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Pan-seared salmon with creamy avocado sauce is a light and refreshing salmon recipe with an elegant flair. I love pan-seared salmon because it takes on the most fantastic caramelized texture. It’s very easy to make at home and comes together in a matter of minutes.
This salmon dish is finished with a homemade creamy avocado sauce comprised of avocado, garlic, basil, lemon, cream, and olive oil. It’s the perfect finishing touch that adds both flavor and creaminess. Serve this over mixed greens or with roasted veggies for a complete and healthy meal.
How to Pan Sear Salmon
Cook salmon in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet with olive oil or butter on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare and 4-5 minutes for medium. For best results, salmon should be cooked to around 125°F to 135°F for best results. Cooking salmon to 145°F and above will start to dry the fish out. A digital thermometer should be used in the thickest part of the fish. Note, the fish will continue to cook after it’s been removed from the heat.
For this recipe, in particular, I highly recommend pan-searing or grilling the salmon over baking. Pan-seared salmon delivers a crispier caramelized crust that better complements the texture of the creamy avocado sauce. A creamy sauce calls for a crispier salmon recipe.
Now, for all of you who may be intimidated by cooking seafood. Fear not, salmon is one of the EASIEST entrees to cook. It tastes great flakey or silky and juicier in the center. I like salmon with a crispy outside and a medium center. Always start with a hot pan so a crust has time to develop.
Creamy Avocado Sauce
Avocado sauce is the perfect simple sauce for pan-seared salmon. It tastes like a combination of pesto and creamy avocado. The foundation of the sauce is fresh avocado with added cream and olive oil to make the sauce more spreadable. The basil and tangy lemon give the sauce a lot of freshness and flavor.
There are a few ways you can make avocado sauce. I usually use a regular blender, but a Ninja single-serve blender or NutriBullet will do the trick in a pinch. If the sauce feels a little too thick, you can add a VERY small splash of water or use extra lemon juice. If you don’t have lemon, lime juice works too!
Can I Make The Sauce Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can. Just seal it very tightly with plastic wrap actually touching the surface of the sauce so there is zero air exposure and keep it refrigerated. Oxygen will start to brown the avocado in the sauce. Do not make the sauce any sooner than the morning of serving.
More Salmon Recipes You’ll Love
- Bourbon glazed salmon
- Grilled cedar plank salmon
- Salmon piccata
- Grilled salmon with basil butter
- Sesame ginger salmon in foil
- Blackened salmon with cilantro lime butter
- Cilantro lime salmon in foil
Pan-Seared Salmon with Creamy Avocado Sauce
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
Simple pan-seared salmon topped with a creamy avocado and basil sauce.
- 4 6-8 ounce salmon filets, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh minced basil, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Creamy avocado sauce
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon, juice squeezed (or lime juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup light cream or half & half
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine creamy avocado sauce ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and creamy, and set aside. If the sauce is too thick you can add a pinch of water or extra lemon juice.
- Season salmon filets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan or skillet. Once the oil is hot, add salmon filets and sear for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare and 4-5 minutes per side for medium.
- Transfer salmon filets to a plate and top with creamy avocado sauce. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately with a lemon wedge.
For best results, salmon should be cooked to around 125°F to 135°F for best results. Cooking salmon to 145°F and above will start to dry the fish out. A digital thermometer should be used in the thickest part of the fish. Note, the fish will continue to cook after it’s been removed from the heat.
Creamy avocado sauce can also be made with lime juice.
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 530
- Sugar: 0.6g
- Sodium: 131mg
- Fat: 29.7g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Carbohydrates: 6.2g
- Fiber: 3.8g
- Protein: 56.4g
- Cholesterol: 158mg
Keywords: pan seared salmon, salmon recipes, sauce for salmon
This is absolutely delicious! The sauce would be good on so many different kinds of seafood. This is a keeper!
Yes! I’m yet to experiment more with it but I totally agree.
We hav always eaten salmon alone but whem we saw this cream sauce recipe we decided to try it and…. its the BEST avocado cream ever! I just have one question, do we out half of an avocado or a whole avocado?
Thanks Mabel – so glad you found this. You use the whole avocado!
Thanks! But for us it was very thick at first, should we add more cream or half and half?
Yes, exactly, or you could add more olive oil too
This was so good!!! I absolutely love the cream sauce!
Does the avocado sauce get brown once it is refrigerated/ reheated?
If you cover very tightly with plastic wrap you will be okay for 1 day
Great recipe for salmon. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Carrie!
Did you crisp the skin of the salmon or remove the skin? I’m going to try this recipe on egg plant croquettes, see how that works and may add capers. Yum!
I remove before searing.
That’s 1/4 cup light cream? I don’t see the measurement on the printable instructions. It looks and sounds delicious. I think I’ll try making this for my husband next week.
Very good I didn’t have fresh basil so I used my own basil pesto and used a cream replacement organic rice cream for cooking ( Isola bio) gluten and dairy free.
Sounds like that would do the trick. Pesto is perfect substitute!
Thanks for this idea.. i don’t have fresh basil either.. but had home made pesto cubes in the Freezer!
Tasted delicious and didn’t have to add the garlic either,.. my pesto sauce had enough 🙂
what cream? what kind?
Light cream or half and half will do.
Tried and true, great job! Thank you for a lovely dinner we had using your recipe!
PS Also works excellent with grilled sea bass!
Mirella and Panos
Thank you! That’s a great idea. I love sea bass so I will have to give that a try.