Best Baked Salmon


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This moist, flavorful, and flaky baked salmon is what weeknight dinners are all about! It’s seriously the easiest recipe to make – all you need are a few salmon fillets, plus a quick lemon butter sauce, and chopped herbs. Then, let the oven work it’s magic!

A white baking dish of baked salmon.

This is hands-down the salmon recipe that I make most often in my house. It’s completely foolproof, it takes less than 20 minutes to make, and it gives you the most succulent, and mouth-watering salmon. In other words, it’s just an easy, healthy dinner recipe that the whole family will love.

The great thing about a simple recipe like this is that it’s versatile enough to serve with a wide variety of side dishes. And by simply switching up the side dishes you can keep weeknight dinners interesting and tasty!

Ingredients for baked salmon.

Baked Salmon ingredients

When it comes to baked salmon, don’t overthink it. All you really need are a simple lemon butter sauce and a sprinkle of herbs to make it super delicious.

  • Salmon: You can make this with individual filets or one large piece (i.e. half of a salmon). It works great either way!
  • Butter: A little butter keeps the salmon moist and adds that delicious buttery taste. You could also use ghee.
  • Lemon Juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon adds a bright and zesty touch.
  • Garlic: I’m using three garlic cloves, but feel free to add more or less.
  • Herbs: You can use a variety of tender herbs, but I love a chopped parsley and dill combination. It complements the salmon perfectly.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Shop For Salmon

Between farmed vs. wild-caught and king vs. sockeye vs. coho, shopping for salmon can get confusing. So to make things easier, here’s a handy check-list of things to look out for.

  • Wild salmon is best. Similar to shrimp, it’s best to steer clear of farmed salmon. Why? It’s more likely to contain pollutants, antibiotics and various toxins from the fish farms. And aside from safety reasons, wild-caught salmon generally has more nutrients, a better texture, a brilliant hue, and better flavor (translation: a more delicious baked salmon!)
  • The types of salmon to know. There are several varieties of salmon, but the ones I recommend are king, sockeye, and coho. Wild salmon does have seasons and each of these varieties are available at different times throughout the year. But no matter which you choose, just look for fillets that are bright pink and marbled.
  • Fresh vs. frozen salmon. Unless you’re going to a fish market that has fresh catches of the day (which can be expensive), grab frozen salmon instead. Yes, it’s totally okay, and often better than the “fresh” salmon you’ll find sitting on ice, which isn’t always as fresh as it may seem. Frozen salmon is flash frozen on the ship right after it’s caught to preserve freshness!
Raw salmon filets in a baking dish.

How To Properly Thaw Frozen Salmon

  • If you planned ahead of time, thaw it in the fridge. Ideally, you want to slowly thaw your salmon in the fridge overnight, or about 12 hours before cooking it. Just make sure to keep the fish in it’s wrapping and place it on a plate to catch any liquid.
  • If you’re hours away from dinner, thaw it in cold water. Not to worry if thawing it overnight slipped your mind! You can thaw your salmon by submerging it in a big bowl of cold water. This should take about an hour or so, depending on its thickness. But be sure to swap for fresh water if it starts to become lukewarm.

The Best Temperature For Baked Salmon

You’ve probably come across a few common answers when it comes to time and temperature. And while they all work, I find that baking at a lower temperature of 375°F will keep the salmon extra moist and avoid overcooking. Because let’s be honest, it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re busy whipping up other dishes. So if you’re 1 to 2 minutes over your timer, your salmon will still be perfectly cooked. But, do keep in mind the size and thickness of your fillet:

  • For a normal size salmon fillet: cook for 12 to 13 minutes.
  • For a thicker salmon fillet: cook for 13 to 15 minutes.
  • For a whole side of salmon: cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pro tip: You’ll know the salmon is done baking when it flakes apart easily with a fork. I don’t often use an instant read thermometer when baking salmon, but if you want to double check, the internal temperature should be 125 to 130°F for moist, perfectly cooked salmon.

Brushing butter on baked salmon in a pan.

How To Bake Salmon Perfectly

This amazingly moist and flakey salmon is done in just 15 minutes! It bakes super fast, so make sure to have your side dishes planned and ready to go! To get started, preheat your oven to 375°F and then follow along below.

  • Let the salmon come to room temperature. Take your fillets out of the fridge and let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes.
  • Make the butter mix. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and lemon juice. Then brush the butter mix over the fillets in a baking dish.
  • It’s baking time. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt, pepper, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Ready to serve! For the finishing touch, sprinkle a bit of parsley and dill before serving.
A pan with baked salmon and garlic butter sauce.

Common questions

Should I remove the salmon skin?

Whether you like salmon skin or not, don’t remove it before baking. It will help protect the fillet from the pan’s heat, cook the salmon more evenly, and retain its delicious juices. Then once you’re ready to serve, you can easily slide the skin right off.

What’s the white ooze?

If you notice some white slimy substance on top of your baked salmon, don’t panic. It’s actually just a protein in the salmon called albumin that becomes solid when heated. The hotter salmon cooks, the more albumin will come out. So to prevent a thick white layer, cook your salmon at a gentle temperature.

How can I prevent overcooking?

Remember that salmon will continue to cook as it rests. So if you’re keeping a close eye on the time, taking it out right before it’s “done” is another way to prevent overcooking.

Tasty Ways To Serve Baked Salmon

Now that you have a beautiful fillet, it’s time to build the perfect meal. Here are few delicious options to keep your weekdays interesting.

  • Round out a dinner plate. Add healthy carbs and greens to your plate! Carb ideas can include fluffy rice, mashed potatoes, or garlic herb roasted potatoes. And for veggies, sides such as green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or sauteed spinach are always great.
  • Layer it onto a salad. Layer your fillet on a bed of leafy greens and tons of fresh veggies. Alternatively, create a whole new salmon salad recipe by flaking it into a bowl with celery, red onion, and radishes.
  • Add it to a macro bowl. There are many ways to go about this. But I personally love a Mediterranean bowl that includes lentils, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, and a side of tzatziki.
Baked salmon on a plate with a fork and parsley.

To Store

  • For storing: If you’ve got a few salmon fillets leftover, they’ll keep for up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
  • How to freeze: Make sure your salmon is completely cool before freezing. Then top it on parchment paper in a storage container to prevent it from sticking to the sides. Reheating salmon can be tricky since it’s already cooked. So the key here is to reheat it low and slow, either in the microwave or oven, to prevent it from drying out.

More Ways To Cook Salmon

This simple baked salmon is a go-to recipe for quick weeknight meals. But it doesn’t stop there! Here’s a few more ways to enjoy salmon.

I hope you enjoy this baked salmon! If you make it let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Baked salmon in a white baking dish.

Best Baked Salmon

4.97 from 111 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This baked salmon is what easy, weeknight dinners are all about! It's moist, flakey, and baked with a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!




  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice, plus more lemon slices for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dill


  • Brush the salmon. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and let the salmon come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the melted butter and lemon juice (I use the juice from ¼ slice of lemon) in a small bowl. Then, place the salmon in the baking dish and brush the butter mix all over.
    Baked salmon fillets with butter being brushed onto them.
  • Bake the salmon. Top the salmon with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
    A pan with baked salmon fillets.
  • Garnish and serve. Sprinkle the fresh parsley and dill on the salmon before serving.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you’re dairy-sensitive you can use ghee or a light brush with olive oil as well.
  • I love to use this casserole pan for baked salmon, but I’ve got a few more options listed in the Shop page!


Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 247IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked salmon, baked salmon recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published January 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. One of the best baked salmon baking recipes I have found, Thank you so much Lisa for sharing this. I was born and raised in Thunder Bay ONT and never remember my mother making salmon this good.5 stars

  2. This was dinner last night. YUM! I think I didn’t add enough lemon juice (my mistake), but I will definitely been making this again. My husband is a huge salmon fan and he enjoyed it as well. Thank you! :)5 stars

  3. Recipe was simple to prepare but needed more flavor. Also, the garlic turned this blueish green color after baking. From what I’ve read there’s a chemical reaction between garlic, lemon and butter that occurs and can turn the garlic color.4 stars

  4. My granddaughter loves salmon and she is learning to cook. As her very first dinner I chose your recipe. She is getting a graded on what she is doing as an elective class. She nailed this recipe. It tasted fabulous and we have put this in our favorite recipes to make. Even the family members that aren’t salmon fans have been win over. Look forward to trying some of your other recipes.5 stars

  5. I always thought I was just not good with seafood, but honestly, this dish is so easy to make and so flavorful! The salmon came out perfectly moist and flaky, just amazing! I can’t wait to try more of your seafood recipes!5 stars

  6. Salmon has enough fat on it’s own and all the baked salmon recipes I found were using butter or olive oil. This recipe was perfect letting the salmon cook fast enough to be flakey but not too dry. And using just salt and pepper lets the salmon taste come through instead of fat and lemon juice. I will be using this from now on. Thank you.5 stars

  7. Thank you for helping me cook salmon..l need this kind of food along with avocados and such because l am ill. Since l have been trying these new foods (always loved veggies/fruits over any food) l have discovered the wonderful tastes and my Dr. Blood lab tests prove the results. That you. You and others have helped my health. I never knew knew l liked all these foods/ingredients. Stay safe; God Bless you!5 stars

    1. You’re more than welcome! I’m happy you love this recipe and have found it beneficial to your wellness. :)

      1. This was ridiculously easy to make. I left the skin on and it was crispy and the salmon was tender and juicy. Finally no overcooked dry salmon! Thank you Lisa!5 stars

      2. I googled for a baked salmon recipe, and 4 popped up immediately. I chose yours when I saw a 5-star rating. Best decision! When I read through the ingredients and recipe, it was so easy, I had no reason to look any further. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious! 😋

  8. Lisa, I first found you on YouTube and subscribed to your emails. I am really not one to follow recipes, but use recipes for inspiration, and you are totally inspirational. Your recipes are simple and fresh. Usually I grill or sautee salmon and trout. Tonight I had a friend for dinner, and I decided to use the oven, using your guidance to cook some trout. PERFECTION! I used a rub that a friend makes, and gives me some every so often. Will definitely be making it again. Also, this week, for the very first time I tried cooking in the air fryer. I usually only use it for reheating and crisping. I made a chicken breast using my friend’s rub and the air fryer as you suggested. It was perfect! Moist and just right, not undercooked nor overcooked. Thank you so much for so generously sharing your cooking and healthy nutrition wisdom.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and happy to hear all the recipes have been turning out perfectly Helen!