This Mexican Salmon is flavored with lime and an aromatic blackened spice crust made of Ancho chile, garlic, onion and oregano. It's super easy for a busy weeknight and very impressive for a weekend dinner party.
This incredibly tasty Mexican salmon recipe takes about ten minutes to make, start to finish -- and it's just as delicious as it is pretty.
It's great for a healthy weeknight dinner, and impressive enough to wow weekend dinner party guests. A win-win!
What's in this recipe?
The blackened "crust" is made of four spices:
- dried Mexican oregano
- dried, ground Ancho chiles
- granulated garlic
- dried, chopped onion
- wild salmon fillets
- lime juice
How to Make Blackened Mexican Salmon with Lime
- Combine the spices.
- Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt, and drizzle with lime juice. Then evenly coat the top surface of each salmon fillet with the spice mix and gently press it down.
- Coat a sauté pan with oil and place it over high heat. Once it's very hot, place fillets in the pan, spice side down.
- Let the salmon sauté until you can see that the spices have formed a crust, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Carefully use a flat-bottomed spatula to flip the fillets over. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and cook just about 2 more minutes. It should still look a bit raw in the very center.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- Can you substitute any of the spices? Yes, you can use regular dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder if it's what you have. The differences . . . Mexican oregano is a bit earthier and stronger in flavor, granulated garlic is coarser, and dried, chopped onion is usually small pieces of onion. I prefer the texture of these spices for the blackened crust, but the flavor will still be good if you use the others. Ancho chile powder is smoky and mild -- if you'd like something spicier, use Chipotle chile powder (about half of the amount).
- When you're ready to sauté the fish, make sure the pan is hot enough. If you don't hear a sizzling sound when it hits the oil, wait! The pan must be super hot for the blackened crust to form.
- For this recipe, you can use a non-stick pan or a cast iron skillet -- either works well, as long as it's hot enough before you sauté.
- Salmon is the most flaky and tender when it's cooked just until the very center is still almost raw. You can cook it more if desired.
- Cooking times might vary, depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets.
What to Serve with Blackened Mexican Salmon
- Avocado-Lime Dressing -- This rich and creamy sauce is fantastic beneath the salmon, or on the side.
- Guacamole with Lemon -- This is so delicious to dip each bite of salmon into.
- Smoky Lemon Vegetable Quinoa -- This along with the Mexican salmon would make for a very healthy hearty, satisfying meal.
- Coconut Cilantro Rice -- With a touch of sweetness, this rice pairs perfectly with the Mexican spice blend.
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Pepitas -- Drizzled with a Honey-Chipotle Dressing, this is a festival of fresh Mexican flavors that perfectly compliments the salmon.
- Really, any fresh, delicious salad or side of vegetables would be lovely with it.
You can plate each portion of salmon to serve, or place all of them all together on a large serving platter to serve on the table.
If you do the latter, add a few extra lime slices between the fillets of fish, and if you have it, a few sprigs of fresh oregano would be lovely.
Can you make it ahead?
I don't recommend it. Mexican Salmon with Lime is at its best when it's served as soon as it's finished cooking. When I'm serving this for guests, I have everything else I've prepared for the meal ready, and the salmon is coated with the spices and ready to go in the pan. About five minutes before I'm ready to serve, it hits the pan.
I love this Mexican salmon recipe not only because of how scrumptious it is, but also because of how beautifully the combination of textures and colors present.
I hope you love it as much as my family and I do.
More delicious salmon recipes:
- Salmon Cabbage Rolls
- Olive Oil Poached Salmon
- Baked Cilantro Chimichurri Salmon
- Salmon Burgers with Lemon and Dill
- Ginger Roasted Salmon and Broccoli
May 2022 update: This post has been updated with new images and information.
Mexican Blackened Salmon with Lime
- 1½ tablespoons dried, chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
- 1½ teaspoons dried, granulated garlic
- about 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 4 (approximately 6 ounce) salmon fillets (preferably wild caught)
- grapeseed oil for the pan
- Combine spices. In a small bowl, mix the dried onion, oregano, Ancho chile powder, and granulated garlic together.
- Prep the salmon. Sprinkle each salmon fillet with salt and then sprinkle them with lime juice. Then evenly divide and sprinkle the spice mix among the top surfaces of the salmon fillets. Then use your hands to gently press it down so that it adheres to the fish.
- Sauté. Coat the bottom of a medium-sized sauté pan with grapeseed oil and place it over high heat. Once it's very hot, place them in the pan, skin side up. (If you don't hear a sizzling sound, wait another moment. The pan must be super hot!)Let the salmon sauté until you can see that the spices have formed a crust, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully use a flat-bottomed metal spatula to flip the fillets over. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and cook just about 2 more minutes. It should still look uncooked in the very center. (You can cook it more/longer if desired.)*
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Looks delicious and I know coming from you it is a hit!
I will make it tonight!
Rosalia, I hope you enjoy it! Happy New Year, my friend! XOXO
Salmon is a fav here, but your Mexican spice blend is new. Can't wait to taste it. We have everything except the Mexican oregano. That's on my shopping list.
Salmon is a favorite in our house, too. Hope you tried it (& loved it)! 😉
This looks really wonderful - but I will have to switch out the garlic for dried shallots. That much granulated garlic would put me in the hospital! 🙂 The color of your salmon is so deep and rich!
No going to the hospital, please! Shallots it shall be! 😉
David Scott Allen
You know, I never got a chance to make this. However, I am going to make this tomorrow night. We are having salmon, and I haven’t figured out what I was going to do with it! Problem solved.
Hope you enjoy it, David! 🙂 ~Valentina
David Scott Allen
Why is it that I always forget to come back and tell you how good something is! This recipe is really wonderful, and we’ve now made it several times. We had lots of leftover topping, so we just kept it in the refrigerator and used it whenever we were having salmon.
Thanks so much, David. So happy to hear this and so awesome to keep the topping on hand for future salmon dinner. So appreciate you sharing when you try my recipes. And thank you for trying them. 🙂 ~Valentina
I gave this idea to a woman I worked with on a program in New Orleans last week.
She just emailed me the a big WOW and INCREDIBLE
Thanks for the idea Valentina
I am cooking this tonight and serving it with Turksish pinto beans!
VIVA International food Saturday!
Thank you so much, Pam! What a lovely compliment! Turkish pinto beans sound like they'd be delicious. Enjoy! 🙂
Made this tonight and it was *excellent*!! Didn't have Mexican oregano so just used regular Oregano but a little less. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and it was a huge hit. And, it really would be ideal for a dinner party as well, because it all comes together so quickly. This is definitely a keeper--many thanks!
Hi Bob, You've made my day! I'm so happy this recipe was a hit for you, and I'm sure the oregano you used was great! Thanks for visiting my site and trying out my recipes! Hope you come back for more. 🙂 ~Valentina
Yes. This looks fabulous! I don't store dried onion, but I'm going to get some for this recipe!
Thanks, Mimi. Hope you enjoy! 🙂 ~Valenitna
Wow, Valentina! Talk about a restaurant worthy recipe - love these flavors and you just can't beat a beautiful main course made in 10 minutes.
Thanks so much, Marissa! 😀 Enjoy. ~Valentina
John / Kitchen Riffs
I used to never use dried garlic or onion in either granulated or powdered form. But have been experimenting with them lately, and discovered their many, many virtues. And they're ideal for a dish like this. This is wonderful -- thanks.
I hope you try it, John. Thanks so much! 🙂 ~Valentina
Always in for ten minutes healthy and tasty week dinners ! Great one Valentina!
Thanks, Davorka. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 ~Valentina
Linger, Kristy Murray
What??!! Not only does this salmon look gorgeous but I can only imagine the flavors that permeate it. Now I'm so hungry for this. I have some frozen "wild-caught" salmon in my freezer that I'm gonna have to pull out and thaw to make this delectable piece of fish.
I hope you love every bite. Thanks, Kristy! 🙂 ~Valentina