Salmon is my preschooler’s favorite protein, so you can bet we have it for dinner at least once a week. Because of this, I’ve come up with a 3-ingredient recipe guaranteed to be a hit: I sprinkle some lemon pepper and dried dill, drizzle a little oil, then bake or air fry the fish. Just like that, dinner is done.
I really hope nobody around here gets tired of eating salmon since it’s so quick to prepare—just 15 minutes total. And unlike other fast-cooking proteins, salmon is so forgiving. With its high-fat content, salmon stays moist and tender even if you overcook it a bit.
It’s delicious anywhere on the spectrum of medium to well done, whether it’s barely translucent in the middle, or opaque and easily flaked apart with a fork. You can’t go wrong.
You Can Air Fry or Oven Bake the Salmon
For the easiest, fastest route from fridge to table, I season the salmon and bake it at high heat in my air fryer toaster oven. The air fryer preheats in about three minutes, and the four-ounce filets bake in just 12 minutes. It’s my go-to way to cook salmon.
Of course, you can use a basket air fryer (slightly more involved in cleanup) or an oven (a bit longer preheating and cooking time). Your fish will turn out delicious in any case.
A Trader Joe’s Swap I’m Enjoying These Days
Lemon pepper and dried dill are flavors that pair so well with salmon, and I always have them in my spice cabinet. I recently stumbled on a delicious (and probably seasonal and soon-to-disappear) spice blend from Trader Joe’s called Seasoning in a Pickle. It’s tangy and full of dill and garlic flavor—a lot like kosher pickles. I’ve been using it instead of plain dried dill for an extra flavor boost. Either works well.
How To Make 3-Ingredient Lemon Pepper and Dill Salmon
For four servings, you’ll need the following ingredients. (I’m counting oil as a freebie.)
- 4 (4-ounce) salmon filets (skin-on or skinless), thawed if frozen
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill or dill pickle seasoning
Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF, or if you’re using an oven, preheat to 425ºF.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil for easy cleanup, or just cook right on a baking sheet. (For a basket-style air fryer, you’ll place the salmon directly in the air frying basket.)
Rinse the salmon filets under cool running water, pat them dry with a paper towel, then place them on the baking sheet or in the air fryer basket. Drizzle the oil on the filets, then use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread it evenly on the fish. Sprinkle the lemon pepper and dill onto the oiled fish.
Bake or air fry the salmon. Start checking it with an instant-read thermometer after about 9 minutes—the internal temperature should be 130ºF to 135ºF.
A basket air fryer will cook the fish the most quickly—9 to 10 minutes—and, in my experience, an air fryer toaster oven takes a couple of minutes longer. An oven takes a couple of minutes longer than that. You can also check the fish by forking into a filet—if it flakes and is either opaque or a touch darker pink and translucent in the middle, it’s done.
What I Serve With Lemon Pepper and Dill Salmon
I serve the salmon with a couple of side dishes for a fuss-free dinner. Boxed rice pilaf, steamed frozen veggies with butter and garlic salt—this is an easy dinner meant to be paired with easy sides. A little store-bought tartar sauce is great to have, too.