Best Baked Salmon Recipe – How to Bake Salmon in the Oven

Will Dickey

Who wouldn’t want gorgeous files of salmon anchoring their Easter dinner menu? And as impressive as this baked salmon recipe looks, it’s so easy to prepare: It’s seasoned with salt and pepper, then drizzled with a flavorful marinade of mustard, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil before being placed in the oven. From start to finish, this baked salmon recipe takes just 20 minutes to prepare—that means it’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, too!

Can I use this recipe for a large piece of salmon?

Absolutely! If you prefer to cook one large piece of salmon, rather than filets, do that! Purchase a salmon “side” that usually weighs about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. Place it whole on the sheet tray or in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish and brush it with the marinade. When baked at 325°, the side should take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook.

At what temperature should I bake salmon?

This baked salmon recipe cooks low and slow in the oven at 325°, which we found to be a trusty way to cook moist and fork-tender fish, every time. Although you may be tempted to crank up the heat and cook it faster, salmon can dry out if cooked too quickly, so we recommend keeping the heat low!

How can I tell when the salmon is done?

The easiest way to tell if salmon is done is to remove it from the oven and use a fork to flake a piece from thickest part of one of the fillets. If the salmon flakes easily and looks opaque in color (ie, no longer translucent like raw salmon), it’s ready to go.

However, the most accurate way to tell if salmon is cooked through is to pull out a trusty meat thermometer. The USDA recommends that salmon be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°. For optimal texture, we found that a temperature of 125 to 130° is adequate to cook the flesh through, without it drying out. This is like the equivalent of cooking a steak to medium doneness—cooked through, but still super moist and juicy inside!

What does overcooked salmon look like?

It doesn’t take long for salmon to go from delicately moist to dry and overcooked. One easy-to-spot sign that your salmon is almost done (or about to be overcooked!) is the white protein within the fish that firms up while cooking. If you see this around the base of the salmon, where the flesh meets the skin, you’re getting close and should start to take the temperature or flake a small piece to test. If you see the white proteins firm up on top—it’s most likely time to pull the salmon from the oven—it’s cooked!

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Yields:

6 – 8


servings

Prep time:

0

hours

3

mins

Total Time:

0

hours

20

mins

6


salmon fillets (about 2 1/2 lb. total)

1/2 tsp.

ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley, dill, or chives, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for serving

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  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. Drizzle a large sheet tray with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and spread all over. Place the salmon fillets on the tray, leaving about 1 inch of space in between each fillet. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk to combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle evenly over the fillets.
  4. Bake until the thickest part of the salmon flakes easily with a fork and the flesh is opaque, 12 to 15 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should read between 125° and 130°). Transfer salmon to a serving platter; top with fresh herbs and serve with lemon wedges, if you like.

If you’re looking for something even faster and easier to prepare, this salmon can be simply roasted using the recipe instructions, without the glaze!

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