Chili Citrus Salmon

4.67 from 6 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links.

No grill? No problem! This delicious chili citrus salmon comes together beautifully in a skillet, takes just 20 minutes to prepare and uses ingredients that are either already in your pantry or easily found at the local supermarket.

If you’ve been looking for a new mid-week meal for those busy summer evenings or something simple (but still fancy enough) to prepare for company, this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. 

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

😍 Why You’ll Love My Chili Citrus Salmon

Salmon is packed with flavor and so many good-for-you benefits that it’s a favorite in my household for quick, delicious meals (another favorite is my 10-minute air fryer salmon.) This chili citrus salmon comes together in minutes and is something the whole family will enjoy. I also love that there are simple, straightforward substitutions, and every variation is vibrant, fresh and flavorsome.

🗒️ Ingredients

Salmon – Salmon has a rich, buttery flavor that, when paired with the citrusy sweetness of the cherry tomato sauce, is beautifully fresh and moist. Plus, that beautifully seared, crispy skin? Delicious!

Shallot – Let me set the record straight: they’re not an onion, but you’ll find them next to the onions at the grocery store! Shallots provide a soft, oniony undercurrent and a pop of acidity to any dish.

Garlic – A staple in my household, garlic mellows when cooked to take on a more caramelized, sweet undertone.

Cherry Tomatoes – Bright and bold, Cherry tomatoes bring a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity which cuts through the richness of this citrus salmon beautifully.

Orange Juice – Orange juice adds that all important bright, citrusy note to this dish which complements the richness of the salmon and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.

Chili Paste – A little bit of heat and a touch of spice brings another level of vibrant flavor to this citrus salmon. It’s a subtle kick that won’t burn any mouths!

Basil – Basil is that finishing touch that rounds out the dish with freshness. It’s slightly sweet, a little bit peppery, and the perfect pop of green.

👩‍🍳 How to Make My Chili Citrus Salmon

⏲️ Bring salmon to room temperature one hour before cooking. 

🔥 Heat a 12 to 14 inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat.  

🧂 Season the salmon with the salt and a few grinds of pepper and rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook the salmon, without moving, skin side up, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. 

👩‍🍳 Carefully flip the filets and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking for another 2-4 minutes or until it’s a bit underdone for your preference (it will continue to cook off the heat). Transfer to a large plate and tent with foil. 

🧅 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in the same pan. Add the shallot and saute over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.

🍅 Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Stir in the tomatoes, orange juice, vinegar, chili paste, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few cracks of  pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes.  

🌿 Add basil, stir, then add the salmon back to the pan skin side down, spooning the sauce on top.  Cook for just a minute to warm the salmon back up. 

🍽️ Serve the salmon on a platter topped with the cherry tomato sauce.  A side of rice makes this a full meal and soaks up the sauce nicely.

🥳  Enjoy!

🎩 Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure your salmon is at room temperature before cooking! When salmon is at room temperature, it cooks more evenly. If you place cold salmon directly from the refrigerator into a hot pan or oven, the outside cooks faster than the inside.
  • I know it’s tempting, but resist the urge to move or check the salmon too soon. Letting it cook undisturbed helps form a nice crust and makes flipping easier!
  • Tenting the salmon in foil might seem like an unnecessary step, but I promise you, it makes all the difference! Tenting the salmon allows the juices to redistribute throughout the entire fillet so the entire serving is moist and delicious!

🧰 The Tools I Use To Make This:

🤲 Substitutions

Don’t let a few ingredients stand in the way of you enjoying this delicious summer dish! Here are some of the substitutions I would reach for in a pinch:

  • Halibut or cod would be a nice substitute for the salmon.
  • For my vegan/vegetarian friends, reach for a thick cut of firm Tofu!
  • If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, Roma or Beefsteak tomatoes, diced, will also work. If using a tomato variety that is more juicy, I would recommend removing some of the seeds to avoid your sauce becoming too watery, and be sure to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • I list either chili paste (Sambal Olek, Harissa, etc) OR red chili flakes in this recipe. If you don’t have chili paste, red pepper flakes will do the job! 1/2 a teaspoon should be all you need, but adjust to your taste.
  • In a pinch, you can use bottled fresh orange juice – just make sure it’s not from concentrate.


📓 Best served with

  • Rice makes this an entire dish all on its own!
  • Roasted or smashed potatoes if you’re looking for something a bit more hearty.
  • A crusty baguette or garlic bread to sop up leftover sauce.
  • Orzo or linguine to turn this salmon into a stunning seafood pasta.

👝 How to Store Leftovers

If you do happen to have some leftovers of this beautiful citrus salmon, be sure to let it come back down to room temperature before storing. Reach for your go-to air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I would recommend reheating in an oven, covered in foil to retain the moisture!

🧠 Common Questions

Can I use any tomato?

I recommend cherry tomatoes for their ease in this recipe, but meaty varieties like Roma or Beefsteak would also work beautifully here. If using a tomato variety that is more juicy, I would recommend removing some of the seeds to avoid your sauce becoming too watery.

Do I need to use chili paste and chili flakes?

No! One or the other!

What kind of chili paste should I use?

Sambal Olek, Harissa.. whatever you have on hand will work!

Could I use frozen salmon for this recipe?

Yes, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
– Be sure to let the salmon thaw completely, and
– remember it needs to come to room temperature before cooking.
I recommend letting it thaw slowly in the fridge overnight to maintain that beautiful rich texture!

4.67 from 6 votes

Chili Citrus Salmon

A fast, nutritious dinner that makes for a perfect weeknight meal, and is fancy enough to serve when you have company!
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 6-ounce center-cut salmon filets about 1 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsps avocado oil, or vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges
  • 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili paste , or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil leaves, julienned

Instructions 

  • Bring salmon to room temperature one hour before cooking. This helps the fish cook evenly and get a nice, crispy exterior.
  • Heat a 12 to 14 inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with the salt and a few grinds of pepper and rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  • Cook the salmon, without moving, skin side up, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the filets and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking for another 2-4 minutes or until it’s a bit underdone for your preference (it will continue to cook off the heat).
  • Transfer to a large plate and tent with foil.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in the same pan. Add the shallot and saute over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, orange juice, vinegar, chili paste, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few cracks of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add basil, stir, then add the salmon back to the pan skin side down, spooning the sauce on top. Cook for just a minute to warm the salmon back up.
  • Serve the salmon on a platter topped with the cherry tomato sauce. A side of rice makes this a full meal and soaks up the sauce nicely.

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 1113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 519IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Additional Info

Author: Kat Ashmore
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 375
Keyword: chile, easy dinner, salmon, Tomato
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

Related Recipes

4.67 from 6 votes

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating




11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was really good. Either I was tired or I’m blind but I missed where to add in the vinegar, so mixed it with the orange juice. This would also be awesome with chicken or pork chops. I literally scraped the crispy gooey bits out of the skillet. Thank you!!!

    1. I’m so glad you loved it – and you’re right, just pop it in with the orange juice!
      It’s a super versatile sauce, so let me know if you try it with any other meats!
      Enjoy,
      Kat.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m doing the Mediterranean Diet, so I try to have salmon on the table once a week. I’ve tried many different methods and recipes, all lackluster at best, but this is definitely the one that will be my go-to. The sauce was so flavorful. We don’t eat many spicy foods, so I substituted a mild harissa, and it was perfectly to our taste. Thank you so much for sharing this!