You know those nights when you need an easy dinner on the table as soon as possible? Oven-baked salmon to the rescue! This recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make, yet it makes for an impressive meal that's packed with flavor and nutrition.
With all the ways to cook it, you can never go wrong. Whether it's smoked, grilled, pan-seared, deep-fried and even raw in a poke bowl, but there is really no easier way than to bake it right in the oven. Easy, quick, tasty and healthy. What more could you ask for? Let's cook some up!
One of the best ways to become a better cook is to get comfortable cooking in the oven. It can be a pretty magical thing. You heat it up, place your food inside and it becomes something you will savor.
How to Bake Salmon in the Oven
Grab The Ingredients
- Salmon - Preferably wild salmon. You can cut into individual portions or bake the entire filet.
- Olive Oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Lemon zest - Optional, but adds a bit of zesty freshness
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prep the salmon - while the oven preheats, pat the filets dry with paper towels, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil onto all sides, then season evenly and fairly liberally with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and lemon zest.
Tip: Use fish tweezers to remove any pin bones from the filet.
- Bake the Salmon - With the skin side down on the sheet pan; place it in the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 125° to 130° F for medium doneness, or 140° F for well done, about 10 to 14 minutes depending on the size of the filets.
Tip: Use a probe thermometer to check and verify internal temp for doneness.
- Serve - Transfer the salmon to plates and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a sprinkle of sea salt and some fresh herbs for garnish. Enjoy immediately.
Top Tips for Cooking Salmon in the Oven
- Use fresh wild-caught salmon whenever possible. Farmed fresh salmon will also work, but wild-caught salmon is leaner and more nutritious.
- The tail end is thinner and will cook more quickly than the thicker center of the filet. To even it out, you can tuck the tail under to make them a similar thickness.
- Leave the skin on the filets for easy removal after it after baking. It also helps keep the salmon moist and tender as it cooks.
- Be careful not to overcook your salmon as it can get tough and dry really quickly.
- You can also wrap salmon in foil and bake it. Just lower your oven temperature to 375° F (as opposed to 400). This will seal in all the flavors and will produce perfect results every time. Try adding some veggies like asparagus, tomato or zucchini to the foil packet.
One of the great things about baking salmon is that you really don't need much seasoning to have a delicious dish. You can go as simple as salt and pepper and call it done. That's a great basic way to really bring out all the wonderful salmon flavor. Here are some other seasoning ideas that work great if you want to jazz things up a bit:
- For classic flavors, use garlic powder, salt and black pepper seasoning with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Fresh chopped garlic can also be used.
- For a spicy kick, add some paprika and cayenne pepper.
- Use fresh herbs like parsley and/or dill to enhance the flavor of the salmon without overpowering it.
- Top with pesto, make chimichurri grilled salmon or add some BBQ sauce while it grills for BBQ salmon for an awesome way to add tons of flavor.
- Honey and soy sauce for a sweet and salty option similar to teriyaki salmon.
- Miso Salmon - Salty-sweet umami flavors are wonderful with the salmon.
How Long to Bake Salmon
It takes about 10 to 14 minutes at 400 degrees F to cook salmon filets in the oven. However, all salmon is different in terms of thickness, fat content and cut size of the filet, so there’s really no definitive bake time to follow. It’s really about when the desired internal temperature is reached.
Salmon is cooked through when the flesh is opaque and it flakes easily from the fillet. If you’re not sure that the salmon is done, you should verify with a probe thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
The salmon is cooked if the temperature of the salmon is at least 125 to 130 degrees F for medium or 140 for well done, about 10 to 14 minutes (depending on the size of the filets).
Delicious Sauces for Baked Salmon
Adding a sauce to the salmon will really bring it to another level and complete the dish. A simple beurre blanc, chimichurri, burst tomato sauce, lemon butter sauce, garlic butter, teriyaki, or a honey glaze are all great pairings. You could even go bright and fresh with a lemon vinaigrette with a salad.
Salmon thaws pretty quickly when soaked in cold water (leaving it in a plastic bag), but if you don't have time for thawing, no worries. You can bake salmon right from a frozen state. The cook time will be extended a bit, but the results will still be delicious.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season as you would and place salmon skin side down in a casserole dish or baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 30 minutes and until salmon is flaky and internal temperature measures at least 125 degrees F.
Salmon is very nutrient-dense and an excellent choice for a healthy diet. It’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Salmon is full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B12, potassium and selenium. Salmon is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have numerous health benefits. My family enjoys some type of salmon dish at least once a week.
What to Serve with Baked Salmon
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Simple Sauteed Broccolini
- Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Crispy Fingerling Potatoes
- Bright Fresh Arugula Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
More Delicious Salmon Recipes
Baked Salmon Recipe
- 4 Salmon Filets (preferably wild-caught)
- olive oil
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
- Lemon Zest (optional)
- Lemon Wedges
- Chopped Fresh Herbs Such as Parsley or Chives
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the oven preheats, let the salmon sit out to come to room temperature. This will help promote even cooking. Don’t leave it out for longer than needed.
- Pat the filets dry with paper towels, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle or brush olive oil onto all sides. Season evenly with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper and lemon zest.
- With the skin side down on the sheet pan; transfer to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 125 to 130 degrees F for medium or 140 for well done, about 10 to 14 minutes (depending on the size of the filets). Always use a probe thermometer to check for doneness.
- Carefully transfer the salmon to plates and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a sprinkle of sea salt and some fresh herbs for garnish.
- Use fish tweezers to remove pinbones in the salmon filet.
This recipe was originally published August 26, 2019 and was last updated December 2, 2022 with updated useful information.