Best Baked Salmon

This moist, flavorful, and flakey 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 herbs. Then, let the oven work it’s magic!

Baked salmon in a pan next to lemon wedges.

This is hands-down the salmon recipe that I make most often in my house. It’s honestly 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 on a table.

What You’ll Need For The Best Baked Salmon

When it comes to salmon, don’t overthink it. All you really need is 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 (aka. half of a salmon). It works great either way!
  • Butter: Keeps the salmon moist and adds that delicious buttery taste.
  • Lemon Juice: A squeeze of lemon adds a bright and zesty touch.
  • Garlic: I’m using 3 garlic cloves, but feel free to add more or less!
  • Herbs: A parsley and dill combo 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 mart 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 so fresh. 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.

What’s 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 375F 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 1-2 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 12-13 minutes.
  • For a thicker salmon fillet: cook for 13-15 minutes.
  • For a whole side of salmon: cook for 15-20 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 125-130F, for moist, not-overcooked 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 375F 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 12-15 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.

Here’s a Few Extra Tips

  • Season the fillet right before baking. For chicken and beef, it’s better to marinate it for at least an hour to let the flavors absorb. But for seafood, seasonings (especially salt) can draw out moisture much quicker. So for extra moist results, season right before sliding the pan into the oven.
  • It’s best not to remove 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.
  • Don’t rinse salmon with water. Just like chicken, don’t wash your raw fish. It can increase your risk of contamination and spread to other surfaces of your kitchen such as the sink or countertop. Plus, the bacteria is killed once it cooks inside a hot oven.
  • Remove it right before the timer goes off. Keep in mind 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!
  • Don’t be alarmed by 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.

Tasty Ways To Serve Baked Salmon

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

  • Round out a dinner plate. Add healthy carbs and greens to your plate! Carb ideas can be fluffy rice, mashed potatoes, or garlic herb roasted potatoes. And for veggies, sides such as green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or sauteed spinach.
  • Layer it onto a salad. Layer your fillet on a bed of leafy greens and tons of fresh veggies. From tomatoes, to cucumber, to red onions, the options are endless!
  • Add it to a grain bowl. There’s many ways to go about this, depending on what flavors you’re craving that day. But I personally love a Mediterranean bowl that includes quinoa, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded purple cabbage, and a side of tzatziki.

Baked salmon on a plate with a fork and parsley.

How To Store And Reheat Baked Salmon

  • For storing: If you’ve got a few 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.

But you know what’s the best use of leftover salmon? Salmon patties!

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.

Baked Salmon Recipe Video

Want to see how I make this recipe? Watch the video below!

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

Baked salmon fillets in a pan with garlic and herbs.

Best Baked Salmon

4.91 from 31 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
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!

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 375F/190C and let the salmon come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix together the melted butter and lemon juice (I use the juice from 1/4 slice of lemon) in a small bowl. Then, place the salmon in baking dish and brush the butter mix all over.
    Baked salmon fillets with butter being brushed onto them.
  • Top the salmon with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
    A pan with baked salmon fillets.
  • 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!

Nutrition

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
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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81 comments on “Best Baked Salmon”

  1. I made this last night for the family and it’s a winner! Salmon was truly perfectly cooked and the light/fresh-flavored sauce is a perfect complement to the richness of the fish! This is staying in our menu rotation, for sure! Thank you!!!!5 stars

  2. The idea sounded amazing. So my dilemma was the garlic was extremely undercooked & ruined what I thought would be a perfect meal  otherwise. I love garlic l, cooked garlic.2 stars

  3. Delicious! Easy and I had all ingredients in fridge. Thank you 🙏🏻 5 stars

  4. Made this tonight. Simple and delicious! Thank you.5 stars

  5. As a dietitian I love love love this recipe! I add a teeny bit of mustard as well, and I actually add a whole lemon plus zest! Such a fantastic flavour.5 stars

  6. Every time I make this, my husband comments it’s the most moist, flavorful salmon dish he’s ever had, and my young kids gobble it up. It has quickly become a favorite go-to recipe in our household and I couldn’t be happier incorporating an easy, delicious, and healthy dish to our routine! Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  7. Absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe but omitted the parsley since there wasn’t any in the house. I tried the recipe on half a salmon side and it turned out flakey and moist just like I’d hoped5 stars

  8. I haven’t made it yet. I am trying to print the recipe. Thank you.

  9. I’m not a big salmon or fish eater but this recipe looked so simple and delicious, I gave it a try. I think I found my solution to get in my healthy fish oils and lean protein into my diet. I absolutely loved it! 5 stars

  10. Although I love salmon, I’ve never had the courage to cook it at home because it’s very expensive, but I’ve been following you for a very long time, Lisa, and I absolutely trust you. So when I received the newsletter about this recipe, I didn’t hesitate and bought some salmon. It was easy to make and very delicious. Thanks for this recipe.
    Lots of love from Hungary <35 stars

  11. This was great! Will definitely use this recipe again. I appreciate being able to see it here in print and on YouTube in video format. Thanks for the tips!5 stars

  12. Hi Lisa, this is really wonderful. I made this with salmon as well as with cod. Delicious in both cases. Trying to get more fish into the diet, so these easy to make fish recipes are so helpful. Thank you!5 stars

  13. Just happened to run across your website for the first time on you rube this week.  I followed your recipe for best baked salmon last night. It was outstanding, I’ve cooked salmon several ways but it can be a bit dry.  This was perfect.  It was good enough to have leftovers for lunch today. Tonight I made your best ever chili.  It was delicious and so different from other chili I’ve had.  I look forward to trying many more of these recipes. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    • Glad your first recipe from Downshiftology was a hit Kathy, along with the chili meal! Excited to see what you make next :)

  14. Easy and delicious! Thank you for posting such great recipes, Lisa. :)5 stars

  15. Thanks for the delicious recipe!5 stars

  16. Thanks! Very easy recipe! Wi-ll let you know how it turned out😊

  17. If you can find farm raised salmon from Norway (Costco carries it) their “pens” are suspended in the North Sea open ocean so don’t have the same issues that most farm raised salmon has. I learned this from a Norwegian chef and restauranteur.

  18. This is such a winner. We eat salmon almost every week, but I always prepare it in a frying pan. But never has my salmon been so moist and tasty as with your instructions. After the meal husband and kids asked if in the future I could only use this recipe. So you are the salmon queen in our house now ;-).5 stars

    • Happy to hear this is one the whole family can enjoy Babette :) Stay tuned for more salmon recipes in the near future.

  19. Made this yummy salmon recipe Saturday night with a side of baked butternut squash. Such an easy way to make a delicious meal. But, I have to truthfully admit that my husband and I still think your dijon baked salmon is the absolute best!!!5 stars

  20. Baked Salmon is my favorite recipe. thanks for sharing with us.

  21. Made this today for lunch.  Simple and delicious.  Really lets the salmon shine.  5 stars

  22. Hi! Would this work with firm white fish?

  23. I made this last night and the whole family including 2 and 5 year old kids loved it! 5 stars

  24. This is easily the best recipe for baked salmon I’ve tried so far. The fillets are moist and flacky and the lemony butter sauce is like spring in the winter if you know what I mean. I’ve loved the tips about the seasoning of the fillets and the use of parsley and dill. It really takes no more than 15 minutes to put it together and makes for a perfect quick dinner during the week. Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  25. Wow! Finally a salmon recipe that results in PERFECTLY cooked salmon without being dry. Downshiftology, you have done it again!! I had just about given up on cooking salmon as it was either undercooked or dried out, literally no in between. I cooked it for 12 minutes and let it sit for a few minutes after and it was perfect!! I added some creole seasoning but the lemon butter to start was pure perfection! Thank you!5 stars

    • Hi Ciera – I’m so happy you loved the recipe! Using a more gentle temperature and not overcooking are really the two most important things when it comes to cooking the perfect salmon. Sounds amazing with the creole seasoning as well. Enjoy!

  26. This recipe turned out great! My husband always turns up his nose at salmon because he always says it is always dried out. But, this was wonderful and he gave it a 5☆ review! Thanks!5 stars

  27. Followed recipe exactly, but not sure what “normal sized” pieces of salmon are.
    I cooked two 7oz pieces of centre-cut, fresh salmon.
    recipe ingredients will be in everyone’s cupboard, nothing hard to find, simple, easy to follow directions
    lovely flavours that complimented salmon, not heavy or overpowering

    In my oven, had to cook salmon for 20 minutes to suit our tastes. beautiful result!
    lovely recipe…. thank you.5 stars

  28. Thank you for the recipe. I am wondering how nutritional characteristics can be assigned, such as calories, when no actual portion size for the salmon is named. Is the salmon filled 3 oz., 5 oz. 6 oz. etc.?

    • Hi Catherine – Thanks for pointing that out! I just added to the recipe card the size of the fillets, which are 6oz.

  29. Thanks for the insight of farmed salmon. In British Columbia the farmed salmon industry has caused tremendous harm to the environment and wild salmon runs. 

  30. Thank you for this simple, easy to follow and very tasty recipe,

    We love salmon, but there are a few family members whose motto is “nothing from the sea will ever be in me,” and who can’t stand “fishiness,” in spite of their knowing the health benefits (omega-3!) of having fish in their diet.

    My father always washed his fish in cold water and then carefully washed the sink with soap, first with hot and then cold water (to neutralize the fish odor).  He would then place his salmon fillets in whole milk and let them remain in that “milk bath” overnight before patting them thoroughly dry and letting them air dry further in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before bringing them out and letting them get to room temperature as a final step before cooking, which he usually would do on our gas grill…even in the wintertime.

    I can’t recall, but I think he would also sometimes add baking soda to the milk bath as a means of further mitigating that fishiness that some people dislike so much.

    What’s your method of lessening unwanted fish odors? 

    Also, though fisherman, including my father, will tell you the very best salmon in the world come from the North Pacific waters and are so-called “line caught,” these fish tend to have the strongest fish flavors. My father sought out salmon caught off the coast of Ireland and Scotland, because they were milder.

    Btw, he would tell us that most fish have parasitic worms and that heating to 145° was necessary in order to destroy them!

    Thanks again for your tips!

    Will
    Chicago

    • Hi Will – I’m glad you love salmon! I’ve actually never tried to reduce fish odors, so don’t have any tips for that. But freezing salmon (it’s usually frozen immediately on the boat) helps to kill parasitic worms as well.

  31. Hi Lisa! I’m curious about why this casserole dish is your favorite for salmon? Is there a method to choosing a baking pan? For example I have a glass pan is there a difference in using that?

  32. I love all the ingredients you use for this recipe I’m a fan of garlic, lemon parsley dill you making me a better cook for my man God you and yours5 stars

  33. I never knew there was a name for that white stuff! I’ve been buying the wild caught, but finding it so dry. Will try turning down the temp and brush with butter the next time I make. Thank you!

    • Yep! There’s a reason for the white stuff on top :) Excited for you to try this method. Let me know how it turns out.

  34. Hi Lisa, Do you think I would cook for the same amount of time if I used my air fryer? 

    • Hi Jessica – I haven’t tried this using an air fryer. But if you do, just keep an eye on it as it cooks and let me know how it turns out!

  35. So why are you using farmed atlantic salmon pics?
    And you are simply incorrect about farmed salmon. When it comes from Norway….. antibiotics are banned the country years ago. Same with Ireland where much of it is organic. Same with New Zealand. Chile uses a lot it’s true.

    • Hi Michael – these aren’t farmed atlantic salmon in the photos, they’re wild Alaskan salmon from Copper River Salmon. And antibiotics aren’t currently banned in those countries, but their antibiotic use on farmed salmon has been greatly reduced in the past year which is a wonderful thing.

  36. I made this last night for dinner after a long day at work. Salmon was terrific. I got to use my new garlic press! I paired with carrots oregano and whole 30 compliant mashed potatoes. Easy and delicious. My husband loved it and ate my leftovers.5 stars

  37. Thank you for this recipe.  I just made it and I loved it especially the separate bits of garlic on top. Now I would like a pan like yours.  Is it a Falcon and how did you get it?5 stars

    • So glad you enjoyed this baked salmon Patricia! As for the pan, you can find it linked in the recipe notes towards the very bottom :)

  38. OMG! Your detailed explanations are so useful! You even cover how to buy and choose fresh salmon. I love it and am sharing it with my husband to read and learn. :) He is responsible for cooking fish at home!5 stars

  39. This Salmon is a quick, easy and perfect weeknight protein.5 stars

  40. You can’t beat baked salmon. So many different ways to flavour it too.5 stars

  41. Lisa, Have you tried Sous Vide Salmon? It is fantastic. Easiest way I know to get Salmon cooked to a perfect internal temperature and certainly not over cooked one bit. I cook mine is a ziploc bag with all the seasonings you used and it is incredible.5 stars

  42. This is such a lovely flavor of Garlic,butter and lemon. Delicious and healthy as I love fish too.5 stars

  43. What a flavorful salmon recipe to try for dinner. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

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