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This baked salmon is our favorite baked salmon recipe ever. It cooks in only 8 minutes and always turns out perfect. Learn how to bake salmon so that it turns out flaky and tender every single time!
This method of cooking salmon comes from my former neighbor, Danielle. She served it once at a dinner party and I fell in love with it. It's a foolproof recipe that turns out perfectly every time. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a healthy dinner on the table stat!
Why this baked salmon recipe is the best
- The short cooking time on high heat guarantees that the salmon will be juicy and tender.
- If you/your kids/roommate/partner are starving, this is the recipe to make. Pair it with a simple salad and dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes. Tops.
- It's a versatile recipe. A little salt and pepper are all the basic version needs to be delicious. But the spices you can add are almost limitless, and we have plenty of suggestions on salmon seasonings for you in the recipe.
- While it's an easy recipe, it's also perfect for entertaining. Prepare the salmon then let it rest at room temperature on a baking sheet. When you want to eat, pop the baking sheet into the oven and 8 minutes later you'll be sitting down to a beautiful dinner.
How to make this baked salmon recipe
Oven baked salmon is the easiest ever. Here's what you're going to do:
- Put the salmon on a baking sheet skin side down.
- Top with oil, salt, pepper, and any spices that you want. (We have lots of suggestions in the recipe!)
- Pop it into the oven for 8 minutes.
That's in. In less than 10 minutes you've made yourself a delicious salmon dinner!
How long to bake salmon
In a 400 degree oven, salmon needs to bake for 4 minutes per ½ inch of thickness. Most salmon fillets are 1 inch thick, so you'll want to cook them for 8 minutes.
Salmon is notorious for being dry. That's because almost all salmon recipes tell you to cook it for too long. While the FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, if you remove the salmon from the oven at 145, you'll end up with dry salmon that (in my opinion) is barely worth eating. That's because the temperature will continue to rise after the salmon has been removed from the oven and it will end up being overcooked.
If you're new to making baked salmon, the best way to tell if it's cooked is to use an instant read meat thermometer. If you remove the salmon from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be fully cooked by the time you eat it.
Can I cook my salmon more/less than the recipe says?
Of course! 8 minutes in a 400-degree oven will give you medium-well cooked salmon fillets. If you like salmon that's medium-rare, take it out of the oven a minute or two earlier.
If you like your salmon done well, keep it in the oven for an extra minute or two. But please don't expect the salmon to be juicy or tender if you opt for a longer cooking time!
Salmon seasoning ideas
Baked salmon is delicious even with the most simple salt and pepper seasoning. But it's fun to spice things up. Here are a few spices that go great with salmon:
- Personal favorite: sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, coconut sugar, and oregano.
- Lemon thyme: lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves, and a squeeze of lemon when the salmon comes out of the oven.
- Garlicky: Lemon slices, Italian seasoning, and finely minced garlic.
- Chili lime: Chili powder, garlic powder, and lime zest.
- Rosemary: Lemon slices, minced garlic, and rosemary.
- Curry: curry powder, garlic powder, coconut sugar, and lime zest.
Can you eat salmon skin?
Yes! Crispy salmon skin is not only delicious, but it's also healthy, too. Salmon skin contains high amounts of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, so don't skip the skin. But salmon skin that is not crispy, isn't very appetizing. Here's how to turn salmon skin into salmon bacon:
When the salmon is cooked, remove it from the baking sheet by sliding a spatula between the skin and the flesh. This will leave the salmon skin on the baking sheet. Now pop the baking sheet back into the oven and turn the oven off. The residual heat from the oven will crisp the salmon skin so that by the time you finish eating, you'll have a little salmon bacon for dessert.
Thanks, Danielle, for teaching that trick!
What to serve with baked salmon
Most of the time, we serve this salmon with a big dinner salad. Arugula and Wild Rice Salad and The Best Kale Salad are two of our favorites. If you're feeling quite hungry, some Greek Lemon Potatoes, Smoky Roast Potatoes, or Cauliflower Fried Rice make great sides.
Here are a few other sides that go well with this baked salmon:
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- 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, coconut sugar, and oregano.
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, zest from 1 lemon, and a squeeze of lemon when the salmon comes out of the oven.
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 2 finely minced garlic cloves, and 1 thinly sliced lemon.
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and zest from 1 lime
- 1 finely minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, and 1 thinly sliced lemon.
- 1 teaspoon curry powder, ½ teaspoon each: garlic powder and coconut sugar, and zest from 1 lime.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the salmon on a baking sheet, leaving a little room between each piece. Drizzle each salmon fillet with ½ teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If using the optional seasonings, sprinkle them on top of the salmon now.4 6-ounce salmon fillets, 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Put the salmon in the oven and set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the salmon out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. It will be very tender, the flesh will have turned opaque, and there will be only a few tiny spots of white showing. (see notes.)
- ½ inch fillet – 4 minutes
- 1 inch fillet – 8 minutes
- 1 ½ inch fillet 12 minutes
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.