This tender, flaky baked salmon is made with just a few flavorful ingredients including lemon and butter. It will become one of your go-to recipes for an easy and healthy weeknight dinner.
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Best Healthy Baked Salmon Recipe
I find salmon to be one of the most versatile kinds of fish, whether it’s pan seared salmon, balsamic glazed salmon or this baked salmon, you are guaranteed a great-tasting nutritious meal the whole family will love!
I keep a package of frozen salmon in the freezer so prepping this meal takes minimal effort. Thaw frozen fish in the fridge overnight or if you forget, first thing in the morning, so you can whip it up come dinner time.
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick: The best baked salmon recipe can be on the table and into hungry mouths in just over 30 minutes.
- Healthy: A 6-ounce serving is a great source of protein and healthy fats. Salmon is one of many healthy dinner recipes that tastes great no matter how it’s cooked!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter will both work. If using salted butter, adjust added salt. You can also use olive oil instead of butter.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice tastes best but jarred will also work.
- Salmon filets: Use 6-ounce skinless salmon filets.
- Salt and pepper: Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add garlic. Just the simple addition of minced garlic to the lemon and butter marinade will up the flavor of this baked salmon.
- Play around with spices. Use different spice combinations like Italian seasoning, fajita seasoning, or Greek seasoning.
- Sweeten it up. Stir in a touch of honey or maple syrup for a sweeter version of this baked salmon.
- Sprinkle on some cheese. Add crumbled feta or grated parmesan cheese to add another layer of flavor.
- Add vegetables. Add vegetables on the pan like in this sheet pan salmon. Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all delicious.
- Make it Asian style. Combine soy sauce with a touch of honey and Dijon mustard instead of the butter and lemon juice. Ginger would be great, too.
How to Make Baked Salmon
- Prepare the salmon. Brush the salmon with the butter and lemon juice and place on a baking sheet or cast iron pan, skin side down. Add veggies if you’d like and season.
- Bake. Bake the salmon fillets for 12-15 minutes, until it is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
- Brush with more lemon butter. Brush again with more lemon butter and garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!
Best Temperature for Baking Salmon
I find 6-ounce portions of salmon will cook up nicely when baked at 400°F degrees. If preparing baked salmon in foil the timing may be different so it’s best to follow the baking instructions for the recipe you are preparing.
The most important thing is to make sure the salmon reaches its optimal internal temperature of 145°F when tested at the thickest part.
- Enjoy it cold, too. For lunch the next day, enjoy salmon at room temperature or cold.
- For a crispy edge. Broil the salmon for the last 1 to 2 minutes (watch closely, so it doesn’t burn).
- Not sure how long to bake salmon? Six ounces will cook up in about 15 minutes. It’s best to invest in an instant read thermometer to confirm the salmon is cooked through to 145°F.
- Keep frozen salmon on hand. I prefer to buy the prepackaged fillets in the frozen section at Costco. My family only eats 3 (the kids will split one), but you can fit up to 5 on a large sheet pan.
- Don’t overbake. Watch salmon closely and check for doneness a few minutes before the recommended cook time as all ovens are different and you don’t want dry salmon.
Whether you’re buying Atlantic farmed salmon, which is cheaper than the Alaskan wild-caught, or whether you’re buying fresh or frozen, organic, nonorganic, or sustainable, each comes with its benefits.
I urge you to dig deeper if it’s important to you, or, if not, just make the choice that best suits your family, whether it’s cost, environmental, or health considerations.
Yes, salmon keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I find 6-ounce pieces of salmon will cook up in 12-15 minutes or so at 400 degrees. If your salmon is thicker it will take longer to cook.
The salmon is done when it flakes easily and is light pink in color. Make sure to test the thickest part of the salmon as it will take longer to cook.
More Salmon Recipes
Baked Salmon Recipe
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 lemons , or olive oil
- 4 skinless salmon filets , about 6 ounces each
- Salt , to taste
- Ground black pepper , to taste
For serving (optional): Freshly chopped herbs like parsley, oregano or basil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, melt the butter. Squeeze in the juice from 1 lemon. Mix until combined.
- Place the salmon on a baking sheet or cast iron pan. Add veggies if desired. Brush the melted butter mixture over the top and bottom. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a sliced lemon on top of each filet if desired.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through to 145°F and flaky when pulled apart with a fork. For a crispy edge, you can broil the last 1 to 2 minutes (watch closely, so it doesn't burn).
- Brush with more lemon butter and garish with fresh herbs if desired. Serve while warm.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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