simple mango salsa.
Can healthy cooking get easier than this?
A QUICK TIP: Make this simple recipe keto spicy salmon by using butter instead of oil for pan-frying.
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
- Fresh salmon fillets: I like to use small fillets (about 150 gms/ 5.3 oz) that are about 1 to 1-1/4 inch thick.
- Oil: olive oil gives a nice flavor to the salmon and is not overpowering.
- Lime juice or lemon juice: always goes well with seafood.
- smoked paprika
- ground cumin
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper and salt
How to make smoked paprika salmon- step by step
Make seasoning blend by mixing the spices in a small bowl.
Season salmon fillets with the spice mix. Remove pin bones, if any, from the filets. Squeeze lime juice onto the fillets.
Heat oil in a frying pan and place salmon skin side down into the hot oil. Cook on medium-high flame.
Flip after 2-3 minutes. Cook the other side for about 2-3 minutes until done.
I like my salmon well done, but if you want it cooked rare or medium-rare, reduce the cooking time accordingly.
What to pair with paprika salmon
A simple mango salsa complements the spicy flavors of paprika salmon. (and the taste to effort ratio is appetizingly high!) For the mango salsa, you’ll need
- Ripe mango
- jalapeno or green chillies
- lime juice
- Pink salt or sea salt
Finely chop all ingredients. Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos if you don’t want the salsa spicy. Toss all ingredients together. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve smoked paprika salmon with the mango salsa.
Or break the salmon into chunks and load them onto tortillas with mango salsa to make paprika salmon wraps. Drizzle the spicy avocado sauce on top to make tacos or wraps for delicious meals with salmon.
Variations for smoked paprika on salmon
- If you like more spice in your salmon, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the seasoning mix.
- Add more depth to the flavors by adding ½ a teaspoon of sweet paprika to the spice mixture.
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs like oregano or dill can be added to the seasoning.
- If you have an avocado, chop finely and add to the mango salsa. (Remember to double the seasoning: chili, salt and lime juice.)
- Have pineapple at home? Make this pineapple pico de gallo salsa that also works great with the smoky flavor of the delicious salmon.
How to bake paprika salmon
This easy salmon recipe can also be baked in the oven. This is the best way to bake paprika salmon:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Season the fillets with the spice mix. Place them in a sheet pan oven-proof tray lined with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle lime juice over the fillets and spray olive oil.
- Bake until done for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve paprika salmon with mango salsa and lemon wedges.
Common questions about smoked paprika salmon
Do you cook salmon on both sides?
When you pan-fry salmon, cook skin side down for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Cooking on both sides ensures that the salmon is browned evenly and also perfectly cooked on the inside.
Baking usually cooks the salmon evenly so you don’t have to flip it when you’re baking.
How do you not overcook the salmon?
A perfectly cooked salmon should be opaque and seared on the outside, and slightly pinkish on the inside. When you cut through the thickest part of the fish, the inside should be pink but flaky (and not raw and translucent).
Temperature of salmon fillet: The key is to bring the salmon to room temperature before cooking. A cold salmon fillet will get either overcooked and rubbery on the outside or undercooked on the inside. Leave it on the kitchen counter for about 15 to 20 minutes before frying.
Cooking temperature and time: This is another reason salmon gets overcooked. Ensure the oil is hot when you place the salmon (the oil should sizzle) and cook on medium-high flame for about 2-3 minutes each side. If you’re worried the salmon would be undercooked inside, it won’t if you ensure the salmon is at room temperature before cooking.
Can I use chilli powder instead of smoked paprika?
Smoked paprika is a milder spice than chili powder or cayenne pepper. It also has a characteristic savory smokiness that you’ll only get from smoked spices. That is the main flavor that makes this recipe special.
In addition to smoked paprika on salmon, you can add cayenne pepper for the heat, but try not to replace it with any other spice.
Health benefits of salmon
As we all know, salmon is one of the superfoods with numerous health benefits. It is a highly nutritious fish, rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium, magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12.
Salmon is also one of the few good sources of vitamin D and has virtually zero carbohydrates, all of which make it one of the healthiest foods.
I love salmon not only for its health benefits but also for its rich flavor and ease of cooking.
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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!
I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.