This super-easy grilled salmon recipe is ready in just 15 minutes! Simply brush the fillets with olive oil, sprinkle them with spices, and grill. The skin is the best part, and I'll share a few tips with you for making sure it comes out nice and crispy.
Out of all my salmon recipes, this is easily one of my favorites. I make it often - at least every other week. Since the leftovers are so good (especially when cold and added to a salad), I sometimes double the recipe to ensure I have tasty leftovers for the next few days.
When accompanied by an easy, make-ahead side dish such as broccoli salad, grilled salmon is one of the easiest dinners I make for my family. It's literally ready in just 15 minutes, and it's truly delicious!
Why grilling works
When using skin-on fillets (as you should!), nothing gets the skin crispier than grilling. And crispy salmon skin is wonderful - as you probably know, many Japanese restaurants serve salmon skin sushi rolls which are considered a delicacy.
In addition to making a truly crispy skin, grilling also keeps the fish exceptionally juicy. That is, as long as you don't overcook it.
The ingredients list for making grilled salmon is delightfully short! The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Salmon fillets: I almost always opt for skin-on filets. The skin is actually my favorite part.
Olive oil: This is my favorite oil - it's so delicious. But if you're unsure about cooking with it, you can use avocado oil instead. It has a higher smoke point. Melted ghee is another tasty option.
To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. If you opt for using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use.
How to grill salmon with skin? It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by heating up your grill on medium and greasing it. You can use an outdoor grill, an indoor grill (including a dual-contact grill such as the one I use in the video below), or a grill pan. Grease the grill well to prevent the skin from sticking to it.
Next, brush the salmon fillets with olive oil on all sides and sprinkle them with the seasonings.
Place the fish fillets on the hot grill, skin side down. Cover and grill until the outside is crispy and the inside is fully cooked. This should take about five minutes per side. If using a dual-contact grill, it should take a total of five minutes.
Frequently asked questions
Not long! While you want it fully cooked, you certainly don't want it dry and overcooked. Generally speaking, five minutes per side over medium heat is perfect. To ensure it's fully cooked, check with an instant-read thermometer.
Note that The FDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145° F. But many cooks feel that the ideal temperature is actually 125° F or even (for wild salmon) 120° F.
To ensure the skin comes out crispy, place the fillets on the grill skin side down and allow them to cook, undisturbed, for the full five minutes. Then flip them carefully and finish cooking the other side.
Fish skin has a tendency to stick to cooking surfaces, so it's important to grease your grill well. And if using a grill pan or a dual-contact grill, make sure they're nonstick - truly nonstick with no scratches - and grease them before using.
I like to season this dish simply, with olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Sage is also very good, but it will char on the grill. So in this particular recipe, I don't use it. But I do use it when making pan-fried salmon.
Recommended side dishes
Salmon is very versatile. You can serve it with any side dish you like. I often serve it, as mentioned above, with broccoli salad.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. You can also freeze the leftovers, wrapped in foil and sealed in freezer bags, for up to 3 months.
Sometimes, rather than reheat the leftovers and risk drying them out, I flake them and use them as a salad topping. They're very good as an added protein in this arugula salad.
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Crispy-Skinned Grilled Salmon
- Oil for the grill
- 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets, 1-inch thick, skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon fine salt)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Heat a grill, a nonstick grill pan or a nonstick dual-contact grill on medium. Grease it well.
- Brush each salmon fillet all over with olive oil and sprinkle it with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Place the salmon fillets on the grill, skin side down. Cover (you can loosely cover with foil if you don’t have a lid) and grill until the outside is crispy and the inside is fully cooked, about 5 minutes per side.
- If using a dual-contact grill (like I do in the video below), grill 1-inch-thick fillets for a total of about 5 minutes.