Spiced Seared Salmon with Cinnamon and Chili Powder

This may be a simple recipe, but the flavors unite in an elegant and complex way. Spiced Seared Salmon with Cinnamon and Chili Powder.

Spiced Seared Salmon with Cinnamon and Chili Powder 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from Martha Stewart LivingPublished


  • 2 wild-caught salmon fillets (with skin attached)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cinnamon
  • ¼ kosher salt
  • ¼ cracked black pepper


Wash and completely dry the salmon fillets.

In a small bowl mix 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½‑teaspoon cinnamon, and a ¼‑teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture on both sides of 4 salmon fillets. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 scant teaspoon of sesame oil in a large sauté pan. Choose a pan that is large enough to give each fillet plenty of room.

When the oil is very hot, almost smoking; add the salmon, skin side down. Cook it until the skin is very crisp, dark brown and releases easily from the pan. This should take 3 to 4 minutes. Do not be tempted to check or move the fish around in the pan during this time. You will only succeed in making it stick to the pan or worse ruin your beautifully crisp skin.

You will notice that the fish gets lighter and more opaque. Do not let it cook more than about ¼ of the way through at this point. You might be worried that the rest of the fish seems quite raw, but honestly this is a good thing. Once the skin has crisped flip the fish, and cook it an additional 2 (maybe 3) minutes more. Do not let it cook all the way through. The fish will continue to cook after it leaves the pan. Your goal is a succulent flesh graduating from a rare center outwards to a crispy crackly skin.

Serve the fish warm or at room temperature.