The Best Air Fryer Salmon with Panko Crust Recipe

This air fryer recipe for salmon is fast and simple, but always delivers a superb level of flavor and texture. With less than 15 minutes to cook, this dish is about to revolutionize how you do fish.

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • April 21, 2020

Panko-crusted salmon is an all-time favorite among our Cook Smarts community — and for good reason! Delicate salmon with a flavorful topping that beautifully blends tangy, sweet, and crunchy elements? That’s really hard not to love.

While home cooks have loved making this dish on the stove top, it is a great contender for an air fryer. Why? Because the fryer’s hot air circulation gives our panko crust an extra level of crunch and cooks the salmon to tender perfection.

But before we get into the recipe, we want to note a couple important things to keep in mind when making this recipe…

First, while our recipe serves two, you can definitely double or triple the recipe, but make sure you only cook two filets at a time. If there isn’t enough space between the fish for air to circulate, you won’t get that crispy, flakey result you’re craving. So, just do multiple batches if you’re feeding more people!

Second, make sure to cook your salmon for 5 minutes in the air fryer before adding the panko topping. This head start will help the salmon finish cooking at the same time as the crust turns crisp and golden.

Now that your mouth is probably watering just at the thought of biting into flawlessly cooked salmon that is crunchy on the outside and flakey on the inside, let’s get to that recipe!

Prepping Smarts

  • You’ll want to learn how to rinse and dry your salmon with quick efficiency with this short video. A super convenient part of our meal plan service is how we imbed short how-to video links into all our recipes.

How to Rinse and Dry Fish

See how easy it is to quickly get fish ready for cooking.

Equipment Smarts

  • If you don’t have an air fryer in your kitchen yet, now is the time for one! This machine is simple to use and can propel you into the most quick, convenient, and healthy cooking of your life.

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

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Air Fryer Panko Crusted Salmon

Tender salmon with a layer of flavorful, tangy, sweet, crunchy topping is hard not to love. This dish is a great contender for the air fryer which gives the crust an extra level of crunch and cooks the salmon to flakey perfection.

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Total time: 20 min

Serves: 2


  • Salmon - 2 filets, about ¼ lb each
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Dijon mustard - 1 Tbsp
  • Maple syrup - 1 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1 tsp
  • Panko breadcrumbs - ¼ cup
  • Parsley - 2 tsp, chopped



  1. Rinse salmon filets and spread them out on a sheet pan or cutting board and pat dry. Season filets lightly with some salt and pepper.


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350F / 190C. (It should take about 5 minutes for the air fryer to heat up.)
  2. Transfer salmon to the basket of the air fryer. 
  3. Cook salmon for 5 minutes to get it started cooking. 
  4. While salmon is cooking, melt butter in the microwave, ~1 minute. Mix butter with mustard, maple syrup, soy sauce, panko, and parsley.
  5. Working carefully (the basket of the air fryer will be hot), spoon panko crust over the top of the salmon. 
  6. Keep cooking salmon until it flakes easily with a fork and the crust is golden brown, 4 to 10 minutes more (depending on thickness).
  7. Serve immediately.

Now, if you love this recipe and want more ideas for your air fryer, check out our 13 Best Air-Fried Foods article and get our Air Fryer Cooking Cheat Sheet for dozens of different foods. Also, consider joining our meal plan members who love getting exciting, healthy, and smart menus delivered to their inbox every week!

Air Fryer Salmon with Panko Crust Recipe | Cook SmartsAir Fryer Salmon with Panko Crust Recipe | Cook SmartsAir Fryer Salmon with Panko Crust Recipe | Cook Smarts


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