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This Christmas salmon is a festive and flavorful main for the holidays! It's individual salmon fillets baked in a sweet pomegranate sauce and served with fresh rosemary and pomegranate seeds. It tastes as beautiful as it looks, and it's ready in just 18 minutes!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Delicious food, twinkly lights, all the festivities, and more food.
But if you're bored of the usual holiday fare and wondering what to make this year, this Christmas salmon recipe is for you. It's an easy, delicious, and healthy main that looks incredible on any holiday table!
We make an easy spiced sauce that begins with an ingredient called pomegranate molasses. If this is your first time hearing about it, it's a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is pretty widely available so you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. It has an intense sweet-tart flavor, similar to balsamic glaze. Yum!
We spread the sauce over the salmon fillets, then bake them in the oven until they're cooked through. To serve, arrange them on a plate so they look pretty, surround the fish with rosemary sprigs, and sprinkle on some fresh pomegranate seeds.
This holiday fish is a meal you will feel good about eating and serving. It smells incredible when you bring it to the table, and it pairs well with a salad, roasted vegetables, rice, or any other side you fancy.
Why you'll love this Christmas salmon
- It's healthy – this is an elegant dish, that has the benefit of being good for you, too!
- It's easy – this holiday salmon looks impressive, and no one needs to know how easy it is to put it together. Scroll down to the recipe card to see for yourself!
- It's festive – warm, sweet flavors and festive green and red garnishes make this dish look and taste like the holidays. Add this new tasty main to your holiday meal rotation!
Christmas salmon ingredients
With the exception of maybe the pomegranate molasses, you're likely to have most of these ingredients in your pantry. Here's everything need to make this baked Christmas salmon recipe:
- Pomegranate molasses – pomegranate molasses is a traditional Middle Eastern cooking ingredient made from concentrated pomegranate juice. Look for it in the international aisle of your grocery store, or find it at any Middle Eastern market.
- Maple syrup – only pure maple syrup will do here!
- Butter – melted butter adds richness and body to the sauce.
- Vanilla extract – for its warm, sweet, and slightly floral flavor.
- Dried rosemary, sea salt + pepper – for seasoning.
- Salmon – we use individually-sized salmon fillets, but you can also use one large fillet and serve it family style if you prefer.
- Pomegranate seeds and fresh rosemary sprigs – for garnish. The rosemary not only looks pretty, but it also smells so good when it's brought to the table. It's not necessary if this is a quick weeknight meal, but it adds a nice touch on special occasions.
How to cook Christmas salmon
This holiday salmon is a quick, delicious, and healthy main you can serve anytime during the festive season. Here's how we make it in a few simple steps:
- While your oven preheats, make the sauce for the salmon by combining the pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a pan. Boil it for a few minutes, then allow it to cool. It should be similar in consistency to molasses.
- Lay the salmon fillets on a baking sheet and spoon the pomegranate sauce on top.
- Bake it for 8-9 minutes, then spoon back on some of the sauce that ran off.
- Arrange the cooked salmon on a plate, serve with fresh rosemary springs, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top!
What's the best type of salmon to use?
If you're new to cooking salmon, steelhead trout is a great option as it has a mild flavor and doesn't dry out like other salmon. (Technically, steelhead is an ocean-going rainbow trout but it looks and tastes like salmon.) Sockeye salmon is another great option, but any variety of fresh, wild-caught salmon works well.
How long do leftovers keep?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I substitute the pomegranate molasses?
Pomegranate molasses is a key ingredient in this recipe, and unfortunately, we don't know of a substitute to use in its place.
Is Christmas salmon healthy?
Yes, it is! The sauce is made with only real, whole ingredients and the salmon is full of healthy omega-3s and protein.
What to serve with Christmas salmon
This festive salmon is a delicious way to swap traditional holiday foods for something lighter and healthier. Enjoy it as a special dinner on Christmas eve, New Year's Eve, or anytime throughout the holiday season. Serve it with some simple roasted vegetables, a salad, or any other tasty side you can think of!
Festive sides that pair well with salmon
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- 6 pieces salmon (see notes)
- Pomegranate seeds and rosemary sprigs (to serve)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat, bring the pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, rosemary, salt, and pepper to a boil. Continue to boil for 4 minutes then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Once it's cool to the touch, it should have the consistency of molasses.¼ cup pomegranate molasses, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, ¼ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Lay the salmon on the baking sheet and spread the thick pomegranate sauce on top – don't worry if it doesn't spread easily, it will once it's in the oven.6 pieces salmon
- Bake the salmon for 8-9 minutes, just until the salmon reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon some of the sauce that has run onto the pan over the salmon.
- Serve the salmon with sprigs of rosemary surrounding it and pomegranate seeds over the top.Pomegranate seeds and rosemary sprigs
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.