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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.

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Air Fryer Salmon

4.97 from 54 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
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
Servings: 4 People



  • 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


Calories: 190kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 23gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 61mgPotassium: 574mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 317IUCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely Delicious ! I am a super picky eater ; this amazing !! My entire family loves it . So thank you for sharing ! 😁

  2. How about a few Gluten free quick (15 minutes) meals ( air fryer and easy prep) for single people portion sized enough for 2 days!
    Do you have a cook book specifically for Air fried foods?
    Thank you. …. Single, hungry, and always in a hurry. S.

  3. 5 stars
    Please forgive me for addressing you so casually, but GIRLLLL… This is now one of only two salmon recipes I enjoy and will be making many MANY times again. Easy, delicious, and quick. My three boxes checked! I just ate and my mouth is still watering just thinking of how great this dish tasted. I paired it with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli. I can definitely say I am pleasantly stuffed. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us!

  4. QQ: I definitely want to throw some asparagus in, as suggested. Do you season the asparagus at all before putting them in with the salmon??

  5. 5 stars
    I was sent this recipe by a friend and now it’s our go to when making salmon bowls. The flavors are perfect and gives us another way to eat our fresh caught salmon. The first time our 4 yr old daughter tried it, she ate almost a full filet!

    1. My youngest daughter loves it too! Which is surprising because she’s my pickiest eater. 😂 Thank you for trying the recipe!

  6. I plan to try the recipe but just FYI it may be how completely the page is covered w pop ups ads and moving images but none of your buttons worked. Not “jump to recipe”, not PIN, not “save”. The page is literally locked up with all that’s going on on it. I’m ALL for you getting support and ad revenue for your content (fully support that!) but when the only thing that is functional on a page is scrolling, it might keep me from visiting again bc of the frustration! I do intend to try the recipe, your pictures are amazing, and I’ll lyk how the salmon turns out. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    This is by far my all-time favorite salmon recipe. It always turns out SO juicy and flavorful, and the best part? It’s extremely easy! Highly recommend!!

  8. 5 stars
    Okay so I’m a huge seafood lover and have had a lot of salmon in my life, but this recipe with the seasonings is top tier. I could eat this EVERYDAY. I always love your recipes but this is definitely in my top 10!!

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredibly simple to make, and the taste is absolutely delicious! I’m grateful for you sharing it.

  10. I’m absolutely wanting to try this! Question though: the salmon doesn’t require some sort of oil before going into the air fryer? Won’t it be dry and/or possibly stick to the basket? Don’t want to screw it up!

    1. I don’t use oil! But you can use an air fryer liner if you are worried it will stick to the basket!