This healthy baked salmon is seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Only 12 minutes in the oven and it emerges perfectly cooked, moist and tender!
The only secret to perfectly cooked salmon is to avoid drying it out!
Salmon is so wonderfully flavorful. As long as you don’t overcook it, you’ll emerge from the kitchen with a delectable, tender fish that everyone is going to love. Here’s a good recipe for you to try.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty recipe (exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
- Salmon fillets
- Olive oil (a healthy ingredient!)
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder and dried thyme
How to make baked salmon
It’s super easy. The oven does all the work! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
- Brush the fish fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking dish.
- Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes at 425°F.
How long do you bake salmon in the oven?
Generally speaking, you should bake 6-oz fillets in a 425 degree F oven for just 12 minutes. Of course, the only way to know for sure that the fish is ready is to use a thermometer.
For example, if your fillets are significantly larger than 6 oz, they will need more time in the oven.
For perfect results, the thermometer should read 135 degrees F (medium-rare). Although keep in mind that the USDA says you should cook it to medium (145 degrees F).
If you don’t have a thermometer, check with a fork. The center of each fillet should be opaque and flaky. If it’s still translucent and resists being flaked with a fork, it’s not done yet.
Can I bake salmon from frozen?
Yes. Simply increase the baking time to about 20 minutes for 6-oz fillets. In fact, baking fish from frozen often helps avoid drying them out. However, you should only do this with smaller, 6-oz fillets.
Bigger fillets will likely be undercooked in the middle if you cook them from frozen. And when cooking from frozen, it’s especially important to check doneness with an instant-read thermometer or to use a fork to make sure the center is opaque and flaky.
Should I use a large fillet or cut it into pieces?
For even cooking, it’s best to cut a big chunk of salmon into individual, 6-oz portions.
It IS possible to bake a large piece, but then you do 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 OK?
Salmon is a fatty fish, so this is not a low-calorie dish. But the types of fat in this fish, omega-3 fatty acids, has important health benefits.
Do try to get wild salmon if at all possible (Pacific, king/chinook or sockeye) rather than farmed (Atlantic). Although farmed salmon is still healthy, 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 fish has skin or is skinless.
What sauce goes with baked salmon?
I don’t usually serve it with a sauce. Unlike poached salmon, that has a very mild flavor and can benefit from the addition of sauce, baked salmon is very flavorful on its own, especially when baked with the skin on.
What side dishes go with this dish?
The side dish you see in the photos on this page is spinach stuffed portobello mushrooms.
What to do with leftover baked salmon?
Theoretically, you can keep leftover salmon in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
But I actually try not to have leftovers when making this recipe. They tend to dry out in the fridge, and especially when reheated.
When I do end up with leftovers despite my best intentions, I flake them and use them cold as a salad topping the next day. I think it’s better than trying to reheat the leftovers.
But if you prefer to reheat the leftover, do so very gently. Cover the fish pieces and reheat them in the microwave on 50% power, turning often, until heated through.
More tasty salmon recipes
I love salmon and make it often. Baked salmon is probably one of the easiest ways to make it. But I also have excellent recipes for:
Each of them has its own unique flavor, but all of them are very good. And since I cook this fish so often, it’s nice to have variety.
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- 4 (6 oz) wild salmon fillets, skin on or skinless, about 1 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
- 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).
- Brush the salmon fillets all over with the olive oil. Arrange them on the baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle with the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and thyme.
- Bake the salmon until opaque and cooked through, and internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. Depending on your oven, this should take about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.