How many calories in a salmon fillet with skin?

Salmon is one of the most popular and nutritious fish available. Many people enjoy eating salmon fillets, which can be prepared baked, grilled, or pan-seared. When considering salmon fillets, an important nutrition question arises: how many calories are in a salmon fillet with the skin on versus without? Understanding the calorie difference can help guide food choices.

Quick Answer

On average, a 6 ounce salmon fillet with skin contains about 235 calories. A 6 ounce salmon fillet without skin contains around 206 calories. So, a salmon fillet with skin has about 15% more calories than without skin.

Calories in Salmon Fillets With Skin

Salmon fillets with the skin on contain more fat and calories than fillets with the skin removed. Here are some figures for calories in salmon fillets per 6 ounce cooked serving:

  • Coho salmon fillet with skin: 235 calories
  • Sockeye salmon fillet with skin: 240 calories
  • King salmon fillet with skin: 240 calories
  • Atlantic salmon fillet with skin: 230 calories
  • Pink salmon fillet with skin: 215 calories

As you can see, on average a 6 ounce salmon fillet with skin contains about 235 calories. The range is 215-240 calories depending on the salmon variety.

Calories in Skinless Salmon Fillets

Removing the skin from a salmon fillet reduces the fat and calorie content. Here are the calories for a 6 ounce cooked salmon fillet without skin:

  • Coho salmon fillet without skin: 206 calories
  • Sockeye salmon fillet without skin: 208 calories
  • King salmon fillet without skin: 210 calories
  • Atlantic salmon fillet without skin: 205 calories
  • Pink salmon fillet without skin: 190 calories

On average, a 6 ounce skinless salmon fillet contains about 206 calories. The range is 190-210 calories depending on salmon variety.

Calorie Difference – With Skin vs Without

Comparing the average calories shows that skin-on salmon fillets contain about 15% more calories than skinless. Here is a summary:

  • Salmon fillet with skin (6 oz): 235 calories
  • Salmon fillet without skin (6 oz): 206 calories
  • Difference: 29 more calories with skin (about 15% more)

So having the skin on a salmon fillet adds a significant number of calories – about 29 extra calories per 6 ounce serving. While salmon is very healthy, the extra calories from the fatty skin may add up over time.

Reasons for Calorie Difference

Why does salmon skin add so many extra calories compared to a skinless fillet?

There are two main reasons:

  1. Fat content – Fish skin contains a high amount of fat. Salmon skin is especially high in fatty acids like omega-3s. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, so the high fat content of salmon skin dramatically increases the calories.
  2. Cooking method – Salmon fillets are often cooked by baking, grilling, or frying. The skin helps protect the delicate flesh. But the skin also crisps up and browns during cooking. This browned skin can have a cooked oil or fat flavor, adding even more calories than the raw skin alone.

In summary, the high natural fat content plus the browned crispy skin after cooking is what boosts the calories of a salmon fillet significantly when the skin is left on.

Nutritional Comparison With vs Without Skin

Below is a nutritional comparison of a 6 ounce cooked salmon fillet with and without skin.

Nutrient With Skin (235 cal) Without Skin (206 cal)
Calories 235 206
Fat 12 g 9 g
Protein 25 g 25 g
Omega-3s 2 g 1.5 g

As you can see, the skin adds calories, fat, and omega-3s. Protein content is similar with or without skin.

Benefits of Eating Salmon Skin

While salmon skin does contain more calories and fat, it also provides some important nutrients and health benefits, including:

  • Healthy fats – Salmon skin contains omega-3 fatty acids that are important for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation.
  • Vitamin D – Salmon skin is high in vitamin D which supports bone health and immunity.
  • Selenium – Salmon skin is an excellent source of selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties.
  • Flavor – The skin adds texture and rich flavor when salmon is cooked crispy.

So while calorie counting dieters may want to remove the skin, the skin does provide important nutritional value.

Tips for Serving Salmon Skin

Here are some tips if you want to keep the skin on salmon fillets:

  • Cook the skin side last – Start cooking fillet skin side up, then flip only once skin is crispy.
  • Add veggies – Pair salmon skin with non-starchy vegetables to balance the calories.
  • Watch portion size – Stick to a 6 ounce cooked serving to keep calories in check.
  • Broil or bake – Broiling or baking salmon makes the skin crispy without adding a lot of extra oil.
  • Air fry – Air frying salmon skin makes it crispy without added fat.

Following these tips allows you to enjoy the crispy skin while managing the calorie intake.

Calories in Canned Salmon

Unlike fresh fillets, canned salmon is less likely to have skin. However, it still contains the healthy fats that salmon is known for. Here are the calories in canned salmon varieties:

  • Pink salmon – 190 calories in 6 ounce drained can
  • Red salmon – 210 calories in 6 ounce drained can
  • Coho salmon – 200 calories in 6 ounce drained can

As you can see, canned salmon ranges from 190-210 calories per average 6 ounce serving. So calories are similar to fresh skinless salmon.

Calories in Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is a popular preparation where fillets are cured and cold-smoked over wood. Depending on whether skin is removed, smoked salmon contains:

  • Smoked salmon with skin – 250 calories in 6 ounce serving
  • Smoked salmon without skin – 220 calories in 6 ounce serving

Smoked salmon with skin provides around 250 calories per serving, slightly more than fresh cooked salmon with skin. This may be due to the additional fat and salt content after curing and smoking. Still an excellent source of protein and omega-3s!

Salmon Roe Calories

Salmon roe refers to the eggs from female salmon. The roe can be eaten and provides:

  • Fresh salmon roe – 143 calories in 2 ounce serving
  • Salted salmon roe (ikura) – 176 calories in 2 ounce serving

Salmon roe provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein. However it is higher in sodium if salted. Around 150 calories per 2 ounce serving is typical.

Smoked Salmon Nutrition Facts

Smoked Salmon (6 oz) With Skin Without Skin
Calories 250 220
Fat 15g 12g
Protein 25g 25g
Omega-3s 2.5g 2g
Sodium 1500mg 1500mg

As you can see, smoked salmon is high in protein, omega-3s, as well as sodium due to the salt and smoking process. Skin-on contains a bit more fat and omega-3s.

Calories in Gravlax Salmon

Gravlax salmon is another cured preparation where salmon is buried in salt, sugar, and dill. Compared to smoked salmon, gravlax is less salty with more subtle flavor. Typical calories for gravlax are:

  • Gravlax with skin – 210 calories in 6 ounce serving
  • Gravlax without skin – 185 calories in 6 ounce serving

So gravlax salmon is slightly lower in calories than smoked salmon while still providing the healthy fats salmon is known for.

Calories in Salmon Jerky

Dehydrating salmon into salmon jerkyconcentrates the protein and nutrients. Calorie-wise, salmon jerky typically provides:

  • Sweet chili salmon jerky – 180 calories in 1 ounce
  • Lemon pepper salmon jerky – 160 calories in 1 ounce
  • Teriyaki salmon jerky – 190 calories in 1 ounce

Salmon jerky contains around 160-190 calories per ounce. Lower moisture means calories are more concentrated compared to fresh salmon. But an easy way to get salmon nutrition on the go!

Calories in Cured Salmon Products

Here is a summary of the calories in different cured salmon products:

Cured Salmon Calories (per 6 oz)
Smoked Salmon With Skin 250
Smoked Salmon Without Skin 220
Gravlax Salmon With Skin 210
Gravlax Salmon Without Skin 185

As you can see, curing salmon does add some calories due to higher fat and sodium content. But still an excellent source of healthy fats and protein.

Low Calorie Salmon Recipes

To keep salmon fillets lower in calories, try these tasty recipes:

1. Baked Salmon in Foil

Salmon fillets baked in foil or parchment paper steam in their own juice, no added fat needed. Pair with roasted veggies for a fast low-calorie meal.

2. Salmon Burgers

Salmon patties or salmon burgers made with fresh fish, whole grains, and spices are a flavorful option. Much lower in calories than beef burgers.

3. Cajun Blackened Salmon

Coat salmon fillets with Cajun spice mix and blacken in a hot skillet for a quick weeknight dinner. Serve over greens instead of heavy starches to cut carbs.

4. Salmon Salad

Flake cooked salmon over leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers for a protein-packed salad. Drizzle lemon juice over top instead of heavy dressing for fewer calories.

5. Smoked Salmon Wrap

Use smoked salmon in place of deli meat to make a satisfying wrap or sandwich. Pair with avocado, veggies, salsa or hummus to create a balanced meal.

So in summary, focus on healthy cooking methods, add lots of vegetables, and use lower-calorie accompaniments to keep salmon light.


Salmon fillets with skin contain about 15% more calories than skinless – around 235 calories versus 206 calories in a 6 ounce cooked portion. The skin contributes extra fat and crisps up during cooking, boosting the calorie content. While the skin does provide nutrients like healthy fats and selenium, those watching calories and fat intake may want to remove the skin. Keeping portions around 6 ounces cooked, choosing lower calorie cooking methods, and pairing salmon with vegetables can help keep calories in check. Salmon remains one of the healthiest high protein, low calorie seafood choices.

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