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

4.94 from 47 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.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Recipe Rating




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

117 comments on “Best Baked Salmon”

  1. This is an absolutely perfect way to prepare and bake salmon!  Extremely easy and oh so tasty!!  We love it!  It is my go-to for salmon now all of the time!  And, it is so healthy too!!  5 stars

  2.  Very nice very good instructions..thank you Lisa! The outcome looks delicious I will definitely try,5 stars

  3. Delicious  and so easy to make. 5 stars

  4. I usually just soak my salmon in Moscato fruity wine instead of rinsing it before baking it..

  5. Made this recipe for dinner this evening! I didn’t have lemons, so used limes instead. Served it with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels and came out perfect!5 stars

  6. Absolutely delicious!  I’m so glad this recipe popped up for me on YouTube. It is so easy and really is the best salmon. My husband just returned from Alaska with a freezer full of fish he caught and this is the recipe we are using to enjoy the first of his catch. 5 stars

    • I’m sure using fresh Alaskan salmon tasted amazing with this recipe Emy! Glad you both enjoyed this one :)

  7. Wow! I really enjoyed this recipe and will save it to my favorites on my kindle. Thanks for sharing and GOD bless!😀5 stars

  8. It was indeed the easiest and the juiciest salmon I’ve ever cooked! Thank you for the information and tips, you always answer all the questions that pop in my mind when I read the recipe!! 

    Thank you so much! 5 stars

  9. This is my go to for baking salmon. I have made it three times and it comes out perfectly moist every time! I usually do rice and steamed garlic herbed broccoli for sides. Such an easy weeknight meal. 5 stars

  10. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am not a fish fan (working on it) and have been trying to find ways to cook salmon well for my family. My son ate an extra serving and my husband said it was the best salmon I have ever cooked! I used rosemary instead of dill and lime instead of lemon because those ingredients aren’t available were we live but it was perfect! 5 stars

  11. Made this last night and it turned out beautifully. Had it with asparagus. I will say, I made it for meal prep and overnight the garlic turned green due to the parsley and dill I guess, haha! But it tasted phenomenal :)5 stars

  12. So DELICIOUS , I followed your directions step by step, I baked my half salmon for 29 min and it’s so moist and I love the lemon butter flavors with the minced garlic. Thank you for sharing this recipe.5 stars

Downshiftology