Baked Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter

 Oven Baked Salmon dripping with garlic butter and topped with Crispy Parmesan Panko on your table in 25 minutes!  

This Baked Salmon recipe is epically delicious and one of my top Favorite Recipes of 2017!   It is not only bursting with flavor and SO juicy and tender but the easiest, most satisfying meal that tastes totally gourmet!  All you need are a few ingredients, a big piece of foil, and a baking sheet and you’re ready to make this salmon fillet recipe.  In addition, the broccoli cooks alongside the oven baked salmon so you get both your main dish AND side dish in one pan!  You will be blown away by this restaurant quality baked salmon in foil at a fraction of the price!

top view of baked salmon in foil with lemon garnish

Oven Baked Salmon

I kid not when I tell you this is Oven Baked Salmon Fillet is one of my favorite meals ever.  I should just end my typing right now because nothing I say can do justice to this indescribable deliciousness.

I really like oven baked salmon but I wouldn’t say I crave salmon – until now.   My parents, on the other hand, are salmon connoisseurs, and order salmon practically every meal they dine out.

So, when I knew my parents were going to be staying with me for a few days, I wanted to make them restaurant quality salmon they would love – enter oven Baked Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter with Crispy Parmesan Panko.  It was a hit.

My parents were oooing and ahhing over the healthy baked salmon: the juiciness, the subtle lemon, the subtle Parmesan, the aromatic herbs, the buttery Panko – all married together to create the perfect bite.

My mom was super excited to be able to make this Baked Salmon recipe not only for themselves but for all her guests because this healthy salmon looks impressive, tastes impressive but is one of the easiest meals you will ever make!   I literally had this oven baked salmon on the table in less than 25 minutes as my parents were running out the door and I promised I would make something “quick.”  Little did they know quick could also be the best salmon they would ever eat.

far away top view of oven baked salmon with broccoli

What Salmon is Best?

To make this delectable oven Baked Salmon Fillet recipe, you want to start with one wild caught Alaskan or Pacific salmon fillet, about 3-4 pounds.   I purchase mine at Costco without the skin for  a reasonable price.  And while its more $ than I typically spend on a meal, this doesn’t taste just like any meal – and it can serve an entire family for a fraction of the cost of dining out.

Seeing as salmon is the star of this oven baked salmon recipe, it is important to start with quality salmon.  You will want to purchase wild-caught salmon which is usually king, Coho or sockeye.  Here is a breakdown:

  • King salmon also known as Chinook or blackmouth salmon. It is literally KING in flavor because it has higher fat than other salmon variieties which equates to the richest flavor.
  • Coho salmon is also known as silver salmon. It also has a high fat content and is similar in flavor to king salmon, but less expensive, so it is a great option.
  • Sockeye salmon is also known as red salmon. It has the strongest flavor between the three without tasting overly fishy.  It is leaner so take care not to overcook it.
  • What Salmon should I Avoid? Avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon as it is fatty, less nutritious (due to its artificial diet), waterier and can bake up mushy.
front view of oven baked salmon garnished with parsley

How to make Oven Baked Salmon

  • Bring salmon to room temperature.  Salmon should never be baked directly from the refrigerator or it won’t cook evenly.  Instead, let your salmon fillet rest on the counter for 15-30 minutes.
  • Remove bones.  While your salmon fillet is sitting at room temperature, is a great time to remove any leftover skinny “pin bones” the butcher may have missed.  You should not use a knife or fingers, but rather, use sanitized needle-nosed pliers or tweezers.  To find the bones, run your clean fingers down the surface of the salmon then remove them with your sanitized instrument of choice.
  • Create a foil pouch.  Line a large jelly roll pan with foil that extends 2” past the pan on each long side so you can fold the sides up and create a wall.  This will keep the lemon butter from leaking out.  Lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray and place the salmon in the center of the foil and fold up all the sides snugly around the salmon.
healthy baked salmon recipe in foil with lemons on the side
  • Season salmon.  The flavor and seasonings in this oven baked salmon recipe comes from the luscious lemon garlic butter sauce.  To make, add 2 tablespoons butter and 4-6 minced garlic cloves to a medium bowl and microwave until butter is melted then whisk in lemon juice, splashes of Dijon and soy sauce for amazing depth of flavor, a little honey to balance the lemon juice and our aromatic fresh parsley (you can also use dried), salt, onion powder, dried dill, paprika and pepper.  Each element adds a subtle special something-something that translates into a big explosion of yum.
showing how to make oven baked salmon by seasoning the top with butter, herbs and garlic
  • Add panko.  Finally, the crowning Parmesan Panko Topping that elevates this oven baked salmon to my new favorite salmon.  I have made salmon in foil before and although moist, I missed the juxtaposed texture of the caramelized pan sear.  This Parmesan Panko Topping solves my texture woes by adding a buttery crispy crunch along with the complex nutty flavor of Parmesan.
  • Bake.  This oven Bakes Salmon should be baked uncovered at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes (depending salmon thickness), or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

What Oven Temperature Do I Use to Bake Salmon?

Bake salmon at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.   I suggest checking the temperature with an instant read thermometer right at 12 minutes because nothing is worse when it comes to salmon then ruining by over-cooking!

The FDA advises salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, HOWEVER, if you cook your salmon to this temperature it will be overdone because the temperature will continue to rise after baking.

Instead, America’s Test kitchen suggests cooking your salmon to about 125 degrees F (52 degrees C) to avoid dry, overcooked salmon.  I usually cook my salmon to just 130 degrees F and the results are always perfect after a 5-minute rest.  Using a more moderate temperature will ensure the salmon is moist and buttery tender instead of dry.

up close of the best oven baked salmon recipe

How Long Does it Take to Bake Salmon?

The cook time to bake salmon depends on the oven temperature, desired doneness and thickness of your salmon.   The general rule of thumb is for every half-inch of salmon, bake 4-6 minutes, 4 minutes for more rare and 6 minutes for well done.  I don’t recommend 6 minutes per half inch, however because then you’re flirting with overcooked salmon.

This rule holds true for both a full salmon fillet and multiple thinner salmon fillets because these smaller fillets are just slices of a whole fillet.

How do you know when salmon is done?

The best way to know if your salmon is done but NOT overcooked is to use an instant read thermometer.  Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon.  Alternatively, look for the salmon to be opaque on the outside and just slightly translucent (but not raw) in the middle.

What Sides to Serve with Salmon?

While this oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Parmesan Panko would be epic all on its own, I’ve turned it into a meal-in-one with the addition of broccoli because why not?!   They bake for the same about of time and pair beautifully and all you have to do is toss your broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper and line next to your salmon.  Once cooked, you can even drizzle extra Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce over the broccoli.  ayiyi delicious!

If you don’t love broccoli, this oven Baked Salmon can be baked with any other vegetable that cooks in 12-15 minutes.  You can use thick asparagus (or give the salmon a head start then add for thinner asparagus), cherry tomatoes, zucchini or bell peppers.

In addition to veggies, I like to serve this oven baked salmon with any of the following:

And did I mention this oven baked salmon was all done in 25 minutes?!   TRY IT TONIGHT!!

up close of broccoli showing what to serve with oven baked salmon

HELPFUL SALMON FACTS:

Do I have to rinse my salmon first?  Actually, you should NOT rinse your fish before baking!  The USDA cautions: “do not rinse raw fish, seafood, meat, and poultry. Bacteria in these raw juices can splash and spread to other foods and surfaces. Cooking foods thoroughly will kill harmful bacteria.”

Is salmon skin safe to eat?  Absolutely! In fact, the skin contains more of the same minerals and nutrients contained in salmon, so it is highly nutritious. I usually remove the skin or purchase salmon without the skin if I am going to be baking the salmon.  If I’m gong to be pan searing the salmon, then I leave the skin on so it can get nice and crispy in the pan.  You can also cook your salmon with the skin and then just remove it before eating.

How to I prevent salmon skin from sticking to the foil?  Always spray your foil with nonstick cooking spray and make sure the skin is patted completely dry before it comes in contact with the foil.

How much salmon should I buy?  Although a whole fillet looks like a lot of protein, it goes down surprisingly easy!  There are quite a few variables to when it comes to serving size such as what you are serving with your salmon and how big of eaters your audience is, but the general rule of thumb is about ½ pound per person.

Can I eat salmon everyday? Like everything, salmon is great in moderation.  The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish like salmon every week.  It should not being eaten every day, however, due to concerns about the trace amounts of mercury in seafood.

What are the health benefits of salmon?   Salmon is is a low-calorie protein source that is rich in heart-healthy omega-3s, and low in saturated fat. It is also an excellent source of several B vitamins, antioxidants and potassium.  Studies show that salmon can help lower inflammation, which may reduce the risk factors for several diseases.  A growing number of studies also suggest that including salmon in your diet might improve brain function and even reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and the risk of age-related memory problems.

Does salmon improve skin?  The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are linked to reducing inflammation which may help skin retain moisture.  Salmon is also a good source of vitamin E and zinc which are good for the skin.

Can you eat salmon while pregnant? BAKED Salmon is safe to eat during pregnancy but pregnant women should not eat raw salmon, including sushi.  They should also take care when handling raw salmon because raw fish could contain parasites or harmful bacteria.

Looking for more Salmon Recipes?

a fork taking a piece of the best baked salmon recipe

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

25 MINUTE Baked Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon with Crispy Parmesan Panko & Broccoli!  This salmon is not only bursting with flavor and sooo tender but the easiest, most satisfying meal that tastes totally gourmet!  My parents were blown away by this meal!

Baked Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter & Crispy Parmesan Panko

 Oven Baked Salmon dripping with garlic butter and topped with Crispy Parmesan Panko on your table in 25 minutes!  This Baked Salmon recipe is epically delicious and one of my top Favorite Recipes of 2017!   It is not only bursting with flavor and SO juicy and tender but the easiest, most satisfying meal that tastes totally gourmet!  All you need are a few ingredients, a big piece of foil, and a baking sheet and you’re ready to make this salmon recipe.  In addition, the broccoli cooks alongside the oven baked salmon so you get both your main dish AND side dish in one pan!  You will be blown away by this restaurant quality baked salmon in foil at a fraction of the price!
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Salmon

  • 1 wild Alaskan salmon fillet with or without skin (3-4 pounds)*

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried dill, paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Panko Parmesan Topping

  • 2/3 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Broccoli

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a jelly roll pan with foil that extends 2” past the pan edge on each long side (so you can fold the sides up). Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place salmon in the center of the foil (skin side down if it has skin) and fold up all the sides snugly around the salmon. Push foiled salmon to one side of the pan.
  • Add 2 tablespoons butter and the 4-6 minced garlic cloves to a medium bowl and microwave until butter is melted. Whisk in all remaining Lemon Butter Sauce ingredients and pour evenly all over salmon.
  • Whisk together the Parmesan Panko Topping until butter is evenly absorbed. Pat Topping evenly all over salmon.
  • Add broccoli to open space in pan next to salmon and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread broccoli out in a single layer next to the salmon.
  • Bake uncovered at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes (depending salmon thickness), or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Broil approximately one minute or until panko is golden.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and additional salt and pepper as needed.

Notes

*I purchase mine at Costco without skin for a reasonable price.

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16 Comments

    • Jen says

      Thank you! The panko really does make a huge difference! Its going to be hard for me to make salmon again without it!

  1. Susan says

    That recipe looks amazing! I just made your sheet pan lime cilantro salmon for the fourth time and it was amazing as always, but I was ready to try another salmon recipe. When I saw this, I was totally excited and can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Susan, I am excited for you to try it! I love hearing you have made my Fajita Salmon so many times! I hope you love this one just as much!

  2. Diana Lopes says

    Incredible recipe! And so quick to make, I can’t even believe it! I love it already =)

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Diana! It really is amazing! I hope you can make it soon!

  3. Layne Schwabedissen says

    Heidi ate the salmon AND the broccoli- this feels like an alternate universe! Super delicious!

    • Jen says

      Whoa! Always amazing when kids will eat dinner with foods they don’t usually like! YAY!!! Thanks Layne!

  4. Patricia says

    Do you think this would work with halibut fillets?

  5. Krista says

    Oh my heavens, I AM the type to crave salmon and have eaten tons of it over the years, but this was hands down THE BEST SALMON I have ever tasted! It was seriously an out-of-body experience, and my kids (even the picky ones!) licked their plates clean. Amazing!! THANK YOU!!!

    • Jen says

      Wow Krista, I am so excited this is the “best salmon” you’ve ever had! thank you so much for taking the time to comment and make my day!

  6. dawn crossno says

    Just getting into cooking salmon. This is by far the best salmon recipe I’ve ever tried! Have made it 4 or 5 times now, and we still love it. When i’m looking for a new recipe your site is the first, and usually the only, site i go to. Have several of your recipes that are favorites in our house. Thanks for being my go to girl!

    • Jen says

      I cannot tell you how much I love your comment, thank you Dawn! This is one of my all time favorite recipes that seems to be “forgotten” by readers so the fact you love it so much means that much more! I am honored my site is your go-to for new recipes! Thank you for making my recipes and letting me part of your home in some small way :).

  7. Rita Sullivan says

    Loved this recipe. We eat Salmon at least once or twice a week and I like to try different ways of doing Salmon. This was the best recipe I’ve found so far. The sauce compliments the Salmon really well. I am all about sauces. I did not do the panko topping because my husband doesn’t like a crust on his Salmon. Also I should have checked it at 10 minutes because we like medium rare and it was well done at 13 minutes. My fault, not the recipe.

    • Jen says

      Hi Rita, I am honored this is the best salmon recipe you’ve tried, thank you so much!