What You Can Do To Prevent Salmon From Drying Out In The Air Fryer

It's hard to do better for dinner than a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. If you get it right, the glaze caramelizes to a satisfying crisp while the fish itself remains moist and flaky. As easy as air frying is, the difference between a dry piece of fish and the best salmon you ever cooked is all in the details.

According to the Kitchn, dry salmon woes often start at the market, where people don't know exactly what they're purchasing and how to treat it. Farmed salmon has more fat than wild salmon, which likely leads to juicier fish. You'll also need to match your cooking instructions to the shape and size you have: A thin salmon steak doesn't require the same amount of time to cook as a thick filet, so knowing how to adjust your recipe to best fit your fish is vital.

Another mistake you may be making at the fish counter? Not bothering to request similarly sized pieces of fish. While you may have purchased the same wild salmon steaks from the same seafood case, CookingLight explains that you need to make sure you (or your fishmonger) are selecting pieces that for the most part match.

While these shopping tips are helpful for preventing dry salmon before you even put it in the air fryer, there are two more steps you need to follow to ensure you end up with perfectly cooked fish.

Properly salt you salmon and don't forget to preheat

The Wild Alaskan Company notes that improperly salting salmon will bring all the moisture to the surface, rendering the inside dry and flavorless. You can combat this by waiting to salt your salmon until right before you cook it or using a brine or marinade. If you choose the latter, be sure to pat off the excess moisture before cooking, otherwise you will end up with steamed salmon instead of fried, per CookingLight.

People desire that perfect sear on salmon, but often sabotage their efforts by throwing everything into the air fryer and simply pressing start. According to CookingLight, preheating your air fryer for several minutes is an incredibly important step when cooking salmon in the appliance. Preheating of course allows the cooking surface to heat up, causing the outside of the salmon to sear while the inside cooks — resulting in crispy skin and still-moist meat.

Don't ruin your favorite salmon recipe with dry fish. Know what cuts of fish you have, salt properly, and don't forget (or decide to skip) preheating your air fryer.