How to cook salmon in the oven
Cooking salmon in the oven is perfect for either a fast dinner after work, impressing a date of filling up the family. In this article, we will cover the three ways you can cook salmon in the oven. Whether you a doing the basic baked salmon, baking salmon in foil or broiling salmon, the oven is the smart way to cook salmon.
Putting salmon in the oven is the hands-down easiest way to get a perfectly cooked salmon fillet with the least amount of fuss or worry. You don’t need to get complicated with seasonings for these recipes. A good fillet of salmon needs only a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Even the thickest of salmon fillets will cook relatively quickly. Allow 4-6 minutes per half-inch, and since most salmon fillets are about an inch thick, start checking your salmon at 8 minutes. Unless you are using an instant-read thermometer, the easiest way to tell if salmon is done, it should flake easily and flesh barely has turned opaque.
3 Basic Ways to Cook Salmon in the Oven
Basic Oven Baked Salmon
In my book, just straight-up baking salmon on a sheet pan is the easiest way to cook salmon. Season, pop it in the oven and wait 8-10 minutes. Cooking time is short, and it is easy to see when your salmon is cooked perfectly. Baked salmon can also make for a very pleasing presentation on the table.
If you want to step up your baked salmon game, you might try baking salmon on cedar planks.
Basic Baked Salmon Recipe
- Sheet Pan
- 1-3 Pound Salmon fillet
- Olive oil
- Lemon wedges
- Place oven rack to the center position and preheat your oven to 425°
- Rinse your salmon fillet and then pat dry with a paper towel
- Sprinkle your salmon with enough oil to coat and spread with your fingers or pastry brush. Liberally coat with salt and pepper.
- Cooking time will depend on how thick your salmon is. Plan 4-6 minuted per inch at its thickest point. You will want it to be just done and flaky. Officially you will want your salmon to be 145° internally.
- Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Baking Salmon in Foil
I’m a fan of baking salmon in foil, mostly because of the fact that it slows down the baking time, locks in the flavors of the aromatics, and makes the cleanup super easy. The slower cooking time means it is harder to overshoot the correct level of doneness.
Why Bake Salmon in Foil?
Rarely am I so rewarded for so little effort as when I make easy baked salmon recipes like this baked salmon in foil. It’s dead simple, but so delicious and so good for you too. Wondering why you would go to the extra work of baking your salmon in foil?
The only downside to cooking salmon in foil is that it makes a pretty presentation a little more difficult. Getting a whole side of salmon out of a foil-lined pan is difficult at best. The best option is to portion out of the pan with a slotted turner onto plates.
- The foil locks in moisture – this means your fish is going to heat up slower and will go from underdone to overdone slower.
- The foil traps in aromas/flavor – By sealing in your fish, all of the essential oils from the lemons and dill will have nowhere to go other than into your fish. If you just put everything in the oven, all that aroma would spread through the entire oven.
How Long to Cook Salmon in Foil
- You can plan that a large (2-pound) full side of salmon will bake in 15 to 20 minutes at 375° F . This is a good general number to use.
- Cooking time should be adjusted depending upon the thickness of your particular piece of salmon.
- Always plan on getting close to the suggested internal temperature of 165°. The easiest way to do this is to use a probe thermometer and then pulling the salmon at ~155°, leaving it sealed and letting the carryover take care of the rest.
- An option to finishing your fish is to remove it early, turn your stove to broil, open the foil and cook for a 2-3 minutes more. This will brown up the top, but be careful not to overcook your fish.
Salmon Baked In Foil Recipe
Basic Salmon Baked In Foil
- Aluminum foil
- Baking sheet
- 2 pound Whole salmon fillet
- 5 sprigs dill
- 2 Lemons
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- ¼ tsp Black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 375°
- Rinse your salmon and pat dry with paper towels.
- Line your sheet pan with a large enough piece of foil to completely wrap around your fillet and lightly coat it with oil
- Cut one of your lemons up into thin slices and arrange half of them down the middle of your pan along with the sprigs of dill. Cut the other lemon into wedges for serving later.
- Place your salmon down on top of the lemon slices and dill. Lightly coat with oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chopped garlic over the top and arrange the other half of the lemon slices across your fish.
- Tent your foil around your fillet and seal. If your foil is small, you may need to use a second piece. The goal is to create a small tent around your salmon.
- Put your salmon in the oven and bake for ~15 minutes then remove from oven.
- Switch your oven to broil, open your foil up to completely expose your salmon.
- Put your salmon back in the oven to finish, just browning the top and caramelizing the garlic, about 3 minutes. Be very careful not to overcook your fish. If it is still not quite done, close the tent and let it rest for a few minutes off the heat.
- Portion and serve immediately.
When it comes to pure speed when it comes to cooking salmon in the oven, broiling absolutely wins out.
Tips For Broiling Salmon
- Plan 6 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness for broiling time
- Remove your salmon from the fridge and let come up to room temperature for 10-15 minutes
- Use a good quality pan that can handle the heat of a broiler, so no non-stick pans
Basic broiled salmon with lemon
- 1 salmon fillet about 2 pounds
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Combine oil, rind, juice, and Worcestershire sauce in a shallow dish.
- Spread mixture over fish and let stand 15 minutes
- Set your broiler to high and let warm-up with the rack 6" from the element
- Lightly oil your pan and place your salmon skin side down
- Place in oven and cook for 6-8 minutes depending on thickness
- Remove from oven and serve
What To Do With Leftover Salmon
I often make more salmon than I need for dinner just so I will have some to use for the next couple of days. Cooked salmon is very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. You can store cooked baked salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
If you would like to reheat your salmon, be very gentle. It is already cooked so it doesn’t take much to kill it and make it dry. I suggest either microwaving in short bursts on low power or reheating in a skillet.
To reheat your salmon in the microwave, let it come up to room temperature on a microwave-safe dish, and then reheat in 30-second intervals on low to medium power.
To reheat your salmon in a skillet, let it come up to room temperature then place in a non-stick pan that has been heated over medium heat. Immediately add a splash of water and cover. In 2-4 minutes your salmon will be hot.
Freeze your extra salmon for later. If you don’t have something to do with your freshly baked salmon, consider freezing it for later. Simply remove the skin, put in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. You can use frozen salmon in any recipe that calls for called salmon. Just pull it out the night before and let thaw in the fridge.