Air Fryer Salmon: Prevent Sticking for Perfect Results

Sabrina Dawson

prevent salmon sticking air fryer
Rate this post

Salmon is a delicious and nutritious protein option that many home cooks love to prepare. However, when cooking salmon in an air fryer, one of the most common challenges is preventing it from sticking to the basket. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods and tips to ensure your salmon comes out perfectly cooked and without any sticking issues.

How to Prevent Food from Sticking to Your Air Fryer Basket | America's Test Kitchen

Air frying is a convenient and efficient cooking method that utilizes hot air circulation to cook food evenly and create a crispy exterior. However, the lack of direct contact with a cooking surface, such as a pan or grill, can sometimes result in delicate foods like salmon sticking to the air fryer basket.

Why Salmon Sticks

Salmon’s lean flesh and lack of connective tissue make it susceptible to sticking when exposed to high heat without proper preparation. The natural juices and proteins in the fish can adhere to the surface of the air fryer basket, leading to frustration and potentially ruining the texture of the salmon.

The Easiest Solution: Parchment Paper

Air-Fryer Salmon

Using Parchment Paper

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent salmon from sticking in your air fryer is by using parchment paper. Parchment paper has a non-stick coating that withstands high heat, making it an ideal liner for air fryer baskets.

Steps to Use Parchment Paper:

  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your air fryer basket.
  2. Place the parchment paper in the basket, ensuring it lays flat and covers the entire surface.
  3. Arrange the salmon fillets on top of the parchment paper, ensuring they are not overlapping.

Benefits of Using Parchment Paper:

  • Prevents direct contact between the salmon and the air fryer basket, reducing the risk of sticking.
  • Minimizes cleanup by catching any juices or residue from the salmon.
  • Allows for easy removal of the cooked salmon without any sticking issues.

Tips for Using Parchment Paper

  • Ensure the parchment paper fits securely in the air fryer basket to prevent it from blowing around during cooking.
  • Avoid using parchment paper at temperatures above 450 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent it from burning.
  • Consider pre-cut parchment paper liners designed specifically for your air fryer for added convenience.

Alternatives to Parchment Paper

Air Fryer Salmon Recipe

1. Cooking Spray or Oil

Using cooking spray or oil to coat the surface of the air fryer basket is a common alternative to parchment paper. This method creates a thin barrier between the salmon and the cooking surface, helping to prevent sticking.

How to Use:

  • Before placing the salmon in the air fryer basket, lightly coat the basket with cooking spray or brush it with a small amount of oil.
  • Ensure that the surface is evenly coated to provide adequate protection against sticking.


  • Convenient and readily available in most kitchens.
  • Provides a simple solution for preventing sticking without the need for additional materials.


  • Be mindful of the amount of cooking spray or oil used to avoid excess oiliness in the cooked salmon.
  • Some cooking sprays may contain additives or flavorings that can affect the taste of the salmon, so opt for neutral-flavored varieties if possible.

2. Aluminum Foil

While not as effective as parchment paper, aluminum foil can be used as an alternative lining for the air fryer basket. However, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure it doesn’t stick to the salmon or affect its flavor.

How to Use:

  • Cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit the bottom of the air fryer basket.
  • Lightly grease the foil with cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking.
  • Place the salmon fillets on top of the greased foil before cooking.


  • Provides a protective barrier between the salmon and the air fryer basket.
  • Can be easily shaped and molded to fit the contours of the basket.


  • Avoid using aluminum foil at high temperatures or for prolonged cooking times, as it may burn or affect the flavor of the salmon.
  • Ensure that the foil is greased adequately to prevent sticking, as aluminum foil does not have a non-stick coating like parchment paper.

3. Silicone Baking Mat

A silicone baking mat can also serve as an alternative lining for the air fryer basket. These mats are flexible, non-stick, and heat-resistant, making them suitable for use in air fryers.

How to Use:

  • Place a silicone baking mat in the bottom of the air fryer basket, ensuring it lays flat and covers the entire surface.
  • Arrange the salmon fillets on top of the silicone mat before cooking.


  • Provides a non-stick surface for the salmon to cook on, preventing sticking and facilitating easy cleanup.
  • Heat-resistant and reusable, making it a cost-effective option in the long run.


  • Ensure that the silicone baking mat is compatible with your air fryer and fits securely in the basket.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance to prolong the lifespan of the silicone mat.

Best Practices for Cooking Salmon in the Air Fryer

Air Fryer Salmon Recipe - How to Make Air Fryer Salmon — Spiceindiaonline

Ensuring your salmon is properly prepared and cooked can also help prevent sticking issues in the air fryer.

1. Seasoning and Coating

  • Coat the salmon fillets lightly with cooking spray or a neutral-flavored oil before cooking to further prevent sticking.
  • Apply dry rubs or seasonings to the salmon, ensuring they adhere to the surface and don’t get blown off by the hot air circulation.

2. Cooking Technique

  • Position the salmon fillets skin side down for a crispy skin. Alternatively, if you prefer not to eat the skin, you can remove it before cooking.
  • Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, as this can obstruct airflow and result in uneven cooking.

3. Cooking Time and Temperature

  • Adjust the cooking time and temperature according to the thickness of the salmon fillets. As a general rule, cook salmon for approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Cooking salmon in the air fryer can be a convenient and delicious way to enjoy this nutritious seafood. By using parchment paper, cooking spray, or oil, and following best practices for seasoning and cooking, you can easily prevent sticking issues and achieve perfectly cooked salmon every time. Experiment with different methods and techniques to find the approach that works best for you, and enjoy hassle-free air-fried salmon meals in your own kitchen.