How to Bake Salmon

Don't be a fish out of water! Baking salmon is easy and quick. Learn how to bake salmon in the oven for a simple, healthy, and fresh meal! Stick around for our favorite baked salmon and healthy salmon recipes.

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How to Select and Prep Salmon

When learning how to make salmon, it's important to select the right fish. Fresh salmon is often available farmed or wild, with wild carrying the higher price tag. The country-of-origin label should tell you where the fish is from and if it is farmed or wild. Common forms of salmon include fillets, steaks, and whole fish. To learn how to cook salmon fillet conveniently, ask your fish market to skin them for you.

  • Wild: Most varieties of wild salmon are available fresh May through October and frozen throughout the year. Wild salmon are typically Pacific coast varieties such as coho (silver), sockeye (red), Chinook (king), pink, and chum.
  • Farmed: Atlantic salmon is generally farmed. Farmed salmon is often more readily available and sold at a lower price.

Prepping the Fish

If frozen, thaw salmon in the refrigerator. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cut larger pieces of salmon into serving-size pieces. Place in a single layer in a greased or foil-lined shallow baking pan. For fillets, tuck under any thin edges to ensure even baking. Brush the fish with olive oil or melted butter and season as desired.

Tip: Seasoning salmon can be as simple as using salt and ground black pepper, especially if you are planning to serve it with a sauce. Common and simple seasonings are fresh or dried herbs -- such as dill, thyme, or minced garlic. Sprinkling seasoning blends such as garlic pepper, lemon pepper, or Italian seasoning is also a simple way to boost flavor.

Tip: To skin a raw fish fillet, slide a sharp knife just under the skin on one side. Take skin with one hand and slide the knife between fillet and skin, pointing the knife slightly toward the skin. Remove and discard.

Our Favorite Baked Salmon Recipes

Cold Roasted Salmon

Asian Salmon with Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Smoky Salmon Casserole

Pistachio Baked Salmon

 

How Long to Bake Salmon

Cooking salmon in the oven can be tricky -- the key is how long to bake it. Knowing how to cook salmon in the oven is essential to mastering basic cooking techniques for weekday meals. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F for fillets, or 350 degrees F for a dressed fish. Fillets can be baked at a lower temperature, if desired, with an increase in cooking time. Bake salmon fillets or steaks, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness. Bake a dressed salmon for 6 to 9 minutes per 8 ounces of fish.

To test for doneness, insert a fork and gently twist. The salmon is done as soon as it begins to flake and becomes opaque.

How to Bake Salmon in a Packet

Baked Salmon in a Packet

For oven-baked salmon with veggies and some extra flavor, learn how to bake salmon in a foil packet with desired seasonings. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For each packet, cut an 18x24-inch piece of heavy foil and fold it in half to get an 18x12-inch piece.

2. Place desired vegetables like precooked carrots, sliced mushrooms, and sliced green onions on foil. Place one 4-ounce salmon fillet, cut 3/4 inch thick, on top. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, melted butter, or a splash of dry white wine. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper and, if desired, snipped fresh oregano, dill, finely shredded orange peel, and/or minced garlic. Top with halved orange slices.

3. Bring together two opposite foil edges and seal with a double fold. Fold remaining edges together to completely enclose salmon, giving space for steam to build. Place the foil packets in a single layer in a shallow baking pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork and vegetables are tender (open packets carefully to check doneness, as hot steam will escape).

Baked Salmon Recipes

Baking salmon is quick, easy, and perfect for weeknight dinners. Whether you're looking for recipes for whole baked salmon or for baked salmon fillet, we've got crowd-pleasing healthy salmon recipes that will impress the whole table.

Roasted Salmon with Herbs & Yogurt

Pistachio Baked Salmon

Herbed Baked Salmon

Salmon with Matzo Crust

Watch: How to Bake Salmon

More Ways to Cook Salmon

Once you've mastered baked salmon, mix things up and cook it in other ways! Cook on the grill for a more hearty taste, or on a plank for a woody, smoked flavor.

How to Grill Salmon

How to Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank

 

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