All of my best tips for how to make the most perfectly baked salmon in the oven. This baked salmon recipe is easy to customize with your favorite seasonings and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Today, we’re diving into the world of fish in our series on baked proteins. Among all the choices, salmon has emerged as the clear favorite. And it’s no wonder why — salmon is not only delicious but also affordable and packed with protein, omega-3s, and other healthy nutrients. Plus, it goes well with a variety of seasonings and sauces.
But what’s the best way to cook salmon? In my opinion, baking it in the oven is the way to go. It’s easy, and with a few simple tips, you can achieve perfectly crispy skin on the outside and moist, tender, and flaky flesh on the inside. Whether you prefer it plain or jazzed up with your favorite seasonings or sauces, the process is incredibly straightforward.
So, let’s dive into the basics of baking salmon!
Baked Salmon Ingredients & Cooking Tools:
First things first, let’s talk about grocery shopping. To make this baked salmon recipe, you will need:
- Salmon: Look for bright, silvery skin and shiny, moist flesh. Opt for wild-caught and sustainably harvested Pacific or Alaskan Salmon for the best quality and taste. Don’t shy away from purchasing filets with the skin on, as it helps retain moisture during cooking.
- Oil: Use your preferred high-heat cooking oil. Avocado oil is a great choice.
- Seasonings: Keep it simple with a mix of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
You will also need a few cooking tools:
- An instant-read thermometer: For perfect doneness every time, invest in a cooking thermometer. I recommend a dual-probe wireless meat thermometer or an instant-read cooking thermometer.
- A fish spatula: The easiest way to serve the salmon.
How to Bake Salmon:
Alright, let’s get cooking! Follow these steps to bake salmon in the oven:
- Bring the salmon to room temperature: Let the salmon filets sit out on the counter for 15-30 minutes to reach room temperature, ensuring even cooking.
- Season the salmon: Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Place the filets skin-side-down on a foil-covered baking sheet or an oven-proof, non-stick skillet. Fold under the thin ends for even cooking. Brush the filets (except the bottom) with oil and sprinkle with your desired seasonings.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake the salmon until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (or 135°F for medium-rare), approximately 4-6 minutes per half inch of thickness. To check for doneness, insert a fork or knife into the salmon and twist it slightly. The fish should be opaque and flake easily.
- Transfer and serve: Remove the salmon from the oven and transfer it to a clean serving plate. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over each filet and add fresh herbs if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!
Once cooked, you can store the salmon in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Is salmon skin safe to eat?
Absolutely! You can choose to serve the salmon with or without the skin. If you prefer skinless salmon, simply run a fish spatula just above the skin, and the salmon filet will lift right off.
- How do I prevent salmon skin from sticking to the foil?
Ensure that the salmon skin is completely dry before placing it on the foil.
- Can I adjust the cooking time?
Certainly! Everyone has different preferences for the doneness of their salmon. I like to cook mine until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F, but for safety, the FDA recommends 145°F in the thickest part of the filet.
Salmon Seasonings, Marinades, and Sauces:
While the garlic powder, salt, and pepper seasoning blend with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is a classic choice, feel free to get creative with your seasonings. You can also marinate the salmon for up to 30 minutes before baking or serve it with your favorite finishing sauces.
Side Dish Recipe Ideas:
Looking for some delicious side dishes to serve with salmon? Here are a few suggestions:
- Everyday Salad or Our Family’s Favorite Salad
- Scalloped Potatoes or Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Roasted Asparagus or Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Berry Fruit Salad or Winter Fruit Salad
More Baked Protein Tutorials:
If you’re craving more protein-packed recipes, be sure to check out our other baked protein tutorials on the blog. From chicken and pork chops to tofu and shrimp, we’ve got you covered!
Enjoy your perfectly baked salmon and happy cooking!