Your new favorite way to cook salmon! You’ll love this easy Instant Pot Lemon Pepper Salmon that comes together so easily with the silkiest and most amazing texture!
I am thrilled to introduce you to my guest blogger today: Chef Shelley at Chef in the Burbs. Shelley is a personal chef, and busy wife and mom who specializes in Weekend Fancy and Weeknight Fast recipes! Check out her blog for more deliciousness. Take it from here Shelley!
You might never have thought to cook fish in your Instant Pot, but in about 5 minutes you will have the most silky, luscious salmon you’ve ever had in your life.
Growing up in Oregon, I love salmon all the ways. Broiled, seared, grilled, smoked, lox, raw, plain, sauced, in pasta, in dip; you name it, I’m eating it.
And as a result, I’ve had some salmon that was cooked badly. Like Breaking Bad, bad. Flavorless and dry, to the point of being a hard little pink brick.
So I have to admit, when I heard about cooking salmon in an Instant Pot I was a little flummoxed. When I think pressure cooker, I think of making short work of things that take a long time to cook like short ribs, bone broth etc. Why on earth would you need to cook salmon, which hardly takes any time at all, in a pressure cooker?
Ms. Pandora has nothing on me, I had to find out for myself why on earth someone would pressure cook fish. And boy, are you going to be glad I did.
Here are two huge reasons to use your Instant Pot the next time you’re making salmon for dinner.
1. The texture is unreal. I know silky might sound a little weird to describe fish, but it seriously is! It’s so moist and tender, you wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t cook it yourself.
2. The sauce bonus. After seasoning the salmon and throwing some herbs in the water, what ends up in the bottom of the pot is a fully flavored delicate broth that’s perfect to spoon over the salmon and veggies. Especially if you stir in a little extra healthy fat after the salmon has cooked.
As for lemon pepper; it’s a simple, classic flavor combination. The weird thing is that companies have made it into a convenience product. It’s lemon. And pepper. How much more convenient does it get? Plus, just look what happens when they put it in a jar:
McCormick Gourmet Lemon and Pepper Seasoning – Salt, Black Pepper, Citric Acid, Onion, Garlic, Lemon Peel, Spices and Herbs, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Sunflower Oil, Calcium Stearate and Silicon Dioxide, Lemon Juice Solids, Natural Flavors, and Extractives of Turmeric.
And that’s their “Gourmet Collection”, it goes downhill from there.
Plus there’s nothing better than real, fresh lemon. The burst of fragrance when you cut through one never fails to brighten the kitchen. It smells sunny if that’s even possible.
Regarding pepper, that’s where things get a tiny bit complicated. Black pepper is probably the most ubiquitous seasoning in the United States. Rarely do you come across a recipe that doesn’t include it. Prepackaged ground pepper is all but flavorless. The aroma almost completely dissipates in about 30 minutes after they grind it and you’re left with a vaguely dusty smelling jar of something that used to be lovely. If you invest in nothing else, you’ll be surprised at how much the flavor of your food will improve by buying a pepper grinder to grind whole peppercorns. Keep in mind that the finer the grind, the hotter the pepper will be.
So it turns out that the Instant Pot is my new favorite way to do salmon. At least, until I come across the next crazy thing.
Instant Pot Lemon Pepper Salmon
- ¾ cup water
- A few sprigs of parsley dill, tarragon, basil or a combo
- 1 pound salmon filet skin on
- 3 teaspoons ghee or other healthy fat divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini julienned
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 1 carrot julienned
- Put water and herbs in the Instant Pot and then put in the steamer rack making sure the handles are extended up.
- Place salmon, skin down on rack.
- Drizzle salmon with ghee/fat, season with salt and pepper, and cover with lemon slices.
- Close the Instant Pot and make sure vent is turned to “Sealing”. Plug it in, press “Steam” and press the + or – buttons to set it to 3 minutes.
- While salmon cooks, julienne your veggies.
- When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, quick release the pressure, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam that will shoot up. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button. Remove lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove rack with salmon and set on a plate.
- Remove herbs and discard. Add veggies and put the lid back on. Press “Sauté” and let the veggies cook for just 1 or 2 minutes.
- Serve veggies with salmon and add remaining teaspoon of fat to the pot and pour a little of the sauce over them if desired.
Recipe NotesThe cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of your salmon. 3 minutes is perfect for a filet that’s about 1 inch at its thickest part. Ask your seafood person for a center cut piece, or heat end. The tail end is much thinner.
If you don’t want to julienne the veggies, you cut them up bite sized and cook them longer, or steam them in a separate pot while the salmon cooks