The only secret to perfectly baked salmon is to avoid drying it out. Bake it in a 425F oven for just 12 minutes, or 20 minutes if it’s frozen.
The only secret to a perfectly baked salmon is to avoid drying it out. Salmon is so wonderfully flavorful, that as long as you don’t over bake it, you’ll emerge from the kitchen with a delectable, tender, succulent salmon that everyone is going to love.
How long do you bake salmon in the oven?
Generally speaking, you should bake salmon in a 425 degree F oven for just 12 minutes. If the salmon is frozen, cooking time should be about 20 minutes.
Of course, the only way to know for sure that the salmon is ready is to use a thermometer. For example, if your salmon fillets are significantly larger than 6 oz, they will need more time in the oven. For perfect baked salmon, the thermometer should read 135 degrees F.
Should I bake a large salmon fillet, or cut it into pieces?
For even cooking, it’s best to cut a big chunk of salmon into individual, 6 oz portions before baking. It IS possible to bake a large piece of salmon, but then you run the risk of the edges becoming overcooked while the middle is still raw. So I prefer to use smaller pieces.
Should I use wild salmon, or is farmed salmon OK?
Salmon is a fatty fish, so this is not a low-calorie dish, but this fat is very healthy and studies show that regular salmon consumption may have health benefits. Do try to get wild salmon if possible (Pacific, king/chinook or sockeye) rather than farmed (Atlantic). Although farmed salmon still has health benefits, and especially salmon marked as “responsibly farmed.”
Skin-on or skinless?
This is completely a matter of personal preference! I love salmon skin – in fact I enjoy the skin on all fish as long as it’s crispy. So I tend to prefer skin-on salmon fillets. But the recipe is the same whether the salmon has skin or is skinless.
What sauce goes with baked salmon?
I don’t usually serve baked salmon with a sauce. Unlike poached salmon, that has very mild taste and can benefit from the addition of sauce, baked salmon is very flavorful all on its own, especially when baked with the skin on. Rarely, when I make steamed asparagus or roasted asparagus to go with the salmon, I make hollandaise sauce to drizzle on both.
What side dishes to serve with baked salmon?
Anything, really! A few of my favorite side dishes to serve with baked salmon are balsamic green beans, broiled tomatoes and zucchini gratin. The side dish you see in the photos on this page is spinach stuffed portobello mushrooms.
What to do with the leftovers?
I actually try not to have leftovers when making baked salmon. It does tend to dry out in the fridge. But sometimes when I end up with leftovers despite my best intentions, I flake them and use them cold as a salad topping. I think it’s better than trying to reheat the leftovers.
But if you prefer to reheat leftover salmon, do so very gently. Cover the salmon pieces and reheat them in the microwave on 50% power, turning often, until heated through.
- Olive oil spray
- 4 (6 oz) wild salmon fillets, skin on or skinless, about 1 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large baking dish with foil and spray it with olive oil spray.
- Run your finger across the salmon fillets to check for bones. If your fish have bones in them, remove the bones with fish bone tweezers (I found mine on Amazon).
- Arrange the salmon fillets on the baking dish, skin side down. Brush the tops with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the kosher salt, black pepper, thyme and garlic powder.
- Bake the salmon until opaque and cooked through, and internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. This should take about 12 minutes (20 minutes if baking frozen fillets). Serve immediately.