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Lemon Pepper Salmon

This Lemon Pepper Salmon will have everyone swooning and is SO easy to make – on your table in 30 minutes!  The vibrant salmon is extravagantly juicy, tender and dripping with bold, bright, zesty, garlic, lemon pepper butter deliciousness. This speedy recipe boasts hardly any cleanup and is prep ahead friendly, making it perfect for easy weeknight dinners or fabulous for special occasions (hello Mother’s Day) or entertaining. This easy baked Lemon Pepper Salmon recipe comes with a side of asparagus but feel free to add Hasselback potatoes, rice pilaf,  fruit salad or strawberry spinach salad for a complete feast!
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Servings 6 servings



  • 1 wild Alaskan salmon fillet with or without skin (2-3 pounds)*
  • 2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 1 /2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (may sub half olive oil)
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried basil, paprika
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried dill, onion powder, salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Add asparagus to the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat then push to the sides of the pan to make room for the salmon down the middle (the asparagus will be overlapping which is okay).
  • Place a long piece of foil in between the asparagus. Spray with cooking spray then add salmon skin side down (if it has it) and fold foil up around the sides of the salmon to create a boat (don’t cover); set aside.
  • Add the butter and minced garlic cloves to a medium bowl and microwave until butter is melted. Whisk in all remaining Lemon Pepper Butter ingredients. Pour evenly all over salmon.
  • Bake for 12-16 minutes or until salmon is almost opaque throughout (internal temp of 125-130 degrees F at the thickest part) and easily flakes with a fork. Let rest 5 mintues before slicing. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste (I like more pepper) - always taste first!



Tips and Tricks

  • *Salmon fillets: You can also use six or seven 6-8 oz. salmon fillets.  Frozen fillets are a great option because they are packaged at peak freshens. Thaw before using.
  • Slice salmon if needed to fit: If your salmon fillet won't fit on the pan, slice it into 2-inch pieces then line the pieces next to each other in rows within the foil "boat." You can place all of the salmon at the top of the pan and the asparagus at the bottom if that fits better.
  • Let salmon come to room temperature:  Salmon should never be baked cold straight from the refrigerator otherwise it will cook unevenly.  Place the salmon on the counter 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake it.  You can slather it in the lemon pepper butter during this time.
  • Use a meat thermometer: Overcooked salmon is dry salmon.  The only way to ensure perfectly cooked 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! 
  • Prep ahead:  Whisk all of the lemon pepper butter ingredients together and refrigerate. Line the salmon on a baking sheet with the asparagus and cover with foil. When ready to bake, microwave the lemon butter for 15 seconds or so to soften then slather it over the salmon. Let the salmon rest on the counter for 30 minutes, then proceed to bake per recipe instructions.   
  • Leftovers: See post for tons of leftover ideas!

How to store and reheat

  • To store: Store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 
  • To freeze: Freeze leftover salmon for up to 3 months. To freeze, slice salmon into fillets and place fillets in a freezer size bag in a single layer, 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.  Thaw salmon in the refrigerator overnight then reheat per instructions below.   I do not recommend freezing the asparagus because it will become mushy once frozen and thawed.
  • To reheat from the fridge:  Cut the salmon into fillets and gently reheat in a skillet, covered, for about 5 minutes or in the microwave at 30-second intervals. You can also warm in the oven for about 10 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.