Brown Sugar Garlic Air Fryer Salmon

This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my privacy policy.

Melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar garlic air fryer salmon is juicy, tender and full of flavor. Salmon is so good, especially when it’s cooked right, and the air fryer makes it perfect every time! It’s an easy, hands-off way to make a scrumptious meal.

Serve this amazing salmon with a veggie and starch of choice. You can try some mashed potatoes, roasted lemon honey asparagus or a fresh panzanella salad! Brown sugar garlic salmon is super versatile and works with a variety of sides.

Closeup of tender, juicy Brown Sugar Garlic Salmon

The BEST Air Fryer Salmon

Moist and flaky inside, crispy seasoned outside. Using an air fryer takes all of the guesswork out of making salmon! Sometimes it can be intimidating to cook seafood but it’s so easy. This will turn a weekend meal to a weeknight staple. It’s so quick too! 20 minutes or so and dinner’s on the table. You can even make some air fryer asparagus or broccoli in a snap to go with it! A complete dinner in less than 30 minutes. (Aren’t air fryer recipes the best?!)

Honestly, the combination of brown sugar and garlic is amazing. The sweet and savory is a match made in heaven. The brown sugar caramelizes on the surface of the salmon, adding a subtle sweetness that balances out the pungent garlic. It complements the flavor of salmon so well! Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, this dish is sure to win you over with its unique and addictive flavor! Good thing it’s so easy to make! If you love salmon as much as I do, find my full list of recipes here.

Why Air Frying Salmon Works

Air frying is just the best way to cook salmon for so many reasons.

  • Circulating: The way the air fryer cooks the salmon allows the air to circulate cooking the outside to crispy perfection. While the inside is juicy and flaky like it should be!
  • Salmon: Because salmon is a firm fish it won’t fall apart in the fryer.
  • It’s Fast: It’s no secret anymore that cooking with an air fryer is faster and easier to clean up.
  • Heat: Using the air fryer won’t heat up your kitchen and frees up the oven for something else. You are going to love it!

Ingredients for Brown Sugar Garlic Salmon

Sweet meets savory in the ultimate flavor fusion! Brown sugar, garlic, and salmon – the power trio that will make your taste buds sing. Here’s everything you need to put this tasty salmon together! All measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

  • Salmon Fillets: This can be made with fresh or previously frozen salmon.
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper: Add to taste. I like using kosher salt because it doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that table salt does.
  • Brown Sugar: Provides a rich, sweet flavor and also adds a nice crust.
  • Chili Powder: Brings the heat to the sweet.
  • Paprika: Adds color and a little heat.
  • Italian SeasoningThe perfect blend of herbs!
  • Garlic Powder: A nice punch of flavor. You can also use fresh minced garlic!

How to Cook Salmon in the Air Fryer

Who says delicious meals have to be complicated? With an air fryer, whipping up brown sugar garlic salmon is a breeze – just pop it in, set the timer, and voila! A restaurant-quality dish ready in minutes. Now, that’s what we call a tasty hack!

  1. Rub: Salt and pepper the salmon to taste. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Rub salmon seasoning into the fillets.
  2. Bake: Place in the air fryer basket skin-side down. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. If you are adding asparagus add it after the first 5 minutes.
Seasoning salmon with brown sugar and garlic, then adding it to an air fryer basket.

Tips for Air Frying Salmon

This air fryer salmon recipe is super easy and will be even better when you follow these extra tips!

  • Choosing your Salmon: Both fresh and frozen salmon work for this recipe. Thaw the frozen salmon before cooking. Salmon should be clean, brightly colored, and free from soft spots or discolorations.
  • Dry: To help the seasonings stick to the salmon pat it dry with paper towels. Also press the seasonings into the salmon so it stays on the salmon.
  • Check if Done: Check the salmon early to make sure you don’t overcook it. You do not want to overcook salmon. Using a meat thermometer, check the thickest part of the salmon. The internal temperature should be 145 degrees F. Remove from the air fryer immediately, it will continue to cook if left in the basket.
  • No Thermometer: If you don’t have a meat thermometer you can tell when Salmon is done by the color. When salmon is cooked it turns from a translucent reddish to an opaque pink. Raw salmon is translucent and reddish. When it’s cooked, it turns opaque pink.

Storing Leftovers

Air-fried salmon, like any cooked fish, can last for up to 3-4 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. It’s important to place the leftover salmon in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap before keeping it in the fridge. You can also freeze cooked salmon for up to three months! But let’s be real, who can resist a delicious piece of salmon for that long? It’s always best to enjoy it fresh out of the air fryer.

  • Reheating: I always like to reheat my salmon in the air fryer so it keeps that crispy crust. 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick! Try these amazing air fryer brussels sprouts to go with it! It’s a quick and tasty meal.
Juicy, tender brown sugar garlic salmon served with asparagus and lemon wedges.

Air Fryer Salmon

4.98 from 37 votes
Melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar garlic air fryer salmon is juicy, tender and full of flavor. Salmon is so good, especially when it's cooked right, and the air fryer makes it perfect every time! It's an easy, hands-off way to make a scrumptious meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 4 People


  • 1 pound salmon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Salt and pepper the salmon. In a small bowl add the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Rub on the salmon.
  • In the basket of your air fryer add the salmon skin side down. Turn the air fryer to 400 degrees and cook for 10 minutes. If adding asparagus add to the basket after 5 minutes.



Originally posted November 14, 2020
Updated March 15, 2023


Serves: 4

Calories190kcal (10%)Carbohydrates7g (2%)Protein23g (46%)Fat7g (11%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Cholesterol62mg (21%)Sodium61mg (3%)Potassium574mg (16%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar6g (7%)Vitamin A317IU (6%)Calcium27mg (3%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer salmon, brown sugar salmon, garlic salmon
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

Read More Posts by Alyssa

facebook twitter pinterest instagram



Leave a reply
  1. 5 stars
    I have never made or eaten salmon…I thought I would try making this in my new air fryer for my Dave. It was the first thing I had made in a air fryer, and first time making salmon and this recipe was absolutely amazing. So easy, quick and yummy.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, but I forgot to add the garlic powder (duh!!!). It was still delicious, but I can’t wait to try it again and do it correctly! I served the salmon over a Ceasar salad….SO GOOD!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, but I forgot to add the garlic powder (duh!!!). It was still delicious, but I can’t wait to try it again and do it correctly! I served the salmon over a Ceasar salad….SO GOOD!!!

  4. 5 stars
    I am not the hugest fan of salmon but have trying to incorporate it into my diet for the health benefits. I’ve tried cooking it in many ways but nothing that I’ve LOVED. I received an air fryer for my birthday last month so decided to give this a whirl in a desperate attempt to love salmon. Holy. Cow. The first time I’ve been able to achieve crispy salmon skin. Delicious. The spicy rub was so good and complimented the salmon perfectly and the salmon was just perfectly cooked through. Thank you for this recipe! It’s going to be my go to now.

  5. This recipe sounds great! Does you air fryer smell like fish and does it affect other food that you may prepare later?

    1. I haven’t had an issue with smells and altering other recipes in my air fryer. We use it daily and love it! The brown sugar smells so good while it is cooking too!

  6. This was the best air fryer salmon I have ever made!!! Wow!! Thanks for the recipe! For mine, I used Truvia brown sure and really pilled the seasoning onto two fillets of salmon. It was amazing!!

  7. 5 stars
    This was so good I cooked it with a lemon wedge on top of the fish added flavor also. I had to leave it in about 14 minutes to make sure the temp was correct. I lined the air fryer with parchment paper to help make less of mess. My first time making salmon in the air fryer.

  8. 5 stars
    This was absolutely divine. Thank you for THE perfect blend of spices. (Seeing them used on sweet potatoes is an extra bonus!)

    So delicious. I will absolutely be making this again and again.

  9. 5 stars
    This is now my favorite recipe for salmon. I have prepared it this way several times now and have shared my delicious results with friends. I have also shared your recipe. It is the best salmon I have ever tasted–bar none! thank you.

  10. I would have never tried using brown sugar on my thank you Alyssa for this AMAZING idea 😍 I even used my new air fryer i found on ! They have the cutest retro, mid-century modern-style kitchen stuff! I’ve found loving what I’m cooking with makes my food taste better? haha anyway, thanks again! I’ll definitely be making this often.

  11. 5 stars
    This was by far one of the best salmon dishes I have ever had! The thing I did different is spray the air fryer basket and the top of the salmon with avocado oil. Everything else in the recipe was followed exactly as written.

  12. I’m a empty nester and need to know how to cut this recipe down to a single a serving. The recipe looks quite easy and sounds delicious.

  13. 5 stars
    I’m new to the world of air frying. So far I’ve only made french fries, onion rings and cheese sticks. The fresh fries I made from fresh potatoes, not frozen! And they were spectacular, both my husband and I said they were the best french fries we’ve ever had.
    I have a beautiful1 pound piece of wild caught salmon. I’m going to try this recipe in just a few minutes along with french fries and a salad. I’ll follow your recipe to a tee! I’m sure it’s going to be amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating