Poached Salmon

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Poached salmon is one of the best ways to get soft and tender fish in under 20 minutes. The simple poaching liquid is infused with fresh herbs, shallots, lemon slices, and a splash of white wine to give a fresh and bright flavor!

Poached salmon in a pan
Photo: Gayle McLeod

What Is Poached Salmon?

It’s a super easy method where salmon fillets are simmered in a liquid and herb combination that delivers tender, flavorful results in a short amount of time. Not to mention, there are no oils involved. It’s just water, wine (if you so choose), and fresh, simple ingredients. I like to think of it as a foolproof way to cook moist salmon. So if you love my baked salmon, I know you’ll also love this light and fresh poached salmon!

And for those asking if poached salmon is healthy — it’s a definite yes. The only thing you might miss is a slightly crispy crust which you would get with pan-seared salmon or air fryer salmon. But poached salmon delivers up perfectly cooked salmon infused with light and bright flavors, similar to my poached chicken.

Ingredients for poached salmon

Poached Salmon Recipe Ingredients

  • Salmon Filets: Grab the freshest set of wild-caught salmon fillets you can find, whether that’s from a local fishmonger or the frozen section at the market. For more tips on how to shop for salmon, check out the section below!
  • White Wine & Water: For the poaching liquid base, water is really all you need. But if you want to add extra depth of flavor, a little dry white wine certainly adds oomph!
  • Fresh Herbs & Shallot: A few sprigs of fresh herbs and sliced shallot go a long way in this poaching liquid, especially when infused with wine! I’m using parsley and dill, but you can also add cilantro, tarragon, or any other tender herbs.
  • Lemon: I think lemon slices should be mandatory for any kind of poaching liquid. It adds a fresh, citrusy touch that will instantly brighten your meals.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Making poaching liquid in pan for salmon

How To Poach Salmon

  • Prepare the poaching liquid. In a large pan add the sliced lemons, shallot, fresh herbs, wine, and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. And if you’re curious about what pan I’m using, I’ve linked it down in the recipe card!
  • Add the salmon. Place the salmon filets (skin side down) in the pan, season with salt and black pepper, cover the pan, and poach for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. You’ll know the salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork. But if you want to double-check with an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature should be around 130°F for a soft and moist texture.
  • Garnish and serve. I love to garnish this poached salmon with fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. But you can also drizzle hollandaise sauce on top before serving! For more serving ideas, check out the section below.
Process of poaching salmon

What To Serve With Poached Salmon

There’s no wrong answer here since this poached salmon is as simple as can be. You can serve it with other vegetable sides like garlic sauteed spinach, an easy cucumber salad, or rice. Alternatively, this tastes great topped onto a salad or bowl.

And if you want to treat this as a meal prep ingredient, flake it into pieces to add to salads, zucchini noodle dishes, and more. You can find an example of how to do this in my Healthy Meal Prep cookbook.

Common Questions

What’s the best kind of salmon to buy?

Between farmed vs. wild-caught and king vs. sockeye vs. coho, there’s a lot to choose from. But a few things I always look out for is wild-caught salmon that’s bright in color with marbling. And if you don’t live next to a local fish mart, grab wild-caught frozen salmon. That’s perfectly fine as it’s flash-frozen the moment it’s caught!

Can you eat poached salmon skin?

I personally don’t eat the skin on poached salmon (usually I only eat it on crispy skin salmon). But if it’s cleaned and cooked properly, salmon skin is generally safe to eat no matter how you cook it!

What liquid is best to poach fish in?

It’s really personal preference. I prefer plain water or water plus a splash of white wine, though some may prefer a vegetable broth. Other items you can add to the poaching liquid are capers, a bay leaf, or garlic cloves. Have fun and play around with different flavors!

Poached salmon with hollandaise sauce

Storage & Reheating Tips

  • For storing: Enjoy leftovers throughout the week! Poached salmon fillets will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
  • How to freeze: Before freezing, make sure the fillets are completely cool. Then top them on parchment paper in a storage container to prevent them from sticking to the container. They’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • For reheating: If frozen, make sure to thaw the salmon in the fridge overnight. Then, the key is to reheat it low and slow to prevent it from drying out.

More Easy Salmon Recipes

I’m a salmon lover through and through! Here are a few of my favorite salmon recipes I keep in regular rotation:

  • Blackened Salmon: This Cajun spiced salmon comes together in just 15 minutes!
  • Dijon Baked Salmon: This herby Dijon oven-baked salmon is a winner every time.
  • Salmon Salad: This recipe calls for baked salmon, but you could also swap in this poached salmon recipe!
  • Salmon Patties: Who doesn’t love salmon patties? They’re crispy, tender, and oh-so flavorful.
  • Air Fryer Salmon Bites: These bite-sized salmon pieces are doused in a lemon garlic butter sauce. They’re fun and extra delicious.

I hope you enjoy this delicious poached salmon as much as I do. If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to know how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help others in the community!

A pan with poached salmon and herbs

Easy Poached Salmon

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This poached salmon is infused with fresh herbs, shallots, lemon, and white wine for tender and flavorful fish in under 20 minutes!

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 lemons, one thinly sliced for poaching and the other quartered for squeezing on top
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 sprigs tender fresh herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, etc)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon filets
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Prepare the poaching liquid. In a large skillet add the sliced lemon, shallot, fresh herbs, wine, and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
    Making poaching liquid in pan
  • Add the salmon. Place the salmon filets (skin side down) in the pan, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and poach for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
    Poaching salmon in pan
  • Garnish and serve. Garnish the poached salmon with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. If you'd like, you can drizzle hollandaise sauce on top before serving as well!
    Poached salmon with herbs in a pan

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 944mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 143IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How To Poach Salmon, Poached Salmon, salmon recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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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




8 Comments

  1. Easy light and wonderful! Served with your hollandaise sauce and green beans. What a wonderful light dinner. Will definitely make again!5 stars

    1. Hi Barbara – Glad you enjoyed this salmon with hollandaise! That’s such a delicious pairing.

  2. Loved how easy, light and delicious this recipe was, I will be repeating this for quick weekday dinners & next day lunches!5 stars