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This coconut poached salmon tastes incredible and will melt in your mouth. Fillets of salmon are gently poached in a creamy and flavorful Thai-inspired orange coconut sauce. It's easy to make and it's ready in just 22 minutes!
If you like salmon cooked in creamy coconut milk, you'll love our cashew coconut salmon curry!
There are endless ways to prepare salmon, but this salmon poached in coconut milk tops our list. It's easy to make, creamy, and flavorful. The fish is so tender it will melt in your mouth. If this is your first time poaching fish, you're in for a treat!
To make it, we start by simmering a poaching liquid made from coconut milk, orange (slices, zest, and juice), soy sauce, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and lime juice. Then we add the salmon fillets and very gently simmer them at a low temperature until they turn opaque.
We love to serve this coconut poached salmon over a bed of jasmine rice with a generous amount of sauce. It's a low-fuss weeknight meal that feels fancy enough that you could make it for date night.
Coconut poached salmon ingredients
With a few simple ingredients, you can make this flavorful coconut poached salmon at home. Here's everything you need to make it:
- Oranges – in most places you can find oranges year-round, but we love to make this recipe in the winter when citrus is abundant. We use two large navel oranges.
- Coconut milk – this will be the base for the creamy poaching liquid.
- Soy sauce – for seasoning and a bit of saltiness. You can also use coconut aminos (a soy sauce alternative), or gluten-free soy sauce.
- Ginger + garlic – ginger and garlic add lots of flavor and a bit of kick.
- Fish sauce – fish sauce amplifies the savory flavor and adds depth to the broth.
- Lime juice – for a bit of acidity which brings brightness and balances out the creaminess.
- Salmon fillets – we use steelhead salmon (sometimes called steelhead trout) in this recipe. If you can find it, it's a wonderfully fatty fish that won't dry out, but any type of salmon will work for this recipe.
- Orange slices, cilantro, and chili flakes – for garnish.
How to make coconut poached salmon
Making poached salmon in coconut milk is a wonderfully gentle way of preparing fish, and it's surprisingly easy to do! Here's how we make it in a few simple steps:
- Slice one orange into rounds, and zest and juice the other. Place the oranges slices, zest, and juice in a pan with the coconut milk, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, garlic, and lime juice. Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer.
- Add the salmon fillets and gently simmer until the salmon is opaque.
- Serve the salmon on a bed of rice with orange slices, cilantro, and a sprinkle of chili flakes.
Tips for making the best poached salmon
Poaching salmon in coconut milk is simple, but there are a couple of tricks to making sure it stays tender. Here are two things to keep in mind:
- Use steelhead salmon (sometimes called steelhead trout). It's naturally a fattier fish which means it's more tender and less likely to dry out.
- Think low and slow! Simmer the fish at a very low temperature. You want the poaching liquid to barely be simmering. If there are several bubbles at one time, it's probably too high.
- If you want to learn more about poaching fish, read our guide Perfect Poached Fish for even more tips and tricks.
How long do leftovers keep?
Store leftovers with any remaining sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it on the stove at a low temperature, adding a splash of coconut milk or water to thin the sauce if needed.
Can I use any kind of fish?
We've only made this recipe with salmon, but you could certainly try it with any other firm flesh fish like cod, halibut, grouper, or rockfish.
- 2 large oranges (divided)
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- Juice of ½ lime
- 4 fillets salmon
- Orange slices, cilantro, and chili flakes (to serve)
- Slice one orange. Zest and juice the other orange and place both in a large skillet. Add the coconut milk, coco aminos, ginger, fish sauce, garlic, and lime juice to the skillet. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes.1 cup canned coconut milk, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 3 cloves garlic, Juice of ½ lime, 2 large oranges
- Reduce the heat to low and add the salmon. Simmer very gently (see notes) for about 6-7 minutes, or until the salmon is opaque. At the first hint of white forming on top of the salmon, remove it from the heat.4 fillets salmon
- Serve the orange coconut poached salmon with some orange slices, cilantro, and if you'd like some heat, some chili flakes.Orange slices, cilantro, and chili flakes
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.