Easy Keto Salmon Recipe with Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce (One-Pan)

Keto salmon with a creamy butter garlic sauce in a cast iron pan. Garnished with parsley and lemon slices.

This crispy keto salmon recipe with a creamy butter garlic sauce is made with a few simple ingredients and it’s all made in one pan on the stove.

This healthy and delicious keto garlic butter salmon recipe is the easiest way to cook salmon that’s juicy and flaky.

a close up of butter garlic salmon recipe in a cast iron pan
Delicious keto garlic butter salmon recipe

A keto salmon dinner is packed with healthy fats and is the perfect way to cook a salmon fillet.

So many people loved this popular crustless smoked salmon and cream cheese quiche on this site, it was time for another simple and delicious flaky salmon recipe.

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Is salmon keto?

Salmon fillets are wonderful high-protein fish that is full of healthy fats and zero carbs. It is perfect for the keto diet, low-carb diet, high-protein low-carb diet, and a pescatarian diet (a person who does not eat meat but eats fish).

Salmon is a healthy fatty fish that is also high in vitamins B12, B2, B3, vitamin D, selenium, and potassium. It deserves a 5 stars health rating.

Salmon Nutrition per 100g:

Atlantic wild salmon: 25.4g protein, 8.1g fat (including 2.7g Omega 3 fatty acids), zero net carbs, 182 calories.

Which salmon is healthiest?

There is much debate over which salmon is the best to eat. Atlantic salmon? Wild-caught salmon? Farmed? Frozen salmon?

The main difference is the way the salmon was raised, caught, and eventually cooked.

Wild salmon are stronger so their fillets are firm. Farmed salmon is often fed food that is not natural to them, they may have been fed antibiotics, and the fillets may need to be dyed to look like wild pink salmon fillets.

How you cook salmon will have a huge impact too. For example, fresh salmon grilled and all the salmon oil eaten will have a different nutrient profile than that same salmon deep fried in unhealthy cooking oils such as canola oil or soy oil, then drained.

Is there more Omega 3 fatty acids in farmed or wild salmon?

Studies have shown there are often more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in farmed salmon because they are not as active as wild-caught salmon so have more total fat. But this has to be traded off with potentially higher carcinogens. (1)(2)(3)

per 100g/3.5oz Wild salmon Farmed salmon
Protein 19.5g 20.4g
Total fat 4.42g 13.3g
Iron 0.96mg 0.35mg
Calories 115 212

Ingredients you need

This easy keto salmon recipe with a tasty creamy keto garlic butter sauce is one of the easiest ways to cook salmon and a family favorite meal.

The dried dill and freshly chopped parsley give the creamy sauce a fresh herby flavor while the lemon gives the salmon a pop of lemon zest. Heavy cream and shredded parmesan give the sauce a rich flavor while thickening the sauce too.

ingredients labelled to make garlic butter salmon recipe
Garlic butter salmon ingredients

See recipe card below for quantities of each ingredient and full instructions.

  • salmon fillets – fresh or defrosted frozen fillets
  • heavy cream – double cream, whipping cream
  • melted butter – salted or unsalted then season to your taste
  • chicken broth – homemade chicken broth or store-bought
  • parmesan cheese – shredded parmesan helps to thicken the garlic butter sauce
  • garlic – fresh minced or crushed garlic is best
  • olive oil – extra virgin olive oil or mild-tasting olive oil
  • dried dill – or fresh dill
  • parsley – fresh parsley is best but dried parsley can be swapped
  • lemon slices – use to garnish and squeeze lemon juice over as much as you like

Instructions

To make this keto salmon recipe with creamy garlic butter sauce you will need to first heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.

four salmon fillets skin side down being fried

Next, season the salmon with salt and pepper. Sear the salmon in your hot skillet for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets from the pan and set them aside.

heavy cream being poured into garlic butter sauce

Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the crushed garlic (minced garlic) and saute until fragrant. Pour in the chicken broth and let simmer until it reduces by half. Lower heat to medium-low. Add the cream and dill to your skillet.

a cast iron pan with parmesan cheese

Once the sauce has started simmering again, mix in the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.

cast iron pan with four salmon fillets and a creamy sauce with a lemon slice

Add the partly cooked salmon back to the skillet. Allow the salmon to cook in the sauce for 1-2 minutes or until the salmon is warm. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.

Serve the salmon with a side of steamed vegetables mashed cauliflower or keto 3-ingredients pasta.

Expert cooking tip: Try to not move the salmon around while it is searing until you are ready to flip the fillets. This will ensure your salmon has crispy skin on each side.

Substitutions

Are you missing an ingredient or want to reduce the calories? Below you can find recommendations for common keto salmon recipe substitutions.

Please only make 1 substitution so the recipe is as close as you can to the original low-carb salmon recipe card.

  • Chicken broth – use vegetable broth, bouillon cube, or homemade bone broth.
  • Butter – the butter can be omitted or replaced with coconut oil.
  • Minced garlic – omit the minced garlic or replace it with 1 ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Heavy cream – a heavy cream substitute can be made at home by combining ¾ cup milk with ¼ cup melted butter. Alternatively, you can use sour cream.

If you are using milk and butter in place of heavy cream you may need to allow your sauce to reduce a bit longer to thicken. Alternatively, you can use a bit of xanthan gum to thicken the sauce if necessary.

a white plate with cooked salmon fillet with garlic sauce drizzled over the top
Fried garlic butter salmon

Variations

Keto salmon with creamy garlic butter sauce is the perfect base recipe for a delicious and easy meal. You can make this meal even more impressive with the recommended variations below as the salmon cooks.

  • Herbed salmon – add additional fresh herbs like dill, basil, thyme, or rosemary.
  • Add vegetables – toss a couple of handfuls of spinach or saute some halved Brussels sprouts in the sauce to make a delicious one-pot meal.
  • Coconut salmon – use coconut cream instead of heavy cream for a sweet and savory coconut flavor. Garnish with desiccated coconut to serve.
  • Garlic butter chicken – If you aren’t a fish eater, you can replace the salmon with chicken. The chicken just needs to cook longer to reach an internal temperature of 74C/165F.
  • Salmon asparagus recipe – add chopped asparagus (or chopped broccoli) to the creamy sauce as you cook the salmon. It’s an absolutely delicious one-pan dinner.
  • Red pepper flakes – adding a few pepper flakes with some Dijon mustard to your cream sauce makes a fantastic recipe with a spicy taste.

Top tip: If you love garlic butter salmon, you’ll also love one-pan pork chops in garlic sauce.

Equipment

You will need a large skillet to sear your salmon and make the sauce. A hot pan really contributes to a crispy crust on your salmon.

I used a large cast iron skillet to make my salmon, but any large skillet or large frying pan will do. The key is to make sure the pan and oil are hot before adding the salmon to the skillet.

a cast iron skillet with salmon and creamy garlic sauce
One-pan keto salmon recipe

How to store leftover salmon

Cooked salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Leftover salmon can also be used in salmon quiches, served as salmon scrambled eggs for breakfast, or with a large keto salad for lunch.

How to reheat leftover salmon

Salmon is best reheated in the oven and not in the microwave. Reheat the cooked salmon to 150C/300F for 10 minutes in the oven. Be sure to place the salmon on a baking tray or oven-safe container before reheating.

Cover with aluminum foil or a baking lid to prevent the salmon flakes from drying out.

Best keto side dishes to serve with salmon

collage of the best side dishes for pork
The best low-carb side dishes to serve with chicken

There are so many delicious low-carb and keto side dishes to serve with salmon. Salmon is a versatile family-friendly dinner and so you need to choose quick and easy healthy side dishes the whole family will love.

Here are some of my favorite keto side dishes to serve with salmon.

Expert tips

You can tell if your salmon is cooked through by watching the pink line on the side of the fillet. As it cooks the color of the pink will lighten. When the pink line gets halfway up the salmon fillet it is time to flip the salmon filets.

Recipe FAQ

What internal temperature should salmon be cooked to?

For medium doneness cook salmon at 125F/52C. For well-done salmon, your internal temperature should be 145F/62.8C. Many chefs recommend cooking salmon to medium doneness for the best flavor and texture.

What is the best way to serve and garnish salmon?

Add a slice of lemon on the side so guests can squeeze as much as they want over the garlic sauce. Season with salt and pepper after cooking because there is salt already in the broth.

Can I cook frozen salmon?

It is recommended that you defrost frozen salmon before cooking. If you try cooking salmon from frozen, you risk the outside burning before the center is thoroughly cooked.

Is salmon good on a keto diet?

Salmon is a wonderful fish that is full of heart-healthy fats and has zero carbs so it’s perfect for the low-carb keto diet.

Can I bake this keto salmon recipe in the oven?

Place your salmon fillets on a baking sheet or sheet pan lined with baking parchment paper. Bake at 180C/350F for 15 minutes. Make the creamy garlic butter sauce in a saucepan. Or simply serve with garlic butter for an easy sheet pan dinner.

Can I cook this salmon recipe with smoked salmon?

If you use smoked salmon, you don’t need to cook the salmon. Make the garlic butter sauce and warm the smoked salmon fillets in the sauce as it simmers.

How many net carbs are in salmon?

There are no net carbs in salmon. This garlic butter salmon has 3.6g net carbs per serve because of the heavy cream and garlic.

What to serve with baked salmon?

The easiest side dish has to be a large leafy green salad or a bag of pre-made cauliflower rice.

More keto salmon recipes

If you love this keto salmon recipe, these are some of the best salmon meals you can cook for dinner tonight.

Each of these delicious recipes is family-friendly.

Smoked salmon roulade – the delicate mix of smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Instant Pot lemon salmon – moist tender salmon fillets cooked with dill mayonnaise and a final drizzle of lemon juice.

Slow-cooker poached salmon – if you don’t want to cook a baked salmon recipe, another great way is to use your slow cooker instead.

Low-carb salmon patties (dairy free) – you can use salmon fillets or canned salmon, served with lime avocado dipping sauce. It’s an easy keto salmon meal prep recipe.

Keto salmon quiche – a classic salmon recipe that’s also low-carb and gluten-free.

collage of how to cook garlic butter salmon
Incredibly delicious keto salmon recipe

📖 Recipe

Keto salmon recipe in a creamy butter garlic sauce. Topped with parsley and fresh lemon slices.

Please rate this recipe.

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5 from 1 vote

Crispy Keto Salmon Recipe (Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce)

This crispy keto salmon recipe with a creamy butter garlic sauce is made with a few simple ingredients and it’s all made in one pan on the stove. This healthy and delicious keto garlic butter salmon recipe is the easiest way to cook salmon that’s juicy and flaky.

Servings: 4

NET carbs: 3.6g

Author: Libby Jenkinson

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Category: Dinner

Diet: Diabetic. Gluten Free

Egg free. Gluten Free. Grain free. Keto. LCHF. Low Carb. No Sugars. Wheat Free

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Adjust servings: 4

Ingredients

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce

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Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the salmon in the hot pan for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove the salmon from the pan and set them aside.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet and saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the broth. Let it come to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the sauce simmer until the broth reduces by half.

  • Mix the cream into the pan. Add salt and pepper. Once the sauce is simmering again stir in the parmesan cheese. Continue to simmer and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.

  • Add the salmon back to the pan to reheat for a minute or two. Top with parsley and lemon slices. Serve with steamed vegetables or mashed cauliflower. Enjoy!

5-INGREDIENTS COOKBOOK

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Nutrition Facts

Crispy Keto Salmon Recipe (Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce)

Serving Size

1 serve ( serves 4)

Amount per Serving

NET carbs

Total Carbohydrates

Potassium

Vitamin A

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B12

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K

Magnesium

Selenium

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Approximate nutrition information is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. For the most accurate nutritional data, use the actual ingredients and brands you used in your preferred nutrition calculator.

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