Culinary Arts

Easy Baked Salmon Recipe: How to Make Perfect Salmon at Home

Written by MasterClass

May 24, 2019 • 4 min read

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Salmon is often grilled or poached, but for an easy weeknight meal, try a salmon recipe that uses the oven. Oven-baked salmon means less clean-up, less active time at the stove or grill, and less fish smell in your home. Here’s how to do it.

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5 Different Ways to Bake Salmon

  1. The fastest way to make salmon in the oven is to use the broiler. For barbecue flavor without the barbecue effort, broil salmon on an aromatic cedar or applewood plank. It will only take about 5 minutes under the broiler for the top of the fillets to brown, leaving the centers slightly undercooked. (Turn off the broiler and leave the salmon in a warm oven to finish cooking if you prefer your salmon well done.)
  2. Another quick method is to roast salmon fillets in a hot oven (about 450°F) for about 8 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. For easy clean-up, roast skin side down on a lightly oiled, foil-lined sheet pan or roasting dish. This type of salmon is ideal for a glaze.
  3. If you love the crispy skin that comes from stovetop salmon, briefly sear fillets skin side down in a cast iron pan, then transfer to a 400°F oven to finish to cooking, about 8 minutes.
  4. If you have a bit more time, slow-roasting salmon in a moderate oven (around 300°F) for about 20-30 minutes lessens your chances of accidentally overcooking it.
  5. For reliably moist salmon, try baking your fillets en papillote (French for “in paper”), a technique that involves wrapping fish in a packet of parchment paper (or aluminum foil). It works by trapping steam, gently cooking the tender fish. Wrapping the fish in paper or foil also means you won’t have to pry the delicate skin off a pan. It’s also a fun presentation for a main dish.

How Long Do You Need to Bake Salmon in the Oven?

In a hot oven (400–450°F), a good rule of thumb is to cook salmon 4-6 minutes per half inch of thickness. For more moderate temperatures (300–400°F) start checking around the 15-minute mark. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the salmon and the temperature of the oven. A higher temperature oven means the salmon will cook more quickly, but you’re also more likely to accidentally overcook it.

How to Know When Salmon Is Cooked All the Way Through

Since salmon fillets are generally uneven in thickness, you’ll want to take the salmon out of the oven before the thickest part of the salmon is fully cooked. Check for doneness by gently poking the top of the flesh with a finger. It should flake apart easily. Alternatively, slide a sharp knife into the thickest part of the fillet to observe the color. Light pink, opaque salmon is cooked through, while darker pink, more translucent salmon is still somewhat rare. To avoid damaging the flesh, you can insert a metal cake tester or thin skewer into the thickest part of the fillet, then touch the side of the tester to the area between your lower lip and chin. If it feels hot, the fish is cooked through. If it’s cold, it’s rare in the middle.

Can You Eat Salmon Skin?

Salmon skin is not only edible, it’s highly nutritious. While the crispy skin that results from pan-searing can be incredibly delicious, salmon that has been submerged in liquid for a long time (such as poached or slow-roasted) can be mushy. If you cook your salmon on a bed of lemon slices, as we’ve suggested here, the skin will absorb a lot of moisture and might not have the best texture. You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to!

How Long Is Baked Salmon Good For?

Leftover baked salmon will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, but keep in mind that salmon does not reheat well: It will become overcooked and dry in the microwave or oven, so serve leftover salmon cold or at room temperature. Cold salmon is a delicious lunch option: Try flaking leftover baked salmon into a salad, such as salmon Niçoise, or a grain bowl.

7 Unique Flavor Combinations for Baked Salmon

You can serve your baked salmon with a sauce, like pesto, aioli, or garlic butter, or you can build the sauce right into the dish by marinating your salmon for 20-30 minutes, brushing a glaze over the top, or placing your fillets on a bed of aromatics before baking. Some classic flavor combinations to try:

  1. Lemon + fresh herbs such as fresh parsley, dill, chives, or thyme
  2. Fennel + orange
  3. Cilantro + lime
  4. Brown sugar or honey + dijon or whole grain mustard
  5. Miso + soy sauce + ginger + sesame oil
  6. Brown sugar or honey + soy sauce
  7. Melted butter + minced garlic

Easy Oven Baked Salmon en Papillote With Lemon and Herbs: Baked Salmon Recipe

Makes
4
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets (about 5–7 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill (or parsley, chives, or thyme)
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Remove salmon from fridge. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Using your hands, gently rub each fillet all over with a thin layer of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let fillets rest at room temperature, 10-30 minutes.
  2. Thinly slice one lemon and juice the other. Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) into heart shapes and place on a sheet pan. Fold the parchment in half. Divide the lemon slices evenly between the packets, placing on one side of the fold. Place salmon fillets on top of the lemon slices. Sprinkle each fillet with lemon juice. Top with dill sprigs, then fold the other side of the paper over and crimp the rounded edge tightly. You want to have enough room for the steam to puff up the packages and cook the salmon, while making the crimping tight enough to ensure the packets won’t fall apart.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the thickest part of the salmon is almost cooked through. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or, for more well done salmon, allow to rest in packets for 3–10 minutes.

Find more culinary techniques in Chef Gordon Ramsay’s MasterClass.