Grilled Salmon with Avocado Corn Salsa

This grilled salmon recipe complete with grilling tips will deliver the juiciest, most flavorful salmon you’ve ever sunk your teeth into!  Plus, it’s quick, easy, and healthy!

Grilled salmon is hands down my favorite way to cook salmon so I’m excited to share my tips with you today!  This recipe is deceptively easy with hardly any cleanup but delivers big, bold flavors that will have everyone swooning and make you look and feel like a professional chef! This grilled salmon recipe is made by bathing the salmon fillets with a vibrant, aromatic chili lime marinade for 30 minutes then grilling to succulent perfection.  Serve the grilled salmon plain or douse with cilantro lime butter and/or serve with avocado corn salsa for the ultimate symphony of flavor and texture in each mouthwatering bite.  Finish off this effortless grilled salmon dinner with a side of corn bread and strawberry spinach salad for the perfect summer meal.

Buttery tender salmon is always a quick and easy winning dinner – head here to see all my salmon recipes!  If you’re looking for more salmon recipes, be sure to check out: honey garlic salmon, Tuscan salmonsheet pan garlic butter salmonsalmon pasta, teriyaki salmon, blackened salmon in creamy Cajun sauce, baked Greek salmon with dill sauce, Asian BBQ salmon and sheet pan fajita salmon.

top view of grilled salmon on a plate with avocado corn salsa

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grilled salmon RECIPE

There’s no easier, quicker, healthier, or more satisfying summer entrée than perfectly grilled salmon.  It’s one of the most rewarding recipes of the season that tastes gourmet but requires just one dish to wash!  You’ll love this recipe because it’s:

  • Easy.  Grilled salmon is buttery juicy and the easiest protein you can cook.  It literally takes minutes of hands on prep:  marinate the salmon, cook the salmon, eat the salmon!
  • The flavor.  You will be blown away at the juicy, tender punch of flavor delivered by the marinade after just 30 minutes!
  • The texture. The salmon is fabulous all on its own but is exponentially more delicious with the addition of crunchy, creamy, refreshing, healthy avocado corn salsa. 
  • Juicy. Moist, silky, succulent salmon that’s buttery tender and never chalky. 
  • Foolproof.  Learn how to grill salmon with this foolproof recipe with tips and tricks so half of your fillet won’t be left stuck to the grill!
  • Pantry friendly. The marinade is made with pantry friendly ingredients so you can make this grilled salmon recipe at a moment’s notice AKA the perfect last minute or weeknight dinner! 

Above all, what you’ll especially love about this recipe is the FLAVOR!  The chili lime marinade is an intoxicating, full-throttle blend of chipotle chili powder for a smoky heat, mixed with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic power, onion powder, lime juice and olive oil that soaks into the salmon and caramelizes on the grill. If you want to elevate the salmon one step further, drizzle the cooked fillets with cilantro lime butter for extra luxurious, tangy, lime decadence. SO GOOD.

You can skip the butter for a healthier bite, but please don’t skip the avocado corn salsa.  It’s a chunky salsa meets guacamole made with creamy avocados, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, zesty cilantro, punchy onion, and garlic.  Its creamy, crunchy, fresh, vibrant salty splendor is a match made in heaven with the grilled salmon delivered on your plate.  It elevates the recipe from amazing to otherworldly.

The Best Salmon for Grilling

To make the best grilled salmon, start by selecting the best salmon available:

  • Use wild caught salmon. Look for salmon that is bright pink in color, smells fresh but not fishy, and, if possible, is wild caught.  I prefer wild caught salmon (king, coho and sockeye) because it has richer flavor, but if you want milder flavor, than farm-raised Atlantic salmon might be the way to go.  Atlantic salmon can cook up watery or mushy due to the artificial diet but I have had success with farm raised salmon from Costco, they seem to have higher quality suppliers. 
  • Do I grill salmon with the skin on?  Take special care to purchase SKIN ON salmon!  The skin insulates the salmon and prevents it from drying out. It also makes it easier to flip the salmon fillets without them falling apart. If you can’t get skin on salmon, then consider grilling the salmon in foil instead.
  • What size salmon is best? You can use either 6 6-8 oz. salmon fillets OR one wild Alaskan salmon fillet that you slice into fillets (which tends to be less expensive). 
  • Can I use frozen salmon? Absolutely! Frozen salmon fillets are a fabulous option. Look for wild caught fillets and thaw them before cooking. 
  • Where to purchase salmon?  I usually purchase one large salmon fillet at the seafood counter of my grocery store so I know it’s fresh and can ensure it has the skin on.  Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a fish is skinless or skin-on in the package.   
grilled salmon recipe on a plate showing how juicy it is

benefits of grilled SALMON Marinade

This grilled salmon recipe is dripping with flavor from the chili lime marinade.  It’s made with a few simple ingredients that become exponentially more delicious upon caramelization.  The marinade:

  • adds flavor from the inside out
  • locks in moisture so the salmon stays juicy
  • tenderizes the salmon by breaking down muscle fibers
  • the honey helps promote caramelization when grilled for added flavor
  • help with digestion because tender, broken down fibers are easier to digest
  • helps to reduce carcinogens by protecting the salmon from becoming damaged by high heat.

grilled SALMON Marinade ingredents

Here’s what you’ll need for this easy salmon marinade: 

  • Olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Lime juice and lime zest:  their fresh tanginess is the perfect complement to the smoky, earthy chipotle.  I also like to add fresh lime juice to the salmon after it’s grilled either in the cilantro lime butter or just a squeeze.
  • Honey:  always a favorite with lime and chipotle.  It cuts through the sourness of the lime and the heat of the chipotle powder. You may also substitute with brown sugar if you don’t have honey on hand.
  • Chili powder:  made from a blend chili peppers and other spices including cumin, onion, garlic powder. Please note American chili powder is NOT hot cayenne pepper, it has a fraction of the spice level because it’s mixed with other seasonings.
  • Chipotle chile pepper: is made of smoked jalapeno peppers that are smoked, dried and crushed -so it’s not just spicy but smoky too! It is easy to find at your grocery store under any of the following names: “chipotle chile pepper,” “ground chipotle chile,” or “chipotle powder.”  If you don’t keep it stocked – you want to.  I use it in all of my Mexican recipes, so I highly suggest purchasing it. 
  • Smoked paprika: rich, mild, sweet, and smoky made from smoked pimento peppers dried over oak fires then crushed.  It is not spicy, just flavorful. You can find smoked paprika with the rest of the spices at your grocery store. Again, I use it in ALL my Mexican recipes, so I promise your purchase will not go to waste.
  • Cumin:  warm, earthy, nutty, with a hint of both sweet and bitter. 
  • Garlic powder:  is a favorite ingredient in marinades because it delivers all that yummy garlic goodness in concentrated flavor right on the fish in a way clumpy garlic cannot.
  • Onion powder:  is dehydrated, ground onion that infuses our salmon with aromatic, earthy, minty notes.
  • Pepper:  adds yet another layer of pepper flavor.
showing how to make grilled salmon marinade by whisking olive oil, lime juice, lime zest and seasonings togther

possible recipe VARIATIONS

How to grill salmon

Now to the main event! Below is a guide for how to grill salmon perfectly every time. You will find full measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

marinate salmon

The marinade is crucial to create grilled salmon EXPLODING with flavor and is a key factor in keeping the salmon juicy.  The olive oil adds moisture and the oil-soluble flavors evenly distribute throughout the fish to fully unlock the flavor. 

To marinate the salmon, place the fillets in a dish, flesh side UP so they snuggly fit.  Mine fit perfectly in a 9×13 baking dish.  Make the marinade by whisking olive oil, lime juice, lime zest and seasonings together then pour it all over the salmon.  Let the salmon marinate at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Prep the grill the last 15 minutes of marinating.

Marinating the salmon also brings it to room temperature.  You should never grill salmon straight from the refrigerator.  It needs to rest at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly otherwise you are left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior.  Bringing the salmon to room temperature also relaxes the cold muscle fibers so they release natural moisture which is then reabsorbed into the muscle for juicier results (otherwise the moisture stays trapped in the fibers).

showing how to grill salmon by marinating salmon in a marinade in a 9x13 dish

heat grill

Heat the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum high temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature as needed.  Don’t add the salmon until the grill is hot or it is more likely to stick to the grill.  Also, don’t grease the grill until you’re ready to grill the salmon. 

clean grill

Once the grill is fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush.  It’s easiest to remove old food after the grill is super-hot and the old bits of food start to char and crumble. A clean grill ensures direct contact with the hot greased grill which prevents sticking and also creates a beautiful sear complete with rewarding grill marks.

GREASE the GRILL and salmon

It is important to grease the grill and the fish to ensure the salmon won’t stick to the grill. Once the grill has reached temperature, generously grease the grill by holding tongs greased with oil.  Next, as you remove the fillets from the marinade one by one, drizzle the skin side of the salmon with oil and rub it in a bit.  This is double insurance that it won’t stick to the grill. 

Take care to use a high smoking point, neutral oil to grease both the fish and the grates such as grape seed oil or vegetable oil. Do NOT use olive oil because it has a lower smoking point, which means that overheating will not only smoke you out but can adversely impact the oil’s flavor and produce low levels of harmful compounds due to the high antioxidant content in the oil.

The Best Grill Temperature for Grilled Salmon

Grill the salmon over direct heat on a 450°-500° F hot grill.  Grilled salmon should be cooked quickly at high heat so the skin gets crispy and the salmon doesn’t dry out.

What side do you grill salmon on first? 

Always grill the salmon skin side down first, flesh side up.  The majority of time on the grill will be cooked with the skin side down.  The skin insulates the salmon from the high heat and prevents it from drying out, it also gives the salmon time to firm up while it cooks so it can be flipped without falling apart.  Don’t touch the fish or try and flip it before 4 minutes because the fish will stick to the grates at first, and will break. After 4 minutes, however, the skin will crisp and release naturally, making the salmon easy to flip to the other side.

showing how to grill salmon by grilling flesh side down first
showing how to grill salmon by flipping salmon over so it's skin side up

How Long to Cook Grilled Salmon?

The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon fillets, but a standard fillet that’s about 1″ thick at the thickest part, will require 6-8 minutes total cooking time.  Cook skin side down first for about 4-5 minutes on hot grates, then flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until the salmon reaches desired temperature.  If you like your salmon more well done, cook an additional 2 minutes on the first side, when the salmon is skin side down.

how to tell when salmon is done

The most accurate way to see if your salmon is done is with an instant read meat thermometer.  You can also pay attention to appearance. As salmon cooks, it changes from bright pink (raw) to opaque pink. The outside of the salmon should be completely opaque but the center should still be a bit translucent, a moist coral color, but not raw. If the salmon is completely opaque all the way through, it won’t be as juicy and tender.

Cooked salmon will also easily flake with a fork along the muscle fibers. Take care not to overcook your salmon because it will only remain buttery, juicy and tender as long as it isn’t overcooked. It is better for salmon to be under-cooked than overcooked in my opinion. 

What Temperature Is Grilled Salmon Done?

America’s Test kitchen suggests cooking your salmon to 125-130 degrees F (52 degrees C) to avoid overcooked salmon. 125-140 degrees will be medium to medium-well. I like to cook mine to 130 degrees F and the results are always perfect after a 5-minute rest. During the 5-minute rest, the salmon will continue to cook once pulled from the grill and rise about 5 degrees. Always take this carry over into consideration when taking the temperature of your salmon or any protein. 

Note:  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 dry, chalky and overdone.

Test individual salmon fillets for doneness.  Salmon fillets are often different thickness, which means they can be done at different times.  Different zones of your grill can also cook at different temperatures so it’s important to check the temperature of each fillet and remove them as they finish cooking.

let the salmon rest

After your grilled salmon is finished cooking, transfer it to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.  While the salmon cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the fish.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole fillet for optimal flavor and juiciness.  If you don’t allow for this calming period, valuable moisture-giving juices will seep out and be lost when you bite into the salmon, resulting in less juicy fish.

grilled salmon recipe on a plate garnished by cilantro

How do I prevent salmon skin from sticking to the grill?  How do I prevent salmon from falling apart when flipping?

If you follow the recipe instructions, you won’t have any problems with your salmon sticking or falling apart.  Here’s a summary of helpful tips and tricks:

  • Use skin-on salmon.  The skin will crisp up and naturally release from the grill. It also holds the fillet together and allows the fish to firm up before it’s time to flip without overcooking the salmon.
  • Cut the salmon into 2-inch fillets before adding it to the grill.  It is impossible to flip a large fillet of salmon. Large fillets of salmon should be reserved for grilling in foil.
  • Make sure your grill grates are super clean before greasing with oil by cleaning with a wire grill brush. If there is any residue from old foods on the grates, the salmon will stick to it instead of gliding off the grates. 
  • Always generously grease the grill grates with oil right before adding the fish so none of the oil has time to burn off.
  • Only add the fish to a smoking hot grill. If the grill isn’t hot, then the skin won’t crisp up and it will stick.
  • Coat the skin side of the salmon with oil right before placing it on the grill. This is double insurance that the skin won’t stick.  If the flesh side has not been marinated, then brush it with oil right before flipping.
  • Grill the salmon skin side DOWN first on a hot grill and don’t even attempt to move it before 4 minutes.  Again, this gives the skin time to crisp up and the flesh time to firm up.
  • After 4 minutes you can test a corner of the salmon to see if it easily lifts from the grates before flipping. The salmon will naturally release once it’s crispy. 
  • Flip the salmon only once when it easily releases from the grill.  You don’t want to flip more than necessary because overhandling the fish will cause it to break apart.
  • Flip with both tongs and a fish spatula. I slide the fish spatula under a fillet and use tongs to hold it in place against the spatula as I flip.

More grilling TIPS for SALMON recipe

  • Purchase quality salmon.  Refer to the section on how to purchase salmon above.  Cooking Light also has a great article on how to pick the best salmon at the grocery store.
  • Use salmon quickly. If you’re using fresh salmon, make sure to use it within one day otherwise it can go bad very quickly.
  • Let salmon marinate for full 30 minutes.  This will allow the salmon to come to room temperature while it’s being infused with flavor.  Salmon should never be grilled cold straight from the refrigerator otherwise it will cook unevenly.
  • Don’t over-marinate salmon.  Because fish is so tender, 45 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should marinate with an acidic marinade. If the fish is left too long in the marinade, it can become mushy.
  • Don’t over-cook salmon:  Take care not to overcook your salmon because it will only remain buttery, juicy and tender as long as it isn’t overcooked.  Aim for 125-135 F degrees and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.  If you have different size salmon fillets, you may need to remove one fillet from the skillet before the rest are done. 
  • Use a meat thermometer and don’t overcook!  Overcooked salmon is dry salmon.  The only way to ensure perfectly grilled salmon is to use a meat thermometer.   You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at the grocery store or Amazon, or I am obsessed with this digital probe thermometer – you will never overcook any protein again!  Instant read thermometers can be temperamental, but this digital probe thermometer retrieves temperature precisely to within ±1.8°f (±1°c) and allows you to insert a probe into two pieces of fish/protein at a time (I suggest the thinnest and thickest).
  • Customize heat. You can customize the heat of the grilled salmon by adding more or less chipotle powder.  You can customize the heat of the avocado corn salsa by adding additional jalapeno seeds if you want it spicier.
  • Grill corn. If you want to add a complex, smoky flavor to your avocado salsa, you can char your corn like I do in my corn salsa recipe by: 1) brushing corn with olive oil and grilling for 2-3 minutes on each side with the lid closed between rotating or 2) cut the kernels off of the cob and cook with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet until charred, 5-7 minutes.
  • Use ripe yet firm avocados.  You want the avocados on the firmer side of ripe so they are flavorful but don’t turn to mush when you toss them with the salsa ingredients.
  • Wait to add avocados.  You can assemble the avocado salsa ahead of time but don’t add the avocados until ready to serve.
  • Gently fold in avocados.  You want to give everything a good stir before you add the avocados so you don’t have to stir very much once you add the avocados.  Add avocados and stir just until combined, handling them as little as possible will keep them from breaking apart.
top view of grilled salmon on a plate

CAN I PREPARE grilled SALMON IN ADVANCE? 

The salmon should only be marinated for 30-45 minutes then grilled right away.  If you want to prep the recipe in advance, you can:

  • Prep salmon: slice the salmon into fillets and store in the refrigerator. 
  • Prep marinade:  whisk the marinade ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT the salmon for up to 3 days.

HOW TO STORE grilled SALMON 

Store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.  You can enjoy the grilled salmon warm in tacos, burritos, rice bowls, etc. or cold in sandwiches, sandwiches, wraps etc.  I’ve included all sorts of ways to enjoy leftover salmon a few sections below.

HOW TO FREEZE grilled SALMON 

You can freeze leftover salmon for up to 3 months. To freeze, place salmon fillets in a freezer size bag along with the glaze, squeeze out excess air to preserve freezer burn, label and freeze. You can also freeze individual salmon fillets by wrapping in plastic wrap before storing together.

HOW TO REHEAT grilled SALMON 

  • From the fridge: gently reheat the salmon in a skillet, covered, for about 5 minutes or in the microwave at 30-second intervals. You can also warm in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 275 degrees F, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F to 130°F. Take care not to overcook the salmon or it will become dry. 
  • From frozen: thaw salmon in the refrigerator overnight then reheat per any of the above methods.   

Sauces and Salsas to Serve with Grilled Salmon

This grilled salmon recipe is a delicious, blank canvas for sauces and salsas.  My favorite to serve it with is creamy, crunchy, sweet, tangy avocado corn salsa but it would also be delicious with:

WHAT sides SHOULD I SERVE WITH grilled salmon?

This grilled salmon recipe is almost a meal-in-one with the salmon and salsa, just add some rice and watermelon and call it a day!  It would also be delicious with:

showing how to make grilled salmon by topping with avocado salsa

WHAT ELSE CAN I MAKE WITH grilled salmon?

Grilled salmon is fabulous in its simplicity or it is magical in its versatility.  You can make SO many other dishes with this recipe, here are just a few: 

  • Grilled Salmon Tacos: top tortillas with black or pinto beans, salmon, avocado salsa and desired toppings such as sour cream, cotija cheese and hot sauce.
  • Grilled Salmon Salad: add lettuce, black beans, salmon, tomatoes, corn, peppers (or avocado salsa), cheese (pepper Jack, Mexican Cheese blend or cotija), pepitas or sunflower seeds to large bowl. Serve with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Grilled Salmon Burritos: layer a burrito size tortilla with plain rice, cilantro lime rice or Mexican Rice, black or pinto beans, salmon, avocado corn salsa and sour cream.
  • Grilled Salmon Burrito Bowls: layer cilantro lime rice or cauliflower rice with cheese, black beans or pinto beans, salmon, chopped lettuce, and your favorite toppings including tomatoes, corn, crushed tortilla chips and either sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Avocado Crema, Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Grilled Salmon Quesadillas:  layer a burrito size tortilla with Mexican cheese and salmon and grill until golden, cheesy perfection.  Top with avocado salsa and serve with your favs of sour cream, chopped lettuce, hot sauce, etc.
  • Grilled Salmon Nachos:  pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with salmon, avocado salsa and toppings such as jalapenos, sour cream, hot sauce etc.
  • Grilled Salmon Fajitas:  sauté thinly sliced onions for 2 minutes, add sliced bell peppers and sauté until crisp tender, another 2 minutes. Pile salmon, peppers/onions in a tortilla and top with avocado corn salsa, sour cream, lime juice and cilantro.

HELPFUL SALMON FACTS:

Do I have to rinse my salmon first?

You should NOT rinse your fish before cooking! 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.”

Do you eat salmon skin?

Absolutely! In fact, the skin contains more of the same minerals and nutrients contained in salmon, so it is highly nutritious. Grilled salmon skin is especially delicious because it gets super crispy.

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, so one 8 oz. salmon fillet.

Can I eat salmon every day?

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 be eaten every day, however, due to concerns about the trace amounts of mercury in seafood.

What are the health benefits of salmon? 

Salmon is be 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?

COOKED 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.

What Side Do You Grill Salmon on First?

Always grill salmon skin side DOWN first.  By grilling the salmon skin side down first you ensure the flesh part of the salmon can firm up before you flip it and it comes in contact with the grill which will prevent it from sticking and falling apart.  The skin also insulates the salmon and prevents it from drying out.

Do you have to flip salmon on the grill?

Yes, you should flip salmon on the grill so both sides have time to char a bit.  Start with the skin side down so the salmon doesn’t easily fall apart and flip only after 4 minutes when the fish has firmed up. 

How do you keep salmon moist when grilling?

Start by using salmon fillets with the skin on, drizzle the skin with oil and grill skin side DOWN first.  The majority of the grilling time should be done with the skin side down so the fish can cook without drying out.  This will also crisp up the skin and firm up the fish making it easier to flip without falling apart.  The flesh side of the salmon should also be coated in a wet rub or high smoking point oil before coming in contact with the grill.

What is the GREY part of salmon?

You have likely noticed the grey part of in wild salmon located just above the skin, separating the flesh.  This is subcutaneous fat. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy for you, so don’t shy away!  

up close of a fillet of grilled salmon showing how juicy it is

Chili Lime Grilled Salmon

This Chili Lime Grilled Salmon recipe is deceptively easy with hardly any cleanup but delivers big, bold flavors that will have everyone swooning and make you look and feel like a professional chef! It's is made by bathing the salmon fillets with a vibrant, aromatic chili lime marinade for 30 minutes then grilling to succulent perfection.  Serve the grilled salmon plain or douse with cilantro lime butter and/or serve with avocado corn salsa for the ultimate symphony of flavor and texture in each mouthwatering bite.  Finish off this effortless grilled salmon dinner with a side of fruit salad and strawberry spinach salad for the perfect summer meal.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 salmon fillets, SKIN ON (or 1 large fillet cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • neutral, high smoking point such as vegetable oil or grape seed oil for grilling

Marinade

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • lime zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp EACH salt, ground cumin
  • 1 tsp EACH smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano
  • ½-1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cilantro Lime Butter (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Reserved Marinade (in directions)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, packed
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For serving-pick one! (optional)

Instructions

  • Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Remove 1 ½ tablespoons marinade and transfer it to a small, microwave safe bowl to use later in the Cilantro Lime Butter; set aside.
  • Line the salmon fillets skin side down in a 9×13 baking dish, or a dish that fits them snuggly together. Pour the remaining marinade evenly over the top of the salmon. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Prep and refrigerate your salsa, if using, while the fish marinates.
  • After 30 minutes, heat the grill with the lid closed to 450°F-500°F. Clean grill thoroughly with a wire grill brush. Once grill has reached temperature, generously grease the grill by holding tongs greased with vegetable oil or grape seed oil.
  • Remove the salmon one by one from the marinade and drizzle and rub vegetable oil or grape seed oil over the skin. Place salmon skin side DOWN, flesh side up. Grill for 4-5 minutes, uncovered, without touching, until the salmon easily releases from the grill when you check a corner with a fish spatula.
  • Using tongs and a metal fish spatula, carefully turn the fish onto the other side, so that the flesh side is down, the skin side is up. Grill for another 2-3 minutes depending on thickness, until the fish reaches 125-130 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the salmon from the grill and tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before servings. Meanwhile make the Cilantro Lime Butter if using:
  • Add butter to the reserved 1 ½ tablespoons marinade in the microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds then at 10 second intervals until melted. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Brush salmon with butter and serve extra on the side. Top fish with avocado corn salsa, corn salsa, mango salsa, or pineapple salsa and dig in!

Notes

prep ahead

The salmon should only be marinated for 30-45 minutes then grilled right away.  If you want to prep the recipe in advance, you can:
  • Prep salmon: slice the salmon into fillets and store in the refrigerator. 
  • Prep marinade:  whisk the marinade ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT the salmon for up to 3 days.

HOW TO STORE 

  • To store:  store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.  You can enjoy the grilled salmon warm in tacos, burritos, rice bowls, etc. or cold in sandwiches, sandwiches, wraps etc.  I’ve included all sorts of ways to enjoy leftover salmon in the post.
  • To freeze: place salmon fillets in a freezer size bag and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn, label and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also freeze individual salmon fillets by wrapping in plastic wrap before storing together.

HOW TO REHEAT 

  • From the fridge: gently reheat the salmon in a skillet, covered, for about 5 minutes or in the microwave at 30-second intervals. You can also warm in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 275 degrees F, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F to 130°F. Take care not to overcook the salmon or it will become dry. 
  • From frozen: thaw salmon in the refrigerator overnight then reheat per any of the above methods.   

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2 Comments

  1. Ann says

    Absolutely amazing!!! Actually followed the recipe, only in marinade I used agave instead of honey so that I could use the marinade on some vegan spinach ravioli for my daughter. The salsa was amazing and paired wonderfully with the salmon. Will be making this again! So very very good!!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Ann! I’m thrilled it is a repeat winner!