Poaching is a gentle method of cooking that works really well with fish. Poached salmon is wonderfully moist and delicate, and this easy recipe takes just 20 minutes to make.
Poach it in white wine and serve it warm with hollandaise sauce, or serve it cold with tartar sauce.
I make salmon often and have a pretty large collection of salmon recipes on this website. I love sautéing salmon in butter until its skin is nice and crispy. And baked salmon is absolutely wonderful, as are these very flavorful grilled salmon and broiled salmon.
But there’s something about poaching. This gentle cooking method yields tender, flaky fish. It's a cooking method that retains moisture and allows the flavor of the fish to shine through. Just take care not to overcook the fish to avoid drying it out. But this is true for any cooking method.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to poach salmon. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Dry white wine: You can also use fish stock or even water; I do enjoy the flavor that the wine adds. And then we also drink it with our meal!
Dill: I place it in the bottom of the pan, then place the fish fillets on top.
Salmon fillets: Try to choose sustainable salmon if you can. I love the taste of wild-caught salmon!
Seasonings: I use kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. I actually prefer garlic powder to minced garlic, because it coats the salmon more evenly.
How to poach salmon? It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Pour the wine into a large lidded skillet. Bring it to a simmer.
Place the dill in the skillet, reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on top of the dill. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Cover the pan tightly and poach the fish until cooked through, 5-10 minutes. That's it!
Make sure to maintain a gentle simmer rather than a rolling boil. If needed, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. While the skin won't crisp up the way it does when you bake salmon or make pan-fried salmon, it will keep the fish nice and moist.
I personally like the fatty poached skin, but you can certainly remove it after cooking.
I like to use white wine in this recipe. Sauvignon blanc works well, as does pinot grigio. Both of these wines can also be served with this dish, so this is perfect!
You can simply use water instead of wine, or fish broth. Or you could try using milk as your poaching liquid. I hear it's good, and it does sound very good, but I haven't tried it.
Please don't make me choose! I love all of them. When poached, it's mild and moist. But other cooking techniques crisp up the skin and bring out the fish's unique flavor.
These include pan-frying, grilling, broiling, and oven-baking. I would say that if I absolutely had to choose one method, I would go with pan-frying salmon in butter.
Poached salmon is delicious when served warm, on its own, drizzled with melted butter, or topped with hollandaise sauce. You can also serve it chilled, with mayonnaise, or with some homemade tartar sauce.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. I like to flake them and add them, cold, to a salad the next day for my lunch.
But you can also reheat the leftovers - just do so very gently, in the microwave, covered, on 50% power. If you reheat them too aggressively, they will be dry.
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Poached Salmon with White Wine and Dill
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch dill weed
- 2 (6 oz) wild salmon fillets skin-on, pin bones removed with tweezers
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pour the wine into a 12-inch lidded skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Place the dill weed in the skillet, reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Place the salmon fillets on top of the dill, skin side down. Sprinkle the salmon with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cover the pan tightly with the lid (or with foil).
- Poach the salmon until no longer raw in the thickest part, 5-10 minutes, depending on its thickness. It should reach an internal temperature of 145°F.