Baked Salmon with lemon and garlic cooks in 15 minutes baking time making it an easy salmon recipe for weeknight dinners or for entertaining guests.
Salmon is always a favorite fish to prepare and eat. It’s rich content of Omega-3 fatty acids gives it fantastic flavor and rich texture. It’s not a fishy tasting fish either. When cooked tender salmon makes an easy dinner recipe using only simple ingredients.
We think this is the best baked salmon recipe thanks to the garlic butter and fresh lemon flavors, tender fish. quick dinner perfect for a busy weeknight. It’s really the easiest way (and our favorite way) to cook salmon fillets.
Serve this easy recipe with favorite side dishes and you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Salmon fillet. You’ll use one 2-pound salmon fillet which is perfect to serve 4-6 people. Once it’s cooked you’ll cut it into individual fillets. It will bake with the skin on. Use fresh fish whenever possible or previously frozen and thawed salmon can be used.
Very often the ‘fresh’ salmon in stores, especially out of season for that type of salmon has been previously frozen before shipping to the store. Farmed or wild salmon can be used.
Unsalted butter. This will be melted and combined with the other ingredients to brush onto the salmon before baking in the oven.
Smoked paprika. Gives a smoky flavor and slightly red color to the salmon. Use regular smoked paprika not hot smoked paprika which will make the salmon spicy.
Lemon juice and lemon zest. Zest the lemon before juicing. Half of the lemon will be zested and juiced. The other half cut into slices to bake with the salmon.
Wild caught vs Farm Raised Salmon
The main difference in salmon is whether it is wild caught or farm raised. Salmon is either from the Pacific or Atlantic ocean. The majority of species available to buy come from the Pacific ocean with only one species,
Atlantic Salmon coming from the Atlantic. All Atlantic salmon you’d buy is farmed salmon due to having been over fished; it’s now illegal to wild catch Atlantic salmon.
Pacific salmon is available either wild caught or farmed and that is usually noted with the salmon.
Fresh wild caught Pacific salmon is generally available between the months of June and September.
The main difference between the farm raised and wild caught salmon nutritionally is based on how they are raised; what they eat and what they do. Farm raised salmon is fed fish meal and live in large underwater pens. Where wild salmon swim free and eat smaller fish and zooplankton.
Both types are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids making them a healthy choice for a main dish.
Types of Salmon
When shopping for salmon you will find different types depending on the store and time of year. Here are the main types you are likely to find and cook:
- Atlantic Salmon. Farm-raised if purchased in the United States. Mild flavor and light pink color.
- King Salmon or Chinook Salmon (Pacific). Largest of the Pacific salmon. Available wild or farmed. Has the highest fat content.
- Sockeye Salmon or Red Salmon (Pacific). Stronger flavor and lower fat than other varieties.
- Coho Salmon or Silver Salmon (Pacific). Mild flavor, delicate texture with medium fat content.
How to pick the best salmon
When shopping for salmon use these guidelines:
- If you press it the flesh should spring back not leave an indentation where your finger was.
- The flesh should have a bright orange red color
- It should not smell overly fishy or like low tide at the beach. Fresh salmon has very little aroma.
How to make Baked Salmon in the oven
Printable recipe card available at the end of this post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Remove salmon from refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees f. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a large sheet of aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut the lemon in half. Zest half of the lemon (set aside) and then juice the lemon half. Cut the opposite lemon half into slices.
STEP 2. Prepare the salmon
In a small bowl combine the melted butter, garlic honey, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and lemon juice (photo 1).
Place salmon skin side down onto the prepared pan. Brush the lemon-butter mixture over the top of the salmon.
Sprinkle on the lemon zest and add the lemon slices (photos 2-3).
STEP 3. Bake & Cool
Place the salmon in the hot oven and bake for 13-15 minutes until the salmon reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees (or slightly under; the temperature will rise slightly when removed from the oven) as measured in the thickest part of the salmon filet with an instant read thermometer (photo 4).
Remove from oven and allow the salmon to sit for a few minutes, sprinkle the top with fresh chopped parsley or other fresh herbs and serve.
Store fresh salmon no longer than 2 days before cooking. Buy the salmon just before you plan to cook it, within 2 days. If it’s frozen allow time to let it thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.
Removing pin bones. Pin bones are fine bones that can be left in the salmon when its sold. You’ll want to remove them before cooking if possible using needle nosed pliars (clean) works well. Inquire with the grocery store or meat department representative to find out if there are pin bones in the salmon you select and they can often remove them for you at the store.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! It has many nutrients and often crisps while the salmon bakes. It’s really a personal choice. You can eat it or it easily separates from the salmon after it’s cooked.
4 ounces of salmon is considered a healthy serving size. If cooker leaner cuts of wild salmon portion sizes can go up to 6-8 ounces. For planning purposed salmon will lose about 25% of its weight after cooking.
How to store
Store any leftover baked salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
More recipes you’ll love!
- 2 pounds salmon fillet
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 large lemon
- chopped Italian parsley for serving optional
- Remove salmon from refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375° Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cut the lemon in half. Zest half of the lemon (set aside) and then juice the lemon half. Cut the opposite lemon half into slices.
- In a small bowl combine the melted butter, garlic honey, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and lemon juice.
- Place the salmon onto the prepared pan. Brush the lemon-butter mixture over the top of the salmon.
- Sprinkle on the lemon zest and add the lemon slices.
- Place the salmon in the preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees (or slightly under; the temperature will rise slightly when removed from the oven) as measured with an instant read food thermometer.
- Allow the salmon to sit for a few minutes, sprinkle the top with parsley and serve.
- Choose fresh salmon if possible. Frozen thawed salmon can also be used.
- Farm-raised or wild-caught salmon can be used.
- Remove pin bones before cooking.